Apparently there was a bombing in Dahab a few hours ago around 7:15PM. Reports are pretty vague as of now. It has been reported that the “beduin” restaurant Al Capone was destroyed which means that at least the heart of the ‘tourist’ place has been hit and 7PM is normally one the busiest time. You can see the restaurant as well as the area in the entry I posted on December 18, 2005.
I’m waiting for some more info from people I have been hanging out with from mid-december to end of february.
Update: I received an email from Fred who is in Dahab right now (I have been doing rock climbing and freediving with him at Desert Divers) giving me news about the situation:
[...]There were 3 explosions last night at 7pm, designed to catch people escaping from one to another. The first was at Capone restaurant next to the bridge, then about 20 seconds later, outside the chinese restaurant on the other side, then about 10 seconds later, outside the Ghazala supermarket at the bottom of the little shopping street.
Very nasty and surreal situation. I don’t think the western media will be able to portray what really happened as it was very shocking.[...]
Egypt being Egypt, I was fooled into an outdated timetable and a non-existing 20:30 bus…so I had to take the ‘real’ 22:00 one to Cairo. I was wondering during the trip if I would be able to make it to the airport in time but fortunately, the bus arrived at the first stop in Cairo around 06:30. Time to jump into a taxi and go past security screening that looked for 15min for the lead weight of my underwater housing (it looks like a black rectangle on x-ray). Cairo airport British Airways manager was extremely nice to me as I had to wait a little bit so that they could sort out flight issues, he gave me access to 1st Class Lounge. Flight was uneventful, the selection of video and sound quality pretty mediocre but inflight breakfast was great.
Heathrow is bit of a mess right now, it took me a while to connect from Terminal 4 to Terminal 1 with the bus, and the queue for the security screening was massive. Basically a full hour of connecting + queueing. On my way to Tokyo now. Will try to get some sleep as I slept intermitently during the bus trip and London flight.
I’m leaving Dahab in the evening after about 2 months mostly spent with great people such as Fred Stone, Annelie Pompe, Sam Still, Andy Gueldner and Youri Vlag. A bunch of us will have dinner at the best restaurant in town, the italian-managed El Dorado (pizzas, home-made pasta, tiramisu, panna cotta and hot chocolate to die for).
Then, I will jump on the 20:30 bus to Cairo. Around 05:00, I should be in Cairo, take a taxi to the airport and get on my BA154 flight at 08:45 and arrive in London at 12:10. At 14:35, I will board BA7 flight and arrive in Narita (Tokyo) at 11:05. I will take advantage of the 8h transit to take a shower at the airport and maybe get some more sleep. At 19:00, I will get on AA154 flight to Chicago and hopefully land at 15:35 in the best entry point in the US to get past security screening, customs and immigrations, and all the paranoia. At 18:02 I will jump in AA1940 flight to Miami. I should make it at 21:59.
If I’m still alive after sampling coach class for that long (and if my baggage make it as well), I should be sleeping for a long time to recover. Which is why I decided to stay in Miami for 3 nights before going to San Pedro Sula (Honduras).
Before some genius comment about why I’m going eastward rather than westward which is obviouslly the shortest way, I will answer there is an hidden reason behind and will leave it at that for now
Joel and I decided to go to diving The Bells/Blue Hole and Abu Helal. The Bells entry point is always interesting. It is basically a small crack in the ground and divers have to go through some kind of naturally carved vertical tube to go down. There are 2 main exits at around -14m and -28m. The Bells is named after the sound produced by aluminium tanks when scuba divers hit the reef. We went down up to -42m to admire the magnificent soft corals (Dendronephthya specie) of bright colors that grow under ledges. We took our time to drift to the Blue Hole and had plenty of air left to do a full 540 degrees. As for Abu Helal, it was a bit boring, too much hard corals and not much variety to look at. Still a very good dive.
I’m basically happy to finish diving with these conditions. I had fantastic dives with Joel, certainly the best I ever had in Dahab. I could show him lots of things around, including unusual stuff and things that unfortunately few people in Dahab care to look for. For me, it was an opportunity to go diving with someone who really wanted to dive and see things. I was only paying tanks and taxi on this one, basically a 2-day dive cost me 25$/155 EGP (4 tanks at 3$ + 80EGP taxi) which is far more than OK.
I’m right now organizing my journey to Honduras. I will get to Miami after 35h of flights and 14h in transit, not counting the 9h bus trip to Cairo and 8h of waiting at the Cairo airport. I will stop in Miami for 2 or 3 nights to get a decent sleep and recover.
As of now, I’m also doing strictly nothing at Dahab, but reading. Most people are gone or on their way, so it starts to be a bit quiet. I have been 2 times to the doctor in Sharm El Sheikh in the last 2 weeks to check for a right ear problem. I’m suffering tinnitus (continuous whisthle) for a month now which was apparently initiated by an inflammation in mid-january. A very soft sinus/ear congestion is on top of it for several weeks and has certainly be aggravated by a possible barotrauma when doing free-diving/scuba-diving even though I haven’t been doing that much.
I have stopped diving as a precaution for now to see if there will be any improvement. Reading through DAN Medical Q&A about tinnitus and diving is not really encouraging nor is the extensive collection of articles available on the internet. I’m not thanking my diving insurance DAN Europe for not having bothered to reply to my concern regarding this.
While visiting the Dahab Recompression Chamber managed by Deco International a few weeks ago, I have also learned that DAN Europe did not pay anything back to the chamber to cover the cost of a DAN Europe insured diver who was treated with a severe decompression illness involving spinal embolism and paralysis of the lower body after shooting up accidentally from 105m to the surface missing a full hour of decompression. The diver received an initial treatement of 11h in the recompression chamber and 5 subsequent days of 2 x 2h15. The whole treatment cost was about 15000EUR and the diver recovered fully. Accident happened on November 2005.