I visited Dahab for the first time in 2009 and I instantly fell in love with that laid back beach town. It has been two years since I last went there so this summer I really needed to pay the town an overdue visit. And so, on such a rush I decided to fly to Dahab and get myself acquainted with that PADI Open Water license I got a year ago and didn’t use ever since!!
Dahab is literally full of diving centers but since I haven’t dived in a year and still had doubts regarding the whole being-under-water-and-breathing-from-a-limited-capacity-tube experience, I wanted to be with a reputable center. I asked around and received lots of recommendations for Scuba Seekers. I sent them an email two days before my arrival to Dahab and on such a short notice they managed to arrange everything for me including my accommodation.
Since I haven’t dived in a year, I needed to undergo a reactive program to restore what I learned in the open water course. So I met with my instructor, Mohab, and started on a recap session before I go underwater. He asked if I faced any difficulties while undergoing the open water or whether I have any concerns and I honestly did have one!! My biggest concern was what if something happened to the regulator when I’m under water? What if I couldn’t manage to place it back in my mouth and breathe properly? Pretending I ran out of air and replace my air source with my buddy’s was the hardest exercise I did while doing the open water! And that one time when I swallowed water and forced myself to surface still hunted me till recently! So all those “what ifs” and being an over-thinker, a zodiac sign hazard, occupied my mind tremendously. So that was my biggest fear, not running into a shark or something 😀
I went on that first dive and of course I struggled with buoyancy but one good thing was that I did well in that regulator exercise, after hesitating once or twice of course 😀 Mohab suggested I go for the Advanced Open Water course and that was something I didn’t have in mind at all. I thought I would go on a few guided dives and maybe when I’m more confident I take it further with that course. He managed to convince me after all and that night I thought to myself, what did I do? I shouldn’t have accepted! Frankly, I’m glad I did the advanced course because that was exactly what I needed to be more confident.
I went on two extra guided dives before I started the advanced course and kind of worked on my deficiencies doing so which was great. I joined another lady who signed up for the same course, Sara, and we worked on that license together along with our instructor Mohab.
Unlike the open water, the advanced doesn’t have a knowledge test at the end of the course but nonetheless, I needed to read the manual and get those knowledge review questions answered before I’m licensed. It’s funny how diving is connected to reading and getting tested so far and being an academician, I couldn’t take it lightly 😀
Now reading the manual before the dives always freaked me out especially this time with the 30 meters deep dive. Going on the dives themselves is entirely a different matter, one that is pretty much enjoyable. The course contains 3 obligatory dives and 2 electives and the first obligatory one was the peak performance buoyancy. Oh man, I screwed that one up that I thought I wasn’t cut up for this so why bother doing it! Quite a start for the day, huh! The second obligatory dive was the navigation and as silly as this one might be, I got away with it just fine. A note to future diving buddies, I suck at navigation so you navigate I will follow 😀
After those two dives we went on an elective one which was the night dive! I have never swam at night before so I couldn’t imagine how it will feel like being under water in the darkness! We had flash lights of course but my main concern was whether I will be able to see properly with my glasses off or not 😀 It was never a problem during day light even without me having a prescription mask but at night? I had to figure that one out!
Let me be honest here, I was a tad worried no kidding!! I was about to dive into darkness with the help of a finite source of light and a constrained eyesight on my side, damn!! So how did it go? IT WAS AWESOME!! Oh my God, I loved it! The aquatic life is entirely different at night, you can literally see fish and corals you won’t see otherwise. I saw an octopus among other things that I don’t know the names of yet, I really need to start learning about all of this! Diving and studying again, huh! What was super cool about that dive was witnessing those tiny bioluminescent planktons ❤ We shielded our flash lights away and started waving our hands then I was stunned by the number of those tiny particles glowing and glittering in the dark! Reflected against the light coming from the surface, it was such a mesmerizing view!
The following morning we had the last two remaining dives, the obligatory deep dive and the elective drift one. Having read the deep dive section of the manual already had me nervous with all the talk about nitrogen narcosis and decompression illness!! Mohab told us he will be testing us with basic mathematical addition exercises once we reach the bottom of 30 meters and we will be required to compare gauges and computers among one another and write the data down on a slate. That is quite necessary to see if one started to be affected by nitrogen or not.
Unlike the previous dives that were conducted in a spot called the Lighthouse, we had the deep dive in the canyons. It’s called canyon because it’s indeed an underwater canyon. We went down and suddenly all my worries disappeared and I was just enjoying the scenery. At a depth of 20-something we came to an opening that took us down into the canyon and when we reached the bottom, I found myself at a depth of 30 meters.
It didn’t feel like 30 meters at all and surprisingly, I wasn’t even nervous as I was blown away by the sight of the underwater canyon! It was one of those canyons I hiked above surface, only this one was immersed under water. Despite the fact that I wasn’t irritated, I ended up consuming lots of air and at a depth of 15 meters I had approximately 60-70 bars!! Mohab shared some of his air with me so I would save some just in case and at that depth I was completely fine with switching regulators! That is something I wouldn’t have had the guts to do at let’s say 4 meters!! I couldn’t believe how that dive in specific helped in boosting my confidence! It was such a great fun 🙂
We had the last dive in the famous Blue Hole which is a very popular spot in Dahab for both diving and snorkeling. I always feared swimming in the deep blue sea where I can’t see the bottom and since the blue hole is bottomless, I was of course a little troubled. But again, once I got down there, it was pure fun. All the “what ifs” evaporated and I just enjoyed the drift. I passed reefs that were gigantic in size, they were a feast for the eyes, one that I devoured completely if you know what I mean. We continued to drift ascending slowly and the hypnotic scene was accompanied by a cleaner fish nibbling my lips. I wouldn’t have asked for a better closure.
That dive marked the end of the course. I was quite happy with myself for such an accomplishment because I was able to sense the improvement I acquired over the past few days. I’m grateful for Mohab as an instructor, he was very patient with me especially when I drove him nuts coming up with my own diving terminologies 😀 But seriously, he made me get rid of some of the fears I had and was keen on teaching us, Sara and I, some technicalities for our own knowledge. The course was such a great success, no regrets whatsoever for undertaking it and now I can’t wait till I go diving again! And I’m sure this time it won’t take me a whole year to get myself dipped. Thank you Mohab and Scuba Seekers for such a great diving experience 🙂
So besides diving, why is Dahab still lovable? Whatever I write over here won’t do it justice. Dahab is very chilled and that mood seems to invade everyone. People are extremely kind, they would help you out even without you asking and they would smile at you and greet you even if they don’t know you. And with such an attitude, it’s easy to make new cool friends and during that short trip of mine I was able to meet some interesting people. Nada who has been living in Dahab for a while now and gave me excellent recommendations about the best placed to eat or to just chill over coffee and some dessert, too bad I didn’t have time to try them all. Bakr from the hotel who lent me his bike during my last night so I would go to the lagoon. Isa from South Africa who has been vacationing in Egypt for few weeks, and of course Mohab and Sara 🙂
I went on that trip alone but didn’t end up lonely and I actually had a great time with all the people I met. And even during those rare moments when I was by myself, I was never bored nor sorry for being my own company. I would enjoy a walk along the waterside particularly at night when the moon was full or get lazy on the hammock while listening to the waves crashing by the shore and the birds whistling with the trees. And on my last night, I went out with Nada, Bakr and the guys to the lagoon where we spent few hours enjoying the quietness, counting shooting stars, and listening to the oud melodies of Hossam Hassan 😀
I was heavy hearted as the South Sinai mountains passed me by on my way to the airport the following morning. I was sad I was leaving Dahab, maybe because it will take me a while to be back. Or maybe for the reason that that departure was the start of the countdown of my return to Kuwait! However, those few days were just amazing and I wouldn’t have wished to have them any other way. Till next time gorgeous Dahab ❤
You are probably wondering about those recommendations, huh? 😀
- My favorite breakfast spot has always been Ralph’s German Bakery.
- For dinner, I received excellent service along with delicious food at Shark. If you are into Indian food try Nirvana. I heard that Namaste is also great but I didn’t have time to give it a shot unfortunately. I got two recommendations for Italian food from Nada and those will be Ramez & Paola and Eldorado, I tried neither!
- For coffee and maybe some sweets, there are plenty of places but I liked Athanor A LOT.
- Activities; you can swim, snorkel, go windsurfing, or dive of course. You can also rent a bike or go on a quad tour to the valleys, camp in Ras Abu Galum or the Blue Lagoon. The bustling Sharm El Sheikh is roughly an hour away and of course you can always go hiking in the nearby town of Saint Catherine.
Whatever you want, Dahab will deliver 😉