Posts tagged with 'Tauchen'


  • Posted on September 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Ich war in den letzten sieben neun Tagen konstant auf See (Rotes Meer) und bin nun landkrank. Es folgen die Aufzeichnungen aus der Dose, sofern sich mein Schwindelgefühl in Grenzen hält.

Dive Safari – Day #8

  • Posted on September 28, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Two days without diving have just passed. I’ve spent my time curing my cold and being violently sick. I completely emptied my digestive system and restarted from scratch with an empty stomach and an empty colon. I feel better now and enjoyed the early morning dive at the Jackson Reef in the Straits of Tiran (مضيق تيران). We hit a strong current and had to abort the dive after about 35 minutes. The view of the reef was very fine though. There were lots of corals, at least one lionfish, some big fishes (when looking out into the deep blue, couldn’t identify them because they were more than 10 metres away) and schools of fish accompanying us for a while. There was a lot of wind, meaning quite some waves at the surface. I estimate the wind having gale force 3 or 4, which has quite an impact when climbing aboard a zodiac (a dinghy) that cannot manoeuvre and is slowly pushed against the reef (think stones). Be quick or be in trouble. Fortunately our zodiac captain – the best of the Red Sea – got us out of trouble and into safety (think of encouraging shouts of Jalla! Jalla! and pure heroism). It was quite a struggle, believe me. The current got too strong, we could neither go forward or backward. We put out our buoys and made our safety stop. I managed to launch my buoy at about 10 metres – holding the rope to the buoy – which only has 6 metres. Don’t do this! It gets you in trouble. I should have let go of the rope, but I thought having a buoy in this weather to warn others of me being in the water would be a good idea (there were some passing boats overhead). We had to swim to the zodiac. It was in sight, but the waves periodically blocked the view (above and underwater). Tricky business, especially if you swim like Hell and the dinghy only approaches by millimetres.

The weather might have ruined the dive for an earlier group. We saw them sitting next to the wreck of the Lara, waving to their safari ship. Apparently their zodiac capsized. They had to walk back to their ship over the reef top. The damaged zodiac was carried back by the crew.


I just returned from the upper deck. I watched the sunset, looking towards the Sinai peninsula. We’re headed for Ras Katy to spend the night there. We came through the Gulf of Aqaba (خليج العقبة), down South. Ras Katy is near Sharm El-Sheikh (شرم الشيخ). From the deck you could see Gebel Tiran  in the light of the setting sun. Opposite was the silhuoette of Sinai’s mountains. I’m not sure if you could see Gebel Katherine from here (it’s the highest mountain of the Sinai). Wait, I just checked a map, you really can’t.

Despite the climate it is a really wonderful place. Now image 200 boats transporting divers and snorkelers to the dive sites. That’s about 2.500 to 3.500 divers. Multiply by two, three or four (four being a maximum limit since you also have daily boats with divers who don’t do more than two dives a day) to get the number of dives. That’s only what you get from the boats. There are also divers and snorkelers coming from the land, too. That’s an awful lot of people, and some might not be as careful as sane, reasonable and respectful divers might be. The Sinai Diving Guide has an estimate: Assume that every diver involuntarily destroys 10 grams of coral per dive. This adds up to roughly 15 tons of destroyed corals per year. So protecting the reefs is a prime objective for everybody. The Egyptian government has introduced protectorates in order to control the damage done to the reefs. In theory this is a good move. In practice it works mostly. Nevertheless I saw bottles, plastic items (which can exist for over 100 to 1000 years in the sea) and other rubbish strewn on the sea floor. I also saw divers poking at corals to show something to others. I fully understand involuntarily acts, but this is plain out disrespectful.

Since we’re all so reasonable, picture this: A plane filled with tourists lands. The passengers leave the plane, go through all the procedures and are let loose on the city and the sea. Some of them are drunk, most of them can still walk, a few crawl to the exit on all fours, totally pissed. This is the nightmare of every skipper, dive guide or park ranger.

It gets even better. Imagine a wealthy businessman renting a dive boat all for himself and five prostitutes. The Muslim crew is aghast. The businessman generously puts 2.000$ in cash on the table to settle the manner. The crew is too proud to accept it. I have no idea if this trip ended better than it started. I doubt it.

Respect is important, no matter if you show it towards Nature or other cultures (I use this term in its broadest sense, even fishes and other animals have their social behaviour, not only humans).

Dive Safari – Day #4

  • Posted on September 25, 2009 at 9:57 pm

In your creation heaven did decree
That in your arms sweet death should dwell

Deep Silent Complete
Black velvet sea
The sirens are calling for me

It’s a bit easier to relate to these words after being submerged by several tons of solid salt water. Fascination and curiousity attracts the unsuspecting diver, but the human body wasn’t designed for this environment. Every fish we’ve seen moves with far more grace than we ever could. And fishes cannot drown, such as the four sailors and the five gunners of the SS Thistlegorm.

Today we took a look at steep reef walls. Venturing out a few metres into the deep blue is yet another way of experiencing one’s own status as alien in the underwater world. „You do not belong here.” said the mackerel (well, if fish talk to you underwater, you are well advised to get help and – above all – to surface as safely as possible).

Above all the bloody air-conditioning gave me a slight cold. This almost ruined my last dive today and made me cancel the night dive (again). The Fauna of the Sea doesn’t have these problems.

Dive Safari – Day #3

  • Posted on September 24, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Welcome to our second day at sea (the first was 0)!

We visited the wreck of the SS Thistlegorm, a British freighter sunk by two German He111 bombers on 6 October 1941. I’ve been here before, but it’s always very special. You can still explore the two layers of cargo holds containing Morris jeeps, trucks, Lee Enfield MK III rifles, boots, crates, cables and boxes. The wreck is a relic of the Second World War. Sadly many divers forget that. Even worse, thieves raid the wreck and take souvenirs with them. The site is a grave and should be treated with respect.

Shutdown now. Diving down almost 30 metres and negotiating currents fosters tiredness.

Dive Safari – Day #2

  • Posted on September 23, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Blogging from a dive safari boat seemed to be a brilliant idea at first. The theory was slighly modified when I decided to leave Thoth, my „take-away” laptop, behind. This saved some space and reduced my luggage by one bag. Too bad, the boat has plenty of power outlets all over the place (plenty for one laptop that is). The second measure for increasing the overall efficiency of packing my bags involved taking the smaller camera with me. Yes, I don’t photograph under water. And the choice of motifs South of the Sinai is reduced to water, coral reefs from above (being basically a change of colour in the blue range of the visible spectrum), other ships, Ra and rocks on the shore (this includes buildings, mountains and hills). That’s about it.

So I am doing this blog entry (and some to follow) in a very old-fashioned way: I am writing it into a small notebook (the original paper one without the fancy stuff and the precious raw materials in it, could be basically refined elephant crap) with a pen and green ink. Imagine this – the world knows about blogging for hundreds of years, even Mark Twain did it. Yet the people had to reinvent the process and give it a new name. That’s pathetic.

Forgive me for publishing my thoughts days after recording them. At least I don’t give a tweet about it.

Right now we’re at anchor next to Sha’ab Mahmud. We already did three dives today. Just a minute ago the last group went in for a night dive. Apparently I skipped the night dive. I prefer to have another night of sleep before I can manage four dives a day. We had a bit of a current during the last dive and my fins weren’t up to the job (hey, it’s a theory to start with).

But I am happy. Today we visited the wreck of the Dunraven. It’s a very old wreck, it sank more than 120 years ago. Last time I only entered its structure at the middle, diving through the remains of the engine room. You can also enter at the aft section (this being the stern) and take a look inside there. Having a guide is good. Tomorrow we’ll pay the SS Thistlegorm a visit. That’s why I skipped the night dive, I don’t want to miss out on the Thistlegorm.

Coffee’s gone cold. More later.