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At 13:53 02/09/99 GMT, Kat wrote:
 
>> >Kuty:
>> >>Did you cross the arch (57M) in the Blue Hole to the
>> >>open sea?
>>Kat:
>> >We were going to, but two divers had died the day before
>> >doing the exact same thing, so we decided to drop those
>> >plans (I was diving with a _very_ experienced instructor-
>> >friend who advised against it, who was I to argue?).
>> >Including those two divers, 5 other had died in the last
>> >2 months, so I wouldn't advise it.
 
Yes, the Blue Hole in Dahab is a place where many divers die every year.
 
>Andy:
>>I'm not familiar with this site, what exactly is the 'arch'
 
Kat:
>Ahh.  Well, the arch is fairly legendary in the Dahab area.
>It's a part of what's called the Blue Hole, and the site is
>about 2 km or so North (?) of Dahab.
 
Sounds right.  I haven't dived there but my regular buddies dive there
regularly (without me).
 
>Blue Hole itself, which is just that, a massive hole, I'm
>guessing about 75 meters across, which has some nice coral
>and fish life.
>
>Now, the arch that Kuty was talking about is BELOW the exit
>of the chimney I believe.
 
Remember, I haven't dived there.  I am telling you what my buddies told me.
 The Hole is a wide tube that goes down in a very shallow horizontal reef.
In Sinai, in many plcaes, there is a shalow (knee-depth) reef from shore,
that you have to cross to get to a spectacular wall.  The Blue Hole goes
down to hundreds of meters, in the middle of such a reef.  The "problem" is
that at 57M there is a crossing from the hole into the open sea.  The
crossing looks like an arch and if you find it and cross it (it is not
longer than 20-30 meters) you get on the outside wall and you can ascend
along the wall.
 
If you miss this arch, you can go down to hundreds of meters. Most of the
divers try to do it with compressed air and when they get there, they are
usually completely narc'd and miss it.  If they still have some sense left
in them, they just ascend inside the hole (quite easy) and sometimes get
bent, if they don't die first.  Most of the deaths there occur because
divers who are not used to "no bottom diving" start descending quickly (to
try to conserve air for the ascent) and when they remember that they have
to slow down and look for the arch, they are going too fast down, and they
just keep on going down.  Usually they are not found.
 
>It's a sort of coral bridge/cavern that is suppose to lead
>out into the open sea and it's suppose to be breath-taking
>(no pun intended).
 
Of course.  All those who did the arch, are narc'd to their booties when
they did it.  So their descriptions are very inspired ;-)  Remember, if you
cross it at 58-59 meters you are very close to the arch, so most divers
(who survive) do it in at least 60-63 meters (if they still know what they
are doing).  In that depth, they are really NARC'D.
 
>As I said, when I was there, some commercial divers were
>being brought in to try and find the bodies of the dead
>divers who people imagined were floating near the arch.
 
I have talked a lot with one of the rescue teams that did a search and (no)
recovery there, with tri-mix.  Nobody floats there.  The hole goes down to
at least 300 meters or more.
 
>However, if you are a diver who knows your limits and
>dives within them, the Blue Hole is a very safe dive and can
>be dived by almost any level of diver as long as they don't
>get vertigo!
 
And as long as they keep an eye on their depth gauge and don't try to go
deeper than they should, according to their own limits.
 
 
With best regards,
 
                       Kuty