To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries
- Aldous Huxley

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Aqaba - The Red Sea

We woke in the desert and returned to Wadi Rum village where we took a taxi from Wadi Rum to Aqaba driving at an average of light speed.
Aqaba is hot, really really hot. It's also on the Red Sea.

We checked into our funky hotel that is pretty much made for divers called The International Arab Divers Village, and had lunch. I had a most delicious burger then we enquired about diving and organised for a double dive the next day.

The Japanese sushi

After lunch we relaxed a little (ie. sat in front of the air-con) before heading to the Red Sea with fins, mask and snorkel.

The beach at Aqaba leaves a lot to be desired. Like the rest of Jordan so far, they treat it like a dumping ground and the beach isn't exactly a beach but not-so-fine rocks.
This may seem like a turn-off if anyone planned on going to the Red Sea but trust me. You don't go for the beach. You go for what's in the water.

And what's that you ask?

Well avid reader it's all about the coral and the fish.

This stuff.

It is a veritable aquarium. The amount of fish and coral there is enough to keep you exploring for days and the water is so warm but then you hit these cool pockets and you start shivering because of the sudden drop in temperature.
We spent, at least, an hour and a half there before heading back up to the hotel. If there was one problem with the hotel it's just a little bit of a pain walking up there. Though since we've walked the equivalent of walking around Jupiter we were fit enough to get up there without crawling.

We had a nice dinner and then hit the hay, but then we had to change rooms because the aircon was leaking. So we moved our luggage into the next room and fell asleep pretty quickly.

Aqaba Day 2

The Day had arrived. We get to dive again.
We had a pretty good breakfast of fried eggs, some tomatoes, pita bread and a cream cheese and hommus to spread. All that went down a treat and then we met our Divemaster, who is from Zimbabwe and a pretty interesting fellow (more on that later).

Cedar Pride Wreck

We sorted our equipment and met with the other 2 divers - 1 from Japan and 1 from Sweden - and jumped in the truck and headed down to the beach.

Our first dive was called the Japanese Garden and was pretty much a lot of sea grass, a lot of coral and a tonne of different fish. The water temperature was easily in the high 20s and we went as deep at 14 meters for this dive.

The visibility is amazing, like I said about the snorkelling it is like we jumped into an aquarium you see in any old living room, except it is 40,000 times bigger. While we did not see any of the larger marine animals (like Sharks, they apparently go on the Egypt side of the Red Sea) it was full of fire corals and small fish.
It was brilliant.

The second dive was at the Cedar Pride Wreck. The cargo ship was deliberately sunk by the owners as an insurance scam 20 years ago but were caught and filmed on the lifeboats before the boat was fully on fire.

This dive was a little further out and a lot deeper but boy is she a big one. We dropped to about 20 meters and hadn't touched the bottom of the boat but was able to explore the inside of the hull as well as the masts (the wreck lays on it's side, not upright). The marine life have fully taken over with coral spreading all over the ship and even has some permanent residents.

After the dive we returned and cleaned the gear and got to talking to our Divemaster who has led an interesting life, including having 9 diving lives it seems. He has been attacked by a crocodile when he was a kid in Zimbabwe and twice survived falling nuts on oil rigs that could have taking his air out or just crushed him. He's also dived to a depth of 179 meters.
It was incredible listening to his experiences, but right now he has an awesome job. I could easily spend my time working at the Red Sea and not get sick of it.

It's a shame we only really got one days worth of diving in.

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