Sha'ab Samadai (Dolphin House)

Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
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Trip End Sep 01, 2008


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Flag of Egypt  , Red Sea and Sinai,
Friday, August 29, 2008

It is an enjoyment to wake up right before the sun. Especially since the air feels just a little bit cooler at that time. Kenneth was already setting up his video camera to film the sunrise, when I opened my eyes. We sat outside and indulged in the peace, quietness and the pretty colours of the sky.

Following breakfast we hastened to the diving shade to get our gear ready. We were going on a boat dive to the Dolphin House. First we had to drive south for about 50 minutes to the Marsa Nakari Eco Lodge Village (this drive was in a passenger friendly bus). From there we jumped onto a zodiac, which brought us to the Princess Maria, that took us the rest of the way.

About 30 minutes away from shore we found the Sha'ab Samadai -better known as the Dolphin House. We divers had already been asked to prepare our tanks before we left Nakari, so when we got to our destined dive site, we could go directly to briefing.
The sun was shining from a cloudless sky. The water inside the reef was bluish-green and completely calm. The surrounding ocean, however, was choppy and unsettled.
As usual a smile from all of us was mandatory prior to the dive. The dive itself sounded easy, and we could hardly wait to get in the water. Before the briefing ended Basem was always kind to ask if we had any questions. A French guy had one disturbing question he wanted to share with us: "I am flying home tonight, how deep can I go?" !!!!!!!!!!!!! Sadly, he meant this seriously. He had been in Egypt for two whole weeks, and had just gotten his certificate within the last three days, so now he wanted one last dive before he went home! We all looked astonished and scared. Especially Basem who simply said: "Don't!" But the guy insisted, and since this is his own responsibility, he couldn't be stopped, but was told to only do the first dive of the day, and to remain shallow. For the last reason he was told to stick to me, since I have to keep a little bit shallower than the others in order to conserve air.
We all shook our heads and wondered what the heck this guy was thinking. Unfortunately, someone who is dumb enough to intentionally dive 12 hours before he is flying, will probably never get into any problems at all, even though he does deserve some sort of punishment for this level of stupidity!

Once in my gear I stood quietly waiting for Kenneth to get ready to do buddy checks, when something suddenly got loose on my tank and air slipped out! Everybody started panicking but me. They all hurried to close the tank valve and help me replace the tank. The o-ring must have cracked. Apparently this happens often, I had just never experienced it before. I still took it easy, though; I couldn't really do anything else. This unfortunately meant that I would not have a 15 ltr tank for my second dive. (I had run in to Basem at supper the night before, and when I told him what we had planned for today, he immediately told me to go ask for 2 15 liter tanks. All the other times I have asked him, he kept saying that I wouldn't need a bigger tank, and now that I hadn't asked him, he told me I would need them! He knows I run out of air quick, though. Lucky for me the nice guy at the Diving Shade told me it wouldn't be a problem to get them for me, even though you generally have to book them by midday at the latest.).
 
A zodiac brought us to the outer east side of the Dolphin House.  Because of the choppy waters we had to do a negative entrance and meet 5 meters below the surface. I didn't feel too comfortable doing that, but I wasn't really left with a choice. In addition, we all had to do the backdrop simultaneously! Hmm...not my favourite thing, but it had to be done. We got in the water almost at the same time, Marie and I  managed to land on top of each other, but we still managed to descend without hurting each other, and could still give each other the okay-signal followed by a smile. Basem kept an all-seeing eye on us all during the descend, which was very reassuring, and definitely added confidence to the dive.

The gigantic reef wall had a majestic appearance in the incredibly clear and blue water. Beneath us was a sandy drop off filled with small coral formations. The current carried us past the huge wall and towards some marvellous coral pillars in the open ahead. The dive was practically effortless, and it seemed like we covered a decently sized area too.... With my air consumption anyways ;) 
We had all gone to a shallower depth after a while, and by the time I reached 50 bars I had been at 5 meters for at least five minutes ,so I signalled to the French guy (whom Basem earlier in the dive had told to stay next to me, although Basem constantly had to remind him to keep shallow.) that we were going up. To avoid zodiacs, and bigger boats for that matter, we had been told to ascend close to the reef wall. When I reached the surface the French guy asked me why we were going up so soon, so I told him once again that I was low on air! He told me that he had lots left, so he wanted to go back down!! I looked at him with the utmost discontent and said: "You are flying tonight!" He just gave me a puzzled look and asked if I thought he should stop now too?? "YES!" "You are flying tonight, you should STOP DIVING!" He apparently had no clue of how terrible the consequences could be, and as I was told later on that day, he also had no idea how to use (or understand) any of the hand signals!! It is very discomforting that this guy was allowed to get a diving certificate!
During the swim back to the boat, all I could think about, was how stupid this guy was, and kept shaking my head.
The other divers exited the water shortly after us.
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