Saturday, 10 November 2012

Dahab and Red Sea Snorkelling

After what has probably been the busiest month ever, I am currently sat in the Open Ocean science centre in Dahab (Sinai peninsula, Egypt) where it is a bright and sunny 29C! Since people are starting to drop like flies with a dodgy stomach bug, I've got a bit of free time today (courtesy of sore feet and a lack of students though thankfully, not my stomach!) before we head down to the sea for some more surveying practice.

Anyway, the reason I'm all the way out here is because I'm assisting with Glasgow University's Tropical Marine Biology field course, which is run every year either in the Red Sea or occasionally in Tobago (Caribbean) if the political situation gets too bad in Egypt. The aim of the course is essentially to build on their coursework and give them experience of working in the field and conducting various types of underwater surveys while snorkeling. It's a course I did myself while I was an undergraduate at Glasgow Uni, although we went to Tobago instead. Overall, it's not changed too much, except that my identification skills are considerably rustier now than they once were and it's been as much of a crash course in Red Sea ID for me as it is for the students!

Still, the water out here is stunning and it's given me a chance to really try out my new Canon G12 & housing. It's challenging trying to get decent pictures while snorkeling compared to diving because it's so much harder to stay down and remain still for any length of time before you run out of air (I'm still very much an amateur when it comes to breath-hold diving!), but I've had a few successes! Before I disappear off again for the afternoon, here are a few that I've taken so far...

An anemonefish in its anemone

Crown squirrelfish

Humbug dascyllus

A porcupinefish hanging out under a reef 

A snorkeler heading back to the surface

I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to get back online for another update as we're heading to a new location tomorrow for a couple of days, then we're into the week of student projects so it might be pretty busy... I'll see what I can manage though and hopefully will get something up before I come back!