Scuba Traveler Diaries: My Camel Safari to Abu Galum, Egypt

I’ve been living in Dahab, Egypt for most of the year, taking all the PADI courses up to Divemaster, and loving every minute of the many dive sites in the area.

There are a lot of dive sites in Dahab, as well as near by Sharm, but one I had heard about, but not checked out, was Ras Mohamed.

One day a few of us at the pool of the Liquid Adventures dive center were talking about Ras, and decided to go. This dive isn’t one of the easy, last second dives that take no planning, and you need at least a few people to make it worth it.

The next morning we loaded a small white Toyota with all of our dive gear, and drove out to the Blue Hole dive site, which is the end of the road to the north.

Like usual at the Blue Hole there were a bunch of other white and red trucks and jeeps from other dive resorts, with divers getting ready, standing around drinking tea, or walking into the water already.

But this time there was a big chain of camels waiting for us. It was a sort of spectacle with people watching the Bedouins load our camels with dive gear. I, nor anyone else, has ever seen camels with dive tanks, fins, BCDs and more on their backs.

It has to be one of the most unique dives, and camels trains, in the world. There is nothing more comical then a giant camel with fins sticking out of packs on its back.

For the 5 divers in our group, we had a train of 9 camels, with 3 Bedouins to lead them, 2 of the Bedouins being under 12 years old.

From the Blue Hole parking lot, we hopped on our camels, and headed into the hills behind the restaurants.

If you have never ridden a camel, that first 10 minutes up and down steep hills is the scariest. I didn’t know how sure of foot a camels was, I just knew that it was a long way to fall if my camel tripped.

After some reassurances from our camel guy, I finally settled in to just enjoy the ride. My family jewels never enjoyed the ride, but I finally started to.

As soon as I was able to relax, I realized we were journeying through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Middle East. We were riding on thin trails between powdery sand dunes, and a beautiful shoreline with either rocky shores or untouched beaches.

 

We were in lands far from tourists, where very few people have seen, and even fewer non-Bedouins, and that fact didn’t elude me for a second.

We would round a corner around a sand dune, and another little, desolate bay would come into view, with clear blue waters edging sandy beaches. No one in our little safari talked, all just loved what we were seeing, wishing we could dive into each small lagoon.

Related article: 15 Things to do in Egypt

 

About an hour into the ride, where I was just uncomfortable enough to start to not enjoy the ride anymore, we came out to a big sandy flat spot where there were 5-10 small huts with a few Bedouin kids running around.

The huts were the familiar shady roofs, with a bunch of pillows and some short coffee tables underneath. And in front of one of these is where we stopped the ride to unload, and set up our gear.

Just like at Blue Hole, The Canyon, The South and the other popular Dahab dive sites, ladies came out of kitchens to give us tea or coffee before our dives.

The first dive, we loaded our gear onto a small cart, and entered to the left side, a little north down the coast, and followed the coast line back towards camp.

If you have ever dove the many dive sites around Dahab, you know how amazing diving can be in the Sinai. Now imagine it one or two notches better, and without people. In other words, We were diving Canyon or Blue Hole, as it must have been 20 years ago. Untouched, undisturbed, incredible.

Im not going to lament about the incredible reef system or numbers of species on this dive, nor the lack of trash or reef broken by anchors or too many divers. Im just going to say that it is the scuba diving location every traveler dreams about.

Our second dive, after a meal of beef bacon pizza in our hut, was a wall dive, with the entry being directly in front of our lunch spot.

This is another incredible dive, but instead of a sandy sloping wall, where we hop from reef to reef like the first dive, this dive was following a steep rocky wall, covered in coral and its fishy residence.

With our guide pointing out cute critters in the reef like nudibranch, trumpet fish, clown fish and much much more, we worked our way slowly down the coastal wall.

Once someone hit 100 bar in our tanks, the half way marker, we turned around and retraced our steps, or fin kicks, back to the entry. Such an incredible day of diving.

This day was an incredibly satisfying day when it comes to diving and adventure, and I was really glad we had decided to try it out. The only problem was that we were all pretty tired, and not looking forward to the long camel ride home. As beautiful as it was, and as unique for a dive trip, we were ready to just be home.

Right about then a small boat showed up. It was a bedouin man dropping off supplies to the locals. Through our guide from the dive shop we negotiated a small fee, and he took us back with him. It was only 10 minutes by boat back to the Blue Hole.

This day could not get any better. We ate icecream at yet another hut near our truck at Blue Hole, waiting for our gear to arrive by camel. Now who can say that?

Related article: 14 Fun Scuba Diving Games

 

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Justin Carmack
Justin is a dive master and world traveler on a mission to dive and document the top 100 dive sites in the world. In doing this he hopes to bring love for the marine environment to the world!

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