18th September 2016
Just under a year ago I sat in disbelief watching the news reports about Metrojet flight 9268 which had come down over the Sinai Peninsula. The weekend before I’d been at the dive show in Birmingham and I was just about to fly over to Florida for DEMA, the biggest dive trade show in the world. I was there for a reason, to talk to various potential sponsors about my upcoming record attempt for the deepest scuba dive by a woman. The date I had chosen for my dive: 18th September 2016, two years to the day of Ahmed Gabr’s successful attempt to become the deepest scuba diver ever.
Unfortunately, as most of you will have seen, that has not been the case. When I returned to Dahab after the dive shows it was to a dramatically reduced number of tourists and an uncertain future for anyone in the dive industry. I, along with many others, had a horrible choice to make; do we stay or do we go? If you have read my previous blogs you will have seen I chose to leave, albeit temporarily. A few months in England should give me enough time to talk to a few more sponsors and hopefully make some money before returning to Egypt when the flights restarted, which I’d hoped would be a few months maximum. That was in February. The direct flights have still not restarted from England (although there has been good news from both Germany and Belgium recently). After a few months I realised I had to make another choice. I could return to Dahab and try to continue with my attempt or I could look for something more permanent here. I have always said I will not cut corners with my record. That is how people die. I still needed to make a living as well as trying to work out how to fund the record (Unsurprisingly all potential sponsors had disappeared once the tourists stopped). So for me, I felt there was no choice. I would be staying in England.
At first I felt like I’d had to give up on everything; my dream, my home, my life. But I am very lucky. I have friends who’ve helped me realise I haven’t lost anything. Last week I went back to Dahab for a holiday. It was incredibly cathartic. I could see everything with fresh eyes from the diving to the lifestyle. I love Dahab and Egypt and am not giving up on anything and although I’ve not attempted my record this year but that doesn’t mean my dream is over. The diving in Dahab is as amazing as it’s always been, maybe even better since the reefs have had a break from so many people. Some of the people have left but many are still there and some are even returning from extended stays abroad. I am very lucky. I can still dive, I can still train. I will not give up yet. It took Ahmed 4 years with a revolution in the middle before he reached his dream. I can wait.
As they say here “Bukra, Insh’allah”. Tomorrow, if God is willing.