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Imported post

The following is blagged from D-net and was posted by mark Williams. Well worth the read!!! Enjoy.

The Eye of the Cyclone.

" Well the long awaited departure date arrived and bleary eyed our intrepid crew arrived at Gatwick loaded to the gunnels with dive eqpt and were greeted at the Monarch check in by a very friendly lady who kindly developed blindness when bags some weighing over 30 kilos where hauled onto the scales. Breathing a huge sigh of relief and clutching our boarding passes we went in search of the token German of our group (Tom) who was of course sitting in the bar smoking a *** and nursing a beer. We thought it would be churlish not to attempt to show solidarity with our European cousin and all joined him.
The flight was uneventful and we duly landed to be confronted by the chaos that is Sharm airport, the normal bedlam was increased as our flight landed at exactly the same time as a plane full of Russians so over an hour elapsed before we managed to pick up our luggage and head of to join Cyclone (our home for the next week) at Travco Harbour. Our already high spirits were lifted even further when we stepped aboard this gorgeous boat and it was immediately clear to all that we were on the best boat in the harbour.

After stowing our kit and sampling the first of Bob the chef’s meals, it was decided not to depart until the following morning to allow us the opportunity to once again partake of the delights offered by the Camel Bar. We had not realised that they must have changed their peanut supplier and although the nuts seemed fine at the time it was not until the following morning we realised there must have been something wrong with them as we all had headaches and feelings of nausea.

Not to be put off by these unexplained feelings, we slipped our moorings and sailed round the headland for a quick checkout dive. For most, the slightly chilly (20 degrees) water was enough to cure the lingering effects of the peanut allergy but for one of our team the feeling of nausea increased until he felt it necessary to ascend into the “chunder zone” to demonstrate that it was indeed possible to throw up through a regulator. Up until then the reef had seen quite quiet but all of a sudden for some reason fish where everywhere.

A lull in the wind gave us the opportunity to dash across to straits of Gubal to Abu Nuhas to dive the first two of the 4 magnificent wrecks on this reef. The first to receive our attention were the tile wreck and the lentil wreck, so called to avoid the confusion that has sprung up regarding the true identity of the wrecks. The conditions treated us gently with no current or surge allowing us to explore every aspect of the superstructure and hull.

The weather then showed just how rapidly it could change; one of the reasons there are so many wrecks on these reefs. Literally, as if someone had thrown a switch, we were in the grip of a sandstorm. Luckily, we were anchored in the shelter of the reef when it hit and the only victim of the storm was a days wreck diving the following day. Actually that is not quite correct, the other victim was a poor little seagull that was unlucky enough to be blown onto the deck.

One of the group immediately rushed to its aid and scooping the pathetic creature up, placed it in a cabin with some water to recover. A couple of hours elapsed before this good samaritan judged the bird recovered enough to be set free. Carefully and gently he held his feathery charge and with a cry of “fly little birdie fly” he launched the hapless creature into the night sky, or would have done if the roof had not got in the way. The poor bird left his hands, struck its head on the canopy and plummeted to its death in the sea below.

The following days wreck diving was blown out due to the wind, so we resigned ourselves to a days reef diving but to make up for having to look at all those boring corals and fish all day, a games night was organised for the evening with exclusive “I got wrecked with Dick and Mark” tee shirts for the winners or more accurately the losers. The crew got wind of this and before we knew it they had all joined in and were all wandering round in Tee Shirts.

As quickly as the storm had blown up, it abated so we were able to tick off the next two wrecks on our list namely the Ghiannis D and the Carnatic before moving on to one of the highlights of the week the wreck of the Rosalie Moller. Less well known and certainly less visited than the other wrecks in the area, the Rosalie Moller. She lies perfectly upright in some 50m of water and is remarkably well preserved, in the Galley for instance, pots and pans still sit on the stove just where the chef left them some 60 years ago. Visiting her was an eerie experience and one that will stay in our memories for quite some time.

From the Rosalie Moller it was time to cross back over the Straits of Gubal to probably the most famous of Red Sea wrecks, the SS Thistlegorm. Scanning the site through binoculars we saw it was another busy day on the Thistlegorm with around 20 boats moored over her. Here the advantage of a live aboard showed itself as we simply diverted to the nearby wreck of the Sarah H at Shag rock, where we could have the wreck to ourselves whilst we waited for the day boats on the Thistlegorm to head back to port. We then made our way to the Thistlegorm to make an afternoon dive and a night dive on this magnificent wreck. Both these dives and the two the following morning were spent in almost isolation with only a few other divers that could easily be avoided on a wreck the size of the Thistlegorm. The visibility was outstanding and with very little current we were able to reach the less visited parts of the wreck like the locomotive as well as the usual rummage through the holds.

The Thistlegorm was the most Northerly of the dive sites visited during the week and as well as marking one of the high points also marked a bit of a low point as it was then that we began the journey back towards Sharm El Sheikh and the end of our holiday. But hey that was still nearly two days away. We spent the next dives at Beacon Rock diving the wreck of the Dunraven before the inevitable last night party, Bob the chef excelled himself and treated us to a magnificent feast and the crew laid on entertainment of drumming and dancing. Never one to be outdone our very own wandering minstrel treated us to a rendition of his latest song “Cyclone Rangers” all 167 verses before collapsing in a state of artistic (or was that alcoholic) exhaustion.

The following day, we had hoped to make our way up to the Straits of Tiran to dive one of the most recent shipwrecks in the area, The Million Hope. Unfortunately, the wind was still too strong to make this possible so instead we spent our last diving day at the Yolande and investigating a military dumping ground at Ras Peter that dated from the Israeli occupation of Sinai back in 1967.

Our last night was spent on shore at a hotel overlooking Naama Bay and at the Camel Bar, where we made sure to stick to a peanut free diet of Sakkara. The next day was a mixture of eating, drinking, shopping and generally slobbing by the pool before making the sad trip back to the chaos of Sharm airport, again crammed full of Russians queuing up for the wrong plane.

Did we enjoy the wrecks? Yes!
Was the boat fantastic? Absolutely!
Did we have a great time? You bet!
Will we be going again? Just watch this space! "
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