Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt ~ Tiran & Dolphins

Good morning! This post is the fifth in a series of posts about our incredible trip to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in 2012! To start over at the beginning, click here!

Part four ended with us learning about the Thistlegorm wreck. Although we didn't get to dive there on this trip to Sharm, the rest of our diving adventures were pretty exciting, so let's get back to them!

My journal entries pick up again the next morning!

Sunday 1 July 2012


It's a good thing we were looking forward to showers and dinner, because that was really all we did last night before going to bed! :) We were in bed "watching TV" by 19:45!

This morning was the same pattern: up at 6:30, packed and ready for the day, breakfast by 7:00, lunches picked up and waiting for the bus by 7:30.

The huge school of silver fish yesterday were definitely snappers, and the brightly colored, stripey fish are trigger fish. I think I've been getting those confused with parrotfish, although we have seen some parrotfish, too.

Today we're on a boat called the Empress Shorouk. According to our guide, Kirstie again today, the boat is named after the captain's daughter Shorouk.

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image credit

We're going to Tiran today, and it's about an hour and a half boat ride to get there. From our first day of diving we've been in the same group with four British folks. Three of them are traveling together: Mick, John & Michelle. John & Michelle are married, and Mick seems to be their long-time friend. Mick's wife passed away two years ago. He and Austin had a nice long talk one day, and "swapped stories." The other British gentleman is called Chris.


Everybody's eating lunch and resting now. We've had our two morning dives in Tiran.

The first dive was on Gordon Reef. There are four pinnacle reefs in Tiran named after the four original British cartographers who first mapped the area. Gordon Reef was supposed to be a semi-drift dive, but it ended up being a moored dive for us because I went through my air so quickly. We did see a huge eagle ray, a manta ray, and lots of brightly colored wrasses. Along with butterfly fish and the smaller angel fish. While we were doing our safety stop, we saw more of the small white fish with three vertical dark gray stripes (sergeant fish), and some beautiful turquoise-colored fish with very frilly fins and tails. We finished our ascent and came up, both of us over 60 bar. We were both pretty frustrated at such a short dive (only 34 minutes), so we ordered 15 liter tanks for tomorrow's dives.

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eagle ray, fairy wrasse, clown fish

After a nice surface interval we steamed up to Jackson Reef. On our way there were a few dolphins riding our wake - maybe four or five. We hopped in over Jackson and made our descent. It was another beautiful coral wall and there were huge schools of the fish that look like goldfish and among them were some more purple/orange fish. Again lots of the wrasses. The current was very strong, and we ended up flipping around at one point and letting it drift us along the wall. During the drift we saw one of those long, skinny silver fish with a pointy nose (I've got to find out what those are called, too) and a brilliant green anemone with clown fish darting in and out of it. The current was REALLY strong, and we had to fight against it to get back to the mooring line. We were still the first ones up, but only by about three minutes, and or air consumption was about equal (however, to be fair, Austin did push me for a little way to conserve my air, and he had about 4 bar more than I did when we came out).

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Kirstie briefing us on Jackson Reef

John and Michelle were close behind us, and the rest of the crew not long after them. We decided to forego he third dive, another local dive on the way back to Naama Bay, and packed our kit back into our boxes. We will be on this same boat tomorrow to go back to Ras Mohammed. Hopefully we will have favorable currents, and we'll get longer dives with the larger tanks.

As we were steaming away from Tiran, the captain started sounding his horn and hollering that there were dolphins around. We went downstairs and ran to the sun deck in the bow. Directly in front of us on the right hand side was a mama dolphin with her little baby! They swam alongside us for 5-10 minutes, and after a bit the big daddy dolphin joined them! When they swam off, the captain announced that lunch was ready. In the time it took everyone to load their plates there was a whole school of dolphins congregating out in front of us. We got up to them and counted between 15 and 20. Some off the port side, five or six off the bow and about eleven behind! It was pretty incredible!

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Mama dolphin with her baby!

Now we're lazily motoring towards the local dive site Kirstie has chosen for the final dive of the day, and Austin and I are planning for a nice, long nap while the others dive (Austin has already started his ;D).


The fishes that look like goldfish are called anthias. The purpley ones that school with them are actually anthias, too! Crazy!

Well, there you have it! Four of our five diving days are behind us! Still to come: sharks, camels, and bedouins, oh my! Be sure to come back for the rest of the story!


To see a list of ALL of our travel stories, in chronological order, click here!

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