E is for Elphinstone

Up early, waiting for a dive store to open to resolve a wetsuit issue, I go for a run. Departing Port Ghalib (finally), dive number one is off the coast of Abu Dabbab. Surprise, the Italian and I are paired as dive buddies and spend 72 minutes below the surface first up!

The second dive is at Elphinstone Reef aka Sha’ab Abu Hamra. It’s one of the most famous dive sites in the Red Sea and one reason I’ve chosen this liveaboard.
Elphinstone is a narrow stand-alone reef, around 300 meters in length with coral wall drop offs of about 100 meters on either side of the reef. The site is subjected to strong currents, giving the opportunity to drift dive (which I love, provided I’m not experiencing any equalising issues). This place is also known for shark activity. Stories of shark attacks here in the past are spoken about. Those stories would make most people hesitant to get in the water… for me, it has the opposite affect, exciting me to no end.

Diving at Elphinstone Reef, hundreds of purple jelly fish occupy the first five meters of water. It’s more magical than I’d imagined… maybe this is what sperm feel like… No sharks to be seen though.

Longer dives in lower temperatures have me borderline hypothermia. Italia is shivering like a leaf but gives me his towel… to kill the chivalry, I give the towel back… so he hugs me from behind, wrapping the towel around the both of us. He compares me to a penguin (excuse me?) and says, “that’s better”. Looking out on the horizon at the sun beginning to set, I exhale, relaxing back into him for a few moments.. then come to, realising this is a little too intimate… so, off I run to shower, rinsing off the Red Sea and the semi romantic moment shared with Italia.

After dinner, the 9+ hour overnight journey commences to destination Daedalus! Top on the dive bucket list, with a good chance of seeing pelagic’s (hopefully hammerheads… but it might be a little cold for hammers).

On the top deck, Italia and I lay on bean bags to watch the night sky. It’s a cliche scenario, he leans over to kiss me… Falling asleep under falling stars, in the arms of an Italian.Disclosure, I woke up a short while later, leaving Italia, retiring to my own cabin… after all, Italia is my dive buddy and it’s probably not appropriate…

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