South Sudan – Black-Belt Diver Paradise!

Just like Christopher Columbus, we have also taken to seeing the world and our destination was the deep southern region of the Red Sea. We had heard lots of tales about this place and we wanted to see for ourselves if the amazing stories of the untouched water world were really true.

“Tales are true and truth is only a tale.” (Master Hoppan)

To read more about scuba diving holiday in South Sudan click here…

To read more about Sudan scuba diving holidays click here…

South Sudan - Red Sea

Diver pharmacy

All divers who care about themselves prepare for any possible inconveniences or illnesses that may occur during diving safaris. When you are prepared, you can remedy most situations right away. Otherwise it could take hours before receiving the appropriate medication or treatment.

A slight ear or paranasal sinus infection can destroy your diving experience especially when far from land or while on a diving safari. With proper preparation, ear problems can be avoided or alleviated. Always have with you ear and nose drops, cotton balls and a knitted cap to keep the ears warm.

They say every first-timer to Egypt must go through the curse of the pharaoh, aka diarrhea. There are a couple of medications in Egypt that can help prevent this occurrence. We prefer Antinal which is a miracle pill and it can be taken beforehand as a preventative treatment. The price is about EGP5 / box.

You should be careful when in the sun in Egypt whether on the beach or on diving safaris. Make sure to bring with you tanning lotion with high SPF (minimum 30) and lip balm to avoid any sun burns and cracked lips.

Because of the constant winds in the Red Sea, your inner thermometer may be off sometimes. You may not feel the weather as hot as it actually is. If you drink less water than what evaporates from your body, you can get easily dehydrated. Always keep with you some electrolytes and essential minerals.

Seasickness can be quite uncomfortable during a diving safari. But you can do something about it!

The Dramenex tablets help you avoid getting seasick effectively. It is important to take a tablet before boarding the boat and the pills should be taken regularly afterwards. The recommended dosage for adults is 1-2 tablets 2-3 times a day.

For any injuries in the sea or out, you should have on hand Betadine and Calcium tablets. Vinegar and hot water is available everywhere. But to be sure, do not touch anything under the water!

A few more things that could be handy in your medical kit: pain killers, Fenistil, plasters, bandages, scissors. There are pre-arranged first-aid kits specifically for divers such as DAN’s, for example.

The above are not on doctor’s recommendations but rather based on our 10-year diving experience. In case serious problems arise during the safari, turn to the dive guides and a doctor immediately!

Photos by Daniel Selmeczi

Flipper Prints: Garden of Eden Re-touched

Flipper Prints: Thailand – Garden of Eden Re-touched

Another Monday morning in December, another trip to the office. This does not sound too upbeat but it helps a lot that it is 29C outside, that three baby monkeys are playing with abandon in front of the door of my room, that I work on Thailand’s most beautiful island and that I have to dive for my salary. The walk to my work (Scuba Marine Diving Base) takes fifteen minutes which I could improve by only a jog or by taking the bike as no motorised vehicles are allowed on the Island of Phi Phi.

Maurizio, my student for the day, arrives a bit late, eyes somewhat closed, his walk gently wobbly despite my dutiful warning as his instructor at the beginning of the diving course against the local sources of danger highlighting the lethal nature of the stonefish and the Mekong whiskey. Poor chap was probably done in by the latter the night before. After a speedy first-aid we agree that it is in our best interest to start the dive in the afternoon and in the morning we will go over the theoretical portion of the course and he will practise navigation with compass in hand but strictly on land.

In the afternoon Mother Nature does the unthinkable – the weather is even more beautiful than in the morning and the two cotton ball clouds were obviously tossed to the horizon for show only. Strangely elongated boats line the beach swaying like hollowed-out bananas in the annoyingly blue sea. These are the local “longtail” boats. The hulls are ok but the engine constructions affixed to the stern with sugarcane twines and size 100 nails look more like something out of the imagination of a Mad Max special effects designer. Our captain, Nui’s boat is probably the only contraption in the area equipped with the most extras. He welded together a complete steering wheel from a Zsuk wheel, a spear and ripple slate. This way, unlike his fellow boaters navigating with a long stick, he proudly steers his make-shift wheel.

Nui is my age but no one would believe him as he looks more like his own grandfather. He carries the tanks with callused hands, puts them into the decaying stalls than smiles at me, showing all of his four teeth from which about one and a half are his own. A few yanks on the engine (self-starter? – come on…) and we are chugging towards our destination. I am trying, for the umpteenth time, to take in the sight of the hundreds of metres deep steep cliffs ripping through the still water but to this day I have an inkling that a small army of magicians work behind the scenes on this illusion. Such beauty can exist only in the movies. No wonder this island served as the location for the movie “The Beach”.

At last we arrive at the dive site and after a few minutes of wrestling with our equipment, Maurizio and I fight our way into the sea. Beneath us an every-day wonder à la Thailand: 25-metre visibility, swarming schools of fish, a variety of corals, steep walls covered with glassfish curtains. Shall I go on? I shall.

At 15 metres, stunned and staring at each other in the eye with a metre-long turtle, a feeling overwhelms me – this is exactly where I want to live. The turtle must read my mind because it shakes its head as if saying “It’s not gonna work, dude, unless you grow gills” and peacefully begins to chew on some coral. I slowly turn from my old armoured friend and look ahead from where two sharks are coming at me really fast. Really-really fast. If I was not in a trans anyway, I would surely panic but I just wait until they steer clear of me. And these bastards wait for the very last minute and miss me by two metres, one to the left and the other to the right. Thankfully my eye balls find their way back to their sockets quite fast, so by the time I turn around to look at my mate, no more shock is showing on my face. And I cannot believe my eyes – Maurizio is giving his full attention to a sea cucumber while the shark odyssey has just passed him by.

From here on our dive is quite normal. The two murenas jammed into a crevice do seem interesting but nothing mind-blowing and I am getting used to the fact that visibility is reduced because I cannot see through the thick schools of fish. For those who feel there is no more space left on the rush-hour bus at 8 o’clock in the morning, I recommend the glassfish swarming at the Bida Nai cliff. Finally, after almost an hour of wandering about, we ascend.

- So? – I ask Maurizio. So?! Sooo?! How was it??
- Not bad but there were more sharks on the Maldives. And visibility wasn’t that good either.
- Screw you! – I answer but luckily in Hungarian and to myself only. Visibility is not that good? Well, dear Maurizio, visit the mining lake at Nyékládháza or Dorog in Hungary and take a hard look at the two freshwater crabs you will find at 5 metres because you will not find any another living thing around the lake. Except perhaps for the fish keeper.

After work I felt like watching a pirated Hollywood movie – they showed the “Lord of the Ring 2” in the smallest Thai cafes 2 weeks before it hit Los Angeles. Of course the quality is usually like a Metallica concert broadcasted over an ancient Zenith radio and the subtitles rarely match the timing of the dialogues but it did not bother anyone too much. So, I spread myself out comfortably in a restaurant and while on the widescreen TV Mr. Fodo and his friends were getting into blood chilling escapades,

I was trying to catch the eye of the sleepy waitress. Soon there she was:
- Helloooo. Naaj deej! (I think she said “Nice day”.)
- Sawat di khrap! (I figured I would start with the local greeting to steal her heart.) One coke, please.

- Bangkok? (Pulled-up eyebrows, it is obvious my order did not go through the first time.)
- Oooneee cookeee. Yees. (Saying it slowly, elongating my words hoping to be luckier than before.)
- Baaaangkoook?? (It is obvious her thoughts are around the capital and have nothing to do with the restaurant.)
- Coke. Cola. Coca. Coke. One. COKE. Please. (Then I point at the fridge where the red cans are lined up.)
- Aaaaah, an kok! (Her eyes were saying “Then why didn’t you say so?!” and she takes off but I wanted to ask something else too.)
- And one vanilla-ice shake, please. (As soon as I said that I know I went overboard. There was no way she would understand that.)
- What? (She changed strategy. She did not even try to repeat it after me, she was just looking at me wondering.)
- Aaa vannillaa—-iiiiccceee—shaaaakkeee! (This would be faster for me to show with charades but here I need to talk.)
- Mahha jaii ja amiee ahi kai jai khaa! (I do not know if she was encouraging me or sending me to hell but I have decided not to give up.)
- Vanilla. Ice. Shake. SHAKE!
- Sheeehh? (And yes, there was the sparkle of understanding in her eyes!)
- Sheehh! Ice! Vanilla!
- Valla-aaaj-sheeeeh?
- Yees!
- Sorry, no have.
And with that, she walked back towards the kitchen exuding curry smells.

Translated by Anita Riberdy, based on the original short story “A retusált Édenkert” by András Szepesházi

Record all your underwater adventures in one place!

Make a record of your underwater adventures for a long time to come! Our uniquely designed log book is now available to purchase onboard Cassiopeia and Andromeda as well as in our office.

The log book is essential for every diver as it lists your diving experiences including your number of dives, information that is requested in diving centres and onboard diving vessels before starting your dives.

Furthermore it can prove to be useful in cases of insurance matters because if you record the details of your dives accurately, you can provide information on who your buddy was and that you had adhered to all diving regulations.

And of course, every log book provides for wonderful memories as with every dive you gain more experience! There is lots of space to record all your diving adventures! Surely, this simple little tool will just add to your memories in the future!

Diver Search and Locate System

New Diver Search and Locate System onboard Andromeda

Last week the SEA MARSHALL diver search and locate security system was installed onboard Andromeda and now both our vessels are equipped with this essential diver security system. It can happen to any diver that upon surfacing…to READ MORE about new scuba diver search and locate system onboard Andromeda click here…

Sea Marshall