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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Blue Hole, Dahab

Nicknamed the "Divers' Cemetery," with more than 70 fatalities (some claim the actual number is over 100), Dahab's Blue Hole is basically a coral lagoon which opens to the Red Sea through a tunnel known as "the Arch." The roof of the Arch lies at a depth of 52 m (170 ft). The featureless depths beyond the Arch render the tunnel to the open sea appear shorter than it really is; in addition, a shoreward current causes the 26 m (85 ft) swim through the tunnel longer than its physical distance suggest it to be. The base of the Arch rests at 120 m (393 ft), after which it plunges to 1000+ m (3280+ ft) beyond. Scores of divers have fallen victim to its deceptive nature. The bottom of the Blue Hole is littered with scuba equipment and the bodies of their former owners; the cliffs around the bay bear their epitaphs.

Nota bene: some viewers might find these videos disturbing.

Decomposed diver's body (identity unknown) at 112 m (367 ft).

Diving fatality (Yuri Lipski), 91.5 m (300 ft). The diver's helmet-mounted camera captured his final moments. Yuri's dive computer read 91.5 m (300 ft). The analysis, more emotional than objective, needs to be taken with a grain of salt. For example, at 91.5m, Yuri's oxygen partial pressure (PPO2) from diving on compressed air (he was only diving on one tank. No twinset and no deco-bottle), as opposed to mixed gas, would have significantly exceeded the physiological limit of 1.6 atmospheres for oxygen partial pressure exposure. Hence, his "thrashing about on the bottom" was more likely the result of convulsions from Central Nervous System (CNS) Oxygen Toxicity (OTox) than being "entangled in the sand."

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) footage of victim remains at the bottom of Blue Hole, Dahab. Keep an eye on the depth gauge (in meters).

The Arch at Blue Hole, Dahab has lured so many divers to their deaths because it appears innocuous enough to be attempted on a single tank of compressed air. But the reality is that it is an overhead environment with virtually no bottom as a reference. Here is a video of technical divers doing it (32MB QuickTime video). Their 1st stages seem to be leaking though. Bubble check, anyone? Hmm...

Recovery of Yuri Lipski's body (at the behest of his parents).


Blogger Alan said...

Story about Israeli diver who died recently in Blue Hole

December 18, 2007 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i keep looking at all the videos and it looks pretty simple. go down 170 feet, cross over, come i missing something?

April 19, 2008 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"i keep looking at all the videos and it looks pretty simple. go down 170 feet, cross over, come i missing something?"

yes, diving a these depts is very very dangerous

June 17, 2008 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not an easy dive because you are
in an OVERHEAD environment. You can't just come up. There's a current AGAINST you and there's hundreds of feet of blue ocean below.

IF you do the dive, you have to plan for DECOMPRESSION. Also, you also have to plan for 'bad case scenario' if you go too deep (200 feet plus). LOTS OF GEAR and planning required.

This guy, Yuri, didn't plan it right. It's horrible.

Probably the best training for this dive would be through a national cave diving organization.

July 03, 2008 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That body isn't Barbara Dillinger: she died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

August 14, 2008 4:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Planing is the KEY to any dive. If you do not do it or cannot afford it - do NOT dive.

August 24, 2008 12:23 PM  
Blogger ukreal1 said...

WOW, I went snorkeling the other day here in Okinawa and was telling some guys about the blue hole. So I googled it and came across you. I went snorkeling there in 1992 and I remember people telling me that it was a very dangerous dive site...

September 02, 2008 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Joshua said...

So im a diver . I just finished my advanced like last week. And i mean even a diver as low experienced as i am knows that one cannot like on a tank of air down to depths of like lets say even 90 metres.. I mean jsut the compression on ur organs is bad enough adding the lack of oxygen. the pit stop would be longer than a normal tank would be able to take yet people still want to try doing it in 1 tank =.= I LOVE DIving thats for sure but taking the right precautions is the main thing to do before any dive whether deep or even shallow..

November 09, 2008 12:25 AM  
Anonymous diverjonny said...

That body is not Barbara Dillinger. Please search for my clip of her story on Youtube, and please remove her name and correct this piece of mis-information. Thanks

December 09, 2008 8:55 PM  
Blogger -ben said...

Thanks for the clarification, diverjonny. The chain of events makes it even more tragic for Barbara :-(

December 10, 2008 12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It ma seem easy, but any diver know going below 30 metres you have a big risk of getting nitrogen narcosis.
The most dangerous aspects of narcosis are the loss of decision-making ability and focus, and impaired judgment, multi-tasking and coordination. Other effects include vertigo, tingling and numbness of the lips, mouth and fingers, and exhaustion. The syndrome may cause exhilaration, giddiness, extreme anxiety, depression, or paranoia, depending on the individual diver and the diver's medical or personal history. When more serious, the diver may begin to feel invulnerable, disregarding normal safe diving practices. Paradoxically, badly affected divers may panic, sometimes remaining on the bottom, too exhausted to ascend

August 12, 2009 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

barbara dillinger was my aunt. it's so hard for me.

pascal dillinger

October 27, 2009 5:19 PM  
Blogger -ben said...

I'm so sorry, Pascal.

October 27, 2009 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Je reviens de Blue Hole et je suis bouleversée par la disparition de Barbara...Elle était si jeune.

October 29, 2009 3:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad story, may he rest in peace. Can't believe that's Monica Farrell, she used to teach me at the American University in Cairo.

January 15, 2010 7:04 AM  

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