Another day of guiding today, this time Local. Much as some people see our local days as a chance to warm up for trips to Ras Mohammed and Tiran, I really enjoy the different topography and the surprises that often brings. Manta season? Confine yourself to local, as 90% of sightings are one of these sites. A little research shows they love the gentle slope of the reef plate, which at the drop off part of the reef turns into a big soup bowl of plankton, which they are often seen scooping up, oblivious to the divers all frantically blowing bubble of joy! To add to the excitement, the Sharm jungle drums are sounding with rumours of a sighting of an elicit Mola Mola (Sunfish). I’ve only heard of 2 sightings in 10 years, so here’s hoping.
A quick journey and we arrive at the Gardens. We decide on an easy mooring dive, so make Middle Garden our first stop. As we descend to the sandy bottom, we are greeted with the infamous one eyed blue spotted ray. He’s great to get up close and personal to, as if you approach him from the correct side, he literally can’t see you coming! Because this site is also our House Reef when we are working at our satellite centre, the Hyatt Regency, all of the Red Sea College staff know this site intimately and know where all the good stuff hides. We also know there is a fair chance of catching a sleeping turtle first thing in the morning, so I’m off on the hunt for her. Whilst scanning the reef below (they blend in amazingly well when they aren’t moving!) we catch a few lion fish, out and about, obviously a little late in going to bed, as the sun is up and they should be hiding under crevices at this time. The moray is in his hole, gaping at us as he goes about his daily business of ‘breathing’ and the nudibranch make a nice distraction. Just as we return to the boat I spot the turtle, just waking up (she really does look like she’s having a post sleep stretch), and as soon as she spots us she is off, with the speed we reserve for those mornings when you alarm doesnt go off and you are late for work. She obviously has a prior appointment to catch!
Diving doesn’t have to be about the ‘amazing’ things you see, on days like this, I’m just content with ‘nice’. Actually, more than content!