Djibouti Divers (Inaktiv)

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mike-yPADI Rescue1600 TGs

Having only seen one whale shark in my 24 years o ...

Having only seen one whale shark in my 24 years of diving so far, for Christmas I decided to try a new destination with guaranty for these huge animals. Last year a picture of 5 whale sharks was running around on the internet and in dive magazines. Djibouti was the new promising destination. Now where the hell is D. ? It´s at the horn of Africa, to the north is Eritrea, west Ethopia. Too hot in summer, the ideal time to go diving there is Okt. – Febr. Booked a flight out of Paris CDG on Daallo Airlines. Daallo never turned up, it was jet, a British Charter Airline which brought us to D. however with lots of delay due to technical problems. No PA on that by Daallo at all. We had to overnight in Paris, lost one day of diving. A 6:45 h flight got us into D. Immigration and customs, like I feel nearly everywhere in Africa was slow and awful. It took the group 2 hours to get through. On one booth passports were collected, at an office they stamped in visas for 25 EUR, so you had to stand in a long queue two times., No fun in hot and humid climate at 1:30 in the morning. Our liveaboard was the Djibouti Diver 1, a typical Red Sea Safari boat, where she comes from then called Nemo. 32 m long, 12 cabins with AC and bathroom each, half of the cabins down below, half on the upper deck. All the amenities regular Red Sea boats have plus a Jacuzzi, which however never was filled. The boat is nice, you can´t call it luxurious being used to Agressor, etc. She rolled heavy on our way to the first place, stabilizers could help there. My itinerary said 6 nights on board, diving and looking for whale sharks in Tadjoura Bay. Normally they offer two type of trips, the one with the w s, and one to the Sept Frere (Seven Brothers) group of islands, depending on the season. Last night is spend at Sheraton or Kempinski Hotel with a choice of sightseeing tours.

We were lucky , the captain and dive instructor choose to give us both places, maybe to calm us down after so much delay and problems with luggage on the way to D. Sept Frere is everything you wish for, a mixture between Red Sea and Indian Ocean. Beautiful reefs, hard and soft coral, plenty of reef fish were greeting us. I was surprised to find big families of Angel Fish ( Yellow + Arabian) together in one spot. You saw them everywhere on the reef. Huge fields of purple soft coral, one whole area covered with anemones , most had their own Nemo, which you often don´t find elsewhere anymore. Fusselliers, blue spotted sting rays, good sized jacks, lots of leopard moray eels, sweetlips, surgeon fish, some turtles and even dolphins made us enjoy the area. Water was 26 C, vis anything between 5 and 25 m, often changing quickly. Dive conditions often swells with more or less strong currents, sometimes washing machine like thrown in for good measure, so not exactly the ideal thing for beginners. You could dive your own profile, max. 1 h and 40 m. Next we were heading into T. Bay. Dive sites different here, smooth sea, mostly volcanic boulders with a bit of coral in between. The main attraction are the wale sharks. Went into one smaller bay looking for these guys. It took only minutes and we met the first animals right on the surface, swimming in slow motion, gulping down huge amounts of water to filter the plankton from. Most were young adults or juveniles from 4 – 9 m. It was awesome to find the first, later we were snorkelling sometimes with 4 animals all around you, sometimes so close, you nearly bumped into them. Several times we spent 2 hours in the water with these friendly guys, how many there were is hard to tell.

The last day we looked at Djibouti town, local markets, a big harbour, French Navy, visited Lake Assal, a huge salt lake, saw some volcanic area and a small version of the Grand Canyon. For Geologists Djibouti must be interesting, 3 plates meet here and form huge faults. There still is volcanic activity and movement to register in the earth. The countryside is awesome.
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