Entering the inlet, I would have expected a no wake zone – speed restricted to 5 mph. instead we were greeted with jet skis zooming along and crossing our wake. The dive boat did slow down. The jet skis took the opportunity to cross our wake and from the trough make big jumps. It was as crowded as rush hour can get and at those speeds, dangerous. Let’s just see who can show off the most. They do this with motorcyles on the streets as well – and no helmets – anywhere.
This last is a superfast ‘cat.’ Or, it’s a sculpture. It doesn’t look like it’s been in the water for a while.
You’re not supposed to be spear fishing. In fact I have been told that it’s not allowed and you need a permit. But you may carry one for protection. Some of the spear guns are pretty impressive – 6 foot long and with very serious pointed arrows – a bit more protection than is needed against these fish.
When you are out on the open ocean and after you have made a couple dives, you will find yourself ravenously hungry. It was a wonderful thing to come up from the reef to find a hot grill and barbecued meat smoking away. I was to hungry to remember to shoot the food. I was more concerned about the open fire. No, they didn’t grill the fish.
Ah, the effects of anti-histamines on Farid. He told me that he hates to throw up. So it was a slight overdose. I can relate and definitely sympathize. I hope he understands that I have been there as well.
And yes someone caught a starfish.
At the end of the day, it’s a pretty good bet you will catch a nice sunset. I keep marveling at how great the Canon G11 does it.
You don’t go anywhere unless the government knows who’s on board. They worry that we will return with illegal aliens. Not too likely, but that’s what the guy was doing. He checked and confirmed all of our papers. He kept them as well. One guy had to go home to get his papers. He didn’t listen to the instructions.
Steaming out of the inlet, I got to see some of the compounds behind the closed walls. It seems that if you are waterside it’s ok to see.
We still had to check in with the Coast Guard. If you read back in December when I first visited, you will find that I had an adventure with this very Coast Guard station. It involves a detention and some very boring hours answering questions. So here we are back at the scene of the crime (Farid and I). It was poetic.
This concrete monstrosity was here on my first visit. What the heck? It’s a beach house. From Google earth you can see a pool. So much for hiding things behind walls.
The view to the south – Jeddah. There are some high rise buildings. Mostly these are hotels. The city is more than 3 million. But it is mostly low rise and sprawling. Surprisingly not too many people dive.
Twilight at the Coast Guard station. Thank goodness we didn’t spend the day there again.
In the course of my learning experience, my classmates were Hamid and Alan. Maroun (middle) is my instructor. I will always be bound to them by our shared experience. Farid (on drugs) is there looking silly. He has motion sickness and hates to throw up. So he took anti histamines. I couldn’t get him a transderm scopolamine patch. And like me the drug makes you sleepy. I mean he really wasn’t in his right mind the whole day. What he remembers is that we would tell him, “Time to dive.” And he would jump in the water. But he doesn’t remember too much. I’m still learning so I don’t have any dive shots. The boat was run by the ‘Captain’ who taught Farid. They carried enough tanks for everyone to make three tanks diving. That would be about three hours of diving time.
We dive in a resort. It’s walled and private. The main reason for privacy is to avoid the religious police. There are a few women who dive as well. Some other places I have seen women in bathing suits and even bikinis. You wouldn’t think twice ordinarily, but customs are so restrictive that I am nervous for the women that they would be accosted for their dress, or lack thereof. The land is divided and the ocean front footage is very small. The lots are about 60-80 foot wide and about ½ mile deep. Depending on your location, the neighbor may or may not have developed his property. So while you have seen gorgeous shots diving on the reef, the topside view is nothing extraordinary. In fact it’s just hot and crowded with divers heading in and out. The stairs are there to help in getting into and out of the water. My dive instructor did a lot of work here to build a platform to protect the coral. It serves as an instruction platform underwater so that the coral is not trampled by novice divers. To the left is an abandoned resort/house that awaits demoliton and development. There are a lot of divers who come and go, but it is still relatively protected so that there are plenty of fish and the reef remains healthy looking. I will say that there is not a lot of conservation going on. Trash is seen floating in the water. So what little care for the reef that goes on is a good thing to see.
I just happened to catch this fish in profile with enough exposure to catch the pattern of coloring. I guess that’s how you figure out the species. The small fish are too small to really get on the image sensor. Larger fish swim away from me. These guys, about the size of your hand, seem to linger long enough to get a shot every once in a while.
This guy is embedded in the coral. It is surrounded and has just enough room to open up slightly. Talk about a tight fit?! Well, I guess they live long and they get along. Everyone seems to be happy with the arrangement. Still, it’s a very large sea…with more than enough room.
This is rare. So far I have seen clams as singles. Here are two. I won’t go into mating habits. It would be convenient to have opposite sexes side by side. Otherwise it would seem to be a real chore to find another mate. I’m just here to photograph them and not to bother them or eat them.
For the lack of a better term, I’m calling this one ‘blue.’ I love the brilliant blue center. It is well enough protected that predators haven’t eaten it. It is quite large. Maybe it’s not as tasty as it’s color. In any case, I see them now often enough on each dive. Not too many that I don’t stop to photograph them….
Coral is pretty boring. It doesn’t move and really doesn’t present a challenge to photograph. So you need a color pattern or something to catch interest. I should get in closer too. But this is my attempt at coral landscape. The color in the foreground is balanced against the blue of the Red Sea. Come to think of it, why is it called ‘Red?’