I didn’t want to dive yesterday really. Well that is not strictly true. I did want to dive but I had been suffering with a bit of head cold since Friday so I was not exactly feeling on top form. Added to which, the weather at the moment is not what you would really expect for Egypt (and certainly not why I moved here!). It has been quite cold for a few days so when the alarm went off yesterday morning and I popped my head out from the duvet to feel the cold, followed by the stuffy nose, the last think I really fancied doing was diving!
I decided to power through in the hope that I would be feeling a bit better once I’d showered but I didn’t. Despite this I decided to go diving anyway and just hope clearing and equalizing would be OK. Although I am the first to preach that it is better to end a dive than continue in discomfort, there is still part of me that would hate to waste a dive due to a sinus problem. Not because I am tightfisted, but spending a whole day on the boat and not diving is not really fun for me.
Kit prepared and packed we headed off to the dive centre at Dive Point Red Sea. Dive Point is owned an operated by friends of mine but is not somewhere I really get to visit too often. I did have a great day on the house reef last week but this is the first time I have been out on the boat with them, so it would be an adventure. In addition, I don’t often get the chance to dive out of Hurghada as I normally dive out of El Gouna so not only would the boat be an adventure, I would be guaranteed a dive site I had never visited. It was these thoughts that helped me push the stuffy nose and cold weather out of my mind.
Now I think it is only right to mention the weather. At the moment in Egypt it is cold. Not European cold but for Egypt, bloody cold! In some parts of Egypt this week there has actually been snow. Yes, snow for the first time in over 100 years. Fortunately in Hurghada we don’t have snow and ice but we do have some cold winds and big black clouds on some days (including yesterday).
Related Article: Yes, It’s Snowing In Egypt
I don’t want to sound like I am complaining too much. The weather throughout the rest of the year makes all of my friends back in Europe extremely jealous, but winter in Egypt is not nice. Nothing is designed or built for cold weather. No insulation and no central heating so once you get cold, you stay cold!
Anyway, back to the diving. We arrived at the diving centre and unloaded the kit. A trolley would be taking it to the boat so we headed off to the jetty to wait for it aboard Dive Point 1.
At this point I was looking at the black clouds, seeing the choppy seas in the distance and thinking “I should have stayed under the duvet”. All on board and away we go. Kit built up and prepped then into the saloon to stay out of the wind and get a seat. As it turned out there were 2 other guests on the boat who I actually knew so it was nice to have some familiar company.
The sea was a bit more choppy than I would like but fortunately I am not someone who suffers sea-sickness so all was well. Although one or two people on the boat were suffering a little.
The dive site for the day would be Gota Abu Ramada East. As predicted, this was somewhere I had never been before, so back to feeling like an adventure. As I started to suit up my thoughts returned to “Why did I not stay under the duvet?”. By the time I was ready to jump I was actually shivering. I decided that I would not try to be a hero and if I felt cold in the water then I would end the dive early. No point becoming more sick just to have a good dive time. At the end of the day this is supposed to “fun” diving.
I have never been happier to jump in the water. It felt wonderful. Compared to how cold I felt on the surface, the glorious Red Sea felt like jumping in the bath! Don’t get me wrong, it was not exactly toasty warm but at 24 degrees it was a much nicer feeling than being on the boat.
This was one of those dives where everything seemed to work in harmony. I have recently been trying find a mask which suits me perfectly but so far had been unsuccessful and every dive involves lots of mask clearing…lots of mask clearing. I had borrowed an Aqualung Teknika recently and it seemed like I had located perfection so I went out an bought one. I tested it out for the first time last week on a shore dive and it leaked. Alot. I was very disappointed but I put it down to not really getting myself comfortable before jumping in. This dive would be my opportunity to give it another go and as I said, everything worked in harmony. The mask was perfect. I did just a little bit more adjustment at the surface before descending and it did exactly what I wanted. A leak-free dive. My old mask was OK provided I stayed looking straight ahead or below me. Any other movement resulted in lots of flooding but the Teknika performed perfectly. For the first 20 minutes of the dive I was performing some acrobatics. Standing on my head, Barrel rolls, head up, head down, somersaults and all without a single leak! This, combined with the warm feeling in the water, some great things to see and a nice rip current to relax me it really was everything working together in harmony. Boy am I a happy diver 🙂
Not really a lot to report for the dive itself. Lots of things to see but because of the weather, the long range visibility was not great. Maybe 20m or so. Not terrible but not what you would usually expect from the Red Sea.
Lots of fish whose names I still don’t know. Lots of Lionfish (whose name I do know). Back on the boat after 60 minutes. To be honest, I was picturing how cold I was going to be getting out of my suit and would have much preferred to stay in the water. CCR is now really starting to make sense 😉
Despite the weather it really was a great day and I would like say a big thank you to Matthias and Regina at Dive Point Red Sea for their hospitality and use of their boat. Dive Point 1 had a great crew who were always willing to help and a great chef who cooked a great lunch.
And if you have a strange shaped face (which I obviously have), check out the Aqualung Teknika. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.