The First Annual Dahab Festival 54


I was pretty lucky with my timing on my month-long respite in Dahab, in that I was here for the First Annual Dahab Festival.  Like most “firsts,” there were some organizational problems, but I think all-in-all it came off well and with a bit more practice, it is going to be a nice draw for this town — and you already know I love Dahab, Egypt. Luckily, I found an excellent Dahab hotel to stay for a month, which I’ve already written on… but this time we’ll talk more about their dive shop.

The festival was a full week of activities and included face painting for kids, free yoga classes, windsurfing competitions, various food stands, free diving competitions and lessons, and more, including a Scuba Dive Buoyancy competition.

Why do I highlight that one?  Because it was being hosted by Rea Sea Relax Diving, where I did my rescue diving class and assorted other diving for the last month or so and they wanted me to enter. Let’s be very clear about this — the competition was a group of dive instructors, dive masters…. and me.  I was there for comic relief.

And I delivered.

buoyancy scuba diving challenge dahab egypt red sea

Me, banging into everything on the course

The course was a series of five obstacles and things you had to swim through without touching anything.  First, a series of triangles, then a cone looking structure you had to go head-first into to pull up a weight belt from the sea floor, then a zig-zag line you had to navigate swimming with a square that couldn’t touch it, then a tunnel made (the above photo), then some squares.

My goal was not to finish dead-last and also not to have the most penalty time (10 second penalty for every time you touched something).  On those duel goals, I succeeded, but then again, the judges were all friends that I bought beers for afterwords, so there might have been a slight bit of fudging.  I’ll take it as a success anyway.

It was a blast and the folks at Red Sea Relax Diving are incredibly fun, and more importantly, incredibly professional and qualified instructors and dive masters. I couldn’t recommend any shop more highly.

The kick-off activity for the Dahab Festival was a homemade raft race in the main harbor and it was a hoot. There were about a dozen rafts competing and as you can imagine, everyone had the appropriate fun/party attitude about it. It was a heck of a week that capped off a wonderful month for  me in this great beach town.

first annual dahab festival raft race

and they’re off!!

first annual dahab festival raft race

the rafts had an appropriate sense of humor

first annual dahab festival raft race

Raft casualty — though no drunken sailors were harmed in the making of this film

first annual dahab festival raft race

close to ocean-crossing sea worthiness level

first annual dahab festival scuba diving competition

chilling out near the start line

first annual dahab festival scuba diving competition

the dreaded vertical challenge

first annual dahab festival scuba diving competition

obviously not me, since this diver isn’t banging around the tunnel

diving contest dahab festival

again, a diver doing things properly, this time the triangles

 


About Michael Hodson

I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all.

54 thoughts on “The First Annual Dahab Festival

  • Alan Molenaar

    Hey Michael!

    Looks like a lot of fun. I can’t believe you’re still in Dahab, that’s awesome! We were there (my fiance and I – you scubed with her at Bells/Blue Hole with me snorkeling above you guys) from May 3 – 6, which feels like ages ago! Enjoy the next leg of traveling.

    Alan

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Lord, I feel horrible for not replying to these comments long ago. Hope your trip is going great. Was so good to meet you two and hear your cool story.

  • Jeremy Branham

    Looks like a lot of fun. I don’t dive so I would never enter this. However, I admire you for doing something like this knowing you would lose and be comic relief for everyone! Still had be to a lot of fun just to be able to enter. Glad you at least you succeeded in your goals! 🙂

    I love those black and white photos of the dive. Who took those? The clarity is amazing!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I am always up for a little comic relief directed in my direction. One of the dive instructors took the shots. Water is amazingly clear there and he is a great photo buff.

  • Ayngelina

    The Middle East keeps looking better and better. This is weird but I had a dream last night that I finally went diving and there were giant octopus all around me – what do you think that means?

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      It means you need to dive with me!! I would love seeing some big octopus — or is that octopui or something?

  • Katherina

    Sounds like a tough competition! I think I wouldn’t be able to hold up to that, I’d be banging the oxygen on each corner. I’m usually the least gracious diver in any diving group, which is fine for me – there’s always the instructor, the adventurer (who thinks he can do whatever he wants) and the fool who needs to carry 10 kilos to finally submerge – that would be me!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Awwww, 10 kilos isn’t bad. I carry 8 in the Red Sea, because of high bouyency there. And yea, I can’t spell. Looking forward to diving with you somewhere soon.

  • Nomadic Chick

    Agree with Ayngelina, I’ve been intrigued with the Middle East for years since devouring Reading Lolita in Tehran, and you make it more palatable.

    I absolutely love that pic of the divers at the start line. Am so diving there one day!

  • Giulia

    Wow, I’ve never seen anything like that! Looks hard, but also like a lot of fun:)
    See everyone? Egypt is the place to be! I always say so.

    And the pics are great too:)

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I love Egypt, but my love can never hold a candle to yours — you are the Italian Egypt expert!

  • Camels & Chocolate

    As a fellow diver, that sounds like the coolest thing ever. I’ll have to try to time my trip to Egypt someday to line up with the Dahab! Love all the B&W underwater shots.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I didn’t know you were a diver – come join Jeannie and I in SE Asia this winter!

  • Sophie

    Love Dahab! Never was very comfortable in the water, so I wouldn’t be much good at this competition. Incredibly blue, that ocean.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      one of my favorite towns, agreed. Though you should try more water time!

  • MaryAnn

    Michael, Great job competing in the scuba contest. I believe that “participating” in life’s games is more important that “winning”. I love following your adventures on FB, your blog and now on my Kindle! The only negative is that you are having fun in all these countries I hadn’t given much thought to so my “Bucket List” is getting longer and longer! 🙂

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      keep knocking items off the bucket list and you will be fine!! And I’d like to talk to you about your Kindle experience. Can you email me??

  • Abby

    wow. Just wow. Much kudos to you for jumping into something like that. Love how adventurous you are. I have a hard time doing anything I’m not good at!

  • Global Basecamps Ali

    What an awesome week! I’ve never been diving so thanks for sharing the pictures and letting me live vicariously through you! And that home made raft race is hilarious. How fun!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      the raft people made me smile – wish I would have interviewed them… and drank beers with them afterwords.

  • Debbie Beardsley

    I never realized divers hold events like this! I also have never been to a festival that was underwater. Very unique and looked like everyone had a good time. Loved the pictures too.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I was like a fish out of water… in water…. well, you get the point.

  • Randy

    Not a bad way to spend the day. Gotta love beach towns and there fun, quirky festivals. Plying the judges with booze, do they teach that at law school?

  • Cailin

    Very cool! I never knew there were dive contests like that before. I’m sure you will do better next time 🙂 hahah

  • John

    Michael, not sure about you being there for comic relief, you certainly did a good job of reporting the event.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Cam, I seek to challenge you under water. The only chance I have of besting you in anything athletic.

  • Nicole

    Such a cool idea, the dive competition. Congrats for being brave enough to enter with all the pros! 🙂

  • Caz Makepeace

    Seeing stuff like this makes me regret not ever diving. But with asthma, fragile ear drums and a fear of sharks, I don’t believe I will ever get down there. I’ll just make do with living through others’ experiences

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      that is the trifecta of non-diving reasons. The ear drum thing is actually the only one that matters, but it does matter a lot. 🙁

  • Liv

    I was lucky enough to call Dahab home 10 years ago and it looks like the spirit of the place is very much still alive! Thanks for the trip down memory lane Michael

  • Kristin

    I love Dahab. Thank you for this great post to remind me how much I love Dahab. Seriously. I stayed there for two weeks two years ago (only meant to stay a few days) and loved it.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I know the feeling. I have no down that twice. And… will do it again, I am sure.

  • Dina

    Haha, great obstacle challenge! The triangle looks funny and difficult. I’m sitlll so long way to go, just finished my open water course about 1-2 months ago!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      If you just finished your course, you’d kick my ass. That was probably when I knew the most.

  • adventureswithben

    This looks awesome. I’d love to participate in a diving activity like this.

  • Maria Alexandra

    Dahab Festival!? Say whaaaat!? Yet another reason for me to come back! Dahab, Egypt is, hands down, my favorite place int he whole wide world. There is some vibe to the place that I can’t comprehend, but draws me in and I can’t resist it. I’m so jealous. Can’t WAIT to go back!

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