31 Oct Living Dangerously: Scuba Diving the World’s Deadliest Site, The Divers Cemetery
It was pitch black. Cautiously I floated around in the darkness. All I could hear was the darth vader sound of my breathe. Even in a wetsuit it was cold. A bright steam of light beamed out of the flashlight on what looked like a scene out of a Tim Burton movie. The freaks come out at night was true underwater as well. You arent supposed to shine the light on anything you want to see directly. This could potentially blind whatever you want to see what was then subject to attack and or death by being eaten by a predator. Yet another nurturing thought as I reminded myself to breathe. Ironically this was the most important part of the entire scuba diving course. Remain calm and breathe normally. Check.
A night dive was part of an advanced diving course that would allow me to dive the infamous blue hole to 30 meters. Diving had never before been on my radar. In Neuweiba I went snorkelling for the first time. The underwater world captivated me with its beauty. It was literally a whole other world that existed. Filled with an array of amazing creatures swimming around. It was there I met a fellow traveler that was excited about the blue hole. I, myself, had never heard of it. He explained it was an underwater cave that went straight down, hence, blue hole. There are only five blue holes in the world. Dahab is not only where one of them is but it is also considered the cheapest place to get certified to scuba dive. YAY and SCORE!!!
Excitement was in the air the day of the big dive. Bright rays of the summer sun mixed with the warm summer breeze made the 30 minute top off jeep drive to the blue hole fly by. The beautiful desert scenery and majestic mountains alongside the clear turquoise water was surreal. Almost as surreal as pulling up to see the dozen plus plaques on the face of the cliff leading to the Blue Hole where divers had lost their lives. The plaques represented a fraction of the lives lost here.
The Blue Hole is most famous for the amount of lives it has claimed. Somewhere around 60 divers have lost there lives attempting the 55 meter arch at its depths. 55 meters is deep enough to induce a strong nitrogen narcosis in the human body, and causes divers to become delirious, disoriented, and sometimes renders them incoherent. Fortunately this depth is beyond recreational dive limits so I was happy staying 30 meters and up. Entering into the water through a gap in the shoreline rocks was exhilarating. Our instructor gave us clear instructions in regard to not disturbing the coral or life. What was once flourishing coral had now been subject to unmindful divers and mass tourists causing damage to the site.
Down the Blue Hole
One diver at a time, dropping down an enclosed chimney in the reef exiting at 30 metres or so onto the sheer wall. The reef is near vertical at this point descending straight down along side the wall and diving around the hole. Blue is all you can see looking out to sea with the wall to your back.
The massive size and dramatic shape of the cliff, whats left of the beautiful coral, and the amazing array of fish were part of a truly memorable underwater adventure. At one point our instructor took off his breathing apparatus, opened his mouth and little fishes darted in and out of his mouth cleaning his teeth. So cool. Upon exiting I witnessed the free divers who look alien with their tight suits and giant fin. They radiate magic as you watch them effortlessly dive without gear.
Once you get emerge from the dive bedouin type facilities surround the main exit / entry points, with toilets, seating, food and drinks available. Despite all the hoopla and perhaps dramatisation over the diving deaths it was an overall serene and incredible experience.