Up again at 7am and Amor nips out to bring me coffee in bed! Again! I am getting used to this. He sits outside to drink his with his morning smoke and I have mine propped up in bed. The door is open to let in the light and so we can chat. The sun is shining and it is hot. To be expected. I am fully recovered from my ordeal from the day before and have a long suit that I am looking forward to wearing so I won’t be cold. I am over my diving nerves.
Today we are going to dive in the Strait of Tiran. Hammerheads have been seen in that area and we were going to look for some. In all my years of diving, I have never seen a shark on a dive. It doesn’t mean that there weren’t any on my dives; it’s just that I hadn’t really seen any. The back end of a nurse shark swimming away from me in the Cayman Islands from 10 meters doesn’t really count, nor does the many little baby black tips on shark patrol on the beach at Meerufenfushi in the Maldives. To say I was excited was an understatement.
We had the usual drill: have breakfast, meet up at 8am, drive to the marina, get on the boat and set up our gear. It would take us about an hour to get to the dive site, so we had plenty of time to relax and enjoy the boat ride, or sleep as some were doing. We are on the Mondi 1 again and most of the people on the boat were with us the day before. Apart from our last day, we are on this boat for the week with the same crowd and the same instructors. It is like having our own little diving family.
Mark briefs us on the dive. We are going to swim into the blue and wait for hammerheads. Eventually, we will go back to the reef and dive there. Any questions? Ok, let’s go. (a brief summary of the brief).
Amor helps me get ready. We double check everything. I have the correct BCD and the correct amount of weights. We jump in. I take Amor’s hand and off we go into the blue, following the others. It is very slightly murky as this time of year is spawning season and the plankton is in bloom, but the visibility is still good. We wait. For how long I don’t know, but not very long when down and to my right I see a hammerhead! I get Amor’s attention. I am excited. It is far away and a bit feint, but we can see it. As we are turning around to look at it we spot another one, but this is closer! It is about 5-6 meters away from us and I swear it is looking right at me. He is about 2 meters long. Amor and I are at the outside edge of the group. We are looking to the right where we spot second hammerhead. As we keep our eyes on him, we slowly turn around and eventually do a full circle. Then off he goes! I realise that I am squeezing Amor’s hand, maybe a little bit too hard. My heart is pounding with excitement. I have seen my first ever hammerheads! I am ecstatic beyond belief. I don’t believe I have ever seen anything so beautiful and graceful as that second hammerhead. (Apart from those whale sharks in Kenya, but I was on a boat.)
We make our way back to the reef and dive down to 23 meters. The rest of the dive is a blur. We are only in the water for 35 minutes. Back to the boat. Usual struggle getting myself up on the ladder. Thank goodness for boat hands. We set up for the next dive. We are all on a high from seeing the hammerheads! That’s all everyone can talk about. In my mind, that is all I can think about. ‘I saw a hammerhead! I saw a hammerhead! I saw a hammerhead!’ I still can’t believe it! What a first, and I did it with Amor! And, I wasn’t even scared! It was so amazing!
Our next dive is at Woodhouse Reef and we are diving the outside of it today. Amr gives us the brief and then we get ready. This is a drift dive and I make sure I hold Amor’s hand. I don’t want to get caught up if there is a strong current. I am enjoying the corals and then we look down. There are two white tip reef sharks swimming below us at the sandy bottom. Wow! They are not very big, about a meter or so, still young. They are so beautiful. Amor and I just look at each other. I can’t believe my luck. This is becoming a day of the sharks! As well as the usual reef fish we have been seeing, we also saw a school of Blue Fusiliers and a Lion fish which was worth noting. This was a really lovely dive. We went down to 21 meters and we were in the water for 55 minutes.
Back on the boat after the usual palaver, I set up for the third dive. I am in a diving mood. Maybe it was seeing the hammerheads and the white tips, but I decide I am going for it today. I am also very hungry! Lunch is always excellent on the boat and I am really looking forward to it. This is what happens when everything goes smoothly on a dive. We have an excellent lunch of freshly prepared meat, fish, salads, pasta and rice. Then we have a snooze. It is too hot to sunbathe, it’s scorching. Some people do sit in the sun, some read. Generally, we have a bit of quiet time before the next dive.
Our third dive is at Gordon Reef. There is another wreck called the Louilla, and she also sits on the reef and is also hauntingly beautiful. We see Lion fish, Napoleon Fish, and Blue Spotted Rays along with some lovely corals and a host of other beautiful fish. I just love diving. If one is able to stay still long enough, it is amazing to see how much life there is in a small patch of coral. We went down to 19 meters and our dive lasted for 46 minutes. There was a bit of a current.
After the dive we settled down for the return journey. I love this time on the boat. I just tend to blank out and look at the coast and the sea and try and remember all of the wonderful things that I have seen that day. I may be a little weary, but I am very happy. I saw a hammerhead and white tips today and feel really lucky. I have an amazing dive buddy. I look over at him. He looks relaxed and very happy. My heart leaps with joy! It has been an incredible day!