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The second half of Ben and Ians Liveaboard Adventure in the Red Sea this January !!

Day 4 (Thursday)

Dive 1 - Its 06:15 and I am in the water watching the sun slowly come up over the Sinia mountains thinking life aint too bad.. suspect Ben is still alseep as he fell off the back end as opposed to giant stride, we do thumbs down and go down the line...

Theres not a lot of light this early and so the Thistlegorm seems to be lurking in the gloom, she is absolutely huge.. we set off down the port side with current behind us and make our way towards the stern, over the side and through the explosion derbri (she received a bomb in the ammunition hold 4, and blew apart) looking at the overturned bren gun carriers and then up into the two stern khazi's wouldnt have liked to have been sitting one of them when the bomb went off!.. we go around the stern to the huge propeller, an awsome sight..

Nina (our trusty dive guide on her approx 2,600 red sea dive) signals shes going off shopping, she supplements her income with collecting kit us diving punters drop or discard on our dives.. you wouldn't believe how much stuff she regularly comes back with.. apparently undersea shopping is the 'IN' sport for dive guides.

Ben and I make our way up the starboard side against the current, Ben keeps peeling off to go back around bulheads towards the stern, I'm getting confused as our dive plan has us exploring towards the bow, we look inside a couple of deck cabins and I manage to catch my knife on a peice of wreckage (it drops out unbeknown to me) we slowly make our way up to the bow and hang over it looking at the mass of big jacks and Tuna hanging around underneath...

Bens signals how much air and I tell him 50 bar, he seems agitated signals back towards the stern and finns off at top speed. Im a bit leery cos want to hang around the shot-line area to go up on 40.. but decide to chase him, I catch up with him and signal back towards the bow.. He jerks his thumb at the stern - I jerk my thumb at the bow - we have what's known as an undersea domestic:  Jerking thumbs, I'm getting a wee bit nervous and thankfully Ben shrugs his shoulders and follows me forr'ad, we ascend the shot line slowly back towards the voyager...

Hanging at 5 metres, Im thinking is this guy trying to drown me..no way could I do another circuit on 50 bar, I look at Ben and notice he has started grinning and chuckling to himself..( It appeared on the surface Ben; half asleep still; and more than a little narced, had convinced himself that the bow was in fact Thistlegorms stern and that we still had to head back towards the bow to surface, hence his haste to finn-off)

We do a long stop and slowly come up on the last 4 metres..we're both grinning as we climb back on board and discuss our 'domestic' no harm done, but I take the opportunity to impart to Ben some of the knowledge gained whilst serving in the RN. 'Ben the bit that comes to a point is called the bow, the blunt bit at the back is the arse end and called the stern..' Ben always eager to learn and in true YD style says ' f-ck off!'

DIVE 2 - 3 hours later we are heading back down the shot line for Nina's tour of the holds, we do a circuit of the 3 remaining holds squeezing through one very tiny hole and into coal bunkers and whats left of the engine room.. on the way we look at the motorbikes, cars, lorries, rifles we look at remains of gas masks, parachutes, welly boots (which are fun if you invert them and fill them with air like an dsmb sticking them to the hold ceiling! we go through the bridge area and into the captains day room and view the remains of his khazi...

Fantastic tour, we cover just about all of whats inside to see in 40 odd minutes and so smiling broadly we ascend slowly back up the shot line..Lunch can't be too far away!

DIVE 3 - 14;26 and we are descending again to whats become a familiar sight, 3 dives on her can't be bad, though my computer shows signs of going into a sulk! following Ben we once again descend into the cargo holds for another look around and the obligatory pic of diver riding motorbike. (the shame here is of all the missing bits ripped off by souvenir hunters, just one small bit of a steering wheel left etc etc. It makes me understand about not destrying peices of history that belong to everybody and not on some sad gits shelf!)

On the way back up to the bows I do my bit for PADI conservation, cutting up and removing a load of tangled and hanging fishing line, trying not to get tangled myself.

DIVE 4 - we had sailed from Thistlegorm to moor-up at the alternatives, we decide to go off for a night dive and 5 of us Ben and I the two Cockney's and Louis our spanish friend (who we've made an honorary shandy drinking southern poofta, as me an Ben know that Madrids south of Watford!) Pile off the back end and began a circle of a pinnacle reef, the current is strong, but theres prolific marine life all around, consequently lights are flashing every where,

we disturb a disgruntled turtle who goes up for air and carry on, around us are big eyes, barracuda titan trigger fish, (ben does not like these at all and makes the underwater sign for shoo and or bugger off!..we enter a small inlet in the pinnacle and most of the group (including ben) swim past a cave with a huge turtle sleeping in it, I flash my light at Ben to no avail, so I tug on Bens fin to attract Bens attention, He goes rigid and refuses to look around despite me tugging as hard as I can, I let go just before he kicks out (On the surface we learn that Ben was convinced that Mr Triggerfish or some other nasty was biting his fin: working on the premise of if I dont look at him he cant get me, Ben was apparently about to go for his knife when the big fish let go and swam away!!)

We swim on into the current for another 10 mins and then around the corner, Ben then signal furiously for us to stop. Antallya one of the cockney diving pair is missing (He is a Padi Instructor and him and his buddy often do their own thing) we look around for him to no avail so we retrace our steps, its apparent whithin 4 or 5 minutes we cant see him so we ascend to the surface..

Theres no sign of him, so we decide that his buddy Jason and Louis will go back down and go the opposite way around the pinnacle, Ben and I will swim back to the boat and signal for missing diver! We finn like f-ck to the mooring line and get within shouting distance of the boat.. and shout a missing diver, when we are finally heard were asked who is it, by the famaliar voice of Antallya sitting on the stern!

Ben and I go into mutter, mutter mumble mode and Ben swims back to the boat while I hitch a lift in the rib, to go let Jason and Louis know that all is well.. When we get back on board a heated review to takes place when many diplomatic and non-diplomatic views are expressed. In the end its really a good learning point for all; about getting over confident and sloppy! Plan your dives !!

DAY 5 FRIDAY

DIVE 1 - early morning weve sailed up to Ras Mohammed and so we do a drift from Shark Reef down To Yolande reef, really nice easy dive lots of marine life, look at the remains of a couple of 100 Loo's that came of the frieghter sank at Yolande, good pics of Divers with head down Khazi (Brits abroad) and we oggle at the profusion of blue spotted and sting rays, devil scorpion fish and 1 or 2 nice turtles: one tame enough to eat the soft corals right in front of us. Ben and I surface after 60 minutes with big grins!

DIVE 2 - We go in to Ras Za'tir and do another drift, I know that I need to go down to 25m for the next dive and so dont put any air in BCD content to fidlle wiv me computer and other bits, quick glance at the depth and Im passing through 30m whoops! its so easy here to go deeper than you realise (20m+ Vis) we slowly drift along the wall chilling out.

Ben and I have become dive buddies, now understanding a whole host of hand signals...

Dive 3  - We have sailed up to the strights of Tirran and are diving Thomas reef, Looking for Sharks, we go out drop off the rib down to 25m and cruise the wall do the legnth of shark reef and so turn around and come back against current, Nina spots white tip, but it bolts into the blue as she starts signalling.. We are all disappointed but I am sure I saw Ben do the f--k off nobby sign! He's still not over his fin biting incident... still lots of marine life nice dive.

Dive 4 Night dive weve moved to a mooring area and there are just Ben and Jason who are doing the night dive, they come back reporting an ok dive and the fact that Jason spent 5 or 10 minutes scraping a big arrow into the sand having had enough of epics and wanting to make sure of their way home!

Day 6 Saturday

Dive 1  - our guide introduces the concept of an ACTION dive! we are going to dive from Jackson reef across the saddle to woodhouse, against the current. We go in via rib once again and drop straight down to 26m, the current is fairly honking along and we need to go around the corner and into it! we set off and I do what in canoeing circles is a ferry glide, aimimg off about 20 degrees to the point I am aiming for, to allow for the current and then fin like ####. 14 long minutes later we reach the wall of woodhouse, just to prove we aren't knackered we fin against the current for another 5 minutes whilst Louis and Fernando hold onto a rock on the bottom and take another pic of coral, mainly cos we dont know the hand signal in spanish for oi.. twat I'm getting knackered here. (Have to say Jason, louis and Fernando took some great digital pics which they've promised to send on..)

All this finning leads to reduced bottom time and we are up at 36 minutes.. looking forward to breakfast..

DIVE 2 - by half ten we are back in the water at Gordon reef again doing a drift dive looking for white and grey tipped sharks both of which have been spotted in the last few days, alas no sign for us. However, I get to play with a tame turtle and swim over the top of it for 5 mins. flapping me arms in my best turtle impression, turtle is quite impressed and tells his mates about the overweight killer whale he swam with earlier in the day! When Ben stops laughing he takes pic! We go back for Lunch which is lobster and wild rice.. acceptable!

Dive 3 - our last dive before port (21 for me 22 for Ben, not bad in 6 days.) Ras um sid. I am knackered and having trouble with ears and indigestion. We drop in from the rib and I have trouble clearing my ears and am feeling sick! my enthusiasm alarm goes off, as I think not more fecking coral.. Ben and I swim off against the current looking at outcrops etc. I look at my gauge after 10 mins 160 bar, I breathe; it drops to 10 bar, I exhale; 160 bar. I signal Ben  and we fin towards the other two cockney divers (Spaniards opt not to dive due to flying earlier than us.) I make the hand signal for I'm out of here chum feeling yuk will see you later... and drift up to the surface.. I wait for the rib, wondering about 1st stage, Back onboard, sure enough I have only just cracked open my air supply.. Nina gives me stern look for elementary mistake.. I put it down to tiredness and being a bit thick!

Antallya cums back to report that Ben and Jason intend to stay on the bottom until theyve done 90 mins or have 5 bar left.. Need to extract every second of holiday dive time.. well done lads..

We go back to port at travco marine and our egyptian skipper reverses the boat into a space most of us wouldnt get a mini into, we give him round of applause! Dinner tonight is roast turkey(Bens still veggie)Red spanish wine and Cuban / british bacardi. We go into town for a beer in leui of night dive!

Camel bar, crowded full of males drinking beer and telling dive stories, we are greeted by divers from the cyclone and we begin the my diving was better than yours dance.. We are told we have upset Peter Collins (Author & guide red sea wrecks)for having the bad form of nipping down his shot line to the Rosi Moller on Wednesday.. Louis the Spaniard bends over, holding onto his beer and his wife and points to his bum announcing Pether cooollliiinnngssss u can kissaa mi assss! we get ther first! after a round of applause Ben and I formally upgrade Louis from a Cockney and tell him about the YD web-site.. Many beers later we head off for the pirate bar (Camel bar 7/10 divers macho hangout)

Ben and Jason staggering and giggling(antalya elected to stay onboard)we eventually find the Pirates bar after me receiving ear bashing for being a twat cos it can't be down here! The bar is throbbing with great music and there looks to be company of the opposite gender..(we still dream! boys don't we..)

on the next round Ben orders a nice single malt! I think somebody here taught him that! as he's pissed and cant taste anything,

Ben slumps over twice falling asleep... 1 o'clock we leave to find the taxi we booked 1;30 we arrive in the Camel bar just for 1 ,,,or 2, 2,30 we go for Kebab( good result and cheap, though Bens hand signals for a veggie Kebab after 11-teen pints are entertaining the locals who bring their mates round and get Ben to repeat them...

We stagger up the road to be accosted by 104 offers of taxi. We settle on one who's really cheap, 15 mins later we find out he's cheap cos he
a) speaks nothing but arabic except for hello, 15 dollar and dis way..

b) oh and he also has been in Sharm 2 days and doesn't know any where.. during the next hour we visit hotels, shops, flats and the main port. Ben new hand signal of cupping his hands together, now means the hull of a ship, complimented by jasons wavy hand doing the sea!

We are offered fortnight contract as local commedians and puppet show... thankfully we finally arrive home.. the people already onboard asleep really appreciate Jason bellowing dive briefing and ringing the bell.. I escape to my cabin..

Final day..

We tip the crew, who were brilliant, say goodbye to our spanish friends and get onto a coach. Tony Blackhurst has organised a room for us at the Sharm Hilton (top Bloke)until we have to go the airport. Cyclone crew explain we shall have to share both rooms as theres 21 of them and only 4 of us. Yeah right! 5 mins. later we 4 are in room and then out to sunloungers and poolside bar!

4 hours later we are in the #### hole called sharm airport and despite jumping the queue we get the wrong seats for the exit but the plane does leave on time..

we take off at 21 degrees, we land at 4 degree's  mmmmm, though as it turns out we need it, all the windows down in the car to try to stay awake to drive home at 2 am.,

I finally see a shark! shame its in the middle lane of the M1 around Leicester..

Conclusions...

1) 585 quid holiday : 25 quid nitrox ;10 quid two T shirts and 20 quid on beer. A TOP, TOP HOLIDAY FOR A RELATIVELY CHEAP PRICE.. 21 dives, really nice people on an half empty boat cant be beaten

2) Tony Blackhurst and red sea divers well organised..

3) Ben is a really nice guy and Mr enthusiastic diver, would dive with him anytime..

Ian
P.s. Pics to follow when Ben gets his and the other boys send them on!
 

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Ian mate,

even better than the first one! Your 1st-person narrative gives it zing and immediacy - TOP report squire!! Many more like this please.

I've got to be honest guys - the more I read of this kind of report (even though I've done the Northern Red Sea miself twice - but venue irrelevant), the more I sense that a YD Troop Gig to these environs is a necessity!! Can you imagine the crack, the banter and the diving that would be had by all on gig like this? FIERCE & INTENSE!!!!!

Gotta be a future option people. Thanks again Ian for an excellent report; now please get your arse on one of the posted gigs so we can meet up and have a laff with ya! ;)
 

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One or two pointers boys...I.m sure my suit was a 5ml!!!
Did Ben succumb to the Lobbie and rice or did he stay a good veggie??? A YD gig would be an absolute stonker...Southern Red taking in The Brothers would be summat spesh.
Great report guys
:bravo:
Cheers, Nige
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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Thanks for the kind words folks!
Bren I will definately make the effort to come and meet my fellow Y-d's for a dive in March. ( I am in the process of contacting and H for some courses, including the Devil Gas.. and I agree with you and Nige a Y-D trip to Egypt would be a good day-out.

We should go do the Southern route, ie the Brothers etc. In fact if we tell the Labour party were from Yorkshire and are off to meet our Brothers in Southern Egypt, we may be able to get some form of New Labour Grant??

Nige, that suit is definately not 5 mil chum ! somebody spoofed you there!
 

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nige when I was arguing that it was, it was pointed out that it has 3.5 written on the arm!!

Good report Ian.
 

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3.5ml written on the arm?
?!!!!! That would PROBABLY give the game away...unless of course you wrote it in BIRO!!!!
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm...I concede to the greater knowledge...and better reading ability...scary for a teacher!!
:moon2:
Cheers, Nige
 

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Nige,
It was 3.5mm,  now since all those holes in it Im not so sure!!

Fair dos to u diving in it in Feb on your liveaboard. No wonder u were a bit cold after an hour!!!!!!!
 

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Brilliant reading guys, superb.  Sounds like you both had a fab time.  Mind you if someone rang the bell and yelled dive briefing, I would have stuck his head up the bell and rang it again...
 

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:wavey
Hi Ian!

Thanks for a fantastic report - I am NOT jealous, absolutely not, no, not even a little - just pass me the tissues will you!? I'm glad you had such a great time and as you said in conclusion, the cost was pretty reasonable when you consider how many dives you got in. Top Man!!

Question is...will Ben ever live it down??!!!!

Cheers
John
 

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Live it down!!! Cheeky monkey.

Bens too busy trying to get his 100th dive in 6 months!!

Narc`ed and loving it!!!!
ps never said i can navigate!!!
 

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Yeah

and Nige if theres any oil on your suit it wont have come from the engine room or those manky boilers on that greek freighter...?? Cos I promised Ben to stay shtum..

Ian
 

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Yer gettin me nervous now boys!!!
100 dives in your first six months as a diver...how many of those have been in the bath?
Ben...d'ya wanna start a thread for this proposed trip to Weymouth...there's bound to be interest...and if I can square it with your big sis then I'll be on the trip to Anglesey...she might need a bit of working on though...can you do a bit??!!
cheers, Nige
:bravo:
 

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In the bath, cheeky monkey.

Im going to struggle to hit it but hey, you gotta try.
Might need a weekend a capernwray or stoney and five dives a day!!!!!!!! Problem is going to far off places like abbs and only doing 2 dives in a weekend (and loads of drinking) still better two good sea dives then 6 capernwray dives!!!!

Will do a post re weymouth. Im sure theres a few of us from up here that can make it down with a bit of organising.
M2 hmmmmmmmmmm
 

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Nice work Ian, brings back nice memories of the warmth while its p***ing down here!

Yeah, Bren, think YD troop gig to RS would be v good indeed.

MUST do a livaboard next time.

Say Ben, just how DO you do hand signals for a veggie kebab?
I was really pleased with how easy it was to get decent veggie food there
Chee-az
steve
 
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