Three go to the Red Sea

Sally, Hilary and Miles recently headed off for an impromptu week of diving in the Red Sea. Sally recounts the tale…

Hilary, Miles and I have just returned from a marvellous week in the Red Sea. Organised by Hilary, who usually arranges holidays for a cast of thousands, this was a last minute, hastily arranged trip as they had “some business” to attend to and asked me to come along too. Well, I’m no trouble am I!!!

We stayed at The Ghazala Beach Hotel, which is our new favourite hotel in Na’ama Bay, Sharm, being only a five minute walk along the level beach-front path from The Red Sea College, which itself is only a ten minute walk from the harbour; All very handy.

Hilary, Miles and SallyWe enjoyed 6 days boat diving, with 3 dives a day, each about an hour long. Although, not as well travelled as some of you, in my opinion you can’t beat the Red Sea for the sheer variety of sites available. A couple of days we dived the reefs in The Straits of Tiran; Then another day down to Ras Mohammad on the tip of the Sinai Peninsula to dive Shark/ Yolanda. Other days we stayed on the “local” sites. We eschewed the early start necessary to go to the wreck of The Thistlegorm; having dived it a few times before we decided sleep was more important.

Amazingly, it seems most of the dive guides at The Red Sea College are currently Russian girls; in previous years there had been a mix of nationalities with many being British. It elapsed that we had a succession of these Russian guides during the trip and I found that their rather severe expressions and direct manner belied the fact that they were in fact very friendly and helpful and gave excellent briefings. Once they realised that we were actually quite good divers they let us just get on with it. Thus, the three of us tended to bring up the rear in a loose buddy trio pottering hither and thither enjoying the multifarious marine life in the balmy 26 degrees water.

Yes, we saw mantas! N.B. plural, though never more than one at once. (Different dives so not the same one!) One came up the reef towards us and skimmed above our heads so we saw its undercarriage in great detail; startled by bubbles it then turned tail and headed up towards the surface. Other notables were large Porcupine Puffer Fish; Turtles; Eagle Rays; Crocodile Fish; a Stingray; Napoleonfish and on one dive, two juveniles being shepherded by their watchful parents; several Morays both static and free swimming including the one that Hilary encountered scrobbling about in the sand eventually emerging with a fish in its mouth; Scorpion Fish Etc etc.

Out of the 18 dives, my favourite dive this time was surprisingly Ras Katy. Usually done as a wall dive, this time, Hannah our dive guide, took us along the wall and down to 27 metres then across the plateau to the very end. As we hung there at the outermost point we were surrounded by a shoal of turquoise Trigger Fish mingling with a shoal of yellow Banner Fish; quite mesmerising. Near the end of this dive the three of us spent a good 10 minutes watching and following an Eagle Ray as it snuffled about in the sand with its “beak”. We were able to get so close without disturbing it that we could clearly see how flexible this proboscis was, more like a shovel!

On a personal note, I was pleased that my new hip coped brilliantly with the three dives a day regime. My other hip, formerly and formally known as “my good hip” only gave me occasional jip.

Post diving we would habitually repair to the dive centre for Mojitos in their courtyard followed later by pre- prandial G & Ts on our patio in front of our adjacent rooms. As the hotel backs onto the beach- front path we were close to the vast array of restaurants, particularly Tam Tam, which over the years has become a favourite.

All in all a brilliant holiday; good diving and good company;


One Comment:

  1. Sophie and I had a great week in the Red Sea back in May too. Here’s my attempt at a video…

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