Thursday, April 30, 2015

St. John's Reef

The furthest point south on our voyage was St. John's Reef, about 130 miles north of the border with Sudan. On the west side of the Red Sea, Egypt makes up about half of the coastline. Sudan lies to the south, then Eritrea, with Djibouti standing at the entrance the Indian Ocean. Looking at a map, St. John's Reef is where the Tropic of Cancer crosses the Red Sea, between the towns of Berenice and Bîr Shalatein. We spent two days here diving at Big Gota and Little Gota. The water has gotten another degree warmer, now reading 73-74 on my computer, which might actually be 76-77 in real life. It's cool, but very comfortable in all my layers of Sharkskin and neoprene.

We've seen very young white tip reef sharks, turtles, nudibranchs, and beautiful soft corals crowned with clouds of little fish. A Napoleon wrasse followed my buddy Dennis for an entire dive. Every time he would try to take a picture of it, it would swim away either straight up or straight down. Then, when he started ignoring it again, it would come back and hang out in his bubbles, just over his shoulder. Dennis would then try to take its photo, and the game would begin again. I started laughing out loud under water because this fish was so funny.

There haven't been any issues with he-man Nils on the past few dives, so I'm assuming he's settling down. I did find out, however, that he booked the Open Water certification course for his wife Miko without her ever having done the confined water dives. Usually when you get basic dive training, the first few dives are in a pool to keep things extra safe and to help build confidence before jumping into the ocean. The divemasters here had emailed back and forth before the trip to find out if Miko had done the confined water dives, and got conflicting answers to what should have been a simple yes-or-no question. Anyway, small wonder why she's so freaked out.

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