The Intrepid Five

I had to get back for more blue water diving so Ray, Steve B, Steve Potter, Alan Thomas and I went day-boating from Na'ama Bay with the Red Sea Diving College. We stayed at the Sonesta Beach Hotel which was superb and found the quality of the dive guides and dive sites were as good as many of the northern live-aboard sites.

We dived the Tiran islands Gordon, Woodhouse, Jackson and Thomas named after Alan's great grandfather (or so he kept telling the Egyptians), the fine sites of Ras Mohammed and the wreck of the Dunraven.

Whilst Ray was teaching the boys how to pull the girls, I was greasing o-rings and struggling to rebuild my flash time and time again until it worked (which eventually it did!).

Steve Potter had his eye on our dive guide, Cathy, and kept removing doughnuts from the hotel breakfast table to bring as gifts (I had heard she preferred flowers). Needless to say, Steve got nowhere and Cathy ended up on Ray's knee in the bar on the last night, just to prove that Steve P had lost his touch. That last night is always the one to end the holiday on and Camel bar is a lively place. Ahmed from the Orchid turned up unexpectedly and it was great to say hello again. The less said about Alan the better other than Steve B became Alan's best friend on the return journey home, carrying his bags (see explanation by Alan later).

Enough from me, here are some notes from a new Red Sea traveller and diver - Alan Thomas:

This was my first Red Sea dive holiday (in fact my first dive holiday - well ok, my first open sea dives!) and it all lived up to expectations. The weather was warm and sunny which surprised me as it was December.

I of course took too much kit as a shiny new Club Diver (I took everything and ended up with a 33 kg bag which was not fun to bring home (I'll come to that later!)

I'd recommend that all you take is Reg, Stab, Computer & Camera (carry these in your hand luggage cos if the rest goes missing you can at least hire replacements and still go diving) mask, wet suit, fins/boots and weight belt (no weights) and a diving knife. Remember to remove your dry suit feed and any 'blow and go' bottle unless you really feel like carrying it! And remember no gloves as they're banned to protect the reef.

The diving was excellent. I'm told by Karen that we had a very good guide in Cathy with each briefing being thorough and informative. We dived reef walls, table reefs, we did drift dives and night dives and also my first wreck dive - I'm now hooked on wrecks! The night dive was also awesome - especially when we all turned off our torches and dived just by the moonlight - amazing...

The evenings were very relaxing - we went out each night for a meal in a different restaurant and everything was very cheap - 2 for half a roast chicken - not bad at all. Then back to the hotel for a last beer in the bar - well Ray and I did as the rest had to get their beauty sleep.

The last night was carnival night (in the Camel bar) as there's no diving the next day and started off as a real blast - funnel drinking, loud music and everyone having a great time. I do have one piece of advice though, if you are invited to slide down the outside wall by the stairs at 2am - er - give it a miss. Hitting the concrete steps on your back and spending 8 hours in casualty with (fortunately) just a severely bruised spine is NOT recommended. The Red Sea however, very much is........

This page was last updated on : 06 Sep 2011