Red Sea diving holiday, 2015 – part 2
8th November 2015
In the world of diving, today was officially classified as a good day.
A bumpy overnight sail to the middle of the Red Sea meant that many of the team didn’t sleep too well while a few others slept under the blanket of stars on the top deck. After our 5.30am wake up call (see Alison, I’m not on holiday), we had some strong caffeine drinks while receiving our first brief about Daedalus Reef. Daedalus is around 100 miles from the nearest land point and is an underwater island reef system about 1/2 mile long and round in shape. In the middle is a lighthouse to warn the passing container ships about the hidden land mass that lies about 1m under the waves.
The zodiacs took us to our entry point. Rolling back we made our way into the blue and descended down the wall and into the depths. The first group were welcomed by a group of around 20 scalloped hammerhead sharks. The school of sharks swam around the divers for about 20 minutes while they neared their deco limits. I was in the 2nd group who were slightly less fortunate and only had a few silhouettes in the distance. It did mean that the people doing their PADI Deep Speciality course could concentrate on not exceeding their depth and NDL limits – supposedly. After a while we headed back to the reef where we enjoyed the soft corals and tonnes of golden antheas that lined the reef walls.
Back on the boat group 1 were very kind to share their photos with us, and being such considerate people didn’t wind up the 2nd group at all – they are all bar stewards!
For the 2nd dive we decided to follow the same dive plan again. Group 1 found the group of 20 hammerheads AGAIN while we were fortunate to find our four mates again. However this time they came in much closer and hung around for a while. As they were around 30-40m deep we slowly made our ascent. Just as we thought the best part of the dive was over, we were greeted by a very inquisitive Oceanic White tip shark. Ben, Johnny and Alex all seemed to have a small brown leak appear from the ankle seals of their wetsuits as the shark buzzed through the middle of the group and got a little too close for their comfort. It cruised around for around 10 minutes giving everyone plenty of time to take National Geographic standard photographs.
Our 3rd dive consisted of jumping off the back of Blue Horizon and an easy bimble (or bumble as Alison M likes to call it) along the reef plateau. Group 1, who I’m starting to dislike immensely, found a silky shark under one of the other boats. Philippe thought it was necessary to pull out his dive knife despite the fact the shark showed no interest and was approximately 3 miles away. The rest of us found some humongous Eels and a beautiful 3ft long Napoleon Wrasse.
After another tasty dinner it was time to head to the top deck to enjoy a few tunes, talk nonsense and sip a few beers. Bloody brilliant!
Another early start for our 2nd day on Daedalus. Rolling back from the Zodiacs we soon descended down on a school of around 12 Hammerheads. Cameras were clicking and videos rolled while these odd looking creatures got closer and closer. In any other walk of life if you said that you paid to get up close and personal with a dozen or so sharks, you possibly might to be off your rocker. However the cynics really don’t know what they’re missing.
On our ascent the Sharks continued to entertain us by circling below us and occasionally come up to weave in and out of the group. A dive to be remembered for a lifetime.
After off gasing and topping up our carbs, the group split in to 2. 1/2 decided to go back in search of more Hammerheads while the others went for a chilled dive off the back of the mother boat.
I joined the group of 9 others that head off looking in the zodiacs. As a few other liveaboards had arrived during the night we set off early to avoid the rush hour. We headed down to 30m and hung out in the blue waiting for the predators to arrive. 5 minutes, nothing, 10 minutes still nothing. I had just convinced myself that hanging out in the blue with my mates was still a great way to spend the afternoon. Just as we were giving up a shadowy figure appeared emerged out of the blue. Then a few more shadows appeared and before we knew it circling beneath us was a school of at least 30 hammerheads. The largest hammerhead was happy to give us a nice close encounter while his posse made an excellent back drop for our photos. Thankfully we had enough deco time and air to hover with these majestic animals for around 10 minutes and take in this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.
Returning to the main boat with grins as wide as you like, we were welcomed back by the other group. They had faired equally well. Most of them had spotted 2 silky sharks and an oceanic white tip. This gave them plenty of video and photography opportunities as well as proving plenty of ammo for the future grand children’s bedtime stories.
Later that day we helped Peter celebrate his birthday by popping open the prosseco and the boat’s chef even baked him a giant cake with candles.
Tinged with an element of sadness we departed Daedulus in to the choppy nighttime seas and headed towards Elphinstone.