27.07.2008 - 28.09.2008 40 °C
I moved away from Marsa Alam because life was just too boring in that hotel. So I really looked forward to living in a city here. Unfortunately the Orca center is located in the Happy Life village, which is 15min out of Dahab. And of course I got a room in the hotel, so I was stuck in a hotel again. To make matters worse, everybody else from the diving staff lives in Dahab. Damn! On the bright side there were free shuttles that moved between the hotel and Dahab. So at least I could spend some time downtown during the evening.
Dahab is divided into three parts. There's Dahab city where the Egyptians live, the tourist area, and Assalah where the Bedouins live (nobody here seems to think of the Bedouins as Egyptians). I was ecstatic to find bars with good (and not so good, but it didn't matter at that point) western music in the tourist area. It felt so great to be able to just sit down in a bar and have a beer! That was perfect.
The diving in Dahab is much worse than in the south. Upon arrival I was really shocked by the amount of damage the reef had taken. I was used to colors and a multitude of fishes, so seeing all these dead corals really hurt. People told me that even 5 years ago the reef here was really beautiful. In only a few years divers and snorkellers have made an incredible amount of damage. Really bad! It is still much better than diving in Europe however. So in my opinion the Sinai is the perfect place to learn diving. It's still beautiful enough for the beginning and the reef is already destroyed anyway. So whoever thinks of learning to dive, please do not go directly to southern Egypt, but get some experience here first.
The Dahab Laguna. Famous for windsurfing:
Here are 2 pics from the Happy Life hotel. Avoid coming here at all costs, this place is one big rip-off! The manager gets some poor ignorant farmers from the deepest depth of inner Egypt and makes them work here for an incredibly low pay. Thus most of the staff has pretty much no idea about their work and don't speak one word of English.
Here's the bay where our house reef is. Most of the dive sites in the bay are destroyed. You can see Saudi Arabia on the other side, the Gulf of Aquaba is only 15-20 km wide.
Here I am in the water with a trumpet fish. There are so many divers in the water that the trumpet fishes learned to hide behind the air bubbles from the divers to hunt. So they often accompany us during the dives.
Hussein, Susi, Abdallah, and Bettina at the counter of the dive center.
The (in)famous Blue Hole. Nice dive spot. Mostly interesting for doing deco-dives. Many divers die here, mostly experienced Divemasters and instructors that get out of luck, and drunk russians.
For some of the divers that died here the friends and family set up a commemorative plaque on the way to the entry point.
Some of the divers decided what should be written on their plaque themselves
Susi, Hussein and me getting drunk with mango-shots (actually only Susi and me, as Hussein only drinks Sprite...)
Just me, but I really like that picture :-)
So, I did my last dive here today. Tomorrow is my last working day which I will spend behind the counter (Inch' Allah) so I can let my equipment dry.
I initially wanted to go to Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, but I'm really sick of Muslim culture. So I decided to spend the next month in Israel. Back to civilization baby! The only problem is that once I have an Israeli stamp in my passport I can't go to Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan and some other Islamic countries anymore because they don't recognize Israel. I could get around that, but it's too much of a hassle right now.
At the end of November I will move to Mauritius (a small island east of Madagascar) and work there as a Dive master for three months. After that, since I'll have the Israeli stamps in my passport by that time, I'll fly directly to India and from there to South East Asia. Maybe. At least that's my plan for now. The cheapest way to go to Mauritius is to fly back to Germany and then from there to Mauritius. Thus I might spend some days (sometime between November 15th and 25th) back in good old Switzerland! I'll post it as soon as I know for sure...
In the meantime I'll go take a swim in the dead sea and check out the view from the Golan heights.