A day on the boat is ahead of me today as I’m guiding today. Ras Mohammed is our destination and it’s a while since I’ve been, so I’m really looking forward to it! The national park is a great year round destination as it’s always so random. And by that I mean a few things! Firstly, above the water the wind dictates which dive sites you can visit on any given day, so today there is little point in planning anything until we get ‘round the corner’. The mysterious location of ‘round the corner’ is actually just the point where you have left the nice sheltered sea close to the local sites and can see what effect the wind is having on the sea. Today, typical of winter, there are large white caps which mean that the guides quickly decide that some sites are going to be out of favour today as we will need to seek shelter to ensure the entries and exits are safe for guests. This is our main concern of the day, as it is every day, and our most diplomatic member of staff (not me!) is dispatched to explain to our guests the plan for the day. Shark and Yolanda, our favourite and most popular dive site, is not an option today and it takes a brave Instructor to face a boat of people and explain it is not happening today. Luckily, today the guests are very understanding and I’m sure I witness a few sighs of relief when we break the news!
So in the relative tranquillity of the first site, we swim around looking for interesting things to point out, and as normal, it doesn’t take long. A turtle obligingly swims past, an octopus comes out of his hole to eye us up and a moray wiggles his jaw in our direction.Ok, it wasn’t that bad!!
It’s only when we surface that we realise the wind has done a sneaky one and changed direction. This now means that getting back onboard is going to be harder than normal. The guides today are all experienced and without words, we form a plan. One on the boat, one by the ladders and one at the back of the buoy line. With fantastic timing, the guests all get themselves back on a rather wobbling boat and out of their kit.
And what comes next is a decision that only experience can help with. Stay in the waves and hope it dies down or head closer to shore and visit a local dive site. After much umming and ahhing from the staff we decide to head local and tell the captain our plan. He’s a happy man, and it turns out so are the guests! You can only take so much wind in one day.
Going local at this time of year you are far more likely to see a big Manta, as they love the ‘shelf’ effect of the topography where plankton gathers, so we head off to the most likely spot and cross our fingers.
As we descend, I turn round to check on one girl with sticky ears and there it is…. MANTA!!!! Calmly swimming along the reef wall, seeming to glide with no effort, and I swear he has come just to check us all out because once he’s gone past me he swims off into the blue with a quick flick of his whip like tail.
Once written on the sightings board, word gets around and people are clamouring to join tomorrow’s Local boat.
Poor Shark & Yolanda. All a distant memory!