At the weekend, there is nothing like packing up the car and heading for the beach diving. The waters are warm, clear and teaming with life. The red sea has got to be one of the top places to dive in the world. Well I think so anyway.
The drive to the beach can be an adventure in itself. It involves a 3 hour drive down the escarpment along what the Saudis laughably call a road ! When in reality its just a rocky dirt track with the odd patch of tarmac thrown across it at intervals. A lot of the road has been washed away with flooding waters rolling down the mountain. Obviously it isn't a safe road to travel along when its raining. There is even a guard at the head of the escarpment to stop you entering the road if the conditions are too bad. Not even the Saudis will dare to drive it when it's been raining and their driving skills are open to question as it is ! But thats a whole new page! :o)
My faverate beach that we go to is called "Blue flip-flop beach" What ??!! I hear you all say. Well, let me explain. The beaches here are, generally, not named. it's difficult to even get a map of the place. The Saudis seem to have an aversion in letting the general populus knowing where they are in the world. In case they work out how to escape I guess, I don't know.
Anyway, about 30 Km's North of Al Birq is a stretch of beach we named "Blue Flip-Flop" beach as on our first visit there we found a blue flip-flop lying in the sand. Also, it was as good as a name as any. Along this same strech of beaches are "Frenchmans", Nurses North and South and Myrans. The names we use are , generally, made up on the day. We need a name to enter into our dive log books to keep a record of our dives. Things like, place, depth, time under the water, etc, etc. These details are critical with regard to nitrogen in our blood system. Remember, we live at altitude. We can't get back up the escarpment until it is safe to do so. Dont want to get the "Bends" do we?
After the 3 hour trip down the mountain, we arrive at the beaches. It's an easy drive as far as navigation goes, there is just the one road. You start off and 3 hours later, you stop. The drive back is the worst. After a day of diving, it's hard work satying awake for the drive back up the escarpment. But if you fall asleep, you'll never awaken again.
As you can see, there isn't a lot to do on these beaches except what you can bring with you. There are no amenities what so ever. If you didnt't bring it with you, you haven't got it. There is just sand and water. Along with the odd toe breaking rock or rubbish left behind from an arab "goat grab", with maybe the skin of the goat for good measure :o) We usually travel in pairs in case we have a "drama" travelling down there. If you break down, you don't wanna be here !!
The beaches are teaming with sand crabs ! They are everywhere. We usually get here about 6am and they are all over the sandy beaches looking foir breakfast I guess. I wouldn't say they were vicious or anything, it's just that they are curious and come up to the cars and your dive gear and wonder what we are doing in their back yard I suppose. We do our best not to upset them too much. It is their beach afterall. We are just guests for the day.
This one on the right here has decided that my air tank is now his, or her's...how do you tell? Anyway, they also have a habbit of taking shade under you tyres. So you have to be careful when you are pulling away on your way back. They will eat anything. I somewtimes feed them. Oh dear, I need to start wearing a hat I think :o)
These are my faverite fish !! They are called "Clown fish" and are the friendlest little fish I have ever come across. If you sit quietly by them they will come out and say "hello". We feed then food we have brought down with us. Meaty type of food. I have more oics of clown fish then any others I think. Ive only put 2 here as I didn't want to flood the page with clown fish pics. They quite often will come right up to your mask and have a look inside. Hours and hours of entertainment :o) Maybe I should put some sun block on, as well as the hat, to keep the sun off my head. I need to get out more and meet some real people :o)