This was always destined to be an enjoyable trip – although less so for Trevor with his bust-up knee than the rest of us. This was a real shame given that Trevor had organised the trip – but we’re glad he decided to come and sit in the warm sunshine while we all went diving.
Three cars worth of us arrived at the Meet and Great carpark at the same time, a great co-incidence and shortly after we all trooped into the terminal building we were joined by Nigel and Alex. It was a good job we all arrived in plenty of time as Trevor was strip searched (I exaggerate slightly, they took his pot off!!) to check he wasn’t concealing any weapons. And then they insisted his crutch went in the hold as it was potentially an offensive weapon.
After the flight we all climbed into what has to be a bus driven by the slowest most careful driver in Sinai! Eventually we arrived at the Tropitel Oasis where the receptionist, though charming, was not really on top of his game! David had been assigned two rooms and I was missing from the rooms list all together! Somehow Nigel and Alex were given a room that was probably intended for Mary and David, because David and Mary definitely didn’t get the room they’d asked for.
The next morning things immediately improved! The sky was a clear blue, there was no wind and Lagona Divers were wonderfully efficient and nice. So we all, except for Trevor and David, got kitted up and went for our introductory dive on the house reef. A brilliant dive, sadly none of us took our cameras, which, when we came across a huge and wonderfully active octopus was annoying, to put it mildly. We didn’t find that octopus again (though we saw others on dives later in the week) but we were able to re-locate the Crown of Thorns starfish which is pretty rare at the moment. It was actually grey and purple with red tips to the spines – I didn’t get the white balance right as you can see!. (and frustratingly didn’t have the RAW file either.
Here we are getting ready for Dive 1. The person you won’t recognise is Bruno, a nice Swiss guy, who joined us for a few dives. Below you can see the bubbles from previous dive groups that come up through the canyon roof – they dissolve the roof over time so longer-term the canyon could be a lot wider than it is now!!
On day three we did the Golden Blocks and Moray Gardens. These were two nice easy dives with lots and lots of fish, octopuses, morays etc. Here’s some photos of Nigel being upside down and a huge gorgonian coral/Sea fan – it’s base was at 25 metres and it is at least 2 people tall! They are called Golden blocks as there are large coral blocks with clouds of golden fish hanging off them. We came back again here on Day 5 as the winds were so strong that the other dive sites we’d hoped for weren’t accessible.
On day six we found another big octopus, which Mary mistook for a rock, (shows how good their camouflage was, fortunately David stopped her before she put a hand on it – they would both have had a nasty surprise!!
It’s worth noting at this point that Dahab and its dive sites are very uncluttered by people at the moment. Fear of trouble and insurance issues are keeping a lot of people away so it is all very relaxing!
The level of security hasn’t changed since the last time we were there – ie guards and security checks on the roads in and out of the main towns, but all very relaxed. The worst that can happen is the dive guides being asked for extra dollars to let groups though – but they all know it’s a scam so don’t pay!
Day four saw us doing two more classic dives, first from the Bells to the Blue Hole and then round and out the Blue Hole and back. The Blue Hole dive featured an amazing turtle and several anguished and hysterically angry dive guides!. The turtle swam between several groups of divers, some of who tried to touch it and in once case actually hold it – I hate to think what the dive guide said/did to them (the Russian divers) when they finally got to shore! I think Tina (our dive guide) would have ensured a very unpleasant experience for them! Happily the turtle did not appear particularly bothered and swam towards several divers before finally going off into the blue. After a lot of photo opportunities with the turtle we swam on to an enormous black coral before turning round.
On Day five we were at the “Trash Reef” and Lighthouse. The name “Trash Reef” sounds odd but is a great dive. About 7 years ago there was a flash flood and a load of trash was washed from the Wadi into the harbour. Most of it is now covered by sand, what isn’t has been taken over as living accommodation by lots of fishes and other creatures. The pièce de resistance is perhaps the elephant!
Also worth noting is that by the fourth Day Mary’s diving was much much more accomplished. She also had good air consumption as well. Very good for someone who doubled her number of dives on the first sea dive trip. Tina (the dive guide) was impressed as were we all.
On our last Sunday we ventured out of the hotel and in Dahab for the evening. Dahab was really really quiet so our arrival made the night for the staff at Al Capone’s where we had a really good fish platter.
The next day we packed up, paid the extras at the dive centre and generally mooched around the pool until it was time to catch the bus back. Happily this journey was much faster than the inward journey and we had one of the nicest guys ever at check-in.
So finally I’d just like to say Thank you on behalf of us all to Trevor for organising a lovely trip to Dahab.
PS in terms of temperature the water was around 23°C. 3mm wetsuits were ok, but a bit chilly after 45 minutes. 5mm wetsuits were very comfortable temperature wise.