Sharm Again, Naturally!

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Yes, its been that time of year again!  Holidays!  We haven’t had much of a summer here in the UK and I was in desperate need of consistent sunshine, and some heat.  A spot of diving wouldn’t go amiss either. (I can’t believe that I have been home a couple of weeks now!  Been very busy!)

After some issues in March at the hotel I usually use, and the fact that they are currently closed, and having vowed never to go back there again, I upgraded myself into a 5* hotel that was all-inclusive.  I wanted some luxury and a bit of pampering  (more to come on that in another post).

People are always asking my why I go to Sharm to go diving in The Red Sea.  There are many reasons to go diving in Egypt.  Here are a few:

  1. It is a 5 hour flight from the UK.  This means it is relatively quick to get there and you can start diving the next day.
  2. It is always sunny and relatively warm.
  3. It has some of the best reefs and marine life on the planet.
  4. It is reasonably priced compared to booking a holiday in the Caribbean or Far East.

Over the last couple of years I have met some very nice people on dive holidays and have been fortunate to be out in Sharm at the same time as some of them on various trips.  This certainly makes the holiday more enjoyable.  It is great to dive with people you like and are familiar with.  As I have been diving consistently with the same dive centre, Ocean College, I have gotten to know some of the staff to a level where we can socialize with each other and have a good laugh.  I went solo on this trip, but was lucky to have a few familiar faces to buddy up with.

My sweetheart kindly lent me one of his underwater cameras, a Fuji FinePix F80 EXR.  The camera is easy to use.  We programmed it before I went to Sharm.  I personally can’t be worrying about sorting out the white balance at this stage.  I just wanted to point and shoot.  I am not used to taking pictures underwater.  However, now that I am down with my buoyancy, I feel it is a good time to start taking pictures underwater.  I still have a lot to learn, so I wanted it to be as easy as possible, which it was.

If there is a downside to taking underwater photos, it can be that you might end up missing something while taking a picture of something else.  There is so much to see.  I am more used to fish spotting than fish photography, so this was going to be an interesting part of my trip.  I was very interested in taking pictures of the corals to learn how to identify them and to use as inspiration for paintings.  It helps that they don’t move.  They are underwater architecture.  It is amazing what you can see if you stare at a piece of coral long enough.

As is SOD’s Law when using an underwater camera, if you don’t take it on a dive, you usually end up missing out on a great picture.  Hence the picture of the octopus I spotted and didn’t have my camera with me!  It wouldn’t have made much difference anyway, as I managed to lose the first week’s photos while transferring them from one computer to another.  How that happened, I have no idea.  They are gone for good, and some of them actually really were good.  Them’s the breaks as we sometimes say.  (I am pretty gutted as I had some really nice pictures.)  Nevermind.

I did manage to hang onto a few which I will post here.    I still need to practice a bit and use some more flash, but I did get some nice ones.

Off of Gordon Reef and Shark and Yolanda

Things I saw in Tiran:  Turtles, Hammerheads on the back of Jackson :), octopus, morays, Napoleon Wrasse, Moses sole, a free-swimming stonefish, as well as the usual suspects.

Things I saw in Ras Mohammed National Park:  Huge schools of jacks, tuna and spadefish off of Shark and Yolanda, free-swimming morays, grey reef shark, a large crown of thorns, as well as the usual.

I also dived The Dunraven for the first time, although I didn’t go in it.  Penetration isn’t my thing.  Instead, I took some lovely photos of the outside of it which we will never see as they were some of the ones that got ‘lost in transit’.  It was a really lovely dive, with no current.  I saw the largest moray eel that I have ever seen before.  It was a monster.  It was bloody huge.  Did I say I saw a really large moray eel?

Off of Na'ama Bay and The Barge

These are photos that I took off the barge in Na’ama bay.  It was a beach dive.  It was 83 minutes and I still had 70bar left.  We couldn’t really go any deeper than 12 meters. 🙂  The barge is sitting in about 12.5 meters of water and has a lot of coral growth on it.  If you look really closely, you can see lots of little things hiding inside the coral.  I saw reef squid, pipefish, a little crab, a baby lionfish, a crown of thorns, and a host of other baby fish.  On this dive we also saw crocodile fish and a spotted eagle ray at the end of the dive.  This was the last dive of my holiday and it couldn’t have been better thanks to my dive buddy Kat.

Things have picked up a bit since my last visit in March.  There are more snorkelers and tourists and people are still feeding fish and standing on reefs!  I can’t feel sorry for those who do things they shouldn’t if they get hurt in any way.  Anyway, although tourism is up a bit, it is still good for divers as it wasn’t too crowded on this trip.  Not as great as in March, but still good.  I don’t know how good the going will be next year once the elections have taken place.  There seems to be a bit of tension between some indigenous and foreign workers at the moment.  However, I didn’t feel unsafe, but some people were really trying hard to milk the tourists, especially the taxi drivers.   We will just have to see how things turn out.

So, that’s another wonderful diving holiday, until the next one! 🙂

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2 responses

  1. I never clicked that you might be using Ocean College!
    For the last year or so, I’ve been chatting online (and twittering/facebooking etc) with Clare.
    I’d love to get to Sharm one day.
    Love reading your blogs and hearing how you are doll.
    xx

    • Hi Tara,
      I have been diving with them the last few years and the first time in 2006. Great people to dive with. Clare (Divebunny) is lovely. As are the others. Hope you get to Sharm one day, it’s a great place to dive.