Place: Dahab, Egypt
When the bus arrives at Dahab, over on the eastern side of the Sinai peninsula, touts promoting their hotels surround us. I had already decided on staying at the Penguin Village. I catch a taxi ride to the village, where they tell me that they don’t have a room currently, but they will have one by noon. I grab breakfast at the village’s restaurant, which is situated with a gorgeous view of the beach.
At noon, I’m informed that a room hasn’t opened up yet, but they will have one available at 10pm. They assure me that the room will be ready by ten. I sign up for a dive with their dive shop. They tell me that in addition to a regular dive, I can do an adventure dive certification or an advanced dive certification. I got my open water certification about nine years ago in Belize. The adventure dive certification requires a nature dive, a deep dive, and drift dive, while the advanced dive requires everything an adventure dive certification does plus a night dive and a navigation dive. I decide to start with an adventure dive certification course and see if I want to add on from there.
The first dive is a nature dive at a place called the Island. One of the dive masters goes over with me all the different kind of creatures in the Red Sea that can kill me. The list would impress an Australian, including lionfish and stonefish. The dive master tells me about a newlywed couple that had dived at the resort recently. The husband tries to impress his new bride by swimming up behind a lionfish and grabbing it with both hands. He died instantly.
They drive me out to the beach where we will dive. I am partnered up with a man named Clemente. After suiting up, we enter the water by walking out upon a reef. We then enter a trench, which takes us to the Islands, a series of coral settings. At the Islands, we see a large number of sea creatures, including lionfish and unicorn fish. As we are exiting the Islands we even see a giant eel, over fifteen feet long, snaked among the coral. As I am swimming back to the exit, I get a fairly nasty cramp in my foot. After we exit, the dive master tells me to eat more bananas.
When we return to the hostel, I take a nap at the restaurant. After I wake up, I decide not to do the night dive, saving the advanced course for a later date. This means I will only have to do two dives tomorrow instead of three.
The clerk at Penguin tells me that the room they thought they were going to have at ten is no longer available. He takes me to Bish Bishi Village, where I can get a lesser room for $25 instead of the $20 I was going to pay at Penguin. I’m irritated, and tell him I won’t pay more for a room that is not on the beach. He says it’s not his problem. I tell him it is because I could have gotten a cheaper room earlier if I hadn’t waited for him. He agrees to get me the Bish Bishi room for $20. I grab dinner at the beach and go to bed.