We are anxiously waiting for our group Leonardo who will arrive in Hurghada this afternoon to do a liveaboard with us on the Red Sea. This group is really great fun because they come from my city of Leeuwarden. Originally we were supposed to receive this group 3 years ago, but due to the infamous Corona, that has been postponed several times and we are super happy that it is finally here. Now we have both been working on the Red Sea for years and Amr and I together have more than 30 years of experience here, yet we have only recently started our own trips and this is the first. We normally have quite a lot of freedom, but it’s different that you do everything all by yourself and all the more exciting!Read more: DIVE LIKE THE GUIDE DIVE
As soon as everyone is on board, it is immediately a party. Wonderful to hear Dutch and wonderful to have people who are straight forward, I immediately feel at home in the group and what a super nice group it is. Now we often get groups of clubs or dive centers on board and the nice thing is that there are always some special characters among them. Someone who always has fun about every subject and always says something crazy. Someone who exactly follows the rules and follows all procedures right down to the seams. The popular dude trying to make himself popular with the womenfolk on board. The group leader who organizes everything but also wants to have a holiday himself, although he will help every diver who still has too much freedom of movement in terms of diving technique and so on. I won’t name names, but I’m sure that Leonardo knows exactly who I’m talking about. Something I often hear from Dutch divers is that they are used to dark water with poor visibility and because they are used to it, they can dive well anywhere in the world. I too once thought of my Dutch diving skills, yet I have learned a lot by diving in international waters and to be honest I am still learning.
After the first day of check diving we head for ‘The Golden Triangle’ or the best of the Red Sea which includes the reefs of the Brother Islands, Daedalus and Elphinstone. These are three offshore reefs with walls that drop down to a depth of up to 450 meters. The deep water has thermoclines, layers of water of varying temperatures, and currents that can be insidiously strong. Like the air, it does not flow in one direction, but different layers can flow differently at the same time. Combine that with a reef in the middle of a sea with dramatic walls that meander in all directions plus changing weather conditions and you get surprising currents. They can run horizontally along the wall, but also up or down and sometimes even away from the wall or over the top of the reef. And that is something that we usually don’t have in Dutch dark and poor visibility water and can therefore be quite surprising even for the most experienced divers!
Now you should know that as guides we not only know our waters, but also see them under all conditions at any time of the year in different weather conditions and moon phases. We look at the surface movement, the ebb and flow movement and also the predominant sea movement, three variables that can sometimes cause surprises at the same time. We keep our eyes peeled for soft corals showing the currents like branches in the wind. We look at bubbles from other divers and how they move through the water. Not to mention those little orange fish that like to swim hard against a current or other fish species that respond to currents. All parameters that help us see what the current is doing where on the reef, because one meter higher or lower, closer or further from the reef or just around the corner can make a world of difference. And if and is something we guides all do is to dive as optimally as possible with as little effort and air consumption as possible. The strong advice to everyone is always to do exactly what the guide does, so at the same point in the water and not one meter higher or lower. Because the guide prefers to be that lazy diver and can read the water and I can tell you from experience that that is not always easy. This week with Leonardo we were certainly surprised by exciting currents that were extra strong due to weather conditions. And even though we are Dutch divers who are quite used to it, a strange current will certainly surprise us. Nothing dangerous, but just as uncomfortable. And so air consumption goes up, we don’t always feel as confident as we used to be, and we learn to respect Mother Nature and her deep seas even more.
The dives at Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone were challenging but fantastic, the company amazing and having waited three years for it the trip was unforgettable as we were all in such great shape. But above all a week in which we made many friends and where I learned, or maybe I should say I was reminded, how wonderful it is to be Dutch…