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Home arrow Dive Reports arrow Just another day in Ras Mohamed - August start and out Egyptian correspondant writes
Saturday, 21 September 2019
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Just another day in Ras Mohamed - August start and out Egyptian correspondant writes Print

Now, I don't do much diving lately. Once a week or so. However, summer's here and I felt I really should make the effort, so last Friday I jumped on a boat with a bunch of tourists. What happened that day, Friday 11th August, will be forever embedded in even my memory. If it hadn't happened to me I wouldn't believe it either.............

Steaming south towards Ras Mohamed on Abu Hara, the steel banana, I realised that due to my tardy awakening I'd forgotten to pack my camera. Malesh, I've got so many out of focus photographs of coral and little fishes what difference would it make. Better to concentrate on the diving instead of playing with all those little knobs and dials and seeing the world through a viewfinder.

Our first dive was Jackfish Alley backwards. Actually, if you're going to investigate the chimney and the caves then it's a much better dive profile this way round, starting off at 30 metres and finishing around 5 in the swim through. I must confess that the dive wasn't really that inspiring for me, except for an Eagle Ray flying past along the sandy road and a turtle out in the blue. However, I always like spending a few minutes of peace hanging inside the darkness of the cave and staring out at the deep deep blue of the sea framed by the entrance. Back on the boat my buddy, on his 20th dive, was quite enthusiastic about the colours and the ray but us hardened veterans have seen it all before. I forced myself to nod appreciatively and feign enthusiasm before excusing myself, making a cup of tea and enjoyed the sun warming my body.

Second dive

Shark Reef. Everybodys favourite. You never know what's going to happen there. I suggested that rather than swim along the twin reefs in convoy and sit on the toilets of Yolanda, we should spend a little more time hanging out on the Northern corner of Shark Reef and enjoy the shoals of fish often found spiralling around there. We jumped on the North face and sure enough, schools of jackfish and unicorn fish were swirling around. A little further out in the blue I saw a large shoal of snappers in about 20 metres so we headed off to see them along with the rest of the group. As we approached them I realised that there was a dark cloud of something else a bit further out. Passing by the snappers and continuing into the blue, this dark cloud turned out to be a massive shoal of barracuda circling around and around. Now, this was more impressive. What followed took my breath away. The unmistakable profile of a bull shark suddenly appeared from below them and headed straight past us towards the reef. We both just hung there spellbound. It's not common to see a bull shark and moreover it was my buddys first shark sighting. We were even more excited when he came back from the blue a couple of minutes later for a second closer pass, not hurried at all, not even upset by us divers, in fact possibly a little curious. He passed by us so closely that I could stare into his dark unfeeling eyes and see that his flesh was totally unmarked. Either he's young or he's a champion ! He dissappeared into the mass of barracuda, who by now were between us and the reef, slowly swishing his tail. I checked my buddys air and, as you'd expect, quite a lot had gone by now. I turned back to the blue for one last look just in time to see the shark appear from nowhere, head on, close up, and looking just a little upset at having his lunch disturbed! I smiled weakly at him, sending out what I hoped were non-threatening vibes, and backed away, trying my best to look like an unappetising soft coral. My buddy was already back on the reef, eyes wide open behind his mask, and down to 50 bar. Time to go.

Third dive

Having recounted our tales to all on the boat over lunch, a third dive was suggested on Ras Ghozlani. Personally, two dives a day is enough for me and it couldn't get much better . However, my buddy was soon flying back to Paris and wanted to fit in one last dive so I begrudgingly struggled back into my wetsuit and jumped in. We dropped down onto the sand and looking over towards Valerie, our guide, I saw her finning out over the ledge with her hand outstretched like a sub-aquatic superman. The I realised why. Cruising along the edge of the drop off was a baby whale shark, my first sighting in 25 years of diving! I say baby, because it was only about 5 metres long! I turned my Mares Quatros onto turbocharge mode and finned like a madman to intercept her as she passed. I caught up somehow and swam alongside, over and under her for what seemed like hours, making eye contact and marvelling at the tranquility emanating from her. I was so close and excited that I accidentally brushed one of her fins with my Quatros. It was like standing at the edge of a platform in a railway station as an express train goes past. Miles and miles of whale shark flashed past me, pushing me away with the sheer force of the water as she dissappeared into the distance. Checking my air I realised just how out of condition I was. Game over for me I'm afraid, time to surface. Now, I thought, it really can't get much better than this, but how wrong can you be ? Playing around on the surface was a Manta Ray, my favourite, slowly circling and scooping up plankton, minding her own business and not at all upset by the ominous throbbing prescence of the steel banana.

Back on the boat my buddy, now having completed his 22nd dive, asked me what it was that we'd seen down there. As I reeled off the names of the various creatures we'd encountered, he knodded sagely and said that he found it quite interesting, this diving business.

Yes, just another day in Ras Mohamed. I'm not talking to my camera. It still sits on the bedroom floor where I'd forgotten it, fresh batteries still in place, ready to go and take some more out of focus pictures of coral and little fishes.

Have a nice one


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