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The Big Island Tour; Holei Sea Arch

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Welcome, to our site! After living for some time in Israel and then in the UK we've now moved to Germany. We'd like to share our experiences with you. We hope you have as much fun reading as we have writing.




December 2021

Diving with dolphins…

Every year around this time of the year there’s a small convention focusing on electro technical research in Eilat. This year Emanuel was invited to give a short presentation. So on Wednesday afternoon we had a flight from Ben Gurion to Eilat. A flight of a little less than one hour. A little later that same evening we were enjoying our dinner at our hotel, after which we attended a nice performance of an Israeli band.
The most interesting day of the convention (for Emanuel) was Thursday. First his own presentation and then some other interesting ones. In the meantime I found a good spot in the sun at the pool. Around lunch Emanuel came and kept me company for a while, to return to the convention for the last presentation.

On Friday the convention didn’t really offer anything interesting for Emanuel anymore so we’d made an appointment at the Dolphin Reef. The Dolphin Reef is located a little south of Eilat’s city centre and is home to a group of dolphins. The dolphins living here are trained as little as possible, which creates a fairly natural environment. Originally there was even an open connection between the bay they’re in now and the rest of the Red Sea, but this had to be closed a couple of years ago, to prevent the dolphins from being fed by tourists.
Dolphin Reef has a nice beach from where you can watch the dolphins, but also offers the option to go swimming, snorkeling or diving with the dolphins. No matter what option you choose, there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually see any of the dolphins. Because they’re not trained, they’ll only come to you when they themselves feel like it. And as a guest you can’t take any initiative. This means for example that you are not allowed to touch them, not even if they do come to you.
Still, we chose to dive… So far my ‘underwater attempts’ had stranded with a failed attempt to snorkel. Don’t ask me to explain, but I already panicked as soon as I put one of those snorkeling/diving masks over my nose… (and it doesn’t even take water for that!) Anyway… so I was very nervous… But they solve this problem very simple at the Dolphin Reef. In effect, you really don’t have to do anything at all, except of course to keep breathing. Also this time I couldn’t really appreciate the mask, but at least this one was a lot more comfortable than the one I tried for snorkeling. Besides the mask you get of course a wetsuit and flippers to wear, an oxygen tank on your back and one of those things in your mouth to breathe through. And then you’re ready to go. Everyone is partnered up with an experienced diver, who stays with you throughout the whole dive. Better yet, who holds your hand during the whole dive. These divers do all these other things you’d usually have to do yourself. And that’s how an inexperienced diver can dive. And despite being nervous, this utterly inexperienced diver thought it was great…with all consequent problems…now I want more!! For Emanuel it wasn’t the first time. He used to have 2 diving certificates. But it was the first dive in a long time. Because he did know how to manage all the equipment, he didn’t need to have a diver holding his hand throughout the dive, and he could swim alone. He did have a diver swimming near him, but he had the easiest dive of that day.
The dive took about 30 minutes and during that time you swim around in the restricted area that’s reserved for the dolphins. Even if you don’t see any dolphins you can enjoy a few bits of reef with all its colorful fish. But we were lucky. Some 6 dolphins came and had a look at us, swimming around us. And we saw a huge turtle who comes to have a look around every now and then from outside the restricted area.
Because it’s such a unique experience, the possibility is offered to have a film made of the dive. There’s also an underwater photographer joining the group, taking pictures of everyone. From the pictures we only have printouts, but we have the movie on DVD. We’ve sorted out the best parts for you to watch. Emanuel is swimming alone, you can see me with my buddy and if you watch carefully you can also see the dolphins and the turtle!! Enjoy watching!!

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