Snorkeling in the Red Sea
Steve Irwin, better known from the TV program Crocodile Hunter, is dead.
I personally did not like the fact that his TV programs focused mainly on sensationalist handling of dangerous animals in various stunts.
However, there is another side of Irwin that is mainly conservation and environmentalism. He quietly lobbied the government and prevented the establishment of a game hunting tourism industry for salt water crocodiles in the North West of Australia, and bought vast tracts of land for conservation.
Irwin's death was not brought on by a crocodile, but rather a stingray, while diving in Australia's barrier reef.
As a child, I used to spend summer with family in Agami, west of Alexandria. The blue water of the Mediterranean, and the white sand were a major part of the activities there.
On some summers, we would see an invasion of large blue jellyfish with purple fringes, probably Pelagia noctiluca. These caused a lot of pain that lasted for hours.
Several years ago, my two eldest daughters were subjected to the same torture. We were watching a Balans بلنص (traditional fishing boat in Alexandria) hauling in its catch to the shore, as often is the case. As the net was taken out of the water, the girls ran between the net and the surf. The net was dripping a lot of water, and since there were lots of jellyfish in it, the water was like a caustic fire. That resulted in a lot of crying and tears.
Because the coral reefs of the Red Sea are treacherous to navigate, there are lots of shipwrecks all over it.
Over the years, I had to experiment with equipment till I find out which are best for my needs. On this page, I try to discuss the various things I tried, and the pros and cons of each.
There is often a notion that spearfishing is against preservation of the environment, and hence is frowned upon by many people. In my view, responsible spearfishing is just like rod and line fishing and even better in some aspects.
I was always fond of fishing. Swimming in the sea was not a great passtime for me though.
What kind of fish one eats depends on many factors: what is available locally, society's habits and culture, upbringing, and personal taste.
These are some pictures of me while snorkeling and spearfishing.
It is a fascinating experience to see an entire ecosystem in action, and no where this is easily possible than in a coral reef.
There are so many intriguing things in the Red Sea, such as symbiotic or commensal relations between two unrelated species.
One such relation that I was able to capture on film, is the sea anemones and the clown fish.
The anemones are animals from the same broad family as the corals, except that they have no calcified skeletons. All their body is formed of soft tissue. There is a base that fastens them to the substrate (dead coral or rocks), and then tentacles surrounding the mouth. The tentacles have sting cells in them, similar to those of the many other marine invertebrates, such as coral and jellyfish. If a small fish approaches, it is stung, and can become dinner for the anemone.