Red Sea Divers.. Seadogs on Tour…
I’m the one on the right!
Well at long last I have a chance to tell you a little bit about our Egyptian sojourn.
First impressions…I expected Sharm to be a bit of a shithole, full of swarthy sly looking blokes, trying to nick my cash , talk about camels all the time & sell me dirty pictures, effendi….
Well how wrong can you be..
Sharm is BIG.. they have just built a new terminal at the airport, which is first class, there are open spaces everywhere, huge roads, new buildings, all the hotels we looked in were clean & tidy, with no piles of rubbish & shit all over the place.
There is a lot of construction going on, & I mean A LOT of construction, BIG shopping centres, new hotels, houses, roads… they are really making an effort to attract tourists there.
The local pople were very friendly,even the persistent ones that were trying to get you into their shops all the time ( which to be honest was a bit of a pain in the arse at times ) ,but with no feeling of danger or imminent trouble at any time.
Since the place got bombed a few years ago. ( fucking hell I had forgotten about that! ) , there is security eveywhere, with guards on the doors of the hotels,and apparently according to a sound expat geezer called Mr. Len, there are 20 security men for every tourist in Sharm. ( where were they, apart from the hotel security, you would never know.. ) .
We stayed at a hotel called Amar Sina,
picked soley because the diving centre was based at the hotel & consequently meant that we could stay in bed a bit longer , and we stayed bed & breakfast…..
However due to early starts for diving every day we actually only had breakfast once, at that was the saturday we were coming home!
When we walked in the restaurant they all thought we had just arrived!!
Our friend & mentor, Steve, who is the instructor that taught the old growler to dive in Kos, had arranged for a lift from the airport ( thank you Mr. Len ), and we arrived at the hotel on the saturday night absolutely fucked from a ridiculously early start that morning….so fucked that we just went to the local purveyor of alcoholic beverages & comestibles, ( thats beer & chips in english! ), called T2, for our nights noshout then fell into bed at about 10.30pm.
Bearing in mind that Egypt is 2 hours ahead of us, it meant that we were actually going to bed at 8.30!!!
Just as well we did, coz Steve had booked us onto a boat the next morning, & at 7.45am ( thats 5.45 uk time ( fucking hell 2 days on the trot.. ) , for our first days diving.
A very professional outfit, run by swedish folks, who really know the meaning of customer service!
We checked our gear in, then packed it into a crate for easy transport.
Colona have 3 boats & we were on the Diavola to start,
captained by Yasser,
assisted by Shareef ( the Chef )
& Rashan,( general dogsbody), & all round top hole chap.
THe weather was strange…. cloudy & fucking cold at first, but it did warm up later ( thank fuck ) and we steamed out to Fiddle Garden for our first dive, an easy dive shallow, & to allow us to get our weights checked out.
This is very important to get right as correct weighting makes it easier to maintain your bouyancy whilst diving and also stops you sinking like a stone, or bobbing up to the surface at the end of your dive.
This is a complex piece of physics which I will explain on another blog.
When we were all sorted we set out for a swim around… fucking hell, I’ve never seen so many fish tihs side of Billingsgate… and they were alive!
Highlights of this dive were an octopus, plenty of lion fish,
A lion fish.. roar!!!
and unusually ,a lot of jelly fish, the little bastards, who stung one or two people…ouch!
We also saw stacks of other fish, in fact as the entry in my log book states " too many to mention "
When we got out after the dive, the wind cut straight through us, and I dont think I’ve ever got out of a wet suit & in to clothes so quickly!
We had lunch on the boat, brilliantly cooked by Shareef,and a cup of loverly rosy lee ( thats tea by the way), an English institution,
It doesn’t matter where you are,
You can’t beat a cup of tea!
The 2nd dive of the day took us to the Middle Gardens, just up the coast a bit, where we saw blue spotted rays, a big porcupine fish, a big moray eel, and again shit loads more aquatic creatures.
All too soon the day was over, and as we packed our gear up, we were told that we would be on the Diavola all week, so we could leave our stuff on the boat & not have to arse around packing & unpacking it every day.. brilliant!
When we got back to the hotel room, the " maids " had done a really nice display with the towels… just another nice touch I thought.
We decided to go to Na’aama bay that night, where it all happens,for a look at the local Egyptian culture.
hmmm…. not very egyptian, & very touristy, but good to get out for a change.
Also good for a haggle with the taxi drivers, who are a bit sharp, & you have to tell them how much you want to pay, then walk away if they wont charge you price you want to pay.
Always agree the price BEFORE you get into the cab, & even then, some of the fuckers will try to blag some more cash off you, so its best to have the right money as you have got fuck all chance of getting change back .
We didnt stay out too late, as this diving lark doesn’t half take it out of you, and we had a relatively early night ( again ), so as to be ready for the next days capers!………
This blog has turned out to be a lot longer than I intended, so in the interests of not boring the tits off everyone, I will curtail my blogging activities, and get to bed.
I think i will also considerably shorten the next few blogs re Sharm & diving, as I’m in danger of becoming a dive bore!
to be continued………… if you can be arsed to read about it that is!!!