One of my main concerns with going to Tiran whilst teaching a course is the sea conditions. There is nothing worse than trying to go through Knowledge Reviews while the boat is being wobbled by waves and wind. Even if the students are ok, I have been known to suffer from a bit of sea sickness now and then (feel free to question my choice of career!). Today, however, it is flat calm and the lack of wind also means that the desert hasn’t been disturbed so the on land visibility is great. There’s nothing like watching Tiran Island with the sun beating down on it reflected in a deep blue sea. What a great start to my day.
Fish ID is our first dive, and probably my favourite Adventure Dive. I love getting people to understand how easy fish identification actually is when you know what you are looking for. Body shape, fin formation, colourings and habits are all factors you can note to help you name a fish. My guests have also made this dive easy for themselves by renting a camera. This means we don’t have to rely on underwater identification, which often results in a flurry of unrecognizable hand signals. They can simply photograph the fish and we can spend our surface interval naming them.
After the dive we sit down, fish book at the ready and start looking through their photos. Hmmm, this could be trickier than I thought. It turns out I didn’t really check their camera skills. Now I thought I was bad and have even declared so in earlier blogs. But some of these are hilarious – snippets of tail, blurs in the distance and even a random eye are all displayed. I would challenge any marine biologist to complete this task, let along little old me! Taking a big gulp we give it a go. OK, the tail fin shape tells me that’s a grouper and the blur is definitely a parrot fish, as the colours are very distinctive. But I have to admit to being stuck on the eye. Not puffer, not butterfly and not scorpion. I’ve never been defeated before, but after spending the next two dives inspecting every fish that crosses my path for a match, I give up.
My guests are delighted to have gained their Advanced Open Water certification and I gladly accept the offer of a cold Sakara to celebrate, although I’m secretly angry….. I feel like I’ve been slapped round the face with the proverbial wet fish!