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Desert Driving Training

Remember the dune bashing during our desert safari? This time it was our turn! We did not just want to join some arbitrary fun course. Our personal goal was to really understand how to drive in desert. Therefore, we signed up for a one day Desert Driving Course at the Emirates Driving Institute – the offical driving school.

Our course started with a theory session where we learned about 4×4 technique, driving modes (low range / high range), which gear to use when (totally different from driving on the road!), recovery and even survival in desert. Then we did our practical training with a Nissan Patrol with manual transmission. At the beginning we had to recover our stuck car without digging. Then we started with driving. It takes a while until you trust your car. Like I already wrote in the Overnight Desert Safari post, it constantly feels like you are rolling over, especially when turning the car in a steep dune. You have to drive them at full throttle to use the centrifugal force even though your brain tells you to slow down.

Anyway, at the end of the day we were both able to master the dunes. Thanks to our instructor, he was very passionate and friendly and had a lot of practical advises. I am sure this was not our last offroad experience :-)

- Bernd -

Overnight Desert Safari

Spending one night in the desert was more than usual camping with an extra portion of sand. They picked us and another couple up in the afternoon. With a 4×4 car we drove into a wildlife reserve to watch wild animals and a falcon hunting show. After the show we drove deeper into desert for dune bashing (=traversing dunes in a daredevil way ;-) ). It was such a thrill, it felt like your car was about to roll over all the time. Of course, we had an experienced driver. After dune bashing we had a short ride on the back of a camel, which brought us to the camp where we spent the night. The next morning we got up early to watch the sunrise while antilopes were passing by. After breakfast our driver, wildlife expert, chef and camp leader drove us back to Dubai. Yes, I know, the whole story sounds like kitsch ;-) but we had a great time…recommended!

- Bernd -

My first dive…

…took place in 2006! I started with a CMAS* training at Actionsport Wuerzburg and gained my first experience in cold German lakes. We had a bad sight and just two or three fish there but it was ok for the training and as I like water since I was a little child it felt just great. A few weeks later Isabell and me went to Hurghada and she enjoyed snorkeling so much that she decided to start with scuba diving as well in 2007. So we went to Egypt again enjoying two amazing weeks. We did several wreck dives, a night dive and we snorkeled and dived with all kinds of colorful reef fish, starfish, moray eels, snails and even wild dolphins.

Besides scuba diving we did two day trips in 2006. One day we went to desert, seeing all the…ahm…sand! Beautiful! There is also a fountain nearby a Wannabe-Bedouin-village where you can watch them living like 100 years ago, ride a Quad or enjoy the sunset. We decided to do the last one and our Wannabe-tourguide took a romantic picture of us.

On our second day trip we drove to Cairo, saw the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx and a lot of annoying guys trying to get our money. If you’re planning to go there: Don`t sit on the camel!! Touching it will cost you 10 Dollar, sitting on it 100 and if you consider riding on it make sure you have at least two or three gold coins with you. A cheap alternative is buying a stick for 7 pound and use it in the right moment…I’m just kidding ;-)

- Bernd -

P.S. The pictures were taken with the Casio Exilim EX-S600 in a EWC-60 housing. Instead of buying a strobe I used the Magic Filter. Mounted on the inside of the housing or in front of the lens it brings back most of the colors using available light.

Abu Nuhas is perfect for wreck diving! There are four wrecks: Kimon M., Chrisoula K., Ghiannis D. and the Carnatic (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Abu Nuhas is perfect for wreck diving! There are four wrecks: Kimon M., Chrisoula K., Ghiannis D. and the Carnatic (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
My first sight of the Ghiannis D. (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
My first sight of the Ghiannis D. (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Wreck of Ghiannis D. (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Wreck of Ghiannis D. (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell & Ghiannis D. (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell & Ghiannis D. (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Wreck of Ghiannis D. - Windlass (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Wreck of Ghiannis D. – Windlass (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Wreck of Ghiannis D. - View out of the machine room (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Wreck of Ghiannis D. – View out of the machine room (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Wreck of Ghiannis D. - The first floor of the machine room was completely dark (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Wreck of Ghiannis D. – The first floor of the machine room was completely dark (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Wreck of the Carnatic (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Wreck of the Carnatic (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell diving inside the Carnatic (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell diving inside the Carnatic (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
El Maona - we just did a short touchdown because I was running out of air ;-) (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
El Maona – we just did a short touchdown because I was running out of air ;-) (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
El Minja - The screw (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
El Minja – The screw (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
El Minja (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
El Minja (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Sea goldies (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Sea goldies (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
A crocodile fish (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
A crocodile fish (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Blue spotted stingray (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Blue spotted stingray (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
A salad coral (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
A salad coral (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
We also had dolphins several times (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
We also had dolphins several times (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Masked butterfly fish (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Masked butterfly fish (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
A shell (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
A shell (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Sweetlips (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Sweetlips (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Shoal of barbs (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
Shoal of barbs (© 2007 Bernd Neeser)
The world famous Sphinx with the Pyramid of Khafre in the background (© 2006 Bernd Neeser)
The world famous Sphinx with the Pyramid of Khafre in the background (© 2006 Bernd Neeser)
Inside a pyramid (© 2006 Bernd Neeser)
Inside a pyramid (© 2006 Bernd Neeser)
The papyrus factory...big business ;-) (© 2006 Bernd Neeser)
The papyrus factory…big business ;-) (© 2006 Bernd Neeser)
Bernd (© 2006 Isabell Gernert)
Bernd (© 2006 Isabell Gernert)
Sunset in desert...who says we're not a romantic couple?
Sunset in desert…who says we're not a romantic couple?