Un napoléon côté face... (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
A Napoleonic side facing ... (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)

In The Great Blue of The Red Sea (With or Without Bubbles)


  Egypt: Red Sea - November 2017

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

Fancy some big blue? Let's jump in the water! I'll take you to the Red Sea for scuba diving, snorkeling and underwater photography...

Oops, I did it again

A year ago, I had accumulated some unusual experiences in the space of a week: I had not only met a mermaid, but also photographed sharks and explored wrecks too... It was in October 2016, in the Egyptian waters of the Red Sea, thanks to a special "three-in-one" diving cruise. The concept: to take on board scuba divers, freedivers and underwater photographers at the same time.

See as well → Red Sea diving cruise aboard theExocet [October 2016]

I liked it so much that I did it again this year... 😊 Oops, as Britney Spears said.

Ma conception du bonheur : être sous l'eau à photographier le corail et les poissons... Merci à mon binôme François pour cette image ! (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
My conception of happiness: being underwater to photograph coral and fish ... Thank you to my partner François for this picture! (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Le corail a bâti d'imposants « immeubles à poissons », dressés vers la surface. (Saint-Johns Caves, Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
The coral has built imposing "& #160; fish buildings & #160;", erected towards the surface. (Saint-John's Caves, Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)

In this month of November 2017, I took off for Egypt and embarked on a new « scuba-and-free-diving-and-underwater-photography" cruise in the Red Sea.

It was organized by the same as last year: the Greek-Swiss underwater photographer Phil Simha, the French apnea champion Rémy Dubern and the Franco-Egyptian team of theExocet. This time the route was not to the north (Ras Mohammed, Brothers), but to the south (St. John's Reefs)…

On the schedule: a week of great blue and sunshine (O joy, just before entering the grey winter of Brittany 😎). Water at 27-28°C, with a vertiginous transparency. And then, above all, happiness and wonder beneath the surface. Of all the spectacles offered by nature, coral reefs are really the ones that fascinate me the most...

Magnifique superposition de corail tabulaire Acropora, au site de Habili Gafar. (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
Beautiful superimposition of tabular coral Acropora, Habili Gafar site. (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Les marins de l'Exocet maîtrisent l'approche délicate des récifs coralliens, à fleur d'eau. (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
The sailors of the Exocet master the delicate approach of coral reefs, at the water's edge. (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Les marins de l'Exocet se mouillent, eux aussi, pour amarrer le bateau sans abîmer le corail... (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
The sailors of the Exocet get wet, too, to moor the boat without damaging the coral ... (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
L'Exocet, c'est comme le Port-Salut, c'est marqué dessus... Pratique pour ne pas confondre son bateau avec un autre, sous l'eau ! (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
TheExocetIt's like Port-Salut, it's marked on it ... Practice! Because under water, we quickly confused his boat with another! (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Un napoléon côté face... (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
A Napoleonic side facing ... (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Et le même napoléon, côté pile... Encore merci à François pour cet amusant portrait "en miroir". (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
And the same Napoleon, side pile ... Again thank you to François for this fun portrait "in mirror". (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)

Scuba Diving, Freediving, Underwater Photography in the Red Sea

Those who don't dive don't realize it, but bringing together scuba divers, freedivers and underwater photographers on the same boat is not necessarily easy... With or without bubbles, once released into the water, these three "populations" of finned humans don't have exactly the same behaviour.

Exploration fanatics sometimes curse the slowness of image hunters who hate to swim fast underwater. Photographers, on the other hand, grumble about those that appear in the frame or that frighten the fish. As for the freedivers, adepts of aquatic simplicity, they contemplate with an often sarcastic eye the cumbersome gear of the "bubble makers"... 😁

See also → Photo and diving: my equipment

This clash of underwater cultures sometimes gives rise to funny situations. I let you admire below Rémy's skill (yes, as I mentioned above, this boy is quite a freediving champion), when it comes to go down and tease, in selfie mode, with its GoPro camera, those who carry their air supply on their back instead of just their lungs:


Remy created his freediving school Blue Addiction in the Var (South of France) with his wife Audrey. They also organise training courses in Indonesia and Corsica. It is with him that I had learned to free dive in 2014. I have not practiced much since then, I admit, only when the opportunity arises, as in Komodo, in July 2016.

During this cruise to Egypt in November 2017, I will finally devote only one morning to freediving and every other day of the week to underwater photography! Yes, each time, I hesitate a little, and then each time I choose to immerse myself in a bottle... The fault lies with Jen and Julien, our two guides, who every morning give us a tempting briefing of the first site of the day.

As a result, the desire to photograph is the strongest: instead of chaining short dives on a single breath, I prefer to be able to spend an hour under the surface, in order to quietly explore the reef and take pictures! My buddy François, less addicted to photography, regularly alternates between the two: freediving in the morning, scuba diving in the afternoon.

Un banc de vivaneaux à queue jaune patrouille sous les palmes des plongeurs. (Habili Gafar, Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
A school of yellow-tailed snappers patrols under the fins of the divers. (Habili Gafar, Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Phil Simha descend en apnée prendre la pose au-dessus d'une patate de corail. (Saint-John's Caves, Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
Phil goes down to snorkel pose over a coral potato. (St. John's Caves, Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Rémy s'apprête à explorer le dédale corallien des Saint-John's Caves avec un scooter sous-marin. (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
Rémy is about to explore the coral reefs of the St. John's Caves with an underwater scooter. (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)

Left: a turtle has come back to meet apneists, to breathe on the surface. Right: Audrey goes sneaking off to say hello ... (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)

Ça frétille, au récif de Gota Soghayr. (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
It wriggles at the reef of Gota Soghayr. (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Une rascasse volante ou "poisson-lion" chez les anglophones. (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
A lionfish or "lionfish" among anglophones. (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)

Because there is still something to know about this type of mixed cruise where we can chain up to three or even four dives per day: if we choose to start the day with a scuba diving, it will be not possible to go snorkeling afterwards. Eh yes ! If you can do without apnea BEFORE a scuba diving, the opposite is not true.

To be able to practice both in the same day, you have to opt for apnea first. Security Question.

Why you shouldn't freedive after a scuba dive. I summarize by simplifying: while scuba diving, underwater, we breathe compressed air (air is about 79% nitrogen and 21% oxygen). But the more the water pressure increases, the more the nitrogen breathed in dissolves in the body and accumulates (this is called saturation). During scuba diving training, we learn that if the pressure drops suddenly (ascent too fast), the dissolved nitrogen becomes gaseous again and can then form dangerous bubbles in the body's tissues... 😱 We also learn that it is eliminated only very slowly, by breathing (this is why divers make underwater stops on ascent and also surface intervals, to "desaturate" a little, simply by breathing, for a given period of time). To make freedives afterwards, even at shallow depths, would be equivalent to a succession of sudden pressure variations, while holding one's breath... This would encourage the accumulation of microbubbles and their anarchic degassing in the body, which causes the diseases and accidents known as "decompression" or "desaturation"

All the interest of this thematic "three-in-one" liveaboard, in addition to the pleasure of getting in the water (with or without a tank, with or without a camera), are the workshops and mini-training sessions that Rémy and Phil offer us every day. Initiation to relaxation techniques to improve your freediving skills, yoga and stretching sessions, classes on photo composition and underwater photography, discussions on how to approach sharks or marine mammals in a respectful manner, etc. etc.

Between meals and dives, before the evening aperitif or during the navigation periods, they share with us their knowledge, experience and give valuable tips, which we can put into practice the same day. 👌

It's exciting and rewarding. It creates a nice atmosphere, a climate of benevolence and listening really nice, whatever the level of each. These exchanges also make it possible to get to know each other better and to create new affinities, as the week goes by, with other divers.

I do not know yet if there will be a third edition next year [EDIT: Phil, Rémy and Audrey have just confirmed that they are preparing something for 2018]. But during this second "snorkeling-photo" expedition in the Red Sea, I am not the only "repeat offender" aboard. Several divers, present on the cruise 2016, have returned, too!

I ask only to put that back. Who knows, one day I may even manage to take snorkeling photos & #8230; But in the next post, I will tell you why, on a particular site, I was very happy to have chosen the side of bubblers & #160 ;! & #x1f609; & #x1f988;

Saurez-vous reconnaître les palmes des apnéistes de celles des plongeurs ? (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
Can you recognize the fins of the freedivers from those of the divers? (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Rémy et Phil se lancent d'une séance photo en apnée. (Sataya, Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
Rémy and Phil embark on a snorkeling session. (Sataya, Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Mon binôme François joue à la fois les modèles et les photographes au milieu des poissons cochers. (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
My partner François plays both the models and the photographers in the middle of the fish drivers. (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Une murène sort la tête de sa cachette pour nous lorgner de plus près. (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
A moray ebullates her head from her hiding place to take a closer look at us. (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Explosion d'anthias autour d'un "bosquet" de corail. (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
Anthias explosion around a "grove" of coral. (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Les adorables poissons papillons masqués, emblématiques de la Mer Rouge. (Égypte, novembre 2017)
The adorable masked butterfly fish, emblematic of the Red Sea. (Egypt, November 2017)
Coucou Nemo ! (Mer Rouge, Égypte, novembre 2017)
Hi Nemo! (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)

  Egypt: Red Sea - November 2017