A fabulous time in Egypt

Delayed departure and several sherbets later and, our jolly crew arrived in Sharm late in the evening one day last November, or was it early morning? We were excited with anticipation for our diving adventure, despite the time, and well into the wee hours were greeted by our friendly, but very tired crew serving supper.

As usual the viz in Red Sea was a tad improved on Stoney, and considerably warmer, so check dives over, we were ready to rock.

The COP 27 world environmental summit (remember that?) was about to start so there were rumours of dive sites closing and being inaccessible due to the security issues: well the Gods were kind to us, but not so when we departed delayed (again) at the airport in utter chaos- at least 7 security checks and “pat downs”, and we almost left Jon and Mark behind. I digress.

Anyway, we managed to dive the Straits of Tiran, as well as all the best wrecks the Red Sea could muster including the mighty Thistlegorm which lived up to her name, through the same could not be said of the mooring techniques, which quite frankly were unbelievable, and the currents which were, in places, of the kind that make your bubbles horizontal (whoo hoo). The wreckies were happy especially Paul and Andy Dale, making their own little tours and having lots of fun.

Wreck diving was just superb, exploring magically lit gangways and swim throughs, festooned with life. Alistair discovered he had some natural magnetism with Lionfish, who seemed to congregate far too enthusiastically in his presence, they seemed to sense he was wearing a shortie as they menacingly weaved and wiggled towards him. It all added to the fun! Some of the dives were from RIBs which was interesting especially for the diver who travelled 1k to the site only to roll in having forgotten their weight belt 😊.

We discovered that some of us need more work on our RIB return entry technique, and I confess I was one. We did a laugh with each other about our floundering fish impersonations and silly mishaps. Diving at its best!.

The reef dives were great though Bluff Point was renamed No Point as the dive went from fun clear lovely jubbly no fin current to milky nothingness, and on Shark and Yolanda we were visited by an amazing spectacle of free divers, way down in the depths, donning their silver suits as their streamlined bodies slipped effortlessly through the water. I almost envied them, until I reflected on the ability to stay underwater for an hour, happily without the need to surface.

Other highlights of the trip included some awesome wreck diving (oops I mentioned it again) including night dives on the Thistlegorm and The Barge which were particularly atmospheric and teeming with life (Eels galore).

Other marine interactions included being greeted by eagle rays, turtles, schooling banner fish, batfish, and friendly funny dolphins. Whilst basking at the phenomenal sight of the vista of the Giannis Ds stern 2 inquisitive dolphins delighted us with a visit. I got the birds eye view and frantically was squeaking “dolphin-style” to attract the gangs’ attention to our visitors. As they say in pantomime, “It’s behind you!!” and we have the photos to prove it.

This was the 2nd encounter of the trip, the first being from the back of the RIB as they were spotted about 200m behind the moored boat between dives. Never have I moved as quickly, hurling myself into the RIB for the encounter. They’re big, folks, when they’re up close and personal and very fast. It’s a bit of a rush when you’re on the surface, armed with nothing but a smile, snorkel and a GO Pro.

Congratulations to Jon Arthur for his 1500th dive, and Alistair on his 200th—two great milestones worthy of celebration. And another award, but not underwater, goes to Andy Bacon for loudest Hawaiian shirt 😊

On board we shared our stories with divers from other clubs, who were friendly and nice. The food was great, plenty of it (Mark was happy) and fab breakfasts accompanied with Andy’s famous brown sauce (when it hadn’t been “sauce napped” 😉). We also enjoyed a little visit to Gubal island for a smashing sunset and a short beach walk, which was marvellous, and of course when we had the mandatory visit to the Buddha Bar for Mojitos and dinner in Sharm, as well as some poolside fun with free cocktails, before leaving the sun.

It was a marvellous time and special thanks to Andy Dale for organising the trip from the team: me (Angie), Sally, Andy B, Jon, Paul, Alastair, Mark, & Chris B 😊

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