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Photo Essay: Beneath the Red Sea’s Waves

Written by: Fran Tatman

Discovering Life Beneath the Sea

Diving in the Red Sea changed the way I viewed scuba. The moment of my first dive off the coast of Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, I knew I was utterly hooked. It was just that good.
As we drove to the quayside the dusty rolling bleakness of the red sand dunes of the Sinai desert stretched away to the left, on the right a rich wonderland hidden beneath the glittering surf of the Red Sea. It is certainly no desert under the water.
We take a charter boat to the dive site, assembling our gear in the fresh breeze whipped up as we race along the coast to the reef. Before I know it’s time to enter the blue. I shuffle to the edge of the worn deck of the dive boat weighed down by the scuba equipment strapped to my back taking a giant step, fins spread wide; I tumble into the aqua water. As the surface closes over my head, I am enveloped by this new underwater paradise.

Sinking deeper into the aquatic landscape, pinnacles of hard coral draped with soft sea fans and sponges rise up towards me from the white sand bottom. Each tower swarms with darting clouds of silver, purple and orange fish.

Diving in the Red Sea is like taking a dip in someone’s well maintained tropical fish tank, the variety of wildlife is a fish-spotters dream.

Golden butterfly fish dart amongst the crevices in the pairs they form for life; they hunt and travel with their partner in the warm, colourful shallows.

Triggerfish dart along the sandy bottom, and when approached will dart upwards to show their red teeth and scare divers from their foraging patch.

The instantly recognizable clownfish dives in and out of its anemone home, taking nips at any fingers that get too close, this little fish has got a big attitude.

The Red Sea provides a warm, clear and easy place to find your fins if you want to learn to scuba dive. The marine life is incredible and abundant; all of these photos were taken on a single dive. Other times divers may see some of the big pelagic fish, hammerhead sharks, giant eagle rays, turtles and even whale sharks. With water temperatures in the area rarely dipping below 22 degrees centigrade and reaching highs in the summer of 28, most visitor’s rash vests and board shorts are the order of the day. The Red Seas low cost and extraordinary dive opportunities mean it certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.

Camera – Canon PowerShot G16

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