Visiting the world’s deadliest dive site
In this week’s travel feature, local traveller Shaun Yeo takes a deep dive into a ‘haunted’ sink hole in Egypt which has claimed the lives of some 200 divers.
By Shaun Yeo
The Blue Hole of Dahab in Egypt, is infamous for taking the lives of many, and for this reason, it is considered to be the world’s most deadliest dive site by the diving community.
The dive site is a sink hole, found just metres off the shore. It has a depth of over 100 metres, and an underwater “arch” or tunnel which connects the sink hole to the Red Sea outside.
Legend has it that the Blue Hole is haunted and cursed by the ghost of a young girl which committed suicide by drowning herself into the sink hole, escaping her family from an arranged marriage.
There are no public records available in Dahab, but the diving community here suggests there have been as many as 200 deaths in recent years. A Technical diver in Dahab named Omar, started exploring the Blue Hole in 1992 and became famous in 1997 for recovering the first bodies from the dive site. He is now known as the bone collector and has recovered over 20 bodies since 1992.
Just a few metres from the Blue Hole, near the many cafés, on a small rock face there is an area filled with many stone plaques, in memory to those who have lost their lives in the Blue Hole.
Typically sports diving has a maximum depth of 40 metres, and even to get to this level, you have to attend many courses, training and have a lot of experience. Past this depth, divers move on to more specialised training called Technical Diving. This type of diving requires having more than one tank, and the use of other gases; such as Oxygen and Helium.
The reason behind the large amount of deaths in the Blue Hole is due to the fact that many divers try to find and swim through the Arch/Tunnel, which starts at a minimum depth of 55 metres. Going down to these depth with a single tank of air involves very high unnecessary risks.
Having qualified recently to Technical Diver training to a maximum depth of 65 metres. I joined a group of Technical Divers in Dahab to dive through the arch/tunnel. We all carried 4 tanks each, with a mixture of different gasses made up of Helium and Oxygen. In the future, I plan on completing my Technical Diver training down to 100 metres, and go back to the Blue Hole, this time to the bottom!
Dahab is situated in the Sinai Desert of Egypt. It has become a small diver’s town, run by the local Bedouin people. There are many dive sites around the town for sports divers, not just Technical divers like myself. One that left me with amazed, was the untouched reefs of Ras Abu Galum. The only way to get to this cape is via camel! There are no roads available, the camels are packed with all the dive tanks and equipment, and then ridden by the diver to the dive site. The camel trek takes about one hour to reach the cape, where this beautiful reef can be found.
To read more about Shaun’s travels and diving expeditions check out his blog: www.shaunyeophotography.com
Are you a keen traveller? Or do you enjoy short weekend breaks up the coast? The Chronicle’s weekly travel feature is open for local writers to share their experiences of the places they visit. Contact the Chronicle to find out more.