Jaws Aqaba seemed like a strange place. A city in the still rather conservative Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, it is only a few kilometres from the border of the repressive Saudi state, yet here were Westerners walking around in short-skirts and baring shoulders. This was quite a different side of the Jordan I had witnessed a month previously; the breed of tourist they get here evidently don’t respect the local culture. Skin? I felt like I hadn’t seen it for months. A couple of days were spent reading, drinking tea, and trying to relax a little after the intense weeks in the West Bank, although “letting go” wasn’t so easy… Swimming out from a secluded spot on the Red Sea coast, I was past the shallows of the coral reef in the stunningly clear, calm, turquoise waters, when a boat pulled up beside me. The Jordanian captain ordered me aboard his glass-bottomed vessel. “It is very dangerous here, there are sharks” he warned me. I asked his two German tourists if they had seen any sharks yet; they replied in the negative. Personally, I wasn’t convinced that sharks swum this far up in these relatively shallow, calm waters, but the issue didn’t seem open to debate. He was adamant I was to board. The next day, I was on a ferry crossing these same waters, bound for Egypt. And still didn’t see any sharks…

Jaws

Aqaba seemed like a strange place. A city in the still rather conservative Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, it is only a few kilometres from the border of the repressive Saudi state, yet here were Westerners walking around in short-skirts and baring shoulders. This was quite a different side of the Jordan I had witnessed a month previously; the breed of tourist they get here evidently don’t respect the local culture. Skin? I felt like I hadn’t seen it for months.

A couple of days were spent reading, drinking tea, and trying to relax a little after the intense weeks in the West Bank, although “letting go” wasn’t so easy…

Swimming out from a secluded spot on the Red Sea coast, I was past the shallows of the coral reef in the stunningly clear, calm, turquoise waters, when a boat pulled up beside me. The Jordanian captain ordered me aboard his glass-bottomed vessel. “It is very dangerous here, there are sharks” he warned me. I asked his two German tourists if they had seen any sharks yet; they replied in the negative. Personally, I wasn’t convinced that sharks swum this far up in these relatively shallow, calm waters, but the issue didn’t seem open to debate. He was adamant I was to board.

The next day, I was on a ferry crossing these same waters, bound for Egypt. And still didn’t see any sharks…