Its only a few days since I came back from my travel to Dahab in Egypt. The whole trip to this former beduin fisher village located at the Red Sea, respectively the Golf of Aqaba, was dedicated to diving and underwater videography.
Dive sites of Dahab
As it was my fourth visit to this town on the Sinai peninsula 90 km north of Sharm el Sheikh, I knew what to expect. Be it seagrass meadows in shallow waters or steep bottomless dropoffs and colorful coral gardens – Dahab has it. In contrast to the noisy Sharm el Sheikh the atmosphere is layed back and every day life is going a slower pace. Diving in Dahab is mostly done from the shore. A few secluded divesites are only accessible by boat or camel.
Probably the most known dive spot of Dahab is the the Blue Hole, which is basically what the name already suggests: a big hole in the reef top, which drops down to over 100 meters depth and which is connected to the open ocean via the arch at 52 meters and the saddle at around 6 meters. Its said to be one of the most dangerous dive sites in the world as several hundred divers lost their life here. It has to be said, that the Blue Hole is not a dangerous dive spot per se, but many tragic accidents happened because the divers did not know their limits. However, in my opinion the Blue Hole as a dive site is overrated an due to hundreds of snorkelers it is also overcrowded at some times.
But Dahab has some more or less hidden treasures, waiting to be explored by divers. One of my alltime favourites is Masbat Bay with the dive sites Bannerfish Bay and Mashraba, located right at the heart of the town. Some people might consider this sites with relatively shallow waters, seagrass meadows and single coral blocks as boring. But I would suggest to give it a try as there are always chances for some Red Sea critters such as frogfish, ghost pipefish or seahorses. Three or four resident turtles call Masbat Bay their home and if you keep an eye into the blue, you might spot an eagle ray passing by. Diving further south in the Bay, close to Mashraba bridge you can explore a beautiful, hard and soft coral covered pinnacle called Roman´s Rock, where you might even see the impressive Napoleon wrasse.
If you are on the search for maze-like coral gardens there is no way around the famous Islands dive site with its huge Porites corals. Less known but in my opinion even more spectacular and only accessible by boat is Sha´ab Said. Not many people dive this site, so the reef is in exceptional good condition.
Going a bit further south by boat (or camel) you will find probably Dahab´s best spot for diving: Gabr el Bint (meaning: grave of the girl). You will be amazed by big gorgonians growing in the impressive reef wall. If you have a closer (and careful!) look into the fans of the gorgonians, you might find a Longnose Hawkfish. Due to the current, which is quite common here, the coral growth along the reef wall of Gabr el Bint is probably the most beautiful and diverse of all of the Dahabian dive sites. Species commonly found here are Fusiliers, Dogtooth Tuna and Milkfish. From time to time, have a look into the deep blue as you never know what´s passing by – occasionally big pelagic species such as Whale sharks, Hammerhead sharks or Manta rays can be spotted.
Filming the Underwater World of the Red Sea
As mentioned, my aim during the trip was to get some amazing underwater footage. So permanent companion during the dives was my Olympus OM-D E-M10II in the corresponding Ikelite underwater housing.
The only lens I used was the M.Zuiko 9-18mm f4-5.6 super wideangle lens, which was a good choice for capturing the impressive reefscapes. Crucial for getting smooth shots was a good buoyancy, which is luckily an easy task for me. To prevent the classic blue color cast of underwater videos, I had to do a manual white balance after every change of depth or to use my video light for closer shots. As Olympus camera menus can be a bit confusing, the white balance part was a little struggle in the beginning but after a while I got used to the procedure. So far, I am pleased with the outcome although there is a lot to learn for me! I will now let the images speak for themselves and I hope you enjoy my following impressions of the Red Sea underwater world: