From small clownfish to large coral formations and schools of fish: diving reporter Patrick Kranenbroek enjoys the reefs of the Red Sea.
Like many divers, I was able to go on holiday again after 2 years of Corona. After my trip to Egypt was postponed for 2 years, I left for Hurghada on March 3, 2022. I used to always avoid Hurghada and visit other beach resorts in Egypt. I was under the impression that Hurghada was way too busy and that the reefs were damaged. But nothing is less true. I’m going boat diving all week and the reefs around Hurghada are beautiful. On the last day we visit Marsa Abu Galawa and Shaab Iris.
At Marsa Abu Galawa I put my Zuiko 12-50 mm lens with zoom gear on it. I bought the camera and lenses a week before the trip and practiced with the camera all week. During the dive I come across all kinds of things. A Stonefish, but it’s laying with its behind towards me and its head against a real rock. That won’t be a pretty picture, I think and swim on. Then we find an octopus in a cave. You can just see 3 suckers from its tentacles. Patience I guess, it will come out. But no, no signs of moving. A blue speckled stingray is looking forward to it. He swam past me and lay down in the sand in front of me. I swerve around him and position myself right in front of the ray. My camera comes up to 20cm in front of the ray and I focus on its eyes. Yep, that’s fine. I swim on happily.
Then frolic with the clownfish. They are fun, but also terrible if you are demanding in how you want to take the picture. Fortunately, I’m patient and if I have one nicely in view, I print. I look around and the group I dived with is gone. Fortunately I have more sense of direction underwater than in traffic and I finish the dive neatly and finally I climb the boat stairs.
We would make the second dive on the other side of the reef, but because of the strong current there we look for another spot. We sail for fifteen minutes and arrive at Shaab Iris. That was lucky, because in my eyes it ended up being the best dive of the week. And unfortunately also the last. Underwater it consists of several large pinnacles, bursting with fish. Florida Freediving is the best. Mainly flag gestures and glass fish live here in abundance. My choice of lens was good, because after lunch I put the fisheye lens on it, so that I can take wide-angle photos.
We swim through all the pinnacles, look at them extensively and when I arrive at the last pinnacle I am amazed. How beautiful it is. The boat is 10 meters away from here and is therefore clearly visible. I think to myself: It’s the last dive, I’ll hang out here for a while. I see all the divers climbing aboard 1 by 1 and I myself swim a few laps around the pinnacle. When my pressure gauge reads 30 bar and the maximum dive time is 80 minutes, I swim to the boat. During the deco stop I see a barracuda swimming on top of the pinnacle. Am I going back? No, but not.
It’s not a long goodbye to the reefs, I realize. In about 6 weeks it will be May holidays and I will return to Hurghada with my wife and children. I have already spent many diving holidays with my wife, but our eldest son of 13 has only dived in the Netherlands. A dream of mine will come true when I will soon be able to take the oldest underwater in Egypt and show the youngest the reefs while snorkeling. In any case, we are all very excited about it.