After 2.5 years of covid lock down i was finally allowed to indulge in a trip. Just 10 days this time. My primary objective was to get back into free diving mode . Maybe spearfishing and some wildlife photos. The spearfishing guys were not in Amed anymore , my first stop . So I enjoyed free diving and chilling sucking in this tropical setting. Indonesia makes us Europeans low income folks feel like millionaires . A day in a bungalow with a scooter , 3 great meals plus beer is the price of royal with cheese . The staff and people are sweet and awesome with good spirits . I traveled to Nusa Penida, an island south of Amed to try to catch on camera the manta ray and mola mola . Unfortunately full moon and high sea didnt allow that. 10 days is definitely too short but I made plans for a much longer stay in the fall .
With only 10 days before starting a summer tedious job I chose something as far and different as possible. I heard of the Gili islands in Egypt in talks about free diving. My bank account didn’t allow for a course or even training session but the highlight of my trip was going spear fishing with a local. Other than that i fully enjoyed the bare foot life style on an island without motor vehicles. I also spent 3 days in Ulawatu , Bali, visiting my friend Manu, Kiwi Johny, Donna, Danzi all from Cham film flam. I Enjoyed Balinese culture , an odd, funky version of Indhuism which has been repressed in most indonesia and in the gilis. The gilis are pretty relaxed however , very touristic and apparently full of a party crowd but luckily i was there during ramadan. very quiet …I spent most of my time snorkeling and walking around the island. Spearfishing with local a couple of time and then enjoying the indonesian version of ocean beach S.F in Uluwatu Bali . Trying myself at on slope surf photography in an obscure corner with a night approach. Scary.
i finally found an excuse or a kick to go to tropical places. I always found it boring unless at some moon parties. Surf windsurf and kite surf are fun , it is a long learning curve, heavy expensive clumsy gear to carry around travelling. Like skiing. Scuba diving seems a bit boring. Freediving is cheap, light , gear easy and business starts at 5 meters down …it is fully immersive, immediate, intense and extreme. Freediving is a huge work on self. Isolated, pressure , depleted of oxygen in a complete new environment with weird noises, odd body feelings . loosen up or freak out and turn around. People don’t go anywhere deep unless fully calm and tuned up. It is an intense forced meditation. Perfect for my anxiety and other PTSD like syndrome. I started in Dahab, south Sinai. It is a bit random, a friend mentioned it , easy and cheap to get too. They have a blue hole which goes straight to 95 meters down. The entire fishing village is a world center destination for freediving, scuba diving. Dahab used to be part of the Nabataean Kingdom , mostly bedouins having a good time from 300 B.C until 106 A.D when the Roman took over and ruined everything . Then the Ottoman came around and imposed their rules, culture and religion. The israeli came in after WW2 and now Egypt. There is an odd mix of culture , rather entertaining. South Sinai is the only part of Egypt situated in Asia. The peninsula acquired the name due to the assumption that a mountain near saint catherine monastery (Roman invasion) is the biblical mount Sinai. Assumption largely contested . The ancient égyptien and bedouins called it “ta mefkat “ or land of turquoise. Turquoise mined not in this turquoise water but in the red limestones mountains you see in the background since at least 3000 BCE. Logic was strong back then. Dahab is mostly bedouin and less Egyptian it seems, a more chilled attitude , very bohemian, the town is very cozy, like a small fishing port without much concrete. People are very nice and everyone is settled back. The water is turquoise, the mountains are red, multicolored fishes everywhere, corals and good food. There is prayer 5 times a day. And plastic trash and other cig butt all over. By comparison Sharm el sheik seemed more like a concrete jungle, expensive, check points everywhere and stressed out Egyptians. I took my classes at the dahabfreediving center who are an awesome cosmopolite crew of passionate freediving bums. The center and classes are tight and very pro. Each coach have their own style which makes it fun . Some were better at pushing me other good at relaxing me and showing me good technique. My progress was a bit slow due to my sinuses exploding a couple of times. It was very fun and i am ready for more.
Dahab is very often windy so windsurfers and kitesurfer have a blast
One of the main subject of the free diving courses is safety. Diving partner need to be able to dive 1/3 of the diver goal depth and follow the ascent looking for signs of loss of motor control or black out and act accordingly . It also helps the diver on the climb to relax. It’s nice on the climb up to see a relaxed body and I usually mimic it , neck and torso loosen up. Tension and stress use oxygen …
my first shot was this. Dahab is beautiful and cute but the trash management is a disaster. Trash don’t get picked everyday and the cats dogs goat and wind get into it first. It is everywhere. I dont think this will be resolved until the international industry stop producing plastic or other non biodegradable products.