While in Dahab, I completed 16 dives for a total of more than 10 hours underwater. It has been a great time and I feel way more confident and comfortable underwater now.
As I had written in my previous post on diving, I had some trouble with buoyancy control and kicking but I completed a class to work on this. Once I had done that and got the chance to practice more on shallower dives, I thought it was time to go for the best dives around Dahab. You can see that as a reward :).
Canyon and Blue Hole
On Sunday, I dove at Canyons and then Blue Hole. They are both 30 meters (90ft) dives. I was actually a bit stressed in the morning of these dives because I had thought about my first and only deep dive I did in Monterrey last year where I had a very bad experience. It was quite cold down at 27m (81ft) and I was stressing a bit looking at my pressure level going down fast. It ended with a case of nitrogen narcosis that caused me to not be able to inflate my BCD properly and start going back up. The dive master had to take charge, inflate my BCD and pull me up.
I did not really enjoy the Canyon dive that much. It is an OK dive but I did not find it that great. To be fair, it might be because of the stress.
On the contrary, I loved the dive at Blue Hole. You get in through a 20 meters deep hole and exit in the deep blue, except for the coral reef behind you, everything around is blue. I have been a fan of the movie “Big Blue” for a long time and always loved the deep blue scene but that was nowhere close to the feeling you get when you are there looking at it. It is like being lost in the dark, it could be quite difficult to know which way is up or down if you did not have the bubbles. It gave me a feeling of vertigo for an instant. The rest of the dive is really nice too as you dive along the reef with around 170 meters of water under you! The exit is done in the place called blue hole that is a circular reef wall that seems bottomless (same kind of depth).
Thistlegorm and Ras Mohammed
Since everything had gone for the best, it was time to go for the classic one day boat dive tour that is offered from Sharm El-Sheik. It consists in 3 deep dives. 2 are made on the wreck of the Thistlegorm and one is the protected natural reserve of Ras Mohammed. This I did on Monday.
I went on the tour with Carolyn (American), Carolina (Argentinian), Gabriela (Argentinian) and Alex (German) that were all staying at the same hotel in Dahab. We were actually not the only one on the boat since we were around 25 divers total.
The boat arrived soon after breakfast to the wreck site where many boats were already dumping loads of divers. Our dive guide Salaka went first for a solo dive to attach the boat to the wreck at 2 points.
For the story, the Thistlegorm is a British boat that was sank by the Germans during world war two. If you want to know more, go read this. I will then try not to repeat too much of what is there.
The dive went well and it completed the day, we were back in Sharm around 6PM but had to wait 2 more hours before making our way back to Dahab since there is a 600m highest elevation on the road from Sharm to Dahab.
That was a great diving day. The highlight of a great 2 weeks of diving.
And the best is that Gabriela owns an underwater camera and Alex (that is more experienced than the rest of us) took it for each dive and made some great pictures and videos. I have a CD of these pictures and videos and will post the pictures ASAP. The videos will be shown when I come back to those interested.
[Edited on 5/19/2006 to add related pictures]