Winter Academy & Summer Academy

   
 
 

Winter and Summer Academy

Simply having a relaxed time abroad, meeting other students, getting to know a new culture, going for nice dives in the Red Sea and learning new things about the unique coral reef habitat. All of this and even more is waiting for if you join one of our RSEC-Projects. The winter- and summer academies we offer are designed as biological courses with practical workshops which provide you with a lot of exciting topics and knowledge about the coral reef and its inhabitants. The projects in which you will play an active part, not only in research, but as well in the development of new ideas and topics will last at least 5 weeks and, of course you are welcome to stay longer as well. Your participation will be comparable to a traineeship or practical training for which you can also get a certification for example for your university.

 

Packages:

Student package including including accommodation, airport shuttles, 1 boat trip, trip to Nabq protectorate (mangroves)

780,- € for 3 weeks with 25 dives

900,- € for 4 weeks with 30 dives

1.020,- € for 5 weeks with 35 dives

1.140,- € for 6 weeks with 40 dives

 

Dates:

20. Oct - 10. Nov - 1. Dec 2018 Summer Academy II

5. - 26. Jan 2019 - 16. Feb 2019 Winter Academy I

16. Feb - 9. March - 30. March 2019 Winter Academy II

22. June - 13. July - 3. August 2019 Summer Academy I

5. - 26. Oct - 16. Nov 2019 Summer Academy II

 

 

Pros

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Third to fifth week Winteracademy 2018-I by L. Bauer
3. week Dahab: lucky students meet Whale shark by L. Bauer
Day Off: some free time again!!!! Everybody wants to stay in their beds as long as possible, but it is not possible as we are used to getting up early, thank you Nina for making us decent, too! But because of this, there was some time for a nice walk through Dahab and taking some pics.
Sabine und Enno did their Advanced (Respect!) while the rest of lazy, chilly students have spent our day with coffee and snorkeling several times! But all did a night dive. It was extremely exciting because of feeling a bit scared in this dark and creepy area where you cannot see anything except your torch. Nobody could really imagine how busy the life is under water at night. So we met some hunting creatures and a very colorful underwater world.
But now here comes a MEGAhIGhLiGhtNews!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The 26.02.2018 has been designated as a National Day for Studies of the Reef Ecological Elective Module of Anhalt University. The occasion is a several minutes and several seconds and several more milliseconds breathtaking underwater observation of a whale shark passing us, which has all of us leveraged out of
the fins and in addition to immediate shock rigor has led to uncontrolled breathing! Such a fantastic animal with such an elegance and lightness. We are all excited!
Everybody can follow and like it under: https://www.facebook.com/RSEC-Dahab-669152593196488/
The day after the whale shark was coming and our first real Reef check survey!!! We all did very well and the data will be sent to Reef Check headquarters! There were even extra stamps given for the log book. But we also found it quite good as a tattoo.
Second day after whale shark was coming. We did a dive to get ideas for our student project.
In the evening we made a small fire in the desert and looked for stars while having some tea and freshly baked bread.
Third day after whale shark was coming Trip to Nabq and finally with a proper car!! Yeah!!! Nabq itself is also a beautiful piece of earth.
Looking forward to the next week

4th Week Dahab by Enno and Marco
Three weeks already in Egypt, somehow strange how time is passing by quickly and still feels we have done so much and it should be longer. We walked to Ras Abu Galum, where we had a beautiful day at a nice Hippie place with some relaxed dudes from Cairo. When we can’t dive, or just shouldn’t because we need a break we always go snorkeling.
Another day we drove to the national park Ras Mohammed, which was also very fun, quote from our driver:”nice to meet me”. He took us to a Bedouin camp where we made a fire and some nice food and slept under the star ceiling, nice but very cold. The dive/snorkel site nevertheless was the most impressive underwater experience. To “fly” side by side with a turtle is a memory you won’t easily forget. We felt like we could stay in the water for hours to never let the magic moment end.
After pleasure there comes work, normally it should be the other way around, but not in Egypt. We had to start our student project, where we study and observe fish referring to a certain topic. Well, there are more boring or annoying things than diving and watching fish, so this is also not considered as real work.

5th Week Dahab, still awesome
We had to get ready with our presentations and we were a little bit stressed. Our professors from Germany visited us and we made a second boat trip together. A boat trip is always so nice and quiet and you see different dive sites, good food included. For their luck our chefs had a break.

Some of us went to a motorcycle trip through the desert with them. Man that was a hell of a ride, u can’t do it in European countries like this.
Some of us discovered free diving, getting down to 8 meters depth. Some experienced freedivers get to about 200 meters. Compared to this it’s not really impressive, but still a lot of fun.
One early morning we woke up at 5 and jogged to a lagoon and watched the sunrise, crazy but nice.

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All photos by L. Bauer

 

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Second week Winteracademy 2018-I by L. Bauer
We are staying brave. It is really much to learn every day, everything is turning in and around in our heads, but the dives get much more interesting after learning about what we see.
Algae, Fish, Sponge,Other...with or without color changes and of course all the exceptions to the rule all the time…….and those extras, hard coral, soft coral and those which are hard but look like soft and and and….
But between doing all the learning stuff, we also have lots of very nice dives, even a bit out of Dahab. Always with exciting discoveries for example Egyptian chill corners and tea and sun and much more tea and sun in the breaks between the dives.
While Enno and Sabine are training to become AOWD, the rest of us had  a trip to Wadi Gnai with Hamd, a “Bedouins-allround-organizer”, on our first day off. So now here are some impressions of our trip with Hamd, who was really good explaining everything we wanted to know, like plants, Bedouin culture, traditions, etc.
After all the different spots Hamd made tea and we had some time to collect trash (yes, trash in the desert!) It is a shame. On as many dives as possible we also collect rubbish. It is madness how much stuff we collected in just one dive.

The following day was a BIG DAY! We all had to pass the species ID tests for becoming Reef Check Ecodivers. We all ended up doing really well J  Now we can start doing some survey dives.

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Short report first week (Winteracademy 2018-I) in Dahab, by L. Bauer
The first morning in our new shared flat with coffee brought from Germany. (Sabine, Sarah, Lynn, Enno, Marco und Nauras). After a very tasty Egyptian breakfast we all went for snorkeling first. By the way we saw some very rare species like Ennofish, Bluefinned Marcolus and blacktarned Sabinefish.
Next day preparation for our first dive. The dress looks good, the weight belt fits. So we were ready to discover the Red Sea. Some of our “Egypt-discovering group” still have to become an Open Water Diver..
Nina and Sabine, our instructors from the Red Sea Environmental Center, trained us very in species identification and indicator practice for our soon coming test for becoming the best Reef Checkers of whole Dahab city. Moreover we all have to do our diving practice and theory to pass the OWD or AOWD what is absolutely necessary for doing all the observations between, above and within the reef world during our study time here and to practice our buoyancy so we are perfect before starting the surveys.
Whoever is diving and learning as much as we are doing also has to eat a lot. We are very lucky to have 2 chefs (cook) on board (the best ones) which are cooking so tasty stuff. Nearly every evening we sit together and cook, laugh and talk till the dishes have to be washed. But also this we get managed. If the chefs are lazy we take “koshari” or falafel sandwiches from our food dealers on the street.
So all you need to survive Dahab is to have a chef and and a stopper! You should take one with you to get cleaned all you need economically.
So the first things we saw under water were actually a bit dangerous. Some sponges where you can lose your earrings into while looking inside, a scorpionfish who is waiting for clumsy divers moving a bit too close  while going into or out of the sea, or even a Red Sea donkey which can hit you very unexpectedly out of your very streamlined diving position.
The first week was a very exciting experience for us all together. Watching all the funny fishes under water, getting inspired by all the stuff from Nina and Sabine, managing the living situation with three men who needs as long as the girls in the bathroom (or sometimes longer) and finding out where the important stuff for is located, for example construction market, Camelssaddle-station or the best ice-cream seller.

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Always beginning at the right side from the rear to the front: Sabine I, Lynn, Alex, Guide, Nauras, Sarah, Adriana, Sabine II (instructor), Enno, one more Guide (Eid), Marco

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Winter Academy I 2017 Second half by Schuku

Already now we know that 6 weeks are definitely not enough. We recognize primary by the days which are left and the amount of activities – they don't fit! But planning is everything! No free days anymore!
Week starts with two exciting dives at famous Blue Hole. 110m deep down in the dark – but not for us. Hovering here feels like in space. Awesome! While observing and collecting data a turtle is joining us.

For the next day we plan a tip to the white and colored canyon. With a car we are cruising to the desert. In beautiful silence we walk through the canyon and observe and analyze every plant and animal we can find. Also we have a look at the oasis, mushroom mountain and the second canyon.
Most fun is the car drive, fast through the desert and up and down the dunes. A bit like a roller coaster:) In the evening we have a great self cooked meal in the RSEC house.

Next day we are going to Coral Garden. Slowly every group gets more into their topics and makes really interesting observations. Partly it’s still difficult to create a concrete thesis for the project – definitely because we do not have enough time for more detailed studies. The small amount of time makes just an overview possible. Really interesting but also a bit frustrating for scientists;)
Because we just have one dive on Monday we drive to the lagoon in the evening. In our bags we have enough food, drinks and wood. It’s quite windy but we don't give up and enjoy our meal next to the campfire.

The next day we spend relaxing to get energy for the exhausting trip to the Moses Mountain and St. Catherine. 700m upwards to reach the top at 2285m. The view is awesome and every tiring step is worth it! Up on the mountain it’s so cold that we are happy to get down after watching a beautiful sunset.

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Winter Academy I 2017 First half, by Schuku and Lucas

We have been in Dahab for more than two weeks now. Dahab is a little town 90km away from sharm el sheikh. While we enjoy the beach, sun and good atmosphere on land we also had a lot of good experiences under water! From day to day we got more experienced and safer in what we do. After arrival of all volunteers most of us did the open water diver and some of us the advanced open water diver. Now we are ready and excited to see more!

After presentations about hard and soft corals, as well as fish families we used our new knowledge to identify them under water. Hand signals helped us to communicate the different species to each other while diving. Now we could easily identify surgeon-, trigger-, butterflyfishes as well as corals and sponges.
After two days of diving in Bannerfish Bay we went for a Trip to Ras Mohammad National Park, the first underwater-national park. The huge area with a lot of mountains and blue water looks like paradise. At the first spot, called Shark Observatory, we could even see blue-spotted stingrays while standing at the beach. During snorkeling we were fascinated by the very colourful reef.
Our camp was at our own beach were we got some nice Bedouin lunch.
The rest of the day we checked out the mangroves, salty lake and a crack created by an earthquake.

After a good Bedouin dinner we spent the night at the campfire, watching stars and the glowing sea and after a beautiful sunrise we went snorkeling again and hoped to see a turtle we had already seen from the shore, but no luck there.
Back in Dahab we spent the evening in one of the nice restaurants and talked about our adventures.

Next day we went to Gabr el Bint by boat. We were really impressed by a part of the reef which had fallen down after an earthquake. At both dive spots we found new and also familiar fish families. Any questions about what we saw we discussed after every dive. In the evening we drove to a Wadi, where the Bedouins prepared a delicious dinner for us. Campfire, sound of guitar and a lot of laughing made a wonderful last evening for our second week.

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Winteracademy I -  13. February 2016 – 23. March 2016 - report 2

This week we continued with the lectures on reef topics and started with our own projects. Everybody had to figure out an interesting relationship, behaviour, species or interaction to survey for the following weeks. After a couple of pilot project dives and hundreds of questions Nina had to answer, each of us found an interesting and appropiate topic for a project: Maxi and Rebecca are doing Reef Checks of indicator fish as a project, Veronika and Julien observe the cleaning stations of the Blue streak cleaner wrasse, Alejandro monitors parrot fish and Christoph and Anna observe different behaviours of Anemone fish.

Saturday and Sunday three more students joined our group: Phillip and David from the Trier University and Rosan from Utrecht University. Phillip nearly finished his OWD already and is attending the Dahab Reef Monitoring Project, David will make research for his Bachelor thesis about the current growth of Algae on the reef and Rosan will observe the corallivorous snail Drupella for her Bachelor thesis.
We dived at different diving spots, like Moray Garden and Eel Garden, where some of us saw the huge Napoleon wrasse.

Due to the fact that our projects keep us pretty busy, and we have spent more than two weeks in Dahab already, the holiday feeling has gone and we got more routine in our scientific life here.

by Anna and Rebecca

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Winter Academy I – February 19th 2016 – March 23rd 2016, weekly report 1 by Veronika
Six students from the Hochschule Anhalt in Germany signed up for a quite special elective module: Applied Reef Ecology, which takes place in Dahab, South Sinai. During the next five weeks we will learn all about the ecological interactions of the fish and coral fauna in the Red Sea. Our instructor, Nina, will help us to learn various indicator species and to get a bigger picture of the significance of coral reefs to the ecosystem of the Red Sea.

We arrived in Sharm el Sheikh on Saturday night and after a few stops at military check-points we safely got to our accommodation, the RSEC guest house in Dahab. One student from Bolivia had already arrived two days ago and in the morning we all went to the dive center together for first instructions.  As some of us did not have any experience in diving before, the next four days they had to do their Open Water Diver and buoyancy practice dives. After some frustrating first tries with buoyancy and equalizing problems, everyone was able to successfully complete the course. The other students used the time to get to know the fauna of the Red Sea by snorkeling or by fun dives. We already saw many different fish and were able to learn some hand signals for lionfish, stonefish, sea moth and other species. A few lucky students already saw a sea turtle in the first days.

At the end of the first week we did our first trip outside of Dahab, to a small Bedouin village called Ras Abu Galum. As there are no roads from the Blue Hole to Abu Galum, we ‘drove’ by camels – a very interesting experience. In Abu Galum we got a really good lunch from the Bedouins and were snorkeling in the beautiful coral reefs there. As it was very windy, the current was strong and the next day we all had sore muscles from the camels and the swimming.

 

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Summer academy II week 1
At the very first beginning maybe a short introduction to ourselfes. My name is Malte, I am studying watermanagement and I’m here with Deborah, a biology student. We are both part of the second summer academy from the 10 of October to the 14 of November.  The days passed quickly and the first week is already finished. We spent the first days with literature research about algae and there were presentations given by Nina about corals in general as well. As soon as we had an overview of the different algae and coral types, we started practising our identification skills by trying to identify training slides. On Monday the 19 of October we spent a day on the boat and we have had two beautifull and interesting dives. During our first dive we were very lucky because an eagleray passed by slowly until he got annoyed by a cleaner fish.
 We almost finished  todays planning and it seems that we will improve our algae manual and our underwater slates as well. When our first survey dive was finished yesterday we decided to change a few things to make the documentation underwater as easy as possible. We are going to do a survey dive today and we  are really looking forward to see how it works out. We will keep you up to date how the project is running.

Wishing you all the best from Dahab,
Malte and Deborah

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Summer Academy I - Weekly report 3

The past days Alex has been working on his bachelor thesis, his aim of the project is to gauge whether the habitat complexity of the coral reef has an effect on the reef fish biodiversity, and whether it is a positive or negative effect. He is doing this by using the English et al (1997) “Line Intercept Transect” method, which gives a percentage cover value for several lifeform categories over a 50m transect line (data is gathered by filming with and underwater camera). Fish biodiversity data is gathered by using a fish belt method. Soooo this week:

Monday was an office day. Alex worked on his thesis and Nils assisted him with processing the data gathered from Coral Garden the previous week. After that they went snorkelling to look for juvenile wrasses in Bannerfish Bay. Ida was reading articles and working on a post Nabq visit power point presentation.

Tuesday we conducted two transects in Moray Garden to increase the reliability and accuracy of the data gathered. A measure tape is put out and all the fish on 2.5 meters on each side and 5 meters above is monitored. After that, the measure tape is recorded with an underwater camera, from one end to the other for later analysis of the Lifeform categories observed. The following two days where days off where Nils and Alex analysed data gathered for Alex’s thesis (as well as Alex getting some time to go windsurfing…), they also managed to get on a dive boat with the Sinai Divers Backpackers to dive the forest of Gorgonian corals at “El Shugurat” and the happy reef “Shaab Said”

Friday we conducted two more transects, again at Coral Garden. Alex put out the measuring tape, Ida righted it, and Nils hung some weights from the tape measure to ensure it stays in the same place during the filming (in case of a current etc.).
Saturday and Sunday we did a further two transects at Moray Garden to increase the reliability and accuracy of the data gathered. Alex found some more time between analysing his transects to go windsurfing with the great guys at Dahab Stars.
Next to the Summer Academy Aylin conducted a biocourse with Nina from Austria. She just did her Open Water Diver with Sinai Divers Backpackers and was now very enthusiastic to learn more about coral reefs and their inhabitants.
After presentations about the taxonomy and different growth forms of corals as well as the taxonomy of the Red Sea fish species, Nina was well prepared to explore the dive sites of Coral Garden and Moray Garden. Furthermore, she and Aylin had a few nice encounters underwater with a juvenile Black Snapper, an Eagle Ray and a small school of Reef Squids.

After the successful first two days, Nina observed different types of fish behaviour underwater such as cleaning behaviour of different wrasse species, the aggressive behaviour of the Red Sea Anemonefish and the Threespot Dascyllus as well as the mating behaviour of the Klunzinger’s wrasse. At the dive site Lighthouse she was also very lucky to see the egg deposition and fertilization by two Pale Damselfish.
Unfortunately, time is passing quickly and so the biocourse came to its end with the topics invertebrates and seagrass meadows. In Abu Talha Nina had a nice encounter with an octopus and saw a hawksbill turtle from the distance. But on top of all, she was very lucky to see a Jayakar’s seahorse in the seegrass on the way from Bannerfish Bay to Mashraba. Moreover, the group also found a giant hawksbill turtle at the Roman’s Rock which went up just next to them and a Leopard stingray was gliding over the bottom on their way back to Bannerfish Bay.

Nina had lots of fun during her time in Dahab and these nice encounters also made the dives for her unforgettable.

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Summer Academy I - Weekly report 2
Monday we had two dives, the first at Ricks Reef, after that we ate at the nearby restaurant, the food was amazing. The next dive was at Coral Garden where we saw a beautiful octopus changing its colour.

Wednesday in the morning we went to Bannerfish Bay, where we focused on fish living in seagrass meadows, we saw a green turtle eating from the sea grass. Between the dives we had a presentation about Nabq, a protected area with a mangrove stand that we will visit the next day.  In the night we did a night dive. We saw a sleeping turtle and a Spanish dancer, lots of cuttlefish, a lobster, and a sleeping Napoleon wrasse.
Thursday we went to Nabq by car, we were driving through desert and past a Bedouin village between the mountains. We had a break where we walked around in the desert looking at a few plants and the Acacia tree. The plants have long deep going roots and many have a waxy layer on their leaves to prevent water loss. In Nabq we snorkelled around in the mangrove looking at juvenile fishes and upside-down jellyfish. The mangrove is a nursery area for many fish and it was funny to see all the juvenile hiding between the mangrove roots. The upside-down jellyfish have different colours because they live in symbiosis with algae that produces sugar to the jellyfish through photosynthesis.  After an hour’s snorkelling we had Bedouin dinner, potatoes and vegetables cooked in tomato sauce, rice and chicken. Nils presented what he had found out about toxic animals living in reefs, and showed relevant photos from a book.

Friday started with Ida’s presentation about the conservation of turtles, and then we had a presentation about florescent marine organisms. We went night diving with a special yellow filter put in front of the dive mask and a blue light, then we could see the fluorescence.  It was spectacular!

Sunday was office day.  We are working on a summary of our findings. Ida is working on adaptations to life in desert environments that she will present next week. Nils is working on the summary for last week, and Alex and Nils are continuing their work on analysing videos of coral reef life forms. 

Next week we will continue the workshop, have some presentations with our new volunteer Nina, and Thursday we might go on another boat trip.

 

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Summer Academy I - Weekly report 1

The first week of the summer academy is already over. So far we have done around 9 dives and have seen a lot. We saw for example a remora swimming with a huge porcupinefish which was about 1 meter long! Also we have seen lots of different butterflyfish, angelfish, puffers, pipefish, squids, a small turtle at blue hole, which is one of my favourite dive sites, parrotfish and so on. 

I have been enjoying the dive sites we have been so far: blue hole, mashraba, bannerfishbay, lighthouse, ricks reef, moray garden.
So far I have learned a lot about the different species of fish living in the red sea and also about the different corals.

We have also been on a Bedouin dinner in the Mountains which was really nice. We drove there by car, had a Bedouin cooking dinner for us and learned a little bit about the Bedouin culture. After the dinner the Bedouin showed us a beautiful oasis.
I am impressed by the underwater world in the red sea and looking forward to the next 4 weeks of diving learning and having fun with the other volunteers.

 

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Summer academy 26.6 - 31.7.2014 Report 2
 
As we got more and more advanced in fish and coral identification as well as in our diving skills (especially buoyancy perfection), we started to work more scientific. We got taught how to do under water transect lines to determine the occurrence and abundance of fish, corals and invertebrates as well as the occurrence of coral damage, bleaching and diseases. Here for we used a measuring tape of 10 meters which we attached on the bottom floor of the reef. Everybody in the group had a different task while swimming slowly after each other along the transect: Mareike was identifying and counting the fish species 2.5 m left and right and up to 5 meters above the transect line. Then Mathias swam along the line and counted and determined the invertebrates. Lisann was focusing on the coral damages, diseases and breakage. In the end Alexandre was filming the transect while swimming in a head down position, really slowly close to the bottom along the line. Meanwhile Amanda was observing something else…

For the last week of our stay in Dahab, everybody is planning an own small project about a topic he/she is interested in and which is feasible within a week. Amanda for example is interested in the role of cleaner wrasses in a reef. What kind of clients do they have? How long do the clients stay? And do the cleaner wrasses have any preference? So she is hovering near a “cleaner station” for a while observing and identifying the fish. Lisanns topic will be the occurrence of coral diseases at a dive sites with a small coral garden with medium damage (Bannerfish Bay), a dive site which still healthy (Abu Helal) and a dive site which is already heavily damaged and polluted (Moray Garden). Here for she will use the data from the survey the group is collecting. Mareike and Mathias chose the topic “artificial reefs” as they recognized numerous artificial objects in the Masbat Bay. They plan to collect data about the locations and materials of the objects, the fish habitants and visitors. Furthermore they plan to sink a own artificial reef made of wood an palm leafs as the traditional fisherman of Caribbean islands used to build for attracting fish. Unfortunately there is no time to get permission for dumping something in the bay (if the locals who dump car wheels bother about that??). Anyway, if this sounds like heaps of work for you we can tell you that we still have enough time to enjoy this country and its underwater and over water world! So we did an adventures jeep tour into the desert to visit the White and Colored Canyon. And we went with the boat Gazalah VI to the dive sites at Gabr-el-Bint in the south which has a stunning diversity of corals and fish and a garden of huge gorgonian corals. Now it’s just one more week to go… and still a lot of work to do.

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Summer academy 26.6 - 31.7.2014 Report 1

We are a group of 4 people who attend the Summer Academy 2014. Mareike, Mathias and Lisann from Germany and Amanda from Brazil. First, all of us had different dive experiences and levels. Amanda never dived in the ocean before and Mathias was already a Dive Master. So, the first days Amanda, Mareike and Lisann had to catch up with Mathias and undergo an Advanced Open Water Certification. Diving in salty water and deep depths (30 m), holding neutral buoyancy, long dives every day and the hot weather were really hard for us in the beginning. But finally we all got our Advanced Open Water PADI and the Summer Academy Dives started.

We felt more and more relaxed, comfortable, and self-confident and could actually enjoy the wonderful scenery: huge coral gardens, colorful fish, funny looking invertebrates, etc. The view on the surface is also really breathtaking: huge red/brownish mountains in the Sinai desert contrasting with the blue/greenish water of the Red Sea and starry nights!
In the mornings, we have presentations given by Aylin about Coral reefs (definition, identification and diseases), Fish (families, characteristics and behavior) and Invertebrates (Gastropoda, Bivalvia, Crustacea, Cephalopoda, Echinodermata). Diving follows after the presentations where we can see for real what we just learned in the wooden teaching room of RSEC.

We learned hand signals for different fish families to communicate under water. Aylin also did some quizzing underwater which helped a lot to identify the species. Besides using hand signals and slates to write down questions or sightings, we make a lot of pictures which can be easily analyzed back in the RSEC room.

In our free time, we cook together at our new home (RSEC house) or at one of the lovely furnished restaurants, go for a walk, watch a movie or documentary, celebrate the Football World Cup and have fun! (Germany is the world champion 2014, year).

Since the second week we also welcome a new volunteer in our group: Alexandre from France.

More people more fun, so let's see what the next weeks have to offer… Stay tuned!

 

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