It’s the last week for the Egypt team here at Roots camp, and so everyone has been scrambling to get their fins wet one final time
On Friday, the team once again took out the Dive for Debris mesh bags to take part in a line clearing dive at El Mina, a dive site off the pier at El Quseir. The team were shocked to see just how much line and other debris was down there.
The team were in the water for an hour, and we all surfaced with bulging bags full of line, plastic waste and even two plastic boxes. In all honesty it was hard to feel like we had made much of a difference at all. Line is a massive problem as fish and coral become tangled leading to an untimely death due to a lack of food and oxygen. Fishing line is just a small part of the problem though with ‘ghost nets’ drifting throughout the ocean, trapping larger marine life such as turtles and whales. We all felt like we had added another skill to our diving repertoire and we look forward to many more line clearing in years to come.
Another new experience for the team was the night diving. For most of us this was the first time that we had been on a night dive, and while some of us were feeling a little uneasy, we knew we were in safe hands with the dive guide. The moon was new, casting darkness over the reef. Stepping into the night, we waded in. The reef was unexpectantly loud. There was a cacophony of clicks, snaps and crackles from the surrounding wildlife nestling in the shadows.
The team saw crocodile fish, stargazers, lionfish, bioluminescence and even some Spanish dancers. On that night we saw the house reef from a different perspective and it made us appreciate the marine life that lives there all the more.
On our day off this week, some of the team decided that they would wake up at the crack of dawn to go diving at the famous Elphinstone reef. Elphinstone is approximately 40 metres long and situated 30 km off the coast of Marsa Alam. Strong currents whip around the pencil-shaped reef, forming the marine life that the team craved to see. We kitted up in anticipation and then squeezed onto a speedy to reach the reef.
We split into two groups and plunged into the crystal clear waters below. The reef was a hive of activity. Straight away we heard the whistles of dolphins before catching sight of a turtle lazily cruising along the top of the reef. We headed deep to 35m in the hope of spotting hammerheads in the blue
but were unlucky this time. We then turned and headed along the side of the reef which seemed to shimmer from the lyretail anthias and chromis’. As we returned, an enormous Napoleon Wrasse passed 10 metres below us, before tuna raced by. After a surface interval, we dropped back into the water and dove across the reef flat. We saw fusiliers, a big barracuda and another turtle rising to the surface to catch a breath of air.
While we were all in awe of the reef, most of us were waiting with baited breath for what could be the main event of the dive: The oceanic whitetip shark. One group were extremely lucky to see this incredible creature with pilot fish (Naucrates ductor) in tow. We were absolutely ecstatic once we surfaced and it definitely left us with a great feeling on our last day off.
The Egypt team have been really lucky to see some crackers these past few weeks; not only have we got to see some Spanish dancers, oceanic whitetips and Napoleon wrasse, but we have also been lucky enough to see Nudibranch, spotted eagle rays and spinner dolphins.