AfricaEgyptDahab

Dahab : diving the Blue Hole and The Canyon.

Dahab Travel Blog

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Camels on the Sinai coast, approaching The Blue Hole.

My final day of diving probably for quite some time, so I'm gonna do a famous one.  Maggie, her instructor (whose name I forget.  Dereck?) and my dive buddy Sayeed head up further north of Dahab on the Sinai coast to one of the more famous names on the international diving map.  The Blue Hole.  Maggie will be doing gentler skills dives with her instructor today but Sayeed and I head further up the coast to clock the Bells to Blue Hole dive.  Very exciting!  The journey is not far but very slow owing to the rocky, rutted desert road surface that has to be tarversed.  There is an exceptional amount of camel traffic here too.  They're big and fast so it pays to drive cautiously.

Sayeed escapes through the hole into The Blue.
  They and theie Bedouin owners are present in large numbers here to offer camel-dive treks from the Canyon divesite up to The Blue Hole.

Commencing at a dive entry point named Bells you drop through a coral wall funnel to approx 30m where there is a natural hole in the wall for a swim through into an infinite vista of blue and an 800metre + drop off beneath you.  Quite magnificently disorientating.  Blue blue blue in every direction but the wall behind you.  Kinda spooky.  We then fin along the magnificent underwater topography of the deep reef wall.  A large flute-shaped fish (a conical fish?) swims above and around me for some time. 

Eventually we reach the famed Blue Hole.  One of only three of its kind naturally occuring in the world, it represents a circular reef 'chimney' that drops down a good looooong way (I know not how deep).

  Swimming over the 'saddle' of the reef wall at 10 metres depth, our remaining air and dive profile mean that Sayeed and I won't be diving deep in the Hole today but I don't find that prospect too appealing anyway.  It's deep and it's blue.  Much like the rest of the ocean frankly, so no biggy for this amateur.  Besides all the marine life and some more funky Clown Fish are all around the upper lip of the Hole anyways.  The blue though is very unsettling in its purity of colour.  The illusion today is broken by a white plastic bag that is floating, nearly immobile like a tiny white ghost in the distance in the very heart of the chimney.  An further indictment to marine littering in the area but eerily beautiful in its own surreal way.
The entrance to The Canyon above.

Back to Maggie and Co at the Canyon site where we order some lunch in from the resident cafe.  I have a plate full of absolutely the most delicious Calamari of my life.  Odd as it had been sold to me on the understanding that it would be just that...but you never really believe such sentiments, especially where rubbery fried calamari is concerned.  But it proves to be a real gastronomic sensation.

My second dive of the afternoon has Sayeed take me down into The Canyon.  Dropping down into a deepish fissure between the ocean rock bed Sayeed is a little naughty in reversing our dive profiles (i.e. diving deeper on the second dive of the day than the first).  I don't have a dive computer on me so am mostly unaware of our precise depth.

Total relaxation... I wish I was back there right now! :)
  He later tells me 38 metres.  "Yelp!" That's significantly further down than I've ever been before.  Again a very beautiful but eerie experience with the walls all around us and the strip of electric blue receding further and further away above our heads as we descend.  There are caves and small potential exit ways if you wish to risk down here but we are gladly content just to look around and reascend.  Sayeed taunts a large octopus on the return journey.  Its mottled brown skin flushes white in response to the threat.

In the evening the newly qualified Maggie and I meet her instructor for a brief dinner.  For my part I've just been lounging on a bar cushioned settee right by the waters edge in the preceding couple of hours.  Watching the waters.  The sunset.  Saudi Arabia in the distance.  Cold beers closer to hand.  This is insurpassable, total relaxation.  I could do this for weeks on end I feel, but it's time to move on.  Beer tonight.  Gone tomorrow.

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Camels on the Sinai coast, approac…
Camels on the Sinai coast, approa…
Sayeed escapes through the hole in…
Sayeed escapes through the hole i…
The entrance to The Canyon above.
The entrance to The Canyon above.
Total relaxation... I wish I was b…
Total relaxation... I wish I was …
The chimney descent of Bells.
The 'chimney' descent of Bells.
Following Sayeed down, down, down …
Following Sayeed down, down, down…
Deeper divers bubbles (abstract)
Deeper divers' bubbles (abstract)
Deeper divers bubbles (abstract)
Deeper divers' bubbles (abstract)
Clown Fish within its anenome.
Clown Fish within its anenome.
The view back up as we descend int…
The view back up as we descend in…
Floating down into The Canyon.
Floating down into The Canyon.
An escape cave ceiling from The Ca…
An escape cave ceiling from The C…
Stevie, staying sane at 38 metres …
Stevie, staying sane at 38 metres…
An octopus.  Changing colour to wh…
An octopus. Changing colour to w…
Dahab corniche
Dahab corniche
Dahab corniche
Dahab corniche
Relaxing by the sea in Dahab.
Relaxing by the sea in Dahab.
The Dahab waterfront at sun down.
The Dahab waterfront at sun down.
There are loads of these beautiful…
There are loads of these beautifu…
Maggie and one of Dahabs many fel…
Maggie and one of Dahab's many fe…
Maggie (her self-portrait)
Maggie (her self-portrait)
Dahab life after dark.
Dahab life after dark.
Dahab
photo by: TamaraSimons