Adventure Scuba! – Blue Lagoon & Ras Abu Galum
Having lived here for 7 years and having never heard of the ‘Bedouin Boat’ until a week ago we decided it was time to test it out.
Bedouin Boat is a boat transfer that runs between Ricks Reef or the Blue Hole to the national park area of ‘Ras Abu Galum’ and further afield to the ‘Blue Lagoon’ a huge natural lagoon shaded the exact kind of turquoise colour you see in tourist brochures for the Caribbean.
We decided to take our time and stay overnight at the Blue Lagoon and do a few dives at Ras Abu Galum since we were out that way. There’s literally nothing but a few local families, a few beach shacks, the reef and a couple of squat toilets at both places so we needed to take everything with us.
We loaded our Dahab limousine (Toyota Hilux pickup) with fruit, veges, chicken, water, our dive gear, tanks and a cheeky bottle of gin and few tonics, threw ourselves on and headed out of town.
We found the boat waiting for us at Ricks Reef, a 10 minute drive out of Dahab past the famous Canyon dive site. The boat itself was kind of like a bright blue aquatic Hilux and featured a flat deck, a storage area for gear and a Toyota outboard of course! Hamid the captain and his son helped us load up the boat which was easily able to come close to the shore and we hopped aboard. The trip out to Ras Abu Galum our first destination was a bit choppy so we all got quite wet (the boat has no sides) but the sun was shining so nobody minded. The views were incredible, we sat watching the Sinai go by and kept an eye on Saudi on our other side too.
Ras Abu Galum
At Abu Galum we pulled into the sandy bay area, offloaded and reloaded into a pickup which was going to take us to the dive site ‘Salah’s Hut’. So named because Salah was the first Bedouin to put up a hut by the lagoon entrance to the dive site. Gear set up we took a lazy wander into the water to begin our dive. Dropping into the shallow lagoon and exiting by going over a wall of coral we straight away noticed the quality and health of the reef. It was absolutely vibrant and teeming with lots of fish. During the dive we spotted; octopus, nudibranch, HUGE scorpion fish, schooling glassfish and at the drop off a massive coral grouper, at least 1.5 meters long. We turned around after 22 minutes and made our way back to the lagoon.
Post dive one of the local Bedouin families had made us some tea and we found it hot and waiting for us on return. A few women came by the see if we’d like to buy some handicrafts. The families who live at Abu Galum are really struggling with the drop in tourism so we made sure we bought a few cheap but pretty, woven bracelets and a toy camel carved from Acacia wood. Bartering over, we headed another 10 minutes drive to the Blue Lagoon leaving our dive gear behind.
The Blue Lagoon is stunning, it’s a huge expanse of bright turquoise shallow water perfect for swimming, wind surfing and paddling rimmed on the outside with reef and surrounded on the land side with the granite mountains. It really is a beautiful sight, these huge red desolate mountains sat on the egde of the water and provides an amazing colour contrast and a great oppourtunity for some really stunning pictures. Home to only one family (albeit a big family) of local Bedouin there was a real sense of peace and serenity.
Lunch was cooked for us and we sat and played backgammon and ate looking out over the Lagoon to the gulf and to Saudi in the distance, which from the Lagoon is only 12km away. The afternoon was whiled away with games, swimming and talking to our hosts. And come a very respectable 4.30pm, a few G&T’s. Dinner was cooked for us by candlelight as the single generator is only turned on for an hour each evening. Stuffed full of chicken and rice and vegetables we headed off to our huts for the evening.
Each hut is made out of a tricky combination of plywood and palm fronds but came with a door and a double cotton mattress on the floor, luxury! We were also given big thick blankets. The toilets were a short walk from the huts and were well maintained and clean.
Woken early by the sounds of loose camels eating the plam frond hut roof we ate a sunset breakfast of freshly made Bedouin bread cooked on the embers of last night’s fire and fruit before heading back to Salah’s Hut for a last dive before transfer on the ‘Hilux of the sea’ to Dahab and home again.
Till next blog,
SummerFancy diving the National Park of Ras Abu Galum? Contact Us! We can take you there via Bedouin Boat or via camel trek. On our trips you’ll have a dedicated bedouin guide who will take care of all the details so all you need to do is kick back and experience firsthand Bedouin hospitality, South Sinai style. Trips can be overnight like ours or just day trips. We can also arrange sightseeing tours to the Blue Lagoon, boat optional!