Friday, November 29, 2013

Egypt Day 13: Jackson Reef, Baron Reef & Nightdiving

Woke up as usual and had breakfast, before deciding where we wanted to go diving today. Ali was our dive guide in the morning and the plan for the morning dive was a drift dive from Jackson Inside to Jackson Outside. Getting there in the Zodiac was a challenge in itself, as the sea had been ruffed up from some strong waves coming in from the open water. On our way we spotted the usual flying fish, skimming across the waves away from our boat. The boat was near to airborne a few times, before we reached our diving location and geared up to get in to the water with waves rocking the boat around. The water felt rather warm when we went in and there was a large array of different fish, all taking refuge in the reef from the strong currents and waves out in the ocean. Ali spotted one stone fish and a few metres next to that Johanna found another one buried in the sand (Merkel Fish). Also saw a Clown Fish, which are rather common in this sea. Throughout a lot of the dive we where surrounded by a large amount of fish, probably the most fish I have seen per square metre up to date. Schools of Trumpet, Trigger and the usual small orange fish all around us. Johanna at one point was just floating in an orange fish mass. The currents pulled us along the reefs and the further out we got the less fish there where. Still saw rather a lot, Jon and me seeing some spotted fish having a territorial dispute with a Lion Fish. Somewhere in that period I managed to have my deepest dive yet, down to 30,4 metres. Only 0,2 metres more than last time, but still. Ali spotted a large, camouflaged grouper fish deeper down, it was about the size of a Napoleon fish. We where the swept across the coral by a stronger current still and Jon (my buddy) was swept away from the group towards the open ocean at one point. He got rather worried, as being out in the sea on your own, 20 metres under water is not a situation you want to find yourself in. Ali went out and picked him up, so we proceeded along the reef. We ran out of air rather fast, as we had to swim against the current in the end a bit, and resurfaced out in the ocean (away from the corals, so the boat can get us) after about 50 minutes. I thought it was fun going up and down large waves, sometimes going under them, all with the knowledge that you cant get pressed down for to long and that you always have air. Getting in to the boat was rather stressful, as the captain did not want to get stranded on the reef. Went back, jumping the waves, and after cleaning our stuff and writing our log books, of for some lunch.
After lunch we went to Baron reef, a more sheltered and closer reef than Jackson. Jumped over board and went down. The dive in itself was not as action packed as one in the morning. I was Svens buddy and our dive guide for that afternoon was Salah. The water was rather murky, probably from all the waves hitting the reefs. We saw a Lion Fish, a Trumpet Fish, a rather large Yellow Spotted Puffer Fish and rather a lot of Blue Spotted Stingrays. They like the sandy areas. Also saw a crocodile fish hiding in the sand and a large Trigger Fish. Resurfaced and got back in to the Zodiac. One of the first times I have also felt cold in the boat with 22°C air temperature. Probably be a shock getting back to Germany which currently has about 0°C. Sat down to write our log books, before waiting for the night dive.
Before dinner we then had our night dive with Ali. Went down at the back of the group with Sven and no Jon with us this time. He had enough jellys last week. I only saw tow colourful ones this time, the rest where somewhere else. Saw an inactive Lion Fish, some sleeping Clown Fish and a type of squid (I think it was). Our other diver with us had a few problems with the buoyancy and at one point shot up to the surface after scarring away said squid by nearly falling on top of it. Also saw a well camouflaged scorpion fish between the rocks. On our way back we switched our lights of like last week, this time we where still swimming. Every stroke of or flippers caused the plankton behind us to illuminate in the dark. Even better than last week and that is what I like about the night dives the most. Proceeded back and had some dinner after cleaning our stuff.
More pictures at Picasa and a detailed map of the outer reefs here, with a general map of the reefs here.

Diving depth: 30,4 metres
Diving time: 150 minutes
Speciality: Light show at night, every movement causing the water around us to glow

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