We decided to take a little boat cruise on the Gulf of Aqaba. We took a “cab” to a bigger boat that was two-storied, the lower deck was glass, so you could see the sea underneath and the top was open. It was beautiful. The weather was perfect, in my opinion, the sun shining, and we were out on the water, the colors of blue changing as you look out to the horizon.
|Leaving the hotel, on a water “taxi” to the boat|
We passed several docks and kids playing in the water, they saw us pass by and jumped up and down waving and squealing at us. I was so surprised to see the water speckled with light purple jelly fish!
|purple jelly fish in the red sea|
We sat on the top deck listening to music and chatting with the other passengers. After some time, we were called down to the lower deck to see the coral reefs through the glass bottom of the boat.
|Captain of the boat plus the Jordanian flag|
|View of the coral reef from the glass bottom boat|
There were tons of fish of many different colors, feeding off the coral. It was beautiful! It was quite amazing how the schools of fish move together as if they’re one big beast, something startles them and it appears as if the beast flinches! We saw a sunken ship, the coral was growing on the ship. Really amazing how life can exist in even the most unexpected of environments.
The boat was parked and we were told that if we wanted to swim, we could. I love the water and couldn’t wait to get in. I stripped down to my bathing suit and got to the edge of the boat but freaked out. There were jelly fish everywhere! I went and asked one of the members of the crew if the jelly fish stung, can’t they be poisonous? He reassured me that these jelly fish are perfectly safe to swim with and even touch. Ok. I dove in the water and it was refreshingly cool. Salty. I guess that was to be expected, it was a sea but I’m always surprised by salinity. I was Dodging jelly fish, even though I had been told that they were benign, I couldn’t help but steer clear from these creatures. I got out of the water and it stung. There were 2 hoses with shower heads attached to them coming out the back of the boat. I rinsed off, hopped on deck to grab a snorkeling mask and got back in the water.
There was a different type of jelly fish in the water! It was clear, oblong and had a some fluorescent color that appeared to move from around in a circular fashion, from cell to cell down in its center, like Christmas lights. I wasn’t going to touch it either. I swam out towards the coral reef, the water changed from warm to cool depending on the depth of the water underneath me, what a sensation! I spotted a huge school of tiny fish, the group parted for me to swim through. Zebra striped fish fed on the coral, orange and red fish, bright yellow fish and green fish. I went back to the boat, I wanted dad to come snorkel, he’d never been. He wasn’t too keen on the idea so I started to swim back out to the coral reef when I heard a big splash behind me, one of the crew members had put on a mask and flippers and had come out snorkeling. He motioned for me to follow him, and showed me how to swim with my body as flat as possible so as to not rub up against the coral when the water covered the coral by just about a foot or so. He showed me all sorts of cool fish and coral, then he did a flip in the water and dove down to the bottom of the sea, releasing all the air from his mask. How cool! When he came up for air, he explained how to do it, and we dove down to the bottom to look at the corals and baby eels that were sticking out of the sand. I swallowed a bunch of sea water and swam to the surface. I motioned to him that I wanted flippers, he went back to the boat and got me flippers, I put them on and was able to swim with more force. There was an opening in the coral, all of a sudden the water got really deep and at the bottom of this gap was this yellow coral that resembled a rose. It was beautiful, we dove down to check it out.
Every once in a while I would hear small splashing sounds, I would look up and there would be small fish jumping out of the water, to avoid being eaten by a bigger fish. At one point, we swam by a jelly fish and I squealed underwater. He looked at me and grabbed the jelly fish with his hand, I quickly swam away shaking my head. Eventually I got the courage to touch the little critter. It felt slimy and stiff, like uncooked chicken breast. I hope I didn’t hurt it by touching it. He would cup it in the palm of his hand and push it around in the water. Eventually it was time to go back, everybody else was done snorkeling and it was time to eat lunch. The crew had prepared a lunch for us while we were out snorkeling and swimming. They had made fish (hamour, also known as grouper) in curry sauce, meat kebobs, chicken kebobs, rice, a Greek salad, cole slaw, hummus and babba ghanoush (like hummus but made with roasted eggplant instead of garbanzo beans). The food was delicious and tasted even better after a couple hours of swimming in the sea. We sat on the deck, in the sun eating and chatting…life is great.