Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dive Safari - First day

I woke up at 7:30, and found we are still docked. Went up and enjoyed the breeze and the waves. Turns out I am not sea sick (great!). We had breakfast and set up from port. A discussion of the plans, and we decide to go south to reach Tiran in the evening.
First dive: a site south of Dahab called Gabl El Bint. From land this place is only reachable by Camels. It is a nice banana shaped reef extending from the beach, creating secure area on both sides. I went down with tissue paper in my camera case to check for leaks. Avi joked that this means that we will see something special.
Pre-dive instructions

Into the water we go. The water is blue and clear, with many blue fishes (Red Sea Fusilier כחלים). I am a bit too heavy, and working on establishing my balance. The reef wall angles sharply down into the void. We dive at 20-23 meters along the reef going north-east. Many gorgonia corals growing out of the walls, creating impressive views. Tons of פזיות and snappers in the reef.
At some point Peit signals to turn around and we start to climb along the wall to about -10 going
a bit below the top of the reef wall. I am trying to look more closely at the local fishes, and then hear someone shouting in the water. Looking around I see a huge shape in the water. A whale shark !!!! is going over us. He goes pretty fast and so we don't give chase. It is the first time I see one, and it is amazing how big it is. Avi signals, at my camera and gives me a big OK sign.
Statistics: 15L tank, 4lb weights, 205bar to 80bar, at 10:17am for 52min, max depth 26.2, avg 14.0, water temp 27C.
Second dive: A dive in along the shore south of Gabl El Bint. We picked a spot and went in along the wall. Large schools of fish, deep canyons, many corals of diffrent shapes in sizes. עקרבנון ירקרק and also a spotted ray. I had serious mask problems. Decided to shave and clean mask. Will see if this will help....
Statistics: 15L tank, no weight belt starting with 200bar to 90bar, at 2:20pm for 55min, max depth 19.2, avg 11.9, water temp 27.8C.

Third dive: A dive in Nabaq, a site that is usually reached by walking several 100m in shallow water from the shore. There was much confusion on how to find the place from the sea, but after going back and forth several times we found a place the fit the description.

On the way to Nabaq

Searching for Nabaq
We boarded the Zodiac which took us to the edge of a reef that formed a lagoon, and then we rolled into the water (fun!). The area is maze of "boulders" of corals with a sandy bottom at 10-12m that is covered by grass. The
boulders were made of various types of corals, with stacks of sponge
(or corals) going up with shapes that reminded me a bit of termite
Few minutes into the dive we run into a pair of eagle rays. They saw/
felt us and took off from where they were in the grass and flew away
gracefully. We tried to follow in the general direction where we
thought they were hiding, and run into them again. So twice we saw
their wings flapping the rays disappearing fast into the gloom. The
weaved our way between the boulders going through canyons and opening.
Very nice!
Interesting fact that there were large mussells like the ones in
Eilat. In Eilat their lips are redish-brown, and here they were shades
of blue. Another phenomena was that part of the grass looked as though
it was burned, it was black and withered. These burn-out areas were
contiguous as though there was a brush fire underwater.
Statistics: 5:27pm for 58 min, max depth 11.3, avg 7.9.

On the way to Tiran, we see dolphins passing us, then we see a
beautiful sunset and a full moon, orange colored rising above the
On our way to Tiran

Night dive: Everyone was tired, but I wanted to do a night dive. So
the, Baoz Israeli divemaster and I went down for a "short" dive. The
boat was anchored in the Lagoon of Tiran Island, a sheltered bay north
of the island. The boat had big lights and the water around it was
full of fishes of all shapes and sizes. We went down and swam to the
outer reef wall of the lagoon, which extended from 8m all the way to
the water level (or almost there). We saw many small crabs and
shrimps, various sleeping fishes, a strange animal/coral that looks
like a bush that I need to find the name of in the book. Going back
to the ship we saw huge schools of fish going around it because of the
strong lights. Playing with the strong light, Boaz made them swirl
about in a ball, creating amazing patterns. Overall it was a nice
dive, I felt a bit rushed and didn't have time to frame the pictures
the way I wanted.
Statistics: 15L, 200bar to ??. at 20:38 for 45min, max depth 9.8m, avg

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