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I've seen you mention a couple of times that you think the Middle East rumpus is going to kick off round about the end of Feb. Could you elaborate or is it a "If I tell you, I'll need to shoot you" type thing, wink, wink, need to know basis. Just I know a load going at the start of April and it might be good to pre-warn them with some facts.
 

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Well, I'm not Bren but, according to the Swedish press, the Express had an article on Sunday stating that the war is going to start 21st February and that American military spokesmen had confirmed that they had been told to get ready to attack in the second or third week of Feb, so it does seem likely. Most experts seem to be agreed that if they miss that date, they will have to wait 12 months before they can start an attack, owing to the heat.
 

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Hey Pete,

What's a number I can get you on to talk about this?? Failing that, give me a shout on TEL: 07764 - 174 647.



(Edited by Bren Tierney at 5:45 pm on Dec. 30, 2002)
 

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Hi Bren,
           It's not really all that important to me, just some of the club are heading out to Sharm on the 7th April. I could vaguely remember you saying something previously about a religion side to it. It would have been nice to give them a heads-up if they need to keep their heads-down so-to-speak. I'm planning to go to Hurghada on the 4th July which probably isn't the cleverest day to be on a plane in the Middle East either. My boat guy does not give refunds in times of war, terrorism, etc. This is why I have not parted with any cash yet.
   From various sites(Janes mostly) I reckon it will kick off around then as well, but, as usual our press kept this thing about the troops being told to be ready in the third week in Feb quit. It is not looking like good news.
Peter :sofa:
 
 

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I know a couple og guys in the TA and they reckon it will be mid Feb because the Air force has run out of missiles and they wont be delivered until early Feb !!!

Its probably a wind up but amusing none the less - they are probably winding me up as this is the time I go to the Maldives and apparently the airlines use Iraq air space - I hope there is a plan B !!!!

(Edited by kirky at 10:25 pm on Dec. 30, 2002)
 

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PETER: Personally, I wouldn't plan a trip for April. Not because I think I would be in any danger going to Egypt then, but if the war does start in February it will probably mean that the tourist trade to Egypt will collapse, as it always has in the past in times of conflict or terrorist activity. Charter flights are then likely to be cancelled, owing to not having enough passengers, and many dive centres and liveaboards will probably stop operating until things start to return to normal and business picks up again, which will probably take at least a couple of months after hostilities cease. I am personally counting on that scenario (the war not lasting more than a couple of months) as I have a Red Sea liveaboard booked for the beginning of June.
KIRKY: I don't think you need to worry. During the Gulf War and the Afghanistan campaign the airlines simply rerouted and flew round the war zone. I flew to Indonesia a few days after George W attacked in Afghanistan and we flew just a few miles west of the Iran-Afghanistan border instead of over Afghanistan. No probs at all.

(Edited by John Gulliver at 12:35 pm on Dec. 31, 2002)
 

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Still..... it's nice of those top military bods to give us a rough idea of kick-off time so we can plan our dive trips around their party........ Hmmmmm... hope Saddam's not a diver and gets wind of it...:)
 

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So, are you saying that a week starting 22 Feb in Sharm is not such a good idea then!
There goes my chance of some warm water diving this year!
From another angle, as an SAA club diver, will I have any problems having my qualification recognised? And from a travel point, if I book the week, and the Foreign Office says it's a no go, do I get my money back, or will the travel company just ship us somewhere else?
Happy New Year you all you YD'ers, and safe diving for the year to come.
Martin
 

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"So, are you saying that a week starting 22 Feb in Sharm is not such a good idea then?"
It's all guesswork at the moment, Martin. Your guess is as good as mine! But if the balloon does go up around 21st Feb you may have to rearrange things a bit. For example, if you are booked on a charter flight, you could find your return flight is cancelled and you have to get the bus to Cairo and fly from there with Egyptair instead. And as the flights don't go every day, that could mean a couple of extra nights at a hotel in Sharm or Cairo. So you'd better take some extra cash or a credit card. However, I'm sure things will become clearer by then, so you should have time to sort out any problems.
 

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Hey Martin,

Bearing in mind that most if not all dive centres in Sharm with be PADI or both PADI & BSAC or PADI & TDI, they look for some very rudimentary stuff off each diver that presents themselves looking to get into the water with them. Here what I suggest all divers (PADI or otherwise) take with them for inspection and a general setting of levels of common expectation:

* Take your log book - they'll invariably want to check to see if you've dived within the last 3 to 6 months so that you're still 'dive-fit' and that your skills are still up to snuff. If you use a computer that logs your dives, it will need to have a time and date stamp facility (not all do) to prove the last time you dived. The reason for this is that if you've not dived in a while, they will ask you to do a pool session for a 'SCUBA Review' and 'tune-up'. This lets the instructor know what your basic skills are like and that you're still happy breathing through a reg. The 'Fin Pivot' tells him/her that you can still - to a greater or lesser degree - control your buoyancy. If you can't, or you're a bit rusty, then he/she can help address this in the pool rather than in the oggin where, if it goes wrong, you'd be in a potential world of hurt and need rescuing. So they prevent this likelihood by the pool session.

* Unless you are an instructor - in which case take your DM or Rescue Diver card -, take your 'highest' level of certification card (regardless of training agency or club). I say this as instructors can be asked, on a busy dive boat, to do the dive centre a 'favour' and baby-sit newbies on a dive (they're on holiday FFS). All PADI dive centres in Sharm need to fill in their paperwork for liability reasons and will need to know what level of diver you are (although certs cards are in no way a guarantee of a diver's capability, they give a reasonable certainty that you have, at some time, actually conducted the skills that the cert card states you are capable of and have been witnessed undertaking same), how many dives you've done etc. Then they get you to sign it - this way if you've been lying, then they have a signed piece of paper to say that you been lying and they are not liable for your bullshit in the event that you become an incident whilst on their watch.

* You'll be asked to fill out a self-asserting medical form stating things like you've not recently had open-heart surgery etc.

Now these may seem like basics, but in 13 years of diving all over the world, you'd be surprised at the number of folk I've seen that turn up in country with out one or more of the above essential items and others that are completely flumoxed as to why they have to go through all the form filling.

In answer to your question Martin, you should have no problem with your SAA Club Diver cert card being accepted. As I understand the cert, it is cross between PADI Advanced Open Water and the PADI Rescue Diver cert. Added to which, Davey Willo - my esteemed colleague from the Queen's Own Deserters Regiment - carries the very same cert and he's just got back from the Red Sea (Nuweba) and had no trouble getting his card accepted. HTH.

Dive safe all - always.
 
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