Saturday: Even though we don’t have to be up too early, we still get up at our usual time. Habit. We don’t have to meet up until 9am as we are going local today. I still get coffee in bed! 🙂
We have the door open and I see Amor has a visitor, of the feline variety. One of the hotel cats has decided to honour us with a visit. He snuggles up next to Amor while Amor reads his book. I can hear him purring from my bed. When Amor goes for a second cup of coffee, I go outside to read in the morning sun. The cat decides I’m OK and sits with me. I pet him, he purrs. He looks healthy and clean. He goes to sleep. I think of my cat at home. My cat is very chatty. This one just purrs. Amor comes back with more coffee and then we get ready for breakfast. It is really nice to take our time. Our whole week has been based around a time schedule and early mornings. It has at moments been very tiring and yet very relaxing.
We meet everyone at 9am for the bus to Naama Bay. We are on a different boat today and I am hoping that all of my gear is going to be on the boat. The last time I dived in Sharm, my dive mask went walkabout. I am relieved to find that everything is there and I set up for the dive before going upstairs.
We are on a boat that is bigger than the boat we have been used to. It is sometimes used as a liveaboard. Gary and Dee and a couple of others are still with us, but most of the people on the boat are different from our usual group and the dive instructors were completely different also. There was a subdued atmosphere, less chatty and familiar.
Our first dive of the day is at Ras Bob. As I descend, I think, ‘Oh goodness, there are jellyfish in the water.’ But no, they are egg casings. I haven’t been able to find any images on the internet for this so I will try to describe them. Think of lady’s fingers, but translucent and round. Think of them vertically lined up next to each other to form a circle, like a bracelet. Inside each one of these there is an embryo of some creature. At the top and bottom of each of these fingers, there is an opening that pulses to let water and nutrients through and which also probably helps to propel it through the water. That is the best I could describe what I saw. There were probably thousands of them in the water. As I mentioned in a previous post, there was a lot of plankton in the water and it was the breeding season for many fish. If anyone knows the name of what I saw and which creature made it, I would be really grateful. In any event, we must swim through these things. On close inspection, I thought they were really beautiful and wondered why there weren’t more fish eating them as some were.
We dived to a depth of 24 meters and our dive lasted for 54 minutes. We saw quite a few Napoleon Wrasse. I never tire of seeing them. These gentle giants just bumble along looking for food. We were bumbling along looking for interesting fish when we came upon a large turtle swimming in front of us. Turtles usually cause huge excitement and we caught the attention of the dive instructor ahead of us and got him to turn around to see it. He completely missed it as he was ahead and below us and looking at other things. You never know when and where something will turn up, so it is always good to look all around you. The turtle was really beautiful. We also saw some more blue spotted rays and beautiful corals. Most of the dive was spent at 10-15 meters where the light was better.
We had an amazing lunch and a quiet time on the boat before our next dive. There were a few brave souls sunbathing. I only lasted about 10 minutes before the heat got to me. The sun was scorching. Even though I didn’t do much sunbathing on this trip, I did manage to get a good tan!
Our second, and last, dive was at Ras Ghamila and I can honestly say that it was probably the prettiest dive we had been on. There is a lovely sandy bottom where large table corals stand. Each one has its‘ own little eco system. No two are alike. I could spend days down here just looking at the huge variety of life on the various table corals, most of it in miniature. We had the reef to our right and as we were swimming along, I noticed an eel free swimming to the left of me. I got Amor’s attention so he could see it too. It was so beautiful and graceful. We also saw a huge Titan Triggerfish. Triggerfish are very territorial in general and can usually cause problems for divers, but this one left us alone. Our depth was 17.6 meters but we mainly dived at a depth of 5-10 meters. By this time, I had my buoyancy issues well under control and wasn’t worried that I would end up shooting to the surface. Our dive lasted 60 minutes with plenty of air to spare! This dive was a perfect end to an amazing diving holiday!
As this was our last day, we had to pack up our dive kit into our boxes, where they would then be transported back to our hotel. While we were doing this, one of the boat hands came out with fruit and pancakes. A sweet end to a sweet day!
On the way back to the marina, I chilled out by staring at the sea and willing some dolphins to show their faces. We got flying fish instead! I got to chatting with one of the serious sunbathers. This man was seriously tanned, seriously tattooed, and seriously pierced (ears, nipples and I didn’t even want to contemplate what else). I was slightly nervous of him until he started to speak as he looked a little bit scary. We chatted about the dive and he told me about how he has a couple of lion fish as pets in a very large tank in his home. He has had them since they were babies and now they are huge. He absolutely adores them and spends a vast amount of money maintaining them. He was a really nice and soft spoken man. I tell you, the variety of divers is almost as vast as the marine life we look at.
I am still on a high from our last dive when I go to sit with Amor. He is looking good, tanned and relaxed and he is smiling at me as I walk over to him. I have one of those moments where I am completely overwhelmed by my feelings for him. It has been an amazing week. I have been looked after by an amazing man. We have not had a cross word or an argument all week. In fact, we have not had one in all the time we have been together. We have shared some amazing and beautiful moments. Just when I thought there couldn’t be any more room in my heart, a little space opens up and gets filled. We sit together for the rest of the journey.
Because we had done only two dives and we were local, we arrive back at our hotel quite early. This gives us time to have a couple of beers and catch up with the others who had gone on different boats. Amor gets his gear and rinses out his suit so it could dry by the morning while I return the items I hired. The lady that I have ordered a silver hammerhead ankle bracelet from has arrived and fits it for me – my souvenir for seeing one. It is beautiful. I take the rest of my things to the room. This is what I saw when I got there:
As it is our last night, we decide to go into Naama Bay for dinner. The last time Amor and I were in Naama Bay together was three years ago. We met while he was doing the last two days for his divemaster certificate. Everyone on the boat was invited to celebrate with a few new divemasters. After some food and a few drinks, I left them all to carry on with their celebrations. This time we were going to have a romantic dinner a deux in a rooftop restaurant serving local food. Initially, we opted to sit outside to admire the view, but in the end the insects got to me as it got dark and so we went inside, but not before taking a few photographs of the lights. Naama Bay at night is like Disneyland meets Las Vegas. Cars are not allowed in the town which is heaving with people. There are neon lights everywhere, even in the trees. In fact, some are in the shape of trees. You really need to see it to believe it. The place is full of hotels, clubs, restaurants, shops and cafés. There is something for everyone.
It seemed that we were the only people in the restaurant, but soon after our arrival a large group came in. I love people watching as does Amor, so we had great fun looking at everyone and the different food that was ordered. Meanwhile we did our best to eat as much of the lovely food that we had asked for. I forgot that they tend to give large portions. We finished off with an Egyptian coffee. It was excellent.
Feeling a bit weary from the diving, sun and food, we decided to take the bus back to the hotel at 10pm. We had about a half hour to spare, so we wandered over to one of the dive shops. Amor wanted some new T-shirts and I thought it would be nice to have a book about The Red Sea, if there was one going. I found the English Edition of Sinai Diving Guide by Alberto Siliotti and published by Geodia. It is a thoroughly comprehensive guide covering the dive sites that I have mentioned in my posts as well as many others. In fact, I wouldn’t have been able to do justice to my posts without this guide as it really helped me to remember what I saw and label my photographs. If you look at the table of contents on the web link, you will see that it has a lot of information about the history and formation of the coral reefs in The Red Sea as well the necessary information and maps of the various dive sites. There are also many beautiful photographs of the different coral and fish that can be found. I highly recommend purchasing a copy if you are going to dive in The Red Sea.
Our bus left promptly at 10pm and we were back at the hotel in about 10 minutes. So much for a late evening out! I think all the exercise and sun we had during the week caught up with us. There was no diving the next day as we were flying back home. I was looking forward to a proper lie in. 😉