|Awesome photo courtesy of Allison Harvey and/or Jen & Jules|
As we tucked into some food there (calamari sandwich – awesome) we were briefed in by ‘Mustapha’ from Divers Down Under about what are options were for the week. They must love us overlanders as they would have raked the money in that week: Gab and Marjane were both very experienced divers (Gab being a Dive Master with over 800 dives to his name); Berbs and I had recently got our PADI Advanced Open Water in Zanzibar; Ish and Son did their Open Water in Lake Malawi and we were all eager to get some more bottom time. Kenji, Pat, Rob D, Tanja and Elisa were keen to pop their diving cherries too.
|The footbridge on Dahab's promenade.|
The dive was ok – there was plenty of coral in all shapes, colours and sizes but little in the way of fish. I might have got to see more but Berbs and I still need to work on our air consumption as we only had about 25 minutes bottom time! (At this point, we’d barely done more than 20 dives between us.)
The following day was spent chilling out and/or exploring the town and reading the news that was unfolding about multiple shark attacks on tourists only 80km further south at Sharm-El-Sheikh. Undeterred, we (Berbs, Marjane, Gab and I) were taken out by Matilda (French Dive Master at Divers Down Under) for a night dive at the spot they call ‘The Lighthouse’. I got a little scare when my o-ring blew out as I bent over (no jokes, please) to pick up my fins but Matilda sorted it out pretty quickly.
|The view of the Blue Hole/Canyon dive site from a restaurant balcony. (Photo courtesy of Big Ron.)|
Regardless of the dangers, we descended the chimney-like El Bells (named after the sound divers’ air cylinders make as they hit the sides of the narrow hole on the way down) one by one before coming out under a small arch at about 30 metres. We then swam our way back south along the reef wall before going over the saddle of The Blue Hole, gliding right past a large, solitary barracuda and across the abyss where many have lost their lives. (The sinkhole is said to be 130 metres deep and a lot of divers have been caught out trying to reach ‘The Arch’ that leads out to the open water at a depth of 56 metres. It’s regarded as the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Dive Site’. For those of a curious nature and strong disposition, there’s a video on YouTube of a young Israeli-Russian diver called Yuri Lipski - taken on his own camera - who got caught out by the Blue Hole’s depth and died at 92 metres. BE WARNED: THE CLIP IS NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED.)
|Homeless plunges to the depths.|
|If Jesus could snorkel...|
|Kenji - happy? Or suggesting we surface?|
|There'd been a misunderstanding about diving Dahab's famous 'Canyon'.|
|One of the many lionfsh we saw. (Photo courtesy of Kenji Ashman)|
|Berbs. (Photo courtesy of Kenji Ashman)|
|Puffer-fish. (Photo courtesy of Kenji Ashman)|
|Kenj - The Bottom Dweller.|
|Puffer fish. (Photo courtesy of Kenji Ashman)|
|(Photo courtesy of Kenji Ashman)|
|Puffer-fish (Photo courtesy of Kenji Ashman)|
|Me, venturing off into The Big Blue.|
|Lionfish - jus' chillin'.|
|Red Sea 'anemone fish' (Photo courtesy of Kenji Ashman)|
|A pair of lionfish, just floating around in Dahab, minding their own business. (Photo courtesy of Kenji Ashman)|
|This puffer didn't like the paparazzi. (Photo courtesy of Kenji Ashman)|
I rounded up the stay in Dahab with a gourmet burger at Chillax with Ronaldo, Ish, Son and a few others. We’d been there a few times that week, quite pricey, but highly recommended unless you’re a vegetarian...in which case your choices are slim. After that, we moseyed over to a restaurant called “Same Same But Different” where we made the most of the free wi-fi as we puffed on a shisha.
The next day we were off early to the small Egyptian port of Nuweiba. I’d been really excited about this part of the trip: I was soon to be joining the elite likes of Alex Reid, Gareth Gates, Dane Bowers, "Ace" from Gladiators (I don't know who that is either), Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and probably countless other Premier League footballers and minor celebrities...you guessed it folks, I was about to enter Jordan.