Hanging 'round Rick's reef

Trip Start Jun 29, 2005
Trip End Nov 30, 2009

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Diving is the talk of the town in Dahab so it wasn't long before I was looking to get aerated in the deep blue again.

At 18 Euro a pop the dives here are pretty good value too - far better than down the road in Sharm where you'll spend around 30 Euro and then still have to hire equipment on top of that (another E25 for two dives). Yikes! I signed up for two dives - the morning to be at a lovely site south of Dahab called Moray Gardens and the afternoon jaunt at Rick's Reef north of town.

These dives were to be an initial test. I have my sights set on an overnight trip down to reefs at the Ras Mohammed National Park and the 'must-dive' wreck around the tip of the Sinai called the Thistlegorm. This WW2 wreck sits at a more advanced depth of 30 metres so I need to prove that with 15 or so dives under my belt I can handle the extra depth, remain calm and confident and conserve my air so as to keep other members of the dive party happy by not surfacing too early.

Sounds complex but it's not. The long and short of the story is I didn't bring my camera that morning to Moray Gardens (you tend to use more air when diving with a camera, getting into position) which was a shame because the light and visibility for underwater photography that morning was superb. So were the sights. Oh well, I'll just have to do a couple more dives to make up for it.

Anyway, all these pics are from Rick's Reef. Still some great stuff to shoot like the bizarre octopus trying to hide top left and the Lionfish top right, but visibility was only 15 metres and the sun was only seeping through the haze from behind the mountains to the west. Hence a lot of blue shades.

The puffer above middle was pretty camera happy at least. Not so the Electric Torpedo Ray below right, but I managed a quick snap before he shot off. You don't want to touch one of those by the way (which I only found out later). Bzzzz.

Another interesting note regarding diving in this region is the large amount of weight you need to add to belt to get you descending in such salty, buoyant water. In Thailand with a short wetsuit I'd only need 3.5kg, here with a long wetty I had 10kg and still needed a little more. I'm not sure if my little beer gut is a help or a hindrance.

In the end I performed admirably for my first deep dives for four or five months. Another couple of tests to come at the two premier dive sites at Dahab (Blue Hole and The Canyon) in a couple of days but think they will work out fine too. Whether the camera will be happy at those depths is a different matter but Ras Mohammed and Thistlegorm, here I come!

Crazy Contraptions

I'm using a broad definition of 'contraption' ("a device that is very useful for a particular job" - see www.dictionary.com) so as not to limit myself strictly to the machines of the world. As such I can include the humble Pigeon House that features across much of the Egyptian landscape (and probably elsewhere in the Middle East).

Whether it's because Egyptians are partial to a pigeon dish (some are and I tried it in Aswan) or that they just love these flying rodents hasn't been revealed to me yet, but obviously a lot of time and effort is taken to build these large, conical mud structures that the birds roost in.

I'll have to ask around more but you have to agree that it's one of the more bizarre things that you would see whilst on the road.

ps: Is pigeon any good you ask? No, not enough meat on them...
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