The most northern coral reef
I came to Eilat for the second time, especially in winter, so as not to melt in the sun. Although I’m already a little used to the warm Israeli climate, the “normal”, usual heat is 35 ° C, and not 42, when a hot asphalt pan from below and a blazing sky from above in the first second flatten you into a semi-liquid cake, which is already in a couple minutes begins to hiss and char. Whether it’s winter! At 18 ° C, a piercing sea breeze only invigorates, and the crowds of tourists are thinning and becoming not so annoying. Although watching them is still entertaining: some are convinced that winter is still winter, even in the south, and therefore are dressed in warm jackets and wrapped in long scarves. Others believe that the south is the south, albeit in the winter, and carelessly walk in shorts, T-shirts and beach slippers. “Immersion” Complex “Coral World” is located outside the city, on the territory of the Coral Reserve. The road to it lies along a narrow strip of land, past numerous tourist complexes and diving centers, a dolphinarium and camel rental points. Personal discovery (I do not pretend to assign him my name, but still nice): The Red Sea is absolutely not red! At least here, in the bay, the water is incredibly piercing sapphire blue. The uniqueness of this place is that the coral reef rises directly to the shore, and even one who in life did not dive deeper than waist-high can see absolutely fantastic pictures right from the shore. In general, the Red Sea and its branch – the Gulf of Eilat – is, in fact, a narrow and deep crack filled with water that separates Africa from Asia. In winter and summer, the water temperature is almost constant, 20-25 ° C, weak currents and light rains do not cause sedimentary rocks to be washed off the coast. Therefore, the water is unusually clear and transparent. And because of the hot and dry climate, the Red Sea has become one of the most salty in the world. So coral and fish live here comfortably. So, under one of the highest and most impressive “molehills”, the compact and attractive Coral World complex has cleaved onto the shore. Just like everything else, it gives the impression of a toy assembled from Lego multicolored details, with a predominance of white and blue – the most popular colors of Israel, associated with the sky, clouds and foam on the crests of the waves. The complex consists of a huge underwater observatory at sea and a whole town on the coast of small, large and simply huge pavilions with aquariums, pools for sharks and turtles, restaurants and souvenir stalls. Everything is designed for the fact that in the “Coral World” you can spend the whole day. Given the by no means cheap entry fees, most do. In Israel, family tourism is unusually popular, the smallest ones travel in a backpack with their parents behind them, those who are older – in a stroller or riding on their reliable father’s shoulders, even a little older – are worn at frantic speeds around. Immediately at the entrance is a “demo” of upcoming miracles: a huge cubic aquarium with a piece of coral reef. The fish in it are full of consciousness of their own significance – not without reason they were entrusted with the first to meet visitors. They do not fuss and snoop back and forth, diligently demonstrating their splendor in the most advantageous perspectives. And only from time to time, when they believe that no one is looking at them, they allow themselves to quietly chew a leaf of salad from the most prosaic bunch, fixed right there on the wire. On my first visit here, I was immediately stuck at this aquarium and decided to settle here forever. Then the remaining crumbs of common sense and unwillingness to stick out in the sunshine overcame the first attack of euphoria – and I ducked into the nearest pavilion. It turned out to be an aquarium of rare reef fish. From that moment on, two completely normal, but opposite human desires constantly fought in me. One of them is sooner! sooner! – run around and see – that’s it! everything! – and take a picture! And the second – on the contrary, get stuck for a week near the very first aquarium and carefully examine every little thing: pebbles at the bottom, every twig of coral made from tiny “daisies”, “snowflakes”, pink “Christmas trees” and transparent “octopuses” in a golden speck. .. I’m not talking about funny “cartoon” fish, too bright and carefully trimmed to be real! This aquarium contains rare and small fish that are difficult to see and see in the underwater tower. For example, Friedman’s fish: a small, little finger-sized fish, such an intense purple color as a strong solution of potassium permanganate. It seems that a living organism is simply not able to possess such a poisonous color! And here is an aquarium in which at first glance there is no one but a bed of strange cauliflower, several fleshy pinkish russules and a bed of rather lurid plush flowers (exactly the decoration of the hat of a provincial fashionista of the end of the century before last). Moreover, the “cabbage” constantly moves its tentacles-cilia, and the “Russula” jumps nervously.