Tuesday, 26 April
Best night of sleep so far. Finally figured out that running just the fan helps me keep a blanket on which discourages the mosquitoes. I was still not able to sleep past sunrise. This morning is hazy with a tiny breeze. Although Nicole and I both had the opportunity to sleep in this morning, we still headed to breakfast when they opened at seven. Breakfast was a little more relaxed since the dive club did not show up all at once. Nicole heard that there was a night dive planned so maybe they were not planning an early morning dive. Our plan is to try to get one more dive in. Timing will depend on how long it takes to go to Safaga for my covid test and return.
i was a little anxious waiting for ten o’clock and the taxi but I anticipated at worst it will just be another fun story to remember. My taxi driver, Jamin, spoke a little English. He picked me up promptly at ten. The drive to Safaga is about thirty minutes. The trucks on the road were carrying blocks of granite. Each truck carried four blocks, each nearly the size of our semi trailers. Closer to Safaga it looks like stone and sand quarries. We turned into an industrial area of Safaga, auto and marine repair shops. It felt much more Arabic than at the resort. Most women and many men wore traditional Muslim dress. Jamin parked on a busy street and we crossed over to a building displaying an Egyptian flag. Up to a room to pay for the test. Lots of discussion in Arabic. I needed to pay in cash. I think American dollars are standard throughout the world. Thirty dollars is the cost of covid testing by the Egyptian government. Over to another room for my test. I was swabbed and it was over. Not a mask in sight although the woman who swabbed me was wearing a burka and may have had a mask underneath. She did wear gloves. I was back at Coral Beach by 11:15. Test results and the required bar code are supposed to be available tomorrow at the resort. Hopefully that part goes as smooth as the test.
I found Nicole at the beach and we made plans for our final dive at 12:30. The garage structure seems to be our favorite. It never disappoints. As usual it was covered in fish. There were fish cleaning stations. Little fish clean parasites off larger fish with both benefiting. A Lionfish was feeding underneath. Coral Grouper were underneath with their distinctive spots. After a few minutes four other divers arrived. We decided to move over to the small coral rock where we had seen our first Moray eel. No eels but schools off small silver fish swirled around. When the sun caught them just right it sparkled like glitter. A Banded Coral Shrimp was in the open showing its full size. Our four divers seemed to be following us but soon headed off. We headed back to the garage and from the to the the north reef. At our safety stop the fish did not seem to be in an aggressive mood.
Today’s temperature is over ninety so after a hot shower it was time for iced mochas and beef shawarma. Still not much breeze and it feels a bit humid.
My next door neighbor is a woman who is turning eighty two today. She gets around with a walker or trekking poles but her daughter took her snorkeling today for the first time in her life. She had a wonderful time. She speaks only German but it is clear that she is delighted by the experience. It gives you a good feeling just watching her. Tonight at dinner the wait staff sang Happy Birthday to her and brought her a cake. Happy Birthday was in English by the way. Her daughter brought around pieces of the birthday cake for everyone,
Jesse is a German woman who works in the dive center as an instructor. She took their dog for a walk this afternoon. The dog enjoyed the water and was energetic. Jesse, the dog and a diver entertained for about fifteen minutes jumping and chasing each other.
Since I fly tomorrow I cannot dive for twenty four hours before my flight. With an evening flight I still have another day to enjoy the Red Sea. I plan to get a little snorkeling in. I will be glad to get home and see Dolora. Since she is texting about my covid test, I think she is anxious to have me home as well. Had a short call with her tonight and we are both looking forward to my return even if it will be at six in the morning!
After dinner with Nicole we sat outside and had a drink on my last evening here, We both joked that we could sleep in tomorrow since we have no dive plans. Since neither of us have slept past six I expect we will meet for breakfast at seven.
I have an eleven o’clock overnight flight back home tomorrow. I feel I will adjust back to the time change a little better if I am able to sleep on the plane. So in the back of my mind is the idea to be up and about for sunrise at 5:10. We will see…
Neil Young – “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”