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I’ve been reading YD forums for a while now, about 10 months, and always wanted to post a trip report. Unfortunately I have never been anywhere of any great consequence in diving terms. Well that all changed after my trip to Sharm at the start of this month (Oct 2003).

Now I keep seeing people give Sharm a little bit of a knock as its busy or over dived or whatever and I have had reports from fellow divers who say its really fantastic. So I didn’t know what to expect.

I have been diving, 12 months now, in the UK, mostly the usual inland water sites and places like North Berwick, Anglesey and The Firth of Clyde. So my experience of visibility and life has been limited.

I saw more fish in the harbour waters at Sharm while standing on the boat waiting to go to our first dive site than I have seen in all my dive trips in the UK (Capernwray trout don’t count). So you can imagine my building enthusiasm to get going to Ras Katy on our boat, Sharouk (Emperor Divers).

Our group was 15 strong and due to some problems last year (I wasn’t a diver then) we got a closed boat for the whole week. So it was the makings of a great time for all of us and mostly we did. When we arrived at Ras Katy, the break in dive as it was described to me, our guide gave us a brief and off we went. Kitted up, buddy check, drop in. Excuse my French but I actually said out loud “F*@K ME!” My buddies eyes said the same thing. Wide and staring at the number of fish we saw and the fact that we could see them from 20+ meters!!!!!!!!!! 20 meters+? What the hells that all about? Beautiful crystal clear waters teaming with fish. Its too much!!!

Off we went under the boats down the reef to about 20 meters and just amazed at what we saw. Within five minutes we saw a Moray Eel, a crocodile fish and a lion fish. These were the easy ones to remember. The other hundreds of brightly coloured fish were amazing. Blue ones. Orange ones. Red ones. Yellow ones. You name it. The rainbow was there.

This is what diving is all about. Screw the stories about the Italians, the Germans and the East Europeans, I AM GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME HERE!

The Thistlegorm is an absolute must. One tip though is read the book SS Thistlegorm by John Keane BEFORE you dive it. I wish I had because I think it would have made the experience even better, if that’s possible. The book sets it all up with the accounts of some of the survivors and stories of how it was found. A must read.

All the dives were fantastic. Despite not seeing much of ‘The Big Stuff’, it was a great introduction to tropical water diving. My advice is ignore some of the cynical comments about The Red Sea and get your asses out there.

Don’t expect a real Egyptian experience from the town of Sharm el Sheikh, but enjoy it for what it is, and what it is, is a convenient, friendly and lively centre for what will be a great trip.

Right. I’m off to book next years trip to some other tropical paradise.
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