Thursday, 29 July 2010

Check dive and Elphenston – Day One

The recession has hit the dive industry just as it has hit other industries.

27 Dive Boats

Port Ghalib is the main starting point for the southern red sea and there were 27 boats moored up there, 11 of which were live-aboards.  A walk around gave an estimate of about 50% usage. A number of boats are said to have mysteriously caught fire over the past year or so!

Boats need fuel just like any motor vehicle and they call in at marine petrol stations to get it.

Boat Petrol Statiion 

Filling her up seems to be a labour intensive task

Attendant Service 

and on this occasion the order was for 2000 litres of diesel

Fill her up please

(Sam that is about 60 time what Mama puts in her car) and a litre of diesel costs 16p to Egyptians, considerably more to visitors.

Date Palms 

Sam – what sort of trees are these and do you know what fruit grows on them?

Submarine Boat

Sam – this strange looking boat is called a “Glass Bottomed Boat” and has a big window in the bottom so you can see the fish and coral. You could ask Nana Pat about when she went in one in Australia.

Check Dive – Abu Dabab III

Our check dive was at Abu Dabab III, one of a group of six coral outcrops south of Marsa Alam. The objective of the check dive is to make sure that

Abu Dabab III Dive Site

you are carrying the correct weights and that all of your equipment is working correctly. We also took the opportunity to practise deploying our Surface Marker Buoy (a long red inflatable sausage that sits on the surface and shows where divers are below).

There was no current, all of my equipment worked and it was an easy 57 minute dive with plenty of air left at the end. The fish were unremarkable, the coral pretty and the water very warm.

Dive 2  - Elphenston

Elphenston Dive Map

This is an impressive reef about 1 km long with a steep drop-off on both sides. The reef is home to numerous varieties of fish but some (such as sharks) visit at only certain times of the day. Entry was off the rib with negative buoyancy, a quick descent to 20 metres whilst swimming to the wall to keep in the drifting current.

Fan Coral

The wall is home to large fan coral

Coral 2

some intricate coral

Fish 1

a Soldier fish which took care to pose nicely for this picture

Fish 2   

and a number of large wrasse including this Napoleon which appeared at the end of the 60 minute dive.

Immediately we were all back on board, the boat set sail for the Daedalus Reef some 8 hours south so after a difficult tossing boat dinner, it was  bed at 9 pm – surprising how tired we are after two dives, a theory is that this is because our bodies suddenly find themselves with a lot of nitrogen in them and that the tiredness lessens during the week as we get more oxygen. This is too complicated so I will stop expounding..

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