Diving the Blue Hole in Dahab Egypt
February 12, 2016
The battery of my dive computer needed replacing. The owner of the dive shop looked at my computers log and asked me where I made that 60 metres deep dive. ‘In the Blue Hole in Dahab,’ I answered. ‘Really? In the Diver’s Cemetery?’ he said. ‘Why would the Blue Hole be more dangerous then any other site?’ I replied.
The Blue Hole is a famous and notorious dive site in Dahab in Egypt. It has the reputation to be one of the worlds most dangerous dives. But is that really true? Ofcourse the ‘Arch’ is a challenge. But the only real danger is divers overrating themselves. Scuba diving is a safe sport as long as you and your buddy stay within your personal limits.
The notoriety of the Blue Hole as possibly the most deadly dive site in the world doesn’t keep divers away. The opposite is true: it just attracts them. Many divers brave the submarine sinkhole, despite the fact that others have lost their lives. The many commemorative plaques at the entrance of The Bells are the sad proof and a warning. There is no official count but it is said that at least 150 scuba divers died diving the Blue Hole in the last 10 years.
To be honest, Dahabs Blue Hole is not the most beautiful dive site in Dahab: no colourful corals or abundant marine life here. Still it’s a place where you want to dive. And yes, just because of it’s reputation. It is the challenge of the Arch that has led to so many dives ending in fatality. The Arch drops down to 56 metres and beyond, then you swim through the 26 metres of archway and finally, you ascend on the other side. To do this dive safely you need to be a tech diver.
The problem is that diving the Blue Hole doesn’t seem dangerous at all. It’s a shore dive with an easy entree. There is hardly any current and the water is calm and clear. But don’t be fooled thinking it is an easy dive. The real danger is, as I said before, divers overrating themselves. But ofcourse there is another serious danger: nitrogen narcosis. As soon as you start descending you should be aware that nitrogen narcosis will get a hold of you at some point. Nitrogen narcosis will influence your ability to make decisions and this is where things can go wrong. When you are not able to control your descent you will go deeper and deeper. Oxygen toxicity kicks in around 56 meters and will eventually kill you.
So is that a reason not to dive the Blue Hole? Ofcourse not. This site is not more safe or more dangerous then any other site. It’s all about you being a responsible diver and accepting your limits. If you lack the skills the do the Arch you still will enjoy diving the Blue Hole. Just walk down the trail and enter the water at The Bells. Then you follow the wall to the entrance of the Blue Hole and you can look back at a spectacular dive!