Right, now that I’ve got your attention, thought I’d do a bit of a trip report on my pre-Christmas sojourn, ie my first visit to Egypt (hence title). :egypt::egypt:
Originally Liz (my other half) and I had intended to visit Michael (Scuba 1) in Tenerife, but every single flight was booked up. So after trawling through the bargain offers on the BSAC Travel club page, we booked with Hayes and Jarvis/Camel Divers - flights, transfers, 7 nights B & B at a 3* resort (Sonesta Club) including a 10 dive package, all for £330 per person. :deal:
One small problem, flying from Gatwick when you live on Tyneside! So we travelled down to a friends in Ealing then up at 5am to check in the next morning - THREE H0URS before flying - sheesh!!. Tickets were there for collection as promised, as there was hardly anyone around the baggage check in was swift , all seemed well...
As the plane took off I thought I heard a strange bump from the back of the plane but as we didn’t spontaneously burst into flames or crash I though nothing more of it. An hour into the flight I was beginning to think , “Ah...one-quarter of the way there now”, when the pilot announced , “Ahem... errr... some of you may have noticed that we are now flying westwards, w-e-l-l it's like this...".
Apparently, after we took off "some rubber was found on the runway, it’s probably nothing but we’re going back to get it checked out..." So, an hour back to Gatwick then an eternity (well, three hours) circling. Someone should have told the Captain to stop digging when he’s in a hole , but no, he came on the tannoy with such a BS story of why we hadn‘t yet landed. Ironically , this BS seemed to distract the passengers from worrying, we were too busy laughing at the Captain. Until he said "Don’t wory about the fire engines lining the runway, it just a precaution, there’s really
nothing to worry about, REALLY
there isn't..." :scared:
A spontaneous round of applause greeted our safe landing, after which our luckless pilot gleefully announced that the tyre had indeed
shredded on landing as he had predicted and we would have to stay on the plane while the engineers changed the wheel. The air con vanished when we were stationary so I asked the hostess for two bottle of water "Can you make do with one or there won't be enough for all the passengers?" FFS!!!! so much for the 21st Century. We were promised complimentary drinks for the inconvenience, this turned out to be two miniature cans of Pepsi.
We took off (again!) at about 2pm, by the time we got to Sharm I was NOT
in the best fettle. :furious: Fortunately landing late at night meant there were no other passengers waiting to get visas. THe tour guide took our paperwork from H&J and the hotel hung on to our passports - this made me very uneasy indeed, but I need not have worried.
THe next morning at 9am Camel Divers jeep picked us up to take us to their place in Naama bay. :auto: I was a bit concerned that Liz's Club diver status would mean we would miss out on deeper dives, but again this was not a problem.
Turns out the whole dive package was to be from a hard boat - I had anticipated a mixture of boat and shore diving so was greatly pleased by this. We went off to the "local" reef so our guides could run the few checkout dives and get an idea of the capabilities of the rest of us, this was followed by a dive on Near Garden reef.
THe next day we were off to Ras Mohammed to do Ras Gazahla then Shark & Yolanda (toilets and bathtubs) reefs where large barracuda abounded. THe drop off to 800+ metres looked quite inviting and I found myself fantasising about twin 15s and a big stage full of nitrox... Later that day we dived Ras um Sid, then that evening a night dive on Ras Katy - the group soon broke up so Liz and I pootled around at 16m looking at lots of lionfish and some huge parrotfish, saw a very nice brain coral which had all its tentacles out, would have made a nice photo.
Folowing day was Jackson reef and Woodhouse reefs in the Straits of Tiran followed by Far garden. Back to Tiran the next day to do Jackson again where we saw two green turtles, then Thomas reef where we encountered a spotted eagle ray, followed by a dive at Ras Bob.
The final day of diving we were up at 4am to go to the Thistlegorm. We got to the site around 9.30, no one else had located the wreck but our
dive guide had a GPS (ner-ney-ney-ner-ner :tongue2: ). He briefed us: "Get ready now
, as soon as I've attached the mooring line we're going straight in!". The other boats saw him mooring up out boat and descended like flies, but we got in the water first and had the wreck entirely to ourselves! :biggrin: Having done only British wrecks before, I wasn't used to being able to see the whole of a wreck at once, very, very cool. After an hours surface interval we were back in - again, no other divers around as they were still off-gassing. This time we went through the cargo hold. I thought to myself "No way would I want to take a bunch of tourist divers on a wreck penetration!" Kudos to our dive guide for having big cajones!
On the way back we stopped off at "The Lonely Mushroom" reef where the guides stayed on board and let us do our own thing. There was a curious mix of cold and warm currents there, it was the only time I felt any cold (used a 5mm shortie).
Due to the flight times we could have squeezed in another days diving but decided to opt for a trip to see the Bedouins and a camel ride in the desert, followed by an al fresco meal under the stars - the first time I've seen the Milky Way whilst on land. On the day of flying we did a spot of snorkelling in Naama bay, :snorkel: still an amazing amount of wildlife to be seen right up close to the beaches.
And that was it - my first holiday abroad for many years was over :bncry: but we'll be having more of that for sure :biggrin:
(Edited by Steve W at 4:40 pm on Jan. 10, 2003)