About My Blog

I Spent six weeks in Egypt before spending a year in Germany. This blog covers the best summer of my life. If you are looking for my posts while I was in Germany ask me, and I'll be happy to share them but I have been asked not to share them publicly. Feel free to visit my brothers blog of his year in Germany or my new blog

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dahab day 1? Sortof...

Before I start talking abot dahab I want you to all go back and read
my firt or second post where I talk about the sun and my skin. Do that
now........... Okay now that you read it I'll tell you how I'm going
to look when I get back. If you wanted you could print the post
gazette on the front of me but you may mistake my back for a lobster.
This whole trip I have done a great job with suntan lotion and
avoiding the sun and on my last weekend here I screw it up, if I can't
sit still on the plane because I this sunburn I will be mish mabsut
when I get back. When I say red I mean RED. I applied SPF 95 to my
back and still I managed to broil. That was earlier today and I'm
getting ahead of myself.

We got to dahab at 10 in the morning. For those of you who don't know
dahab is abou halfway down the gulf of Aqaba 16 kilometres across from
Saudi Arabia. When we got here I had about 3 hours of sleep since the
same time the day before. We talked to the people at the front desk
and were told our rooms weren't all available so they switched our
rooms around as we sat on the deck and had a small breakfast. When we
got our rooms the man mentioned Scuba diving to us. Originally we
planned to climb mount Sinai last night and do other things today but
he said that the monastery was closed and we would have to wait until
today. This worked perfectly in the end. Scuba diving changes the
pressure in your lungs because you are breathing compressed air and
descending. Therefore when you climb a mountain you come in serious
risk of bursting your lungs. Some of us wanted to dive from the time
we planned the trip and others were fine just snorkeling. I was among
the snorkelling group but I'll be damned peer pressure works wonders.
At 1 o'clock, three hours after arriving I was with Nolan Sara jamie
and Kayla talking to our dive instructor. He explained the dive and
the dangers and the signals and then fit us into our equipment. We got
wet suits shoes fins goggles and apparatus and loaded them onto a
truck. We all squeezed into the back of a car and fifteen minutes late
we arrived at a small cove called lighthouse. We pulled the gear out
of the truck and the instructors set it up for us. Jamie has her scuba
PADI license and set up her own gear. As we put on the wet suits we
took lots of pictures and acted as goofy as we looked much to our own
amusement. The wetsuit and shoes were extremely hot and they only got
hotter and more uncomfortable as the instructors lifted the oxygen
tanks onto our backs. I had seen scuba diving before and I knew about
the oxygen tanks but I never assumed them to be burdensome. Underwater
they look so normal but on landthe aluminum mass becomes a weight
almost to much to carry. As beings we are bouyant, our suits were
bouyant, and our oxygen filled tanks were probably somewhat bouyant as
well so to counteract that you have a belt of weights strapped around
yor waist before you enter the water.

Where we entered was relatively rocky but they were the nice rounded
smooth rocks so with the shoes on it wasn't uncomfortable. Our
instructor told us to spit into our goggles because it's the best kind
of antifog bwe did this and we put them around our necks as he
strapped us into our fins. Above water it's nearly impossible to move
around in the wetsuit and apparatus so it was nearly impossible to put
them on ourselves as beginners. He gave us final instructions in the
three foot water and took me under first. I waited in my knees
breathing into the apparatus as he helped nolan down as well. It took
a little bit of time because he had to remoe the bouyancy from the
apparatus so that we coul stay underwater without rising to the top.
I'm not a claustrophobic person at all and I'm usually very relaxed
but in the three foot water I paniced because I felt so surrounded. I
was breathing into the apparatus and it felt so weird that I freaked
out a little. I wasn't scared just jittery like the moment before the
drop on a big rollercoaster. Going underwater I guess I hadn't
realized that that would be my last breath of real air until I
resurfaced which made it even worse. I popped up and immediately felt
better after I took a final breath, this time knowingly, before going
back to the pressurized air. Underwater this time I was much better
and i focused on breathing deeply. The air isn't thin but it's
different from breathing normally, the air sortof rushes into your
mouth and lungs with a vaderlike hiss. Nolan was underwater and set as
I came back down on my own accord. We ran through the skills we talked
about above water like emptying your goggles underwater, and clearing
the breathing apparatus. The goggles were a bit scary beause you fill
them underwater and then have to force the water out by exhaling
through your nose until the water is out of the goggles. To clearthe
breathing apparatus you take a deep breath, remove it, allow bubbles
to exit your mouth, replace the apparatus to your mouth and exhale

Because Nolan, Sara, Kayla, and I had never dove before we had to be
literally pushed and pulled by our instructors. We began our dive and
he lowered us deeper into the ocean occasionally telling us to
equalize our ears and asking if we were okay using hand signals. We
reached the drop off and suddenly I saw truly the most amazing thing I
had seen, I was surrounded by coral reef and thousands of fish from at
least fifty species. The water was perfectly clear and the visibily
must have been at least 50 to 100 feet. All in all we were under for
almost fourty minutes and were about ten meters deep. I never paniced
after that first part because I was surrounded by beauty and filled
with amazement. The only problem I had was smiling which allowed some
water to seep into my my mouth but that was barely on my mind.
Because of the apparatus you can't speak and the fish don make sounds
either, the only sounds are your inhaling, the bubbles of your
exhaling, and your own thoughts. It was so peaceful. When we surfaced
I was all smiles and I began asking our instructor about his diving
experiences and I was definitely eager to dive again. Someday I will
and maybe I will get a license so that I don't have to be tugged
around. After the dive we all talked about what we saw and changed out
of the gear. The car drove us back and after a quick lunch I fell

After waking up we rented snorkels and walked along the boardwalk to
the same location we wet scuba diving. We snorkeled around some parts
that we didn't see on our dive an his time tallied about it as we
looked around. Snorkeling was never my thing but I only ever
snorkeled in lake Erie where ten foot visibility is considered great.
Here I could see as far as I wanted and somehow after breathing out
ofthe apparatus earlier the breathing with a snorkel became more
regular. We snorkeled for a while and then at dinner and chatted on
the roof before going to bed.

This morning we woke up at ten for our 11 o'clock trip to the blue
hole. It was about thirty minutes way and it's the most famouse dive
and snorkle site in Egypt and rightfully so. Blue hole is a general
term for sinkholes surrounded by a rounder circular wall. The blue
hole is extremely deep and a tunnel coonects it to the open water.
This tunnel is infamous and makes it one of the most dangerous dive
sites in the world. It is completely safe if you stay within your
limits and the limits of scuba diving. Scuba diving allows you to
reach 40 meters below the surface, the tunnel is at 52 meters. Many
people have tried to go the extra 12 and swim through. Those who make
it down that far often miss the tunnel or get nitorgen narcoses and
become "drunk". There is apparently a video of a man at the blue whe
who removes his apparatus and offers it to a fish and then begins to
drown because he lost his survival instincts. Some divers find the
hole but it is very narrow and they often get stuck and drown. More
than fourty people have died there which seems ridiculous. At the
blue hole we joined hundreds of other snorkelers and divers and this
is where my sunburn story comes in. Trust me, I applied sunscreen,
lots of it. But that does nothing against the sum in the desert in
crystal clear water. We snorkeled around the hole for two hours and I
spent the majority of that on my stomach looking downward. This is
where you call me an idiot and I proudly accept it. I'm red and burnt
but it was worth it. There were thousands more fish and hundred of
more species of coral and dozens of more colors. The fish vary in
shape and size and are the inspiration of one fish, two fish. The
while thing was amazing and the bubbles rising from the scuba divers
in the depths added to the beauty. Schools of fish swim in unison,
larger independent fish float around and show of their parrot like
colors. I'm a pool person and I hate deep water but this I could do
all the time. My fears vanished and I didn't even feel like I was
swimming. I fogot I was swimming and that I had to be able to swim
because I was so dustracted by everything else. Not even the small
shark I saw or the dark abyss below could rattle my nerves. Never in
my life have I been so comfortable swimming in open water as I have
been here.

The sunburn and the day of swimming made me tired as soon as we
returned back to the hotel. I woke up a few hours ago and finished my
last post and I have been writing this one since. And so far, despite
the sand in my bed, my back is comfortable. We leave in two hours fo
mount Sinai and I couldn't be more excited to climb, see, photograph,
and write about it. But right now I need a bit more sleep and
definitely some food. I'll write again post climb. Until then....

No comments: