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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

Underwater Wonderland: The Red Sea

EGYPT | Saturday, 11 August 2007 | Views [1010]

We have been looking forward to diving the Red Sea for years.  Years ago we learned about how amazing it is here from my friend Teresa, who was on a live-aboard in the Red Sea, and brought back amazing photos of coral and fish.  The water is a gorgeous blue/green color and the snorkeling and diving even just off the shore is great.  Kim and Dennis turned us onto this great hotel on the beach, from the outside it resembles a huge ship, with a floating restaurant.  So we are splurging a bit, for the few days we were all together here.  We check into the Red Sea Diving College, with whom Kim and Dennis both had done dives with previously.  We're finding here that dive shops are fairly strict and restrictive on where they allow us to dive on the first day.  They want to check out our skills, especially if we haven't dove for more than 30 days.  I guess there are some pretty technical dives and serious currents here, so they want to be assured that when they take any client down, the client knows what they're doing.  So we go to check in and of course, try our hardest to get out of having to do a "check dive" where you essentially waste a 1/2 day dive getting drilled on basic dive skills, and don't really get out to dive on the reef.  When they ask us about how long it's been since our last dive, we tell them it's been over 30 days, we can't remember the exact last date.  What we didn't volunteer was that it's been since 2001 since our last dive in Mexico for a Christmas vacation.  We also can't believe it's been that long, we're such fair weather divers, only choosing to dive in warm, tropical climates... but since we've been married, we actually haven't gone on many "dive vacations."  The schools, as I mentioned, are strict here.  Had we told them it's been six years since our last dive, they would have made us take a full day dive class, which is way more expensive than a real dive, and we wouldn't get a chance to see the underwater paradise that we had traveled so far to see here.  The dive company doesn't ask to see our dive logs, or even to see our dive certification cards.  This causes us to  think that one reason they're so rigid about the first days dive is really more about the financial impacts to them... to rope you into several paid days of diving.  
 
So we settle for our first dive being the check dive, and move quickly through the skills check and then get to swim our way with our dive master to the “Movenpick Reef Nama Bay “ dive site where we get a little sample of what the Red Sea holds.  Beautiful, colorful, tropical fish and corals surround us, and we really aren't too far off shore.  We have a quick lunch and an hour later we're on the dive boat heading out to "Near Gardens," another popular Sharm reef.  It's no more than a 20M deep dive, in the gorgeous 80 degree fareinheit water.  We pass bright red aneonme, loaded with clown fish swimming in and out like a game of hide-and-seek.  Large fan corals stretch out from the rocks and we peer into small caves, under large rocks, checking out the largest eels we've ever seen in our lives.  There's an abundance of diverse coral, and the fish bear intricate designs/patterns.  We see trigger fish, parrot fish, lion fish, blue spotted rays, and so many more cool underwater life.  What a great introduction, first day of diving the Red Sea.  We're kicking ourselves for not having done any dives in Vietnam, which would have allowed us to do two full boat dives on our first day here.  
 
Being a bit rusty on our dive knowledge and skills, we had forgotten that it's required to have 24 hours in between a last dive and a plane flight.  Flying too early could cause a dangerous nitrogen situation in our lungs when we increase our altitude so rapidly.  That means that we either have to change our flight out to Luxor (which is now in 12 hours- tomorrow midnight), or forego our chance to dive the sites of Ras Mohammed or Tiran tomorrow.  Try as we did, it's impossible for us to change our flights, so having learned our lesson the hard way, we're stuck with a non-dive day for our last day, before we head back on the drive to Cairo in the afternoon.  Now we definitely need to make a return trip to Egypt, as the amazing life under the sea is so extensive, and we'd need at least a week on a live-aboard to really do it justice and appreciate all the Red Sea has to offer.

Tags: Adventures

 

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