Sudan’s Red Sea
When I went to Sudan in 2010, the country was still in a civil war that had been going on for decades, its president was wanted for crimes against humanity by the Hague Tribunal, and there were curfews and restrictions, especially for foreigners. All in all, not an encouraging picture.
Unlike the Egyptian part of the Red Sea, due to its conflicts the Sudanese part is not exploited on an industrial or tourist level. Its seabed is pristine, healthy, and perfectly preserved.
The main reason for the trip was to see the hammerhead sharks, common and residing in the area. But in this region, due to the currents, we could only see them at great depth. Recreational divers have a depth limit of 40 meters, and beyond that depth we must take extreme safety measures. Considering that the nearest hyperbaric chamber was in Egypt, and that the Sudanese rescue services were conspicuous by their absence, we had to be very careful not to accumulate too much decompression time (the deeper you go, the faster you can enter decompression). Despite this limitation, we were able to enjoy them, as well as the variety of corals, gorgonians, and colorful minnows that make up the environment.
Umbria, The Great Sunken Ship
Built in Hamburg in the 1910’s, this freighter could carry 2000 passengers and 9000 tons of material. It covered a very important supply route during the Second World War until the Italian ship was sunk by the Allies.
Entering a ship of such dimensions underwater is not easy, and can be very dangerous. If you get lost in the maze of corridors you won’t get out. So, again, we had to be very cautious and above all not get separated. This is quite difficult when you are mesmerized when, for example, you enter the cargo hold and see the vintage cars, go into the kitchen and see the wine bottles…. You’re focused on the diving, but you can’t help but be transported into life on board. Entering the dining room, the bathrooms… it’s like taking a trip back in time.