Trip Start Mar 08, 2008
4Trip End Mar 15, 2008
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Well Friday was a 'kaslan' (lazy) day of no diving as I was going to dive the Thistlegorm wreck yesterday morning. Instead I took a walk all the way up the sea front as I hadn't been beyond the lighthouse. It was pretty warm yesterday, and once I walked away from the sea front there wasn't much wind, so my plan to walk back through the town was altered a bit and I took refuge in a seafront cafe. After that it was relaxing, reading, drinking coffee and copying under water photos for Nemo, underwater cameras seem to be scarce here and most of the ones they do have seem to be imported
I watched a beautiful sunset over the red sea from the roof of the bar at the place where I'm staying, the first day we had a really clear view over to Saudi since I've been here. I got chatting to Maree who is also staying in the same place and after a shower we met for dinner and a couple of beers. There were flyers being handed out promising free drinks and free sheesha at a bar further up the sea front so we decided to go for another beer before it was time for me to get my boat. It appears to have been some Russian girl's birthday party (Dahab is packed with Russians) and allegedly some of the other guests were there making a Russian porn video. Will forever be a good travel story even if it isn't true! We were sat with some English kids who were all 19 which made me feel ancient, so having to go to get my boat wasn't such a bad thing!
I was picked up at 10.45pm Egyptian time (aka 11pm) and we were crowded into a minibus in convoy to Sharm El Sheikh to get on the boat for the Thistlegorm. After setting up our tanks we had about half an hour of light before lights out and a bit of a poor nights sleep. The boat started moving towards the dive site at 4am and it was a bit of a rough one, so there was quite a lot of stuff rolling about on the deck making a noise. We arrived at the Thistlegorm site in time for Breakfast before doing the first dive of the day.
The currents at the site are a bit notorious so when our DM went down to tie the two ropes to the wreck that we would ascend and descend from I was glad he reported there was only a surface current. Having said that, the surface current was knackering, and I desperately tried to use my snorkel on the surface otherwise I'd have chewed through all my air before descending
After a surface interval we dived again, this side inside the wreck. Thank god I'd sorted my buoyancy out earlier in the week. It wasn't as dark and claustrophobic inside as I thought it might have been and there was lots to discover; a container of boots, jeeps filled with motorcycles, an air pocket in the kitchen roof you can have a conversation in, the captains cabin and bathroom.
On surfacing we had lunch before moving on to Raz Mohamed National Park for the final dive of the day. The currents here are notorious and it was hard work at times to move across them. Whilst we did a drift dive there were times we had to cross currents, and when I started to loose my fin I thought I'd end up having to cancel. Recovered it eventually and was able to continue the dive, most of it drifting at quite some speed making photography difficult as I was worried about crashing into coral if I wasn't looking where I was going. An absolutely beautiful dive site but quite hard going. We dived with three Japanese in our group which was 'interesting'. They weren't very experienced and found it difficult to buddy with anyone not Japanese, meaning one of our group got separated whilst trying to equalize. Another one used his arms a lot and knocked my reg out of my mouth at one point
So the final dive of my trip was over and we made our way into Sharm, followed by some Dolphins alongside the boat. Sharm harbour was absolute chaos and jam packed with tourists so it was a bit of a nightmare getting off the boat and out of the harbour. As the altitude in Dahab is higher than Sharm we had to sit and decompress a bit in a cafe in Sharm town centre. Not somewhere I'll rush to return to! We sat with our DM so ended up in a real local 'man's' cafe learning arabic.
After a couple of hours decompressing we hit the road back to Dahab. I was pretty exhausted by the time I got back and managed a pizza and a beer, I went to try and find some folk from the dive boat but couldn't see them in the place we'd said we'd meet, but actually decided I was so tired that another beer probably would make me fall asleep anyway so I went to bed at about 11 - so no wild last night party in Dahab after all!
So my final day today. No diving as I'm flying, so what's a girl to do? I may actually finish my second book of the week (I clearly wasn't planning this much diving when I packed 4!). Maybe I'll try and catch a few rays as my face is the only thing that's really changed colour - the rest has been wet suit clad most of the time!