Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Recent Obsession

Something's really got into me. For the past few days, I've been really obsessed with diving. Not just any dive or any location. I'm specifically drawn to a dive site called the Blue Hole.

Blue Hole is a diving location on east Sinai, a few kilometres north of Dahab, Egypt on the coast of the Red Sea.

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The Blue Hole is a submarine sinkhole (a kind of cave), around 130 m deep. There is a shallow opening around 6 m deep, known as 'the saddle', opening out to the sea, and a 26 m long tunnel, known as the arch, the top of which lies at a depth of 56 m. The hole itself and the surrounding area has an abundance of coral and reef fish.

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However the main attraction of this dive site is called "The Arch". The view of it is really spectacular. Nothing but total blue and the serene yet eerie feeling you will feel going through the huge cave exit to the open waters. BUT, there's a catch:

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Nicknamed the "Divers' Cemetery," with more than 70 fatalities (some claim the actual number is over 100), Dahab's Blue Hole is basically a coral lagoon which opens to the Red Sea through a tunnel known as "the Arch." The roof of the Arch lies at a depth of 52 m (170 ft). The featureless depths beyond the Arch render the tunnel to the open sea appear shorter than it really is; in addition, a shoreward current causes the 26 m (85 ft) swim through the tunnel longer than its physical distance suggest it to be. The base of the Arch rests at 120 m (393 ft), after which it plunges to 1000+ m (3280+ ft) beyond. Scores of divers have fallen victim to its deceptive nature. The bottom of the Blue Hole is littered with scuba equipment and the bodies of their former owners; the cliffs around the bay bear their epitaphs.

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Diving fatality (Yuri Lipski), 91.5 m (300 ft). The diver's helmet-mounted camera captured his final moments. Yuri's dive computer read 91.5 m (300 ft). The analysis, more emotional than objective, needs to be taken with a grain of salt. For example, at 91.5m, Yuri's oxygen partial pressure (PPO2) from diving on compressed air (he was only diving on one tank. No twinset and no deco-bottle), as opposed to mixed gas, would have significantly exceeded the physiological limit of 1.6 atmospheres for oxygen partial pressure exposure. Hence, his "thrashing about on the bottom" was more likely the result of convulsions from Central Nervous System (CNS) Oxygen Toxicity (OTox) than being "entangled in the sand." The Video below is the final moments before Yuri draw his last breathe.



Apparently this is the body said to be belonged to Yuri or possibly another diver named Babara Dillinger. They could not identify the body as the limbs were bitten off and the head of the body was missing. It is suspected that the body was lunch for sharks or what not. (Picture below)

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The picture above was taken while a group of divers went down the blue hole to take a documentary video of the place. The video below best described how they found the body.





Speaking of Yuri, here's a video on how divers went down the blue hole trying to retrieve his body:



The thing I can clearly say about this place is that there's a great risk in seeing one of the greatest scenery mother nature have to offer. I for one particularly felt drawn to this place. I know I'm not properly trained for such circumstances yet. It's just a hope that one day I'll be able to prepare myself to witness the Arch with my own eyes and of course to live through it to tell the tale.

I wouldn't want to add my name to the list of tribute plates placed around the cliff on shore.

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