Scuba Diving With Turtles At Shaab Abu Dabab, Egypt

by Ewald
(The Netherlands)

No Touchie!

No Touchie!

A year ago I was in Marsa Shagra (Egypt) for a nice weeklong holiday with the club. We were at the Ecolodge Villages where you can sleep in tents at the sea (waking up on the beach is something most people will enjoy ;) ).


One day we went to Shaab Abu Dabab to view the turtles there. As most people know the guides have a tendency to exaggerate things (Yesterday we saw sharks!) so I always take the stories with a grain of salt (or in the Red Sea a LOT of salt ;)).

Anyway, we went there and did the briefing. The guide told us we weren't allowed to touch anything, which is a thing our club is very strict on but it never hurts to emphasize it. He also told us that the Manatee that was living there disappeared because of all the people harassing it.

After the briefing we got in the water and sure enough after a few minutes at 8 meters we saw the giant sea-turtles. It was a magnificent sight and one of the coolest things I had seen underwater until then.

Everyone was giving the animal space to graze and kept it's distance, until the snorkelers on top (they have "learned" to go where the divers go so they see find the turtles too) started interfering. First it started with them just swimming down, but since they have no SCUBA, they couldn't stay there too long.

All was alright, until one of them got very bold and grabbed one of us to stay down longer and started reaching for the turtle. What the guy didn't know was that he had grabbed the guide, who really wasn't amused. The moment the snorkeler reached for the turtle, he got a punch to the ribs and instantly shot up to the surface.

Now I am not saying that it is good to use violence, but in this case I fully agreed with the guide. Of course the snorkeler was very angry and made "inappropriate gestures" to us from the surface, but I do think he learned his lesson.

Let's hope people start thinking and let the animals graze in peace. It would be good to start telling tourists more often NOT to touch ANYTHING in the water.

All in all an AWESOME dive and one where some people might have learned a thing or two ;)

Hi Ewald,

Very interesting story. Can't imagine what the snorkeler was thinking but I am sure he got a bit of a shock - to say the least.

I agree with not touching anything while you are down. It is amazing what you see some people do. How about grabbing a shark's tail and going for a ride? Yes, I have witnessed that. Never ceases to amaze me.

Your trip sounds like it was wonderful. You really can't beat waking up on a beach and then going for some great dives. Turtles are one of my favorite animals to watch while I am underwater. They look so graceful just gliding along.

Thanks again for sharing your experience.

Dianne

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Seen the same thing
by: Col

In 2010, myself and my girlfriend were staying at 3 Corners Fayrouz in Marsa Alam and took a day trip to Abu Dabab by taxi. There was an incrdible amount of sea life there including shoals of squid, turtles and a guitar squark. The dugong (sea cow) hasn't been seen there for years. Unfortunately we saw the same kind of thing with Italian tourists diving down and touching / harrasing the turtles. Even though it's against Egyptian Law to do this, certain tourists seem ignorant to the incredible environment around them and it's a shame.

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Thanks to the animal lover
by: Mike S

This article hit home with me. I am an animal lover and I think that the goof that got it in the gut, got what he deserved. More people should defend the gentle animals that cowards like this fool like to pick on. A big thank you to the divemaster.






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