Under the (Red) Sea

After a 12+ hour (each way) trek to Dahab via minibus and a plethora of police checkpoints, we found ourselves soaking in the town that was once a small Bedouin fishing village. It still retains a relaxed feel, contra it's older, cooler brother, Sharm el Sheikh. After photographing the Eid in the streets, we took to the sea to hang with some fish.

The Red Sea is renowned for its corals and diverse aquatic life. This, staged against jagged cliffs and beautiful sunsets makes diving one of the most relaxing and awe-inspiring endeavours one can do when on vacation. Especially if that vacation boasts crystal-clear water and temperatures in the mid-30s. 

This awesome-ness, however,  does come at a price.

Illegal fishing has become somewhat of a problem in this delicate ecosystem. Large fish like grouper are prized for their meat and have proven to be a draw for tourists. As the Red Sea Environmental Centre (RSEC) points out, these fish are often pulled from the protected reefs around Dahab. Unfortunately, they also have a high level of toxicity. Not only do restaurants catering to tourists draw in illegally fished meat, they endanger the health of those who eat it.

Corals also don't escape damage. Inexperienced divers accidentally kick up sand on the reefs, and the increased number of divers has exacerbated the damage.

The situation in Dahab isn't all doom and gloom though! The Egyptian-German/Austrian collaboration of RSEC has been working for years to monitor and protect the biodiversity in the areas, giving divers for years to come something to marvel at. You can check out their work at:

www.redsea-ec.org/englisch/index-en.php

As always, photos below!

 Can backdrops get better than this? (I've been advised by a friend that in Oman, they are in fact better.)

Can backdrops get better than this? (I've been advised by a friend that in Oman, they are in fact better.)

 Diving in less than 5 meters of water in the late afternoon with a point-and-shoot. 

Diving in less than 5 meters of water in the late afternoon with a point-and-shoot. 

 There's something inherently relaxing and meditative to spending a bit of time in a world shared by 70%+ of the planet.

There's something inherently relaxing and meditative to spending a bit of time in a world shared by 70%+ of the planet.

 This grouper was most likely illegally fished from one of the local reefs. It was being sold off in front of a restaurant for 100/LE for a fillet. 

This grouper was most likely illegally fished from one of the local reefs. It was being sold off in front of a restaurant for 100/LE for a fillet. 

 Packing up after a beautiful dive at the Coral Garden. Shapeshifting/colour-changing octopus? Check. 

Packing up after a beautiful dive at the Coral Garden. Shapeshifting/colour-changing octopus? Check.