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Status Report

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Här kommer på begäran ytterligare en Status Report. Den är äldre men fortfarande aktuell och kanske lite till nytta för folk som undrar hur det kan vara i södra delarna av det Egyptiska Röda Havet.



Status report Egypt 6.6

I’m back on land for one evening and leaving again tomorrow morning I’ve had a fantastic week in the southern Egyptian Red Sea with great diving and lots of sharks. Next week we’re going up north to dive wrecks like Thistlegorm, Rosalie Müller, Ulyssis, Carnatic and many more. Here comes a little description how nice it can be to work on a liveaboard.

Our first stop after the check dive at Shaab Marsa Alam was Abu el Kizan a.k.a. Daedalus. About 55 miles straight out from Marsa Alam on the way to Saudi Arabia this Reef emerges from the abyss. Shaped like an egg on a north-west, south-east axis, 450 meters across and with vertical, almost inverted walls this reef has rightly earned a reputation to be one of the best dive spots in the world. We stayed for one day and made three dives. I could have stayed there all week.

There is a lighthouse on Daedalus. It was built 1861 by the British. It’s got a staff of four that gets relieved every 45th day when the supply boat comes to stock up food, water and fuel. Visiting the lighthouse is free of charge and the view is nice from the top. The latest addition is the new jetty that was built 1992. This construction together with the old jetty offers superb photo angles during low tide. However, most people do not come to Daedalus to admire the view from the lighthouse of play creative with the camera under the jetty. They come here to experience an encounter with one of the most mystical Red Sea inhabitants: The Scalloped Hammer Head Shark, Sphyrna Lewini that school here in vast numbers. Normally it’s female gathering together, as they do.

We moored up Rosetta in the shelter at the south-east side of the reef, next to this landing stage early in the morning and take the zodiac to the north side of the reef. We roll in and swim for a few minutes against the current to get to the split point. Here we hang and look at loads of Grey Reef Sharks circling just a few meters outside the reef. Out of the blue a dark shadow appears and we almost drop our regulators when a school of 10 female Scalloped Hammer Heads slowly pass by. They slow down and look at us for a moment and decide we’re ok and then continue around the bend. Magical!

Over night the boat sail to Elphinstone that. It was a bumpy ride from what I heard from the guests the following morning. I slept straight through so I missed the action. Apparently the entire boat was out of the water between the waves a few times…

Out of the ordinary, Elphinstone had nothing to offer. Elphinstone has become famous for the good chances to encounter one of the oceans big predators; the Oceanic White Tipped Shark, Charcharhinus Longimanus. Most of the year with year; March to November this magnificent sharks curiously approach divers to the point you wonder who is watching who. Sometimes up to six or even more circle around the boats over the south plateau, inviting for one of the more exciting snorkel excursion imaginable. Though this time they were not to be found and after two dives we went to Abu Dabab instead.

El Akhawein is the Arabic name for these two islands which means just the same “The two Brothers”. This is one of the classic dive sites that everybody is talking about. In the middle of the ocean, from great depth two tiny islands emerges, encircled by a reef so pristine it takes your breath away. As this would not be enough the chances of shark encounter is right there at the top of the list.

We didn’t have the weather to dive Big Brother this week but that’s ok with me. I like the smaller island more. The reef is better and the chances to see sharks light-years better. However, conditions can be fierce here as well, anyone who’s got a little brother knows what they are like and this one is no exception. Wicked currents, strong wind and waves that easily drag you on top of the reef if you don’t know what you’re doing are a few things that dictate the dive plan.

It is essential to make a good current check in order to know where to start the dive. I take the zodiac out before I wake up the guests and spend a few minutes snorkelling. I look at the fish and suspended particles in the water to make out what the current is doing. There are other ways of course and easier ways, but this is the most exact way. One thing is sure though: Never trust that groups from other boats have done a current check and know what they are doing. Just because they roll in from the zodiac over there doesn’t mean that that is the right spot.

We went to the north plateau, found the split point and stayed there for a while, looking at all the sharks. Though, it’s not so much a plateau as a bump in the wall pointing north. Here we saw Thresher sharks circling the bump together with Grey Reef Sharks. Then we followed the wall with the current. A few fin kicks south we found shelter in a narrow canyon and we had front-row seats to another merry-go-round of Grey Reef Sharks. All of a sudden a female Scalloped Hammer Head Shark comes up really close to check us out. She stayed for a few minutes and then continued her patrol along the wall. Further down south-west we bumped into a group of dog-toothed tunas chasing a school of sardines. At one moment it felt as if I was a part of the sardine school while the huge tunas were chasing around just a meter away. I could hear the tuna’s jaws banging together as they were snapping after the fleeing sardines. When we arrive to the depth of five meters to make our safety stop the current was going in the direction across the reef and straight out in the open ocean and it was so strong that my Surface Marker Buoy went 20 meters away from me before it made it to the top. I had to stay at the reef and send my divers up one buddy team at the time along my SMB line while I was fighting the current by myself. However I got my reward when a huge Napoleon Wrasse came up to and winked at me as to say “Good job mate! You can take the rest of the day off”. And so I did.
All in all: A dive to remember! We did five dives like that one before we moved on north towards the night dive at Tobia Arba in Safaga. I love my job!

Anders “Samaka”
Diver / Philosopher

You can run out of air… and die.
You can go to deep… and die.
You can ascend to fast… and die.
You can slouch on your couch… and die.
Get off the couch!!!

Anders Jälmsjö
Anders Jälmsjö 2007-10-30 18:20:19
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Huvudinlägg Status Report Anders Jälmsjö 2007-10-30 18:20
svara Sv: Status ReportJonas Nordström2007-10-31 12:30
svara Sv: Sv: Status ReportAnders Jälmsjö2007-10-31 16:21


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