Posts tagged ‘ocean’

Akumal, Mexico

Monday, September 24th, 2012

In the start of my Central America trip I visited a beach in Akumal, Mexico. Akumal was founded in 1958 as a place for scuba diving and has today more than 1000 inhabitants. The city name “Akumal” means “place of the turtles” which is a very good description of this place which you will notice if you go snorkeling here.

Akumal, Mexico

Akumal beach

Turtles

Sea turtles in Mexico

Turtles in Mexico

Akumal Messico

Turtles have been around on this earth for about 200 million years, can get more than 2 meters long and weight over 900 kg.

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

Windsurfing in Dahab

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Windsurfing is getting bigger and bigger here in Dahab, with some specific coast spots designated for this sport. If you travel to Dahab and want to learn how to windsurf by taking a course, or if you are a professional and want to rent equipment at a center where you can meet other windsurfers, the starting point for you should be the Lagoona. Along this beach, which is the only real sand beach in Dahab, you will find ten or so wind surfing centers together with kite surfing and other water activities like wakesurfing, wakeboarding, water skiing and more.

The price to rent wind surfing equipment are from 15 euro per hour to 105 euro for a whole week. For a one week course (10 hours total), be prepared to pay around 150 euro. Be aware that the weather conditions change a lot from day to day, so don’t book a course if you only have 5 days here, as 2 of them might be to windy for you to practice.

To find the beach, walk 30 minutes out from Mashraba along the coast out from Dahab, or take a pickup taxi for 50 cent and ask for the “Lagoona”.

If you are looking for scuba diving or snorkeling, then this is NOT the place for you. Instead go to the “Lighthouse” inside the center of Dahab.

I was lucky enough a while ago to get stuck on the beach with some friends at night time after wind surfing, and without we knowing about it in advance we witnessed a full moon eclipse from there. A night like taken from a fairy tale!

Windsurfing Dahab

Kitesurfing Dahab

Lagoona/Lagoon Dahab

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

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

Scuba dive computer guide

Monday, June 6th, 2011

If you are a regular scuba diver you probably want to invest in a scuba diving computer. The primary purpose of dive computers in recreational diving is to tell you when you near or reach a no stop limit. If you exceed a no stop limit, most dive computers show you the depth of your first decompression stop and the decompression time.

On top of this almost all dive computers today have functionality to display current depth, elapsed bottom time and ascent rate, and some computers show current water temperature as well.

Here are some steps to help you along your way to choose the best dive computer for your needs. First, answer these questions for yourself:

1) Do you want to use the computer for free diving as well as for scuba diving?

2)  Do the environment you will be scuba diving in require a compass?

3) Do you, or do you plan to, dive with nitrox?

4) Will you be scuba diving at an altitude? (Lake diving above sea level)

If you answer no the the questions 1 & 2 above any model of dive computer will be enough for your needs, and the only thing left is to decide based on price and look. Here in Dahab a new scuba diving computer for beginners costs about 125 euro in the store (mostly Suunto Zoop), but you should at least not pay more then 250 euro for your scuba diving computer in this class. Don’t forget to check if the model you choose have support for nitrox or altitude diving, if you answered yes to those questions.

If you answered yes to question 1 or 2 above the price for your scuba diving computer will be a bit more expensive, probably around 300-450 euro. In this category you can also choose to have information about the current tank pressure and time left of your air supply (if you continue at the same breathing rate and depth).

The above information is only for normal recreational scuba diving. If you plan to do tech diving or commercial diving you will need a more advanced scuba diving computer.

Scuba diving computer

Dahab festival

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Yesterday was the last day of the Dahab Festival. This is a one week event with two festivals taking place at the same time, the Dahab International Festival of Water Sports, Culture and Desert Adventure and the Dahab Bedouin Festival. The idea of them both are to make the tourists come back to Sinai/Dahab, but instead of cooperating there is a small clash between the two festivals. The first one is organized by the Egyptian business owners and the second one by the local Bedouins, who actually were here first but now gets more and more pushed away. Still, they have the right to claim land wherever it’s possible to own for them self, which is the same pattern I saw also in Mozambique.

The pictures below are from the Homemade boat race, the Bedouin Festival, the Bedouin camel race and finally the [end of the] Bedouin Full moon party.

Dahab festival

Dahab snorkeling

Dahab scuba diving

Egypt pirates

Egypt festival

Dahab surfing

Bedouin Festival

Bedouin tea

Egyptian Bedouin

Nescafé Egypt - Bedouin style

Camels in desert

Dahab photos

Camels photo

Camel racing

Camel race

Egyptian flag

Egypt sunset

Dahab sunset

Bedouin bread

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

Dahab sunrise

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Sunrise over Saudi Arabia seen from Dahab, Egypt this morning
at 5 am.

Dahab sunrise over Saudi Arabia