Thousands of interested tourists travel here every year. It is one of the most known diving sites in the world. The Blue Hole next to the city of Dahab in Sham el-Sheik, Egypt, is a natural phenomenon. But further it became and still becomes the grave of many divers.
A blue hole in general is an underwater sinkhole, also called vertical cave. The special about the Blue Hole of Dahab is its opening called the “arch” at a depth of 52 meters leading into a 26 meter long tunnel, which ends up in open water. The hole’s ground is about 130m under the surface. Tunnel’s floor is located a little higher at about 120m – Dropping in increments from 130m downwards, the seafloor reaches to a depth of at last 800 meters.
During the past years the site got an appalling nickname –Diver’s Cemetery. And that has a reason. More than 130 divers were found dead only within the past 15 years. 14 memorial stones at the beach remind of the dead. Tarek Omar is a local diving instructor at the age of 47. Started in 1995 he betakes himself to the bottom recovering the bodies of dead divers. Omar calls these dives “missions”. The only money he takes is used for his equipment. Referring to the number of corps Omar only says that he stopped counting one day. Furthermore he was the first one to really explore the hole touching the ground and still holding the local depth record of 209 meters.
The reason why the Blue Hole is that deadly is not its difficulty to dive. The hole is a tourist attraction and therefore easy to reach. Thus a lot of inexperienced divers attempt to find the “arch”. As the arch is located at about 52 meters depth divers have to deal with the “Martini Effect”, a nitrogen narcosis, which is significant at these depths. A lot miss the arch’s entry. Believing that they might have to descent deeper, some lose consciousness and sink to the bottom. Many still lie there.
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