Who has not dreamed of doing a private dive on a spot that is usually very (too) popular?
Unconditional lover of isolated, wild and uncrowded sites, when you talk to me about Elphinstone in the Red Sea, and even though I love this dive spot, I am more often doubtful.
Indeed, if I love the site (I told you about it when I tested the diving cruise => here), it is regularly invaded by hordes of divers looking for sharks giving me the impression of being in a shopping mall on a day of sales … which I like much less.
However, this exceptional diving spot of Red Sea can be declined as “private diving” and offer exceptional underwater shows, incredible, isn’t it?
This was the case for me that day.
Is there a winter in Egypt?
The answer is yes
Although the temperature of the sea and the air is always more pleasant all the year in Egypt than in my little Belgium, it is cold this morning of February when I settle on the beach of the fascinating Abu Dabbab bay to see the sun rise (and because I’m going to be able to dive in Elphinstone today)
As it is winter here, there will be no dive liveaboard, which will inevitably change from the peak season when Elphinstone looks more like a huge Jacuzzi than to a preserved natural site 🤔 (those who have already been there in the summer know what I’m talking about)
However, I am so eager to join this dive site that I arrive half an hour too early to the dive club still quite empty at that time (and yes, Elphinstone is wild even with all the bubbles, full of life … and there are regularly longimanus and other sharks hanging there).
Once equipped, we reach the site of Elphinstone less than 20 minutes later with a zodiac. On the boat, we are 6 divers, a guide and the captain.
The sky is overcast and the sea a little rough, our Egyptian captain makes us understand that he does not like the cold by raising the collar of his raincoat. But, do you think I like that? 😱
These exceptional climate conditions (usually Egypt is rather sunny with a nice blue sky) are accompanied by another peculiarity: we are alone on the spot, no other boat on the horizon. Never seen that.
Therefore, this dive spot too popular will offer us a “private” dive
Warm in my semi-dry suit, I smile … Elphinstone here we are!
With Ali, our guide, we decided to make the first dive on the east slope by immersing ourselves in the middle of the reef to finish on the South plateau where you can regularly see longimanus.
Visibility is perfect not too cold water (22 °C) and the festival of color and life well present.
For my eyes as a diver, the Red Sea is certainly one of the most beautiful destinations in the world to explore.
Turtles, schools of tuna, anemone, clownfish, angels or parrots, … an ocean of life unfolds just in front of us.
As we follow the drop off, we are surrounded by many trumpet fishs, very curious who come very close to admire our team.
They play with us, pass and return in front of our cameras, turn around our tanks, disappear and reappear in an instant and swim with us to the South plateau, for our greatest pleasure.
Unfortunately for shark lovers, the South Plateau is calm and deserted. No longimanus on the horizon. While the other divers of the team remain alert to potentially see one of these great predators, I go away a little to go in search of a magnificent anémone seen there a few months earlier … in the hope to make some beautiful pictures.
Suddenly, my eyes are attracted by two shadows slowly emerging from the dark abyss.
I have the impression to see a hammerhead shark. I alert my buddy with my Buddy Watcher and go a little bit more in the big blue.
And there, surprise! Two magnificent and gigantic dolphins appear under my amazed eyes.
One of them disappears almost instantly while the other gets closer and I can then distinguish in his mouth half a fish (probably a trigger fish).
The dolphin has fun throwing and catching his half-fish like a cat playing with his mouse … it’s excellent and unpublished for me.
Obviously, the animal takes pleasure playing with his prey. What a show !
Several times he swims near us and I can see his beautiful smooth skin.
The dolphin will spend long minutes around us going from the surface to the dark depths, constantly returning to allow us to admire it. In the distance, we hear the other dolphin without being able to see him.
Where there are dolphins, there are no sharks … we will not see longimanus but for this time we don’t loose anything, isn’t it?
We go back on the boat and our two marine mammals will greet us one last time for a few seconds.
This is also diving, a brief incursion into an exceptional world full of surprises and ephemeral encounters.
Scuba diving regularly offers us special moments and unique experiences lived in symbiosis with our environment. And what was your most unusual moment during your dives?
Feel free to tell us in a comment below, I’m curious to find out
Above all … do not forget to be happy 🤗
PS: do you want to stay connected and want to be notified of upcoming articles? Sign up on the Facebook Page, for the Newsletter or check the box reserved for this purpose by posting a message below … other articles will follow very soon 🙂