September 02, 2004

Diving the Red Sea

I never considered myself the liveaboard type - spending a week trapped on a boat with nothing on the itinerary but eating and diving. But the Red Sea sounded like the place to do it - if anywhere.

Jim and I heard rumors of things like "Hammerhead Season," but after being burned chasing Whale Sharks in both Thailand and Mozambique, we did not have our hopes up. Okay, mine were up but I wouldn't say that out loud.

Well, the whole experience exceeded my expectations. Although the only things on the itin every day were eating and diving - AND the morning wake-up call came at 5:45AM (!!!) - my fears of a rushed frenzy of downing cold cheese sandwiches while simutaneously gearing up for the next dive proved unfounded. The pace of each day was relaxed and care free . And with the soaring temperatures here in Egypt (granted we were more than slightly cooled by the wonderful winds on the water), I found myself anxious to get into the water for every dive.

Our palace, The Golden Dolphin

The underwater scenery did not disappoint. The coral was incredible and colorful and loaded with fish. It was like diving through pieces of art. I never tired of swimming among HUNDREDS of tiny orange "goldfish" that are endemic to the Red Sea. We spotted plenty of turtles (a Janet favorite), more than plenty sharks - and most importantly - a few HAMMERHEADS!!! Unfortunately we weren't treated to schools of them, but we saw a number of individual ones and that was cool enough for me (they are funny looking!). We also hung out with a few Napoleon fish which are also big and pretty funny looking :) Hopefully we'll have some shots from Jim's underwater photography dive to include here soon :-)

We were led by extraordinarily cool and knowledgable diver masters, Cat from Wales and Fefe from Swizterland. Also on our boat were a few Germans and a group of crazy Brits from the Bristol Dive Club - very experienced divers with lots of underwater 'toys' like strobe lights and cameras as big as me :)

The Group Shot

Highlights from the trip (in addition to the Hammies of course) were:

The NEW advanced diver!

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