Posts tagged ‘Adventure’

Camping in Ras Muhammad

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Sometimes things just come to you when you wish for them. One recent example is that I really wanted to visit Ras Muhammad one more time before leaving Egypt in about a week from now. What happened to me was, one morning a girl I met the day before called me and asked me to join her and her free diver friends to camp one night at the Ras Muhammad. They were leaving town within 15 minutes so it was a quick decision followed by rush packing. Just a moment later we were leaving Dahab in a rented car full of free diving and scuba diving equipment, heading out for Ras Muhammad.

The group was very mixed, with 8 people from Russia, Brazil, Argentina, France and me from Sweden. We also had a big dog with us (“Hurry”) who was currently traveling the world, on his way to Bali. Dogs (and camping) are not allowed in Ras Muhammad, but we managed to talk the guards to let us pass with him.

When we arrived everybody went into the water directly, followed by a Argentinian barbecue and some vodka. The weather was warm and there were no problem sleeping under the stars, except for some biting flies and mosquito which i still have 50+ dots from.

The next day we went up early and went free diving in Shark Reef. Everybody were excited for what we would see, and like the day before we again find a shark (or he found us). This time, the about 1½ meter shark swim up to one of us to check him out. Also, we found a lot of turtles and other beautiful animals during the 2½ hour swimming in strong current.

After Shark Reef, we went back to the first reef to do some combined free- and scuba diving and then head back home to Dahab.

Note: If you are trying this for yourself, have long sleeves and a sleeping bag with you. Be very careful with the current, and don’t get into the water if you are not familiar with how it is moving at that specific reef. Drink a lot of water and stay in the shade, as one of us got dehydrated and had to go to the hospital.

Shark bay Sharm

Ras Muhammad guitar in the morning

Ras Muhammad camping

Shark bay Sharm Egypt

Ras Muhammad stingray

Ras Muhammad shark reef

Freediving Ras Muhammad

Ras Muhammad big fish

Ras Muhammad Yolanda reef

Ras Muhammad big school of fish

Ras Muhammad fishes

Ras Muhammad free diving

Ras Muhammad napoleon fish

Ras Muhammad toilets

 

Ras Muhammad turtle

Ras Muhammad swimming turtle

Ras Muhammad freediving

Scuba diving in Ras Muhammad & SS Thisselgorm

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Yesterday I did one of the best scuba diving ever in my Life. The day started with getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning to get a 2 hour minibus to Sharm El-Sheikh. From there, we took a boat 3 hours to SS Thisselgorm, in the outskirt of Ras Muhammad. Thisselgorm is a 126 meter long freight ship which sank in 1941 after getting bombed by German bomber planes, and discovered about 10 years later by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The ship now lies on 30 meters depth with great visibility and still beautifully preserved.

At Thisselgorm we did two dives, one on the outside along the ship and one on the inside. On the inside it is possible to dive 3 levels, with two of the levels levels loaded with motorbikes, trucks and other wartime cargo. The last level is the small kitchen and connected rooms, which have air pockets in them creating an incredible unreal and beautiful mirror effect in the roofs. Don’t try to breath the air though as it is used and somewhat poisonous.

When scuba diving inside the ship you really need to have good buoyancy because most of the rooms are cramped, with you scuba diving on top of vehicles with only half meter to the roof.

After Thisselgorm we headed away with the boat, about two hours in the direction of Sharm El-Sheikh, where we found the two connected dive sites Shark Reef &  Yolanda Reef inside the national park of Ras Muhammad. When entering the water, the things I saw the first 10 minutes was better then any National Geographic documentary. Here, the marine life is abundant and everywhere are 100+ schools  of fish bigger then you have ever seen before. The visibility is superb and feels limitless.

Also in Yolanda Reef is a sunken ship, a freighter that sank in 1986 after the captain allegedly drinking to much and getting to near the reef. The result is a sight which you thought you would never see under water, a small hill of about 30 toilets standing on the bottom of the sea.

After the scuba diving and the one hour boat trip back to the port, we took a break in Sharm El-Sheikh to let the nitrogen levels in our blood get lower before returning to Dahab. This is needed due to the height difference on the road there which in other case can lead to decompression sickness.

All in all, an incredible scuba diving day that resulted in new friends and a wish to go back to Ras Muhammad to explore it further.

Ras Mohamed Sharm El-Sheikh

Ras Muhammad

Ras Mohammed national park

Ras Mohammed diving

Mount Sinai, Egypt

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

About a week ago I was up on top of Mount Sinai to look at the sunrise over Egypt’s mountains. This is a common thing to do here in Sinai, and although you will not be alone on the top it’s still recommended to go. The sunrise is nice, but even more beautiful is the dark night sky with all the stars visible and a clear view of the Milky Way Galaxy.

To go up to Mount Sinai, take a 2 hour transport from Dahab to Saint Catherine’s Monastery (total price 6-8 euro for two ways) and then walk up the mountain for 1-3 hours depending on how used you are to trekking. If you are lazy it is even possible to ride a camel up half the way. The monastery is around 1500 meter over sea level and the mountain top from where people use to view the sunrise is on 2300 meter. Bring some warm clothes and a lot of water, but there are also cafés on the way up where you even have possibilities to rent a warm blanket from the Bedouins that live in the area.

Remember, if you are scuba diving you need to wait at least 12 hours from your last dive before going up to the mountain, to protect yourself against decompression sickness!

Mount Sinai, Egypt

Mount Sinai mountain

Mount Sinai sunrise

Mount Sinai (Egypt)

Picture of Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai tour

Saint Catherine's monastery camel

Divemaster in Dahab, Egypt

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

After about 2 months here in Dahab I today got my Divemaster scuba diving license. This is a really fun and rewarding education, and even though it is mostly for people who wants to work with scuba diving I recommend it to all scuba divers who wants to take their knowledge to higher level.

First of all, after having the PADI Advanced license you have to take the courses Emergency First Response (EFR) and Rescue Diver, which teaches you how to save people in emergencies both on land and in/under water. The Rescue Diver also makes you more confident under water and teaches you how to deal with different under water problems.

When you are ready with the Rescue Diver, the Divemaster course takes about 1½ month to accomplish. I highly recommend to combine the course with an internship, which will give you much more experience as well as a lot of fun.

Within the course, one of the things you need to do is to learn the contents of “The Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving“. This is a really interesting book that covers way more about diving then you will ever need to know, but for the interested is the best dive book you will ever read. The book have 5 chapters, which covers different parts of scuba diving:

  • The Underwater Adventure
  • The Ocean Planet
  • Dive Equipment
  • Diving in the Material world (physics)
  • The Physiology of Diving

With the Divemaster license in your hand you are ready to work professionally with scuba diving if you so choose. Here in Dahab for example, that comes along with getting a work visa, which costs around 600 euro for a year. Also, for a while the government were not giving out more work visas to Divemasters, but that might have changed now. If you get the work visa, you will probably end up working as a freelancer because of the economical situation in Egypt right now.

For me, I will take a break from scuba diving now and find some other adventure. Maybe back to wave surfing and mountaineering, depending on what I decide during the upcoming weeks from now.

Divemaster in Dahab, Egypt

Happiness

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Scuba diving Blue Hole (dive ever - work never)

Happiness is bicycling to work in swimming shorts

Scuba diving in Dahab

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

About a week ago I started working as a trainee on Aqua Divers here in Dahab, on my way to become a Divemaster. This means taking my scuba diving knowledge to the next level, as well as learning all aspects of how a scuba diving center works on daily bases.

The first step was taking the Rescue Diver certification some days ago, which is probably the most interesting and fun course you can do as a scuba diver. In this course, you learn everything you need to know about saving scuba divers (and other people) from accidents in the water. This includes recognizing different problems and attending them, searching for missing scuba divers and taking them up to the surface, rescue breathing in the water while removing equipment and towing to safety, carrying techniques, CPR and oxygen use, as well as to be the organizer of a rescue and assigning tasks to people depending on their qualifications.

The common red line throughout the course is your own safety first, which becomes very clear when you are trying to save a panicked person in the water. For example, if on surface, always stay clear from the persons grasp. Then drop his weights and inflate his BCD from behind or below, followed by taking a safety distance again. If impossible to get in contact with the diver or inflating his BCD, wait until he is exhausted before trying the rescue. The best option is always to throw a floating device to the person if possible, instead of going out in the water yourself.

To be able to take the courses in the Red Sea is a big extra, as the coral and variety of sea life here is incredible. Hopefully I will be able to get to Sharm El Sheikh within a week to buy an underwater camera, to be able to show you some of the things you can see here while snorkeling or scuba diving.

Also now is a good time to be in Egypt while it’s not overcrowded by tourists, because a lot of people abroad are not sure about the political status here. Both the Egyptian government as well as the charter countries that used to have regular trips to Egypt are trying to campaign the country again as a safe and fun place to go, and everybody here are counting on that in a few months from now the tourists will have found their way back to Egypt.

Dive in Dahab

4 days in Brussels, Belgium

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

A lot of times I fall in love with a city within the first days. So was also the case with Belgium and its capital Brussels. This city is really multi cultural and hosts a lot of interesting and individual people. Also it’s very green, both with some beautiful parks and a lot of planted trees in the streets.

One funny surprise for me was the Balkan music trend that is big in Brussels right now, with festivals and private parties playing balkan music and people trying to imitate some of the dancing styles of the Balkan countries.

All in all what was supposed to be a long transfer just to learn a bit about Belgium turned out to really give me a wish for more!

Porte de Hal | Hallepoort

Place du Jeu de Balle

Everard t Serclaes

Belgian comics (mural street art)

Manneken pis

Window graffiti, Brussels

Brussels megaphone speech place

Beautiful lantern in pub

Jef Aerosol (Brussels)

Graffiti stairs

Beautiful houses, Brussels

Auberge - Brussels

Brussels graffiti

Graffiti Belgium

Brussels spring

Tee shop, Brussels

Graffiti Brussels

Brussels park

La Grand Place | Brussels plant market

Wall mural painting, Brussels

BBQ party on roof top

Cuatro Puertas, Telde – Gran Canaria

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Yesterday I visited an interesting archaeological place here on Gran Canaria called Cuatro Puertas. This is a collection of hand made caves on the Montaña Bermeja where the religious priests or outcasts of the ancient Guanche people, Gran Canaria’s original inhabitants, used to live a long time ago. The name of the place comes from one of the caves with four openings in the volcanic rock, which was used for gatherings.

But to find the best place here you have to walk a bit further to a community of caves where people used to live, called Cueva de los Pilares. These caves are also hand made and have doors, windows, drainage systems and places for special rituals and beliefs, like a triangle marking for fertility. Besides the very well preserved caves this place also have a really beautiful view of the ocean and valley, and strangely enough no other people walking around so you can enjoy the scenery for yourself.

My camera is still in the repair shop, but I am surprised how good photos my mobile camera (without auto- or manual focus) took this time, even in the evening with bad light. All the pictures below are from the Cueva de los Pilares:

Gran Canaria caves

Cueva de Los Pilares - Montana Bermeja

Cuatro Puertas Gran Canaria

Cuatro Puertas

Gran Canaria to Tenerife

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I am just back in Gran Canaria after spending a weekend in Tenerife. I had a great time and really enjoyed Tenerife which is more green than Gran Canaria, both in the main city Santa Cruz de Tenerife and in the nature.

One of the interesting things that happened to me was when trekking with a friend in the north west part of the island. The plan was to only trek for one day, but the first afternoon we met a couple we started to talk to on one of the trails. The man told us he is a doctor and that he comes from a small village where he was visiting a patient of him, a kind of hippie. He also tells us that we probably can stay the night with Juan, as the man in the village is called. We continue our walk and ends up in the small village, which a man at the pub later that night tells us only have 10 inhabitants.

After some searching in the village we find Juan and his friends who are visiting him for the weekend. We end up staying at his place and head out the next morning for a walk to a bigger village where the car road starts, managing to hitch hike back to Santa Cruz de Tenerife with only some hour to spare before our ferry back to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria departs.

The most strange thing about this is the story a friend of mine told me when returning to Santa Cruz de Tenerife after the trek. She told me that her parents actually met on the beach in this small village of only 10 people which I had just returned back from. On top of this my friend and her parents lived before in a hippie community in exactly the house where I had spent the night, and her brother was also born there in that house.


There are two ferries from Gran Canaria to Tenerife and the most cheap of them are Armas which takes a little bit more time (2½ hours). For a timetable and prices, visit this web site:

http://www.navieraarmas.com/index.php?id_pagina=1&idioma=en

Standard price for the Armas ferry is about 50 euro for a return ticket, or half the price if you have the Canary Islands residency (NIE), which is very easy to get and costs only 20 euro. The NIE you can use for the rest of your life, or as long as you stay on the Canary Islands.


Finally, here are some pictures from Tenerife:

Tenerife travel with ferry

Tenerife weather by night

Tenerife meat market

Tenerife fish market

Tenerife market with fish

Man reading while sitting on ground bradying- Tenerife

Barefeet guy in tenerife

Tenerife nature

Tenerife waterfall and lagoon

Tenerife rock

Tenerife bar

Tenerife flowers and trees

Teide volcano, Tenerife

Tenerife coastline

Tenerife village

Villa in Tenerife

Tenerife balcony

Tenerife bird

Tenerife beach

Unknown island (peninsula) Tenerife

El Faro sign, Tenerife

Las Palmas de Anaga, Tenerife

Tenerife coast

Tenerife climate

Picture of cloud in Tenerife

Near Taganana, Tenerife

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria by night with ferry

5 days of improvisational travel

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

I just arrived back to Las Palmas after travelling for five days without a plan. It all started with packing my backpack with a borrowed tent, my computer (for work) and some other things, adding up to a total of 14 kg. Five days later I have learned that hitch hiking on Gran Canaria is easy, I have camped under orange trees & at the hippie festival Rainbow Gathering but most of all walked up and down a lot of mountains.

The trekking here is nice with some small villages that does not feel too touristic, some empty trails and a lot of beautiful views. Following the trails is tricky though, as the markings are really bad if even existing, and the markings look the same all over the island which means that you can easily mix up the trails and end up somewhere else than planned. Also the maps are not 100% correct and some trails or even roads are not existing on the maps. The good thing is that you usually end up near a road anyway and can hitch hike to your goal instead, which is also the bad thing here that the roads are everywhere. So don’t expect to be alone after a full day of trekking to a top, instead you will find a big car park and a lot of tourists, with the street sellers that come along with tourism in an area.

I post some pictures below from a borrowed camera as my own camera is in repair at the moment. Also you will find the map I used to trace where I have been these days, although it may not be totally correct or easy to see.

Gran Canaria mapa

Canary trekking

Gran Canaria canary trekking

Gran Canaria trekking

Gui gui beach trekking

GuiGui beach trek

Hippie juice :) with view (+ pepsi)

Doghouse with a view

Almond tree picture

Pot plant, Gran Canaria, Spain

Trapped plants, Gran Canaria, Spain

Rainbow gathering @ Guigui in Gran Canaria, Spain

Roque Nublo, Gran Canaria Spain

Roque Nublo stone

Senderismo Canarias

Senderismo en Gran Canaria

Senderismo Gran Canaria Spain

Tasartico Gran Canaria trekking

Tejeda & Culata, Gran Canaria (Spain)

Travel Grand Canary

Trekking Gran Canaria