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PSAI Instructor Trainer
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You may well remember from our posts for advice that Ben and I were off for a week in the red sea on a Liveaboard the Ghazala Voyager. Heres an attempt at a report... I'll write in 2 stages,if there not too much abuse will do part 2

Sunday 5th January
A 2.30 am start, Ben had driven down to Derbyshire the night before and we needed to check in at Gatwick by 6 and snow forecast. In the even a combination of no Snow and Bens formula 1 driving experience meant we arrived in good time. Parked up and proceeded to check-in...

bags both sailed through no worries and we werent even asked about hand luggage (which was a shame cos my regulater necktie was particularly fetching I thought!) asked the standard leg room question and got exit seats as well..excellent start.. not bad flight and arrive a sharm to find a Tony Blackhurst man waiting at the terminal door
to afix visa to passport no queing

(at this point I did wonder if i was still in the car dreaming on the way down) but then had to fight our way through passport control and wait an hour before fighting with the porters to get our bags back..

onto the coach and arrived at Travco marine to embark on the boat.. there were just 2 groups Cyclone and us the Ghazala voyager..  Cyclone had 23 people on the 21 berth boat for the week doing wrecks, we had 8 people yes eight on a 16 berth boat for the week.. just choose which ever cabin you'd like no sharing needed.. (what a result!) Ben and I have 2 divers from London plus 2 spanish couples as fellow divers..  sort kit, boat slips jetty, supper bell goes.. aahh this is the life!

Monday 6th Jan (day 2)
7 am briefing for check out dive at Ras Katy, Id already admitted to being a gas guzzler so I was on a 15l tank, We find Bens wet suit is 3.5 rather than 5 ml (Ben is not very complimentry about his brother-in-law) but luckily there is a 5 ml battered shortie to be had to put over his suit. It was a nice dive other than Bens camera flash going off like a machine gun at all this marine life, and the sound of my heavy breathing.

Dive 2 the small Passage (small crack in some books) good amount of current running which sees us all flying through the narrow crack amidst gorgeous corals, spanish divers not used to this level of current and pinball off the coral with much wincing from Nina our dive guide, turn the corner and drift for the next 30 mins along the wall outside the reef.

Ben finds my relaxed breathing rate leaves him tight on air and opts for 15l tank for next dive

Dive 3 - The Alternatives which are a number of coral pinnacles, fairly shallow but prolific marine life, we manage to find our way around and hop over to some other pinnacles and come back to the stern of the boat without too much trouble.

Our Dive guide Nina has left us too it, so must be reasonably confident we arent total numpties,

our southern colleagues miss the other pinnacles and do two laps around the same pinnacle remarking on the similarity in the marine life!!!

Dive 4 (Yep were doing 4 dives a day!) Night Dive on the pinnacles The Spanish opt out, saying 3 dives are enough for them. Bens light floods after 30 secs and attracts a lot of fish coming to see the illuminated goldfish tank carried by the big strange fish, lots of nice marine life sleeping turtles, crocidile fish, big octipi etc etc. all of us raving about what a great dive - meal bell goes!


Tuesday 7th Jan (day 3)
dive 1 - up briefed and entering the water by 07:12 onto the wreck of the Dunraven at 30m, nr Shab ali, we make an easy penetration of the wreck nr the stern and make our way forward exiting on the port side, we swim around a bit then move onto the reef and spend 6 or 7 minutes drifting along at 5 metres.. nice dive!

dive 2  - after breakfast back in the water at shab abu nahas to dive the Carnatic laying at 25 metres, more wreck penetration, another enjoyable dive and weve got the in and out by rib sorted!

Dive 3 The Giannis D on the same reef she is a greek freighter, Penetrated wreck ( a more serious affair) down passage ways through hatches and into the engine room (bens fav dive so will leave him to expand) came out and swam forward to the bows, our buddy communication leaves a lot to be desired as two lots of gesticulating leaves us both shrugging and puzzled. good dive though!

Dive 4 Night dive at Bluff point, we are paired up with the diver from London (an Instructor & a divemaster) and the 4 of us set off for the wreck. I am convinced we are going wrong way and gesticulate at Ben!, 10 mins later am convinced we still going wrong way and gesticulate at everybody! 5 min later signal Im going up to get a bearing
( surface to find we are back whithin 30m of the boat heading in the wrong direction having done a nice semi circle ) communicate my thoughts to Nina (our divemaster) and mention something about shandy drinking southern p.... and drop back down with a compass bearing, 10 mins later we are at the wreck.. small problem only got 60 bar, 5 mins on wreck then signal Ben we gotta go! Ben impressed with earlier nav. so decides its worth coming back with me and we leave on a reciprocal doing our 5 metre stop on the move in the dark with no reference points, surface on 20 bar to find we are 10m from the stern and dive ladder... Big smug grin on both our faces as we arrive back on board and wait for the cockney's...


Wednesday 8th Jan (day 3)
dive 1 -  by 7 oclock we are mooring alongside the Cyclone over the wreck of the Rosalie Moller she is at 49m to sea bed 35 metres to deck, we are kitted up and rib around to cyclone shott line and are the first down (cheers guys!)
an awsome sight as she appears out of the eraly morning gloom as we go down the shot both masts still intact with the crows nests at 22m, we dive onto the bow and circumnavigate the ship, she is totally intact and is  superb, we dont know where to look;lots of life torpedo rays, jacks, mega tuna, giant barracuda and a coven of very large lionfish on the stern.. 1 min bottom time left and we start coming up above the superstructure and back to the shot line.. I'm finning at ever increasing speed as my remaining 40 bar is making me twitch.. however we do 4 mins at 5 metres and a slow ascent up to the surface following vypers 7 min. ascent advice!

Dive 2 shag rock - Ben and I split our developing buddy team as I decide to get an intro to the devil gas. The wreck of the Kingston and the coral garden is just spell binding and we all have a great dive. Nitrox is nice!

Dive 3 - diving on another wreck at shaab naab at 14 metres, strong current running against us so bomb burst from the rib and straight down, we then rock hop looking for eddies as we make our way to the wreck, looking round it and at the fish; I try to stick my head inside a hole in an old boiler... meeting Mr Very Large grouper who was on his way out, not sure who was more scared, me at him, him with the screaming diver in his doorway ! come out, find Ben, try to persuade him to go look inside.., but he's having none of it!, so we peel of and start drifting amongst the coral garden after 15 mins. we are both getting nervous of coming up in Sudan and so we turn against the current...

Ben eyeing two giant barracuda who are 2 -3 metres away clicking noise drifts through the water and the 2 barracuda start looking nervous and try to hide behind Bens back.. a pod of around 14 bottle nose dolphins come zooming out of the murk to chase the barracuda, 3 or 4 peel of to circle and look at us. Ben does a very credible impression of roger rabbit with his eyes shooting out on stalks and both our air consumption doubles...

Dolphins are around for 5 mins.. circling us and rolling about, amazing.. we can here the rib buzzing so put up SMB and head for surface..

the SMB nearly gets yanked from my hand as Nina tries to shout down 5 metres to tell us about the dolphins...  We surface and drop of the tanks and follow the pod going back into play with them for about 10 - 15 minutes..

what an awsome day.. though bad news, no night dive as we are sailing for the thistlegorm, so we will be ready for a 7 am start to get three dive in, on her, tommorow.. ce la vie!

We'll thats part one, in part two Ben gets narked, we do yet more penetration, night dives go amiss, Ben gets his finns eaten by a huge fish, we head for the straights of tirran. We Continue to have a most excellent and bodacious diving experience and we only get severly pissed once..
 

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Grumbler-chief in Residence
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Can't wait for part two, my only bet is the fin part has got to be my friend Mr Titan, will have to compare fins sometime.

Andrew
 

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Top report there Ian!! There's a bunch of wrecks there that I have yet to do and reading your report just makes me want to dive them all the more!! You jammy bar-steward!

Roll-on part 2 mate.

Bearing in mind the Red Sea is only 4/5 hours away (same travel time as the Canaries), it really should be a priority that we org a Troop Gig to the place!!

I've heard nothing but good reports about Tony Blackhurst, and a wreck itinerary would really float my boat (no pun intended). Either a similar (if not identical) itinierary to Ian and Ben's, or a Southern Red Sea gig taking in the Brothers, Fury Shoals and the Sudan!

I'd go in a heart-beat. Takers??
 

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Resident Sprog Plod
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hmmm,

Im suffering seasional affected depression.

No sun and going to work make Ben a dull boy....
No sun and going to work make Ben a dull boy....
No sun and going to work make Ben a dull boy....
No sun and going to work make Ben a dull boy....
No sun and going to work make Ben a dull boy....
No sun and going to work make Ben a dull boy....
No sun and going to work make Ben a dull boy....
No sun and going to work make Ben a dull boy....
 

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Sounds f-ing great Ian, but go easy on the details about  you and Ben and penetration in part 2, eh?  

I'd like to splash for a livaboard next time around, sounds cool.
Incidentally, why do we live in this cold, miserable depressing country...

(Edited by Steve W at 7:47 pm on Jan. 17, 2003)
 

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God just goes to show you what im missing, Being here in the backwater like I am..
Awesome dive report..And I also would like to see some pics
regards
Steve
 
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