Dahab the world’s most dangerous dive site

Diving is normally a safe sport which can be practised by people of all ages, providing they are cautious and don’t dive beyond their capabilities.  It’s when your dive site can appear to be deceptively easy, but which contains a few unpleasant surprises, that can turn it into a dangerous place.  And if you have ever wondered where in the world would be the most dangerous place to dive, you probably wouldn’t even consider Egypt.

Dahab is a Bedouin village on the Sinai Peninsular in Egypt, about 80 kilometres (5o miles) from the more popular Sharm el-Sheikh.  These days the former fishing village of Dahab is considered to be one of the Sinai’s most treasured diving destinations.  With many reefs just offshore in the Red Sea, a proliferation of dive businesses has sprung up to cater for the, mainly, European crowds who flock to the area in season.

Just north of Dahab is a geological feature called a submarine sinkhole which attracts many divers, but which must be attempted with real caution, and only by those divers who have a wealth of experience, particularly with deep diving.

Called the Blue Hole, it is described as the “World’s Most Dangerous Dive Site” and also the “Diver’s Cemetery”, due to the number of diving fatalities that have occurred there.

Part of the reason why divers do get into trouble is because it looks reasonably simple to negotiate, but is, in fact, incredibly difficult and much deeper than it first appears.     

Most accidents occur when divers attempt to find the tunnel through the reef, which is known as “The Arch”, that connects the Blue Hole and open water at about 52 m depth. This is beyond the PADI maximum recreational diving limit of 40m, and is at a depth at which Nitrogen Narcosis occurs. That means that the deeper that you dive past 40 metres the more you can be become intoxicated by the gases that you breathe, which is similar to being drunk.  At its most benign, narcosis results in relief of anxiety and a feeling of tranquillity and mastery of the environment. It means that a diver can lose the ability to make rational decisions, increasing the possibility of getting into trouble.

The Blue Hole is situated near a reef, and the reef is perfectly safe for beginners to dive the shallow waters and enjoy the abundant marine life.  The Blue Hole, though looking relatively easy from above, is actually an extreme dive and should only be attempted by those with both the experience and the equipment to ensure a safe dive.

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