An 80’s Hawaiian shirt- teal, red, hot pink and yellow
An XXL pair of leopard print undies
The game of Pick Up Sticks
The cratered surface of the Moon.
What do all of these things have in common? They resembled under-water life seen in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt.
A PADI dive course introduced me to dozens of new species, including a parrot fish, a HUGE, lazy spotted blowfish, a spiky sea urchin, and a massive chunk of coral, all described above, in that order.
Learning to scuba dive from 9 am – 4pm for 3 days turned out to be an excellent adventure course, teaching dive techniques and resulting in an open water certification that is recognized around the world. Mastered skills included emergency ascents, sharing air with a buddy who has run out, managing underwater when losing your breathing tube or mask, and learning how to piece together all equipment.
Above: Swimming 30 feet under the Red Sea, at Moray Garden.
Our fearless leader, Ahmet, has been working in the dive industry in Dahab, Egypt for years and is about to open his own dive shop before the end of the year. We heard through the grapevine that he was the best teacher on the Sinai Peninsula and after taking the course, we agree he’s spectacular. He is serious about the sport but knows how to make it fun and educational as well.
Above: Ahmet, Jason and I before our last dive together.
Above: A lion fish
Above: “Nemo” the Clownfish
Above: Many types of coral on the reef
After zipping around Israel, it was a relief to stay put and work on the PADI dive course in Dahab. Penguin Resort, a hotel, dive center and restaurant/bar all in one, was home for 5 days. The dining area butted up to the water so the beach was literally the back yard. And the best part about this location was the price: a seaside spot for $14 a night!
At night we would gather around the dining area, which leaned out against the Dead Sea, overlooking Saudi Arabia. The floor space was set up like a Bedouin camp where we sat on cushions and ate hummus and babaganoosh, which is a purée of roasted eggplant and tahini, flavored with garlic and lemon juice. Puffy, warm pitas were served along with the dips and the smell of sweet sheesha smoke drifted through the air. Fruit flavored tobacco was smoked through the long tubes of these pipes.
Above: Penguin Resort’s lounge overlooking the Red Sea.