Thursday, April 30, 2015

Nest of Eels

I've heard the expression "a nest of eels," but I don't think I'd ever seen one until today. We were diving at Sha'ab Sharm off Wadi el Gamel, and as I drifted by a coral pinnacle I noticed a huge eel tail. Where there's a tail, there's a head, so Dennis and I looked carefully into a few holes until we found it. And it was huge. And there was another big eel in there too. They were intertwined, I think they were mating. The next dive ended in the same area a couple of hours later, and the two eels were still in that hole together.

Chef Said made an amazing cake for dessert at lunch today. It was decorated with sliced fresh fruits and whipped cream, and tasted delicious. He put on his chefs' whites and his toque to present it, I'm sure he was justifiably proud. After lunch I took a nap while the boat moved north. We're now near Marsá Alam, about 30 miles from where we started last week in Port Ghalib. We made an afternoon dive at Habili Marsá Alam. A habili is a submerged reef in Arabic. The dive started nicely, there were lots of coral heads rising from a white sandy bottom, home to blue spotted rays and colorful fish.

Divemaster Erin said we would circumnavigate the habili, and there would be "a little bit" of current on one side that we would have to swim against. Erin is young and fit and that "little bit" was actually moderate and we had to swim against it for about 10 minutes. Many people found this quite unpleasant, and a couple of people blew through most of their air in it. The current crossed over a huge expanse of rubble, so we had all the fun of an aerobic swim with not a whole lot to look at. Finally we got around to the lee side of the reef. The reef came out to a point, with several swim-throughs. I went the long way around the outside, and it was cute to see the other divers popping out of the reef in different spots. I also saw two amazing angelfish: the dark blue and yellow Arabian, and the multi-striped Emperor. Unfortunately I was not able to photograph these stately colorful creatures. I also saw a couple of leopard spotted blennies. Blennies are adorable fish, they have sort of wedge-shaped bodies, rounded fins, and big googly eyes fringed with long "lashes." This pair was larger than I'm used to seeing, and they hopped rather than glided. Blennies can be shy, and as I approached with my camera they burrowed down into a cranny in the coral.

Miko and Nils made this dive together (they did one yesterday, too). They held hands most of the way, and she seemed to be doing a decent job for a complete beginner. I was thinking maybe I had misjudged him until I sat down to write this post. They're sitting across the bar lounge area from me, just within earshot, and he's telling her everything she did wrong on the dive. They got into a minor argument about her not understanding something he had been trying to tell her underwater about her technique. On the plus side, though, now that she's actually diving, he has to pay attention to her and can't just take off or do gonzo stuff. Tensions between him and Darwish seem to have abated. I hope he's still not going to try to get Darwish fired. Tomorrow is our last day of diving. We'll be dropping in twice in the morning, hopefully at the famous Elphinstone Reef but of course it all depends on the sea conditions.

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