What an absolute cracking dive, that for me ticked all the right boxes. My third visit to the Red Sea and I remember on my first visit, the Dunraven wreck having the best 60 metre visibility in gin clear water I have ever witnessed, anywhere, ever.
Today on the SS Aïda at the Big Brother reef had to be the same. Looking up from the flagpole on the stern of the Aïda, we could see the waves breaking on the reef above. In the past, my deepest dive was 50 metres on the San Fransisco Maru at Chuuk Lagoon. Today, the Aïda busted that with a cheeky accelerated deco dive to 54 metres.
We descended into the blue from the Zodiac to find the wreck below with its broken bow at some 28 metres. Dumping buoyancy and we were straight down to the stern, to slowly ascend through the wreck. Those who have dived the Ronda at Mull, this is a similar profile. The difference is that the Aïda is intact but with the timber decking no longer in situ, it’s an easy swim through inside the skeletal remains. Once towards the bow at 30 metres, deco obligations were still racking up and it was then another gentle ascent with the reef on the left, back to the liveaboard. Mahoosive Barracuda plus Napoleon Wrasse in the blue and swarms of Anthias (goldfish-like) fish on the reef, dissipating into the coral with every exhaled breath could be witnessed on the ascent. Always amazing to see!
Switching to our decompression gas at 10 metres and with 9 minutes decompression remaining, there, just there was an Oceanic White Tip shark. Lurking. Just lurking! Having been warned that these inquisitive beasts buzz divers on their safety stops and with media reports of divers being bitten in the past, we had to hang there within his hunting ground between 10 metres and the surface. With the remaining 9 minute decomposition obligation on 80% oxygen mandating the only way was up, it was a sobering moment for sure.
Total dive time 66 minutes and water temperature 27degC. Here’s looking forward to more crackers as week unfolds!