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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Gohst of Sharm

With the thousands of divers visiting Sharm each year, there’s not many of them have had a Ghostly encounter.

In our last newsletter issue there was a little article on “The Count” and his spotting of small creatures. Well he’s done it again.

During a shore dive where the main objective was to find small critters to photograph, he stumbled over one of the most sought after small creatures in the Red Sea. The Ornate Ghost Pipe Fish.

Now any guide can find you anthias, angelfish, blue spotted stingrays and gets no problem in Finding Nemo, but an Ornate Ghost Pipe Fish is one hell of a find.

Although it was a marvelous spot and especially on a day when only photography was on the agenda, disaster struck when the camera flooded. Mark, the diver who’s camera flooded, was distraught. Not only as his camera was ruined, but also as he lost a special opportunity to capture the elusive Ghost of Sharm, as Mark was due to fly home the next day, he never got the opportunity to get that elusive shot!

The next day, three of us (staff) decided to revisit the spot to see if we could get a picture. You can see how rare this find is as three staff went diving on their day off to photograph the Ghost. It’s also in a very accessible area where many training dives take place so we wonder how many hundreds of divers have swam over this creature in the past not knowing what a rare opportunity they have to experience the beauty of the Ghost.

To our disappointment the Ghost had vanished, not to been seen anywhere. We stayed underwater for 72 minutes looking in the area for this elusive Ghost, and it lived up to its name. Is that’s why they call it a Ghost?

We assessed the situation and decided two things could have happened. 1st, It may move to a different location at different times of the day as we were later in the day diving at that spot than the dive the day previously. 2nd Something may have eaten it!!

We hoped it was not the later, so we decided to go to the same spot the next day but at the same time when The Count and Mark spotted it.

Bingo. There it was, in the same place (roughly) as it was spotted two days previously.

We managed to get some good shots of it as it is quite a little poser considering its name.

When we were around the area taking time lining the Ghost up for our shots, taking turns with our cameras, a cornet fish came in to investigate what we were looking at. These are extremely predatory fish and often use us for their own stealth when hunting. The last thing we wanted was to draw attention to the Ghost and give his location away so we moved away and started photographing anything and nothing and the cornet fish soon lost interest and moved on.

This particular Ghost pipe fish is a fair size compared to some we have seen, so he’s survived a good few season we think. Long may he do so.



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