Dec 2014

Dolphin Dive! Hurghada, Red Sea

By Hannah Harrelson

We were approached by one of the divemasters after our first dive asking where we would like to go next. Dive 2 would give us a total of 20 dives in the Red Sea and we were keen to explore new sites but mindful of time and other customers’ needs, so we redirected the question to the experienced Divemaster on board “whatever is a favorite of yours, preferably somewhere we have not been.” Good call!

Dive sites in the Red Sea revolve around the shallow plateaus that emerge from depths that can easily reach 100 meters. After lunch, the instructor approached us for a quick brief on the second dive. When we went to flip open our ‘Red Sea Dive Guide,’ he smiled and remarked “it’s not on the map.” The briefing included potential dolphin sightings.

Eager but skeptical we jumped in and upon descending immediately spotted a beautiful Bull Ray. Camera out we followed him until he lead settled down beside an Indian Walkman, who had his yellow pectoral fins out for display.

Keeping the pinnacles on our left and current on our right, as instructed, it was hard not to digress towards all the beautiful coral which flourished more so than all the mapped dive sites. Even the parrot fish were shy towards divers. My buddy and I were tossing the camera back and forth, attempting to capture everything we saw; white moray, scorpion fish, skate, box fish, coral eel (favors a sea snake but white with brown polka dots and a suction cup as a mouth) and to our great surprise, a pod of 8 dolphins in the distance! Disregarding any sense of direction, I attempted my quickest and most discrete swim towards the shadows and was able to get within 5 meters before they surfaced. Overwhelmed with ecstasy, winded, and a bit disoriented we turned back and meet another buddy team we recognized from our boat. They were waving us over to see a huge ray with a bulbous body, stubby tail and radius of almost 2 meters. However it was only moments later before the dolphins returned for a closer look!

The pod was split into 2 groups; the youngest one stayed a few meters further away accompanied by 3 adults, the other four swam within arms reach and what appeared to be the adolescent (based on size) wove playfully between us and the largest dolphin. Eye contact was made and a sense of mutual curiosity was felt. They allowed us to swim alongside for what seems to be ages until they needed to breach for air. We were getting low on air as well with the current gaining significant strength, so we redirected ourselves towards the boat and ended the dive with big smiles and bragging rites!

‘Dolphin Dive! Hurghada, Red Sea’ was written by Hannah

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Hannah Harrelson

My father introduced me to diving immediately after my 12th birthday. Family holiday to the Cayman Islands and he needed a buddy. I remind him and my mother of this each time they question my reason for moving across seas, far away our land lock home town.

Dive one of my open water was in 2000 on Bloody Bay Wall, Little Cayman where I was greeted by a variety of colorful tropic fish, rays, eels, reef sharks and turtles. From then on, I holidayed south and on the coast, eager for opportunities to breathe alongside the unique marine ecosystem.

The itch to see what else the ocean had to offer increased proportionally with each dive, and in 2012 I traveled to Koh Tao, Thailand to complete my PADI Divemaster; the first level of professional qualification.

I completed my Open Water Instructor level in Vero Beach, Florida 2012 and began my teaching career in Abu Dabi, UAE. I returned to Davy Jones Locker on Koh Tao in 2013 for my Master Scuba Diver Trainer and have certified over 150 divers.

The enjoy teaching because it gives me the opportunity to introduced a part of ocean like never before seen. The grin, even with residual diving snot, students get after their first experience Scuba diving can be equally exciting as the dive itself.

When I'm not teaching, my diving interest extends to Tech, wreck and cave diving.

Personal Diving Goals:
More Caves! Diving with schools of Hammerheads, no cage Great White dive, and I suppose the Great Barrier Reef

Qualifications:
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
PADI Equipment Specialist
PADI Tec Rec Gas Blender
PADI Tech 40
BSAC Compressor Operator
TDI Cavern
TDI Intro to Cave