Secrets of the Red Sea

Secrets of the Red Sea.

Deep trips between Dahab and Sharm el Sheikh…

Article paru dans « Octopus » n° 60 Avril-mai 2006

Pascal Bernabe, our recordman of the world of deep diving, does not make things half. When he makes tourism, it is beyond -100 meters!

Pascal went to visit the famous sea-beds of the Blue Hole in Dahab and Thomas canyon situated inn the strait of Tiran, close to Sharm el Sheikh. Obviously, Pascal did not remain insensitive to the charms of the Middle East…

A not very common travel notebook !

This Blue Hole, which is located at approximately 25 minutes by car of Dahab, presents the form of a hole of about thirty meters in diameter in the reef. The setting with water is thus within a few meters only of the road. Happiness for the divers, and more particularly for the tek divers, extended range or trimix, heavily charged with their double-tanks and their relays.

We are half a dozen this day, harnessed with double-tanks and relay! Tracey (Australia) and Valentina (Italy) record on film the Blue Hole for Elena, producer and Russian director of documentaries on deep diving. The sympathetic Ben (Belgium) from TDI accompanies us.

I arrive at -113 meters, objective of the diving of today. In addition to the powerful video lightings, the luminosity remains excellent there, especially with the very white sand slope which begins in this zone. In the hole, protected, no current and often an exceptional visibility.

The place is attended assiduously by many divers, and “Bedouins” bars are numerous on the other side of the road. After the dive, you can drink the tea there or taste delicious local specialities: hummous or fresh fish roasted on the spot.

Moreover external temperature is correct all the year, although a little fresh in winter and rather hot in summer! Water, especially in winter, is definitely more pleasant than in the Mediterranean. It can reach without problem 23°, even in December.

So many arguments thus to make it a destination of choice for Tek divers, Egypt remaining one of the least expensive and least distant “exotic” destinations (4 hours of plane of Paris).

Many other sites are also good spots for beautiful extended range or Trimix dives: the canyon, at 10 km of Dahab and 2 km from the Blue Hole, whose entry is situated at -16 meters and the exit on a reef towards -54 meters, after an astonishing trip in this crack between sand, rocks and blocks of coral, in the middle of lions fish. If many divers do it in single tank (some can even been seen at – 80 meters!) the fact of diving with a tek configuration (bi 12 litres+relais) in addition to an increased safety, makes it possible to prolong time at the bottom… and thus the pleasure! In the same style, you can go to El Bell, chimney with a beautiful arch at -26m and an exit in full water at -32 meters, till the entry of the Bieu Hole, more to the south, between -55 and -120 meters, after having dived along the reef. An unforgettable diving!

With regard to tek, you’ll find some serious centres which propose hiring of Bi-tanks/wings and nitrox regulators. They do nitrox and trimix at request with great professionalism.

At one hour by taxi towards the south, Sharm El Sheik, more known to the divers. It is not so known that it is a spot of choice for tek dives in particular with Trimix: rich and vertiginous reefs, like in Dahab, ideal for long decompression stops and especially some deep canyons like Thomas Canyon, in the strait of Tiran. This last one begins at -35 meters to finish, after a sinuous and varied course under imposing arches, around -96m, in an obscure cave, refuge of enormous lobsters! Beautiful environment for cave diving; with plays of light and a varied flora and fauna.

The equipment

* dry suit trilam Aqualung
* wings/plates/simple harness WTX Apeks
* Regulators Legend Aqualung and ATX 100 Apeks
* Green Force Led and HID
* Instruments tek Suunto D9 (functioning till -200m) and Vytec used as a multi gas computer (three: bottom air and nitrox + O2 in deco) till -60m, as a depth gauge further.

Thanks

ED Poore from Poseidon Divers in Dahab.

Toby Truelove and Ricky Browne from Technical Red Sea in Sharm.
Trimix at Dahab

For the divers interested from Nitrox to advanced Trimix certification in Dahab or Sharm, or simply by a week of beautiful deep divings (certified divers).