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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
El Gouna Trip Report

Sorry about this, but I spent ages preparing this and then was informed that each post is limited to ten photos, so I have now split this into four sections


Well we finally managed to leave home on our third attempt – the previous two getting us a few miles up the road to remember we had forgotten something!

We stayed overnight near Leeds to get a good early start to Manchester airport in the morning, and woke up at 5am to drive to the airport parking.

On arrival at the car park, they had no record of our booking, but luckily, I had taken with me, a copy of the online booking, so that was sorted out no problem.

There then came a game of “musical coaches” as the first one to get on was having problems with its indicators, and, after much faffing about, they changed us onto another for a round trip of the departure terminals.

We flew out with Libra Holidays, last minute and their airline chartered for the flight to Hurghada was Excel.

I was fortunate enough to get a decent front row seat with plenty of legroom as being 6ft 3, I could not bear the thought of being squished into a small gap in the middle. At first they wanted an extra £35.00 each from us, but I said no way!

Our flight out was pretty non eventful – much like the dinner they served! – they truly are an economy airline with only a malteser for desert!

On arrival at Hurghada I was pretty impressed at the speed they had us all through getting our visa stamps and through immigration – about twenty minutes!

We collected our luggage and we found the rep quickly who escorted us to the coach park to get our transfer.

The El Gouna resort is a privately built area 22km to the north of Hurghada about thirty minutes away by bus.

Security is high, but low key – a checkpoint at the entrance to the town and then various measures throughout the resort to assure the safety and comfort of visitors.

We had half board booked at the Sultan Bey Hotel in Downtown.



Nice rooms with plenty of space, although the food was somewhat bland and geared to the French who were there en mass.




And now the diving!….. (at last)

After speaking to a few people and looking on the internet, we decided to use Dive Tribe who are located at the Movenpick Hotel.

I booked online and spoke via IM with Rob the centre manager several times before arriving.

Rob is from the UK himself and has been at the centre for around three years, having owned his own dive centre in the Bristol area before.

On the first morning, as promised, a mini bus arrived to collect us for the fifteen minute transfer to the dive centre via other hotels to collect other divers.

We checked in pretty quickly and our kit was packed onto a truck for the drive over to the dock where the boats were.

Abydos 3 was waiting for us when we arrived and a quick roll call ensured everyone was on board.

Both boats run by Dive Tribe are a good size with inside cabin and two toilets each.

Lunch is provided as an optional extra at LE25 day (around £2.50 sterling)

The first dive site of choice was changed at the last moment due to other boats being moored there already, so we proceeded on for some time to El Maalag.

Horus the guide gave an excellent and detailed briefing, we confirmed our buddy pairs and everyone kitted up and dropped in to do their checkout dives for weights etc.



Penelope had problems with her ears and we came up early after she also felt very cold.



The second dive on the site was much better and whilst we waited for the others to drop down and join us, we saw a big turtle swim past on the reef.



Day two we were onto the Dive Tribes other boat – King 1 – a similar size to Abydos 3 with the same facilities.

It has been suggested that Dive Tribe only have one boat – this is incorrect – they do in fact have two for normal use, but when it is quiet, it only makes economical sense to run one, and when it gets busier, they can take on more.

The first dive of the day was a drift from the RIB at Gubal Soghira. There was just four of us on the RIB and the drift was a gentle saunter along the reef. I can not believe I missed them, but a pod of four dolphins was out in the blue, then followed by another ten!



Here is the end of part one - please view parts 2-4
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Report continued



As a mix of diving abilities were on the boat, the main group dived on the sheltered reef where the liveaboards moor up.



As that day – Sunday 22nd was designated “Dive Into Earth Day”, our second dive was at the site where the main group dived in the morning with collecting bags to help clear the site of rubbish previously dumped by liveaboards.




The group managed to collect seven bin liners of rubbish!



We were all presented the following day with certificates of participation.

The third day, we travelled to the site of the Roselee Muller – a wreck dating back to the second world war.

It is quite a deep wreck but well worth it.

For this dive, we were together but followed a girl doing a photography speciality dive with her instructor. The line down was rather busy, and as again Penelope was having problems clearing her ears, we waited around the line for that to clear, but several people seemed to be in a hurry and clambered over her and not around her to get down to the wreck all of twenty seconds ahead of us!


 

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Continued...

Bottom time was short – some twenty-three minutes – we were on air only and did 31.3M so we did our safety stop and came out.



Once back on the boat, we saw one of the other group lying on the deck being administered oxygen.

Everyone came back to the boat and we set back towards El Gouna, calling out the emergency rescue boat to meet us en route.

It is worth noting here that the dive centres in El Gouna subscribe to a privately run emergency response facility and reaction to the situation was swift and efficient – none of the confusion that normally ensues in the Red Sea!

We met the diver the following day as he was staying at our hotel and he said he had been in the pot for a few hours as a precaution and that everything was ok with him and he was clear for flying home on the Friday.

Care of the diver was first class and after transferring him to the rescue boat for onward transportation to the Hyberbaric chamber in El Gouna, we were able to turn course to do a second dive for the day – this time at Shabaha. The visibility on this site was not so good, and it was very choppy getting out.



One thing I did notice was rather poor control of buoyancy by a middle aged UK diver who took a camera in and was kicking up the bottom, crashing into the coral etc. I was concerned enough to speak with him on the surface to see if he was aware that he had broken coral off.



We had a day off from diving on the 24th and this gave us a chance to go around the town in daylight. It is a very impressive, clean and safe place to be. You can travel around in a Tok Tok – basically a covered three wheeled motorbike for LE5 each.



At present, the main areas are the Marina, the Downtown area and the Golf Club area. There are plans to build along the coast for another 15km.

Back to the diving on the 25th and the first site of the day was Shabour Umm Gamar a nice reef with quite strong currents.


 

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More!



The second dive of the day was on the sister site – Umm Gamar which also had strong currents with a nice drift back to the boat. Lots of small fish and intact reef.



Our final dives of the week were on the Thursday (enough time still for no fly time as our flights home were in the evening of Friday)

Abu Nuhas and the Giannis D – the famous 1980’s wreck



This is the second time we have dived this, but the vis was nowhere near as good as previously, but still a good dive!

Our last dive was at El Giuwa Siyul Kebira which had a lovely small pinnacle with hundreds of glass fish.



An excellent week of diving with very good briefings from the team at Dive Tribe.

http://www.divetribe.com/

It was good to see that in an emergency, the company reacted quickly and expertly and that the outcome was a good one.

Eating out in El Gouna you are spoilt for choice - we went twice to a nice pizza place in the marina called Maison Thomas – this is owned by a son of Omar Sharif, and prices are very reasonable and the portions huge!

Friday was our last day in El Gouna and the clocks went forward on the Thursday night one hour to summer time.

This caused some confusion as the travel rep had not changed any of the paper work for telling travellers the pick up times from any of the hotels so we all wasted another hour by arriving early for our pickups back to Hurghada airport.

Once on the plane for the homeward journey, we sat on the apron for around half an hour waiting for air traffic control in Cairo to give us clearance!

At Manchester, there were roadworks on the runway? And we had to wait for a “follow me” vehicle to escort us to the arrival gate.

Despite being told to wait until being in the terminal, people were already turning their mobile phones back on whilst on the plane and receiving and sending texts etc…..

To cap it all when we got into the arrivals lounge there was the hugest queue waiting for passports to be inspected and when Penelope spoke to the immigration inspector he ignored her! – welcome back to the UK!

El Gouna is very different from most places on the Red Sea – it is very westernised and has good levels of comfort and safety.

We are definitely heading back soon!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Splendid report, thanks for taking the trouble to write it, what was the response from the diver with the poor buoyancy?
Thanks Simon

Merely that he was not aware of what he had done - the following day, he then proceeded to scramble about the kitting up area like a monkey and stomped on my camera housing which was with my kit on the seats - when I said something about that, he replied he could not see as he did not have his glasses on!

Hmm - no glasses on, can't see properly - wouldn't that make you move around more carefully?

Hey ho! :)
 

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Nice write up, glad you had a good time. We were on King 1 last year (and King 2 the year before, apparently they lease them) with Horus as our guide. Was he still diving in just his speedos?

Cheers/Nic
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nice write up, glad you had a good time. We were on King 1 last year (and King 2 the year before, apparently they lease them) with Horus as our guide. Was he still diving in just his speedos?

Cheers/Nic
Thanks Nic

Yes, they lease them - Horus is a great guy!

I think he feels the cold though as he was not in speedos this time!

Islam was another dive guide who left whilst we were there to go and work with a friend in Dubai I think.

He too was very good and gave good briefings.

If you go to El Gouna and book things yourself, book online with Dive Tribe before you go, and you will get a discount - we did this and it worked well!
 

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Thanks very much for the report. I enjoyed reading it. Now here is an odd request for YD.

Can you tell me a bit less about the diving :)

Serious question actually. I'm very seriously considering El Gouna
for a family holiday this summer.

SWMBO does not dive, so is there enough to keep her amused. Is it suitable for a family holiday?

Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
SWMBO does not dive, so is there enough to keep her amused. Is it suitable for a family holiday?Alan
Glad you liked the report Alan.

We do not have children, but having taken a walk around the town, there were several hotels running activities for children that were being used.

It feels a very safe and comfortable place to be.

Crime is almost unheard of there - the Mayor gets a daily report of incidents and they frown upon anyone discarding rubbish - even a cigarette butt will by all accounts get you thrown out of the place.

There are excursions, quad bikes, camel and horse riding.

Kites are big in El Gouna, and there is a live webcam here:- Webcam and<br>latest weather data - Location - Kitesurfing in El Gouna Ägypten

The website also has a weather station with statistics for you to see how nice it is there!

We also had the opportunity to look at a new development of apartments and I have photos of those if anyone is interested.

Finally, on a completely different note, the images above were taken on my Fuji F11 with only the internal flash - apart from the photo on the dock which was taken by Rob from Dive Tribe - some are corrected in photoshop, but others are as taken except for a little unsharp masking.

I was unable to get hold of one of the Fuji external strobes, but seeing how puny they are, I am glad I did not waste my money!

If I bother to get an external strobe, I will go for a proper digital one with a bit of power.
 

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Nice write up Simon, interesting feedback on the location, a place I have considered myself as a alternative to sharm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Alan - nice to see you - wondered where you were!

Its worlds apart from Sharm!

I would have no hesitiation in going back and just hope it retains its character and charm etc after the expansion and increase in visitors.
 

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Thanks Alan - nice to see you - wondered where you were!

Its worlds apart from Sharm!

I would have no hesitiation in going back and just hope it retains its character and charm etc after the expansion and increase in visitors.
Hey Simon, I have been so busy with work, just getting back into things mate and most importantly getting back into diving. Would be great to catch up again soo and see how your going.
 

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great report, thanks for the pics - thats another place added to the list of 'dives to do' :teeth:
 

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Sorry I missed you!

Hey Simon
Great report and wonderful photos.

Glad you had such a nice time.
 

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Great report, had thought about there as an alternative to Hurgarda, and thanks for the comments about the place, like others SWMBO is a non-diver so has to have something shore based to keep her happy. Since last year she tells me we have to go back to look at the pointy thingies in the north, so hopefully I can look at the fishy thingies in the sea!!
Doug
 

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Had a great time in June, we are going back next year 18th April,Three Corners Ocean View Hotel, all-inclusive. £358
12 Divers & 12 none divers so far all booked.
 
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