I will leave in a few days from Dahab and it is time for me to thank everybody I have been spending time with for next to 2 months. It is heartbreaking to leave such nice people and I hope to see them again in the future.
Here are a couple of pictures from a nightdive I was lucky enough to do with Joska ( Lighthouse manager ). While Joska was doing macro video I was taking pictures. We went up after 96 minutes. All pictures are from Lightouse spot as it is probably the best one for macros since you find all sort of critters here.
When I was in Jordan I was asked by by some curious French people how I was able to read when traveling as obviously it was difficult to bring piles of book during my travel. Besides the fact that they were actually surprised I was able to read english books - sigh... - I figure that the answer could interest some people.
These pictures were taken on February 24/25. One of them shows the Stonefish 24h hour after the previous shots, burried into the grass. There is also a very nice picture of seagrass pipefishes. As you can see they mimic perfectly seagrass. They are difficult to spot underwater as they swim like seagrass transported by current and they are twisted most of the time making their identification more difficult.
Other pictures were taken during a Blue Hole dive. You can see an instructor lying on top of two divers that obviously had buoyancy (sinking) and equipment problems (pressure gauge and octopus hanging). The instructor apparently grabbed the octopus and pressure gauge of the 2 divers to better control them underwater and avoid them ramming up too much coral. They did not notice until about 5 minutes that something was going wrong.
The entries were lacking of pictures recently, so I'm catching up and sending some pictures of new uw aliens. They have been taken on February 23. A couple of them show a Stonefish which is probably the world most venomous fish. It mimics a stone perfectly and is hardly capable to swim due to its density. The fish swimming is similar to a flying chicken about agility.
As some of you may have noticed I have delayed my departure flights from Egypt. Originally as of today I should have been in the Seychelles, but I delayed my flight to saturday March 15.
As you know I'm supposed to go to the Seychelles after Egypt. However I' m starting to think this is a definite bad idea. I cannot find accomodation for less than $50 / night. So if I happen to stop here it would definitely be for less than a week so that it does not ruin my budget too much.
If you happen to know anything about cheap accommodation on Praslin I would be delighted to read about it. Many thanks.
I'm going to dive on the Thistlegorm tomorrow. I should leave Dahab tonight and be back tomorrow evening. The Thistlegorm is the World Foremost Diving Attraction. The ship was 126.5m in length and was launched in June 1940 as an 'Armed Freighter'. On his way back to Glascow it was attacked on October 5th 1941 while at anchor by a German Squadron of Heinkel bombers based in Crete. The wreck was discovered in the early fifties by Jacques Cousteau.
On the next day I might leave for Jordan for a couple of days, nothing decided yet.
I went back to the Blue Hole and did The Bells as well. This is not really the place to take pictures as it is a vertical wall. We however bumped into a turtle at around 20-25m I believe and again I was extremely close to her and feel like I did not take enough pictures. It is always a nice encounter though.
Between the two dives we were able to see a dozen of dolphins passing by at about 500m from the shore. No dolphins during diving yet however.
I did a night dive at the lighthouse and we were able to see a Spanish Dancer as you will see on the pictures. It is extremely beautiful and I was a bit disappointed that I did not take more pictures about it. However I as lucky to take a very nice close up of it with a full view of a crayfish hidden under.
Very nice pictures from a turtle swimming at Abu Helal, she has been nice enough to allow me to get close to her so that I could take pictures. I could have touch her anytime as we were less than 50cm from each other for about 5 minutes. Great moment !
At least ! Pictures taken a little bit out from Dahab (at least a little bit). I moved from dive center and went fron Fantasea to Lighthouse. The latter is a Czech owned club and therefore you bump into more Czech than anything else
I simply moved because Fantasea mostly cares about divemasters and since they spend most of their time in books than diving there are of course no fun dives. As I was the only one diving for fun I had to pay between 20 or 25$ rather than 15$. Lighthouse gave me a better deal varying from 14 to 15$ and there are some funny people there as well.
Eel Garden is an amazing spot. In the sandy bottom there are thousands of eels that pop out from their hole to eat plankton. It gives an amazing landscape as you will see in some of the pictures. Light is not so good because it is taken from far away as the eels hide quickly.
Another set of pictures from the Lighthouse. Excellent dives as it was really a critters festival as you will see with the Seamoth, Devil Scorpionfish, Anglerfish, Walkman, etc... Kind of weird critters as you will see.
Those pictures were taken at the Lighthouse diving spot which is in the bay of Dahab. I had a fantastic time especially considering I was diving with François (Freelance French divemaster) who was also interested in UW photography. We ended up with two long dives at 20m+ lasting respectively 74 and 78 minutes.
It really makes the difference when you are not diving with someone that does not suck air like a pump so that you need to stop your dive after 45 minutes.
All good things come to an end. Maher left today to Cairo and will transit via Paris and then jump to a plane for Denver for a couple of days. It was cool to meet him here, it is a nice guy and he has been very helpful. It is sad that he was sick for the last days of his round-the-world trip and he could not dive here. So good luck to him for his new job wherever it is.
Last set of pictures for today. I hope you will enjoy those as it took me about 3 hours to upload the 4 sets. I had a whooping upload of 200 bytes per seconds for about an hour. It is a bit cloudy and windy today so I guess we'll just hang around, it's definitely too chilly to spend time in the water. Today is the last day of Maher in Dahab, he's leaving tomorrow.
Pictures taken during the Blue Hole snorkeling time. It was also a big test for the camera and underwater housing. Test successfully passed, I have now to work on how to take cool pictures underwater and play with the white balance. Internal flash has been more effective than I was hoping for and backscatter is absent from many of them.
A couple of pictures from Dahab. It has been taken early in the morning, early being a relative notion in Dahab. It is next to impossible to take a breakfast before 8-8:30AM has nothing is opened as you can see from empty 'streets'.
Hurra. Here are a couple of pictures I took of the Pyramids and Sphinx when I was in Cairo. It was a definite pain to upload these pictures and it took ages due to the slowness of dialup connections in Dahab (and because a 56K dialup is shared by up to 6 PCs...ooops). Hopefully the other one will be faster to process.
I went today to Ras Abu Galum, about 1h30 north of the Blue Hole which is supposedly a national park. It is mainly a beduin village with a few concrete houses to accommodate for tourists but there is no electricity in the area, it is very peaceful and quiet place.
I went to the (un)famous Blue Hole close to Dahab. This is a deep hole in the coral that communicates with the reef and were many divers lost their lives trying to pass under the arch situated about 80m under water.
I have just finished today my MFA (Medic First Aid) and completed the PADI Rescue Diving Certification so I'm now officially qualified as Rescue Diver.
I'm quite happy that it is finished as it was starting to really get a little bit on my nerves and was not really enjoyable.
I just arrived in Dahab. I'm sharing a room with a french named Maher that was in my bus. He plans to stay a week here and is just finishing his RTW. Huge advantage, he speaks arabic as he was born in Lebanon. He negogiated a low rate: 5EGP / person ! (1EUR). Hopefully that will save me some money
He is also a software engineer. The world is a small place.
I'm taking the bus from Cairo to Dahab tonight. A 9h ride. I'm leaving at midnight. So I will probably write from the Sinai next time.
This afternoon I will go back to the Pyramids, I went to the night show yesterday, this is so-so, and expensive for what it is (44EGP).
Here are the pictures from the egyptian museum. Sorry, they are not that great, lighting is terrible, it is forbidden to use the flash and tripods, there are reflections on the windows everywhere as the glasses are not mat.
The museum was great buyt unfortunately suffers from a lack of information about all artifacts and statues. They are just lying there without any historical note.
I also noted some incoherences between two information notes but I would need to go deeper in an Egyptian book to find about this.