Safaga, Egypt - 29th June 2008
Dive parameters: max depth 20m, dive time 48mn
Dive vacations in Egypt with my diving club in Paris. It’s a good dozen of us, having two dives a day on a boat running only for us, and therefore doing our own thing. We have two instructors within the club, so they are running the certification dives for the courses, while I take diving some of the certified divers.
I shall make a point before telling this story that this is the coolest atmosphere you could imagine. We all love diving with each other, we have members in their early 20’s and some in their 60’s, it’s not a big group so we all know each other pretty well, we have good fun all in all and no one is trying to desperately impress the other like it happens a lot in France (where Cousteau invented diving for crap’s sake, so we ought to show to the world how much better we are at it and do it deeper and better because we are Ze French. Ha ha.). So no one gave me real crap for what follows, although they all took the piss.
We get a dive brief on the boat, our dive guide is showing us a map of the site: take that direction towards that small island there, you’ll cross a sandy area for a few minutes and then get to the reef. OK, seems pretty easy.
My ears haven’t been pretty easy on me that week, though. I had trouble equalizing several times, and had to descend as slow as a baby nudibranch on several occasions.
Bad luck, today is one of those. The worst, in fact. The water is clear, so I can see the others below swimming around and waiting for me, but I think it takes me almost TEN minutes to go down below 10 meters. Ridiculous.
As always, this makes me pissed, super frustrated, and annoyed because I feel I am spoiling their dive.
When I finally get at the bottom, my buddies have been now waiting for me for a while, staring at clownfish and other stuff.
It turns out I am also being mistaken for a shark, as while I was stuck between 3 and 6 meters trying to get down, a remora has come and stuck itself on my fin. OK then, you can come and dive with us.
So here we are, I am pissed at my ears and annoyed with myself, I look around and try to remember what the plan was, and I head towards what seems at the time the right direction. In a few minutes, we shall hit the reef, at the moment it is only sand and a few rock patches.
But...no reef. We swim for five minutes, no reef. I accelerate the pace a little bit, a few more minutes, still no reef. And then, I have to admit : I have no idea where the hell we are.
So I do what trained dive guides do best when they get lost : pretend it's all good. I slow down again, and start looking for fish and creatures, make sure everybody's fine, and we just enjoy our dive.
When we surface, we are faaaar away from the boat. Try to act as cool as possible, I go "hey guys, you need to do a swim with all your gear on for your level 2 certification...well, here you go !". So they all take the piss at me (yes, I can't really lie very well), and then we all swim back to the boat.
And I end up being "the Divemaster that gets lost" for the rest of the day. Oh well. It has happened before, it will happen again.
(that's me going "C'mon down, you silly, you don't want to get lost do you?". Ha ha. Please note the professional look thanks to the snorkel. And now it hits me that I had this wetsuit since at least 2008. No wonder why it doesn't feel like a 5mm anymore...(and yes, I wear a 5mm in Egypt. I don't like being cold.))