Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Egypt Day 10: Ras Mohammed National Park & Ras Katy

Woke up from my alarm today morning, as we are going diving to the National Park Ras Mohammed. Early, because we have to take a boat there from Sharm el Sheikh harbour. First thing Jon asked me is if I was all right. I had talked some kind of stuff in the night with a half awake mind. Went and had some breakfast before packing all our stuff and then setting out in a bus to the harbour. Picked up two more English people on the way and had our bags checked before we where on the boat and set of towards Ras Mohammed. Got our gear ready and then went on to the first dive at Jackfish Alley. My dive buddy today was Sven and as I had a video camera from him, we seemed to be the filming crew. Went through a cave at first and had some super light falling in at one end of which Sven got a brilliant picture. Carried on along the reef and dived over and past coral structures. Did not see that much apart from a murrain eel and a masked puffer fish, except the usual big amount of fish. Resurfaced to get back on the boat and one of our dive colleges lost her flipper going up. Ali (dive guide) had to go back down to retrieve the flipper.
Had about one and a half hours of rest, to get our dive time for the second dive back up. Had a rest and the jumped in to the blue ocean, alongside a vertical cliff called shark reef. Planned for the second dive was Shark Reef and then Jolanda Reef. A few minutes after diving in some people thought they saw a shark (turned out to be a tuna) and dived after it. Limit of the dive was about 20 metres of depth. The end result was about 28 metres. Proceeded on after that one incident and one of our divers had a near panic attack, because the vertical drop wasn’t that welcome (dark underneath us). My glasses started getting fogged up and it didn't matter how many times I cleaned them with salt water, they where back to foggy after a few seconds. I got so annoyed about it that I took them of and tried to clean them 20 metres under water. Stupid me, I got a small panic attack, not seeing that well underwater and not knowing anybody was there to help if something went wrong. Jon was there rather fast to pull me down as I started floating up and said later that I didn't look that panicky. Carried on and Johanna had to tell of another diver underwater, because he cept hitting to corals. In the end Ali took away his camera, so he could concentrate on getting the buoyancy right. Saw two crocodile fish and a murrain eel, glasses kept fogging up in that time. Jon and Johanna sat on a toilet, which the “Jolanda”, a shipwreck in the are, was transporting somewhere. Also saw a Scorpion Fish hiding near the centre of the wreck and then swam back up as we would have otherwise had to make a decompression stop. Just on the surface we the spied a sea turtle and as luck wanted it, it swam strait through us, about half a metre away from our faces. Resurfaced and went back to the boat for some lunch while we proceeded to some reef near Sharm el Sheikh, not in the National Park.

On the last dive we jumped in to a school of trigger fish, one of Johannas favourite fish. Dived down to the bottom of Ras Katy and continued along the sandy bottom, getting stung up by jellyfish. The locals confirmed it is the right season for them right now. Had a play with some Clown Fish and stopped when I got nipped by one. Continued along and saw some very inquisitive and large Lion Fish swimming around. Ali spotted a Scorpion Fish hiding in the sand and a few refuge shrimps in a small cave in a coral block. Saw a boat with glass windows in the bottom drive right over a coral and nearly hit it (insensitive...). Continued along and dived through a small canyon underwater, navigating a tight space between the corals. Then it was back up to the surface and getting back on board. We where rather near to the harbour, so it didn't take to long to get back. Then a drive back to the hotel, copying the pictures from Sven and some dinner before going to the bar.
More pictures at Picasa and a map of the National Park Reef (Shark & Jolanda Reef) here and a main map here.

Diving time: 164 min.
Diving depth: 27,5 metres
Speciality: National Park dive

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