We moved on through the best of what the northern Red Sea has to offer. While out of season and slightly too far north for any serious pelagic action, the soft corals at Shark and Yolanda enchanted us, while the cargo of toilets lost in the wreck of the Yolanda added some light entertainment to the dive.
Views of the Giannis D.
And, though a little busy with divers, the wrecks of the Thistlegorm and Carnatic were bucket-list dives for us, and gave way to a couple of perfect dives on the wreck of the Giannis D.
The first of these was a night dive, and after an exciting but routine jaunt on the surrounding reef we were lucky enough to witness a fascinating feat of nature.
From the dark, giant trevally after giant trevally zoomed past us, repeatedly scattering a school of baitfish that had gathered in the deck-lights of the boat.
By the time we had completed our safety stop, there was nothing left but a cloud of shimmering scales slowly dropping to the reef below.
As the end of the week neared, the lead guide Ahmed revealed a treat in store for us. Sitting us down in the lounge, they began to play us a clip from Blue Planet II. It took until he started explaining for the penny to drop – we were going to dive the site where they had filmed the now-renowned dolphin clip.
A shiver of excitement rippled through the group as the boat’s engines started up, and divers scattered to their cabins to start religiously preparing camera-kit in readiness for the big event.
Arriving at Sha’ab El Erg, also known as Dolphin House, we were met with strong winds and a choppy sea. Half-resigned to missing this chance of a lifetime, we settled into the briefing. It was borderline. Definitely borderline. But if we were up for it; we could dive. Phew!
Our first dive at Sha’ab El Erg was rather uneventful. As we descended over a huge heart symbol, left in stones on the seabed by divers who had gone before, the sea was filled with the sound of far-off dolphins. Alas, today was not to be our day, and despite the incessant mocking of the pod we didn’t see any of Dolphin House’s most famous occupants.
This was probably for the best. An unforecast strong current was beginning to rip through the channel, and it was all Rich and I could do to make it back to the boat anchored upcurrent, hopping from coral head to coral head for shelter.
Some of our fellow-divers were not so lucky. One perk of being a slow diver is that we had a much shorter return swim!