Red Sea Diving Holiday Nov 2002

We arrived at the confusion of Sharm airport early on Sunday evening. We were a group of the more senior (in age) Crawley Divers – Alan, John, Frank, Ray, Bob, and Ted, accompanied by our adopted “children”, Yo and Andy, and by Marion, Sheila, Margaret, Pam, and Elizabeth who were there as the shore cover. Having survived the scrum for visas and the queue for immigration, which must have taken at least an hour and a half, we found our luggage was still being unloaded. By some miracle, it did all arrive eventually, and we, in a bus, and the luggage, on the roof, were swiftly transported to our hotel, which was the excellent Sonesta Club hotel. There we met another “child”, Karen. She promptly told us that instead of coming diving, she was going to spend all night climbing Mount Sinai.

The next morning we were taken to our diving centre and met up with our guide, Andy (from Worcester). The first day was spent diving two local sites, Ras Katy and the Middle/Far Garden, to get us used to diving again and to the conditions. Our boat, the Admiral, was our base for the entire week. For about £3 in UK money, the crew provided us with lunch and soft drinks all day.

On the second day, the diving began in earnest. We went up to the Ras Mohammed national park. The first dive was Ras Ghazlani, and the second was what our dive guide described as the best dive in the Red Sea. This was a traverse around Shark Reef, across a saddle to Yolanda Reef, and then across to where a shipwreck had deposited its incongruous cargo of lavatory pans, which we were reliably informed had been made by Ideal Standard in Hull.

The third day, we went in the other direction, north towards the Gulf of Aqaba, to dive in the straits of Tiran. The dive sites there consist of a series of reefs which rise to the surface, and hold the remains of two ships which have come to their end on the rocks. And so it continued, visiting these two major areas once each again, and with some of us taking advantage of the opportunity for night diving.

My own most vivid memories are of swimming along near vertical reefs, looking down and seeing them dropping off into the blue, and of swimming across the void to reach Shark Reef. Another highlight was seeing the patrolling lionfish at night. Finally, for me there was an unexpected bonus of snorkelling from the hotel beach on the Sunday morning, and seeing just how much there was to be seen even without diving.

And of course there were some other activities. I will leave it to others to tell you a little more about what the shore cover got up to, but I have to mention the Bedouin evening. We went from the depressingly litter-strewn village where the Bedouin actually live into the peace and beauty of the desert to watch the sunset, and then to a quiet little corner, no doubt provided only for tourists, for a meal which included some decidedly dodgy looking goat.

Ted Coleman

This page was last updated on : 06 Sep 2011