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Monday, April 7, 2014

Goodbye Dahab

It's time for another goodbye in Egypt. Last week was spring break, so we went to our favorite spot on the Red Sea, Dahab.

It's the perfect combo of relaxing atmosphere and beautiful scenery.  It also has the added bonus of being close enough that you don't feel like you're losing half of your vacation time on the plane. And even though you're still technically in Egypt, it feels so different from Cairo.  As you drive through the Sinai from Sharm El Sheikh the road is a stark contrast of jutting rocky peaks and desert.  The road bends and curves around the mountains, but you get an immediate feeling of calm.

The main purpose of our trip, besides relaxing, was to get back in the water and go scuba diving.  You can't dive when you're pregnant, so it's been about 2 years for me.  I really wanted to go one last time before we leave Egypt.  We also wanted to give Q some time to play in the sand and water now that he's sitting up and a lot more mobile.

We've got a good relationship with the dive company Big Blue in Dahab.  We both learned to dive with them and we've always been impressed with their skilled instructors and laid back attitude.

We stayed at the Star of Dahab, the hotel right across the path from the dive shop.  It was our first time staying there, and for the super cheap price, it was a great deal.  Not as comfortable as other places we've stayed in Dahab, but it worked.

We spent our 6 days diving, napping, eating, swimming, reading, and spending time with the bubba.

We got to use our dive camera quite a bit (once I remembered to put in the memory card!) and we're getting better at capturing clear images underwater.  It's so hard to explain the mechanics behind it if you've never been diving, but you have to make yourself completely still, so you line up your shot and then basically drift once you press the shutter button.  And the delay between the shutter and the actual picture is much longer than on shore, several seconds at least.  But the direction you drift is entirely controlled by the current, so sometimes you're drifting away from the picture you want to take, but most of the time you're moving closer.  It turns into this gamble of waiting long enough to let the camera do its thing, but not so long that you end up crashing into coral.  Touching coral is a big no no. You also have to watch your breathing because you can't hold your breath while diving, but if you exhale when you're trying to take a picture of a fish, you could scare them away with the bubbles.  

We saw a lot of fish this round of diving though, which is a good sign for the health of the reef.  Trumpet fish that followed our dive instructor Omar around like a little puppy.  Clown fish, eels, sea slugs, lion fish, kites, even a blue spotted ray.

And even some cleaner wrass that Omar let swim into his mouth!  Yes those are two small fish!

My favorite dive was when we went to the Islands.  It's the prettiest reef I've ever seen in Dahab, so full of color.  But the best part was when we got to an open clearing of sandy bottom, Omar went down and knelt in the sand. I assumed he was pausing to show us some creature on the sea floor.  But then he took off his fins and started jumping into the air.  Because of all the weights we wear to dive and the tank, he came back down, but it was a very slow float.  Then he gestured for us to do the same.

It was incredible, one of the coolest sensations I've ever experienced.  It felt like flying and being an astronaut at the same time.

It was a wonderful trip.  We met lots of lovely people who are trying to eek out a living in a beautiful town that's starving for business.  I think of all the places we've traveled in Egypt, Dahab is probably one we will return to.  But for now it's a nostalgic but happily satisfied goodbye!

1 comment:

  1. Again, a lovely window into the Cushman world. Beautiful photos and story. Loved the one of you and Q in the shallow part. Awesome picture.