Red Sea Divers

 

In this small shopping mall, there are four (count ’em) dive shops. None carry everything. All have tanks and BCD’s for sale and rent. It’s the accessories which vary. I am also told that the dive shops are all owned by princes. It’s sort of a princely concession in which to make money. You would think that the shops have everything but you wander through them all and do not find everything you need in one place. The tank in the window with the bare regulator is like what I remember Lloyd Bridges (Sea Hunt) wore but the current day gear is a whole lot more complicated.

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Dive III

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.

The Start

 

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.

 

Dive Trip II

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.

Dive Resort

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.

 

It Ain’t Easy

That’s my dive buddy, Farid, in the upper right leaving the water and shaking his head as to why I’m in full diving gear bobbing around in two feet of water. What’s interesting? And though it’s not perfectly composed… Hey! I was shooting in water that was in constant motion from the waves pushing me back and forth. It ain’t easy. This shot was a few weeks back. I’m a little behind in posting… TMI (too much information). I’ve been tossed by the waves and have some new scars to prove it. Even a little wave will knock you good in two feet of water. No pictures of the scars…

Ribbon

It looks like a discarded ribbon. I’d say Christmas, but they don’t have any in the Red Sea. Anyway, it looked for all the world like discarded trash. But no, it’s a coral. Pretty neat. It’s so delicate you wonder how it survives in the reef. It’s not common so I guess it is hard to take hold and survive. But the beauty you find can’t be beat.

Stonefish

So we’re diving along the bottom and my buddy points to a bland coral/rock. I swim up and he pokes the stone fish. It’s a pretty good disguise if you ask me. I never saw him and would have missed it without someone pointing. And I’d probably miss it again the next time. The colorful fish look like food advertisements. This guy looks like he wants to stay hidden and safe.