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OK, first ever trip to the Red Sea!

Booked by very good wife as a "husband and wife get away from the kids week away in the sun at Easter" holiday

Rules:
1. Easter break
2. Must be hot
3. Only allowed 1 day of diving away from her

Booked with Thomson - Renaissance Golden View Beach on a B&B basis - we tend to stay HB or AI but decided that we'd force ourselves to get out of the hotel, so B&B basis it was.

Departed home at 4.30am on Sunday 8th - arrived at the off airport parking to find out that they would drop us off at the "transport terminus", i.e. we'd have to use the shuttle (free) or the moving walkways from the terminus to T2 - decided to pay an extra £20 for "meet&greet" on the return (i.e. they'd meet us with the car at the airport doors and we could drive straight off (one of the best £20 I've ever spent)

So, flew out of Manchester - on time arriving at Sharm nearly 1/2hr earlier than expected. Usual coach trip from airport to hotel.

Oops, went through Egyptian passport control so quickly that we didn't get the "extra" Visa Stamps in our passports - hotel sorted that for us the next day!

[diving review mode=ON]
[hotel&holiday review mode=OFF]

Monday - went down to the in-hotel dive operator "Dive In" to scope out the operation and see what diving was planned for the week. Booked:
- Tues: Boat trip out to Tiran (to be accompanied by sunbathing wife)
- Thurs: Boat trip to the Thistlegorm (no wife)
- Sat: Boat trip out to Ras Mohammed
Was informed that I ought to do a weight-check (FOC) or could do a House-reef dive (surprise, opted for the latter). Weight-check revealed that I was either packing extra tubs of lard, the wetsuit (hired) was 24mm not 5/6mm, the sea was saltier than the Med or a combination of the above. 3/4hr dive to 25m - didn't count as a dive as I didn't leave the hotel
Reef was OK, but I was surprised by the lack of colour in the coral, though marine life was pretty plentiful

Tues: MV Moonlight towards Tiran:
Dive1: Jackson Reef. Easy reef/wall dive, plenty of marine life, again, bleached(ish) coral - probably something to do with the fact there were so many divers on the reef
Dive2: Thomas Reef. Much the same as Jackson Reef
"]
Neither of these count as dives as my wife is on the boat!

Weds - check in with the Dive Centre to find that the Thistlegorm dive is "off", apparently I'm the only one from the hotel/dive centre that wants to do it! Much ringing round and I speak with Aquarius at the Sheraton Hotel who say I can get a place on the "fast boat" but I have to do a check dive 1st - irrespective of discussion re quald, experience, num of dives, etc "its policy". Agree to do a check dive on the Thursday - get special dispensation from SWMBO but get told it doesn't count as a dive as:
a) I'll be away less than 3hrs
b) I have to do it in order to do the 1 dive I really want (the Thistlegorm)

Thurs: House Reef at the Sheraton.
- much (private) amusement as divemaster goes through all the pre-dive checks, briefing, checks I know how to use my gear, that I have the air turned on
- much (public) amusement as I realise I've forgot to put on my weighbelt

So, in off the jetty: 3 of us: divemaster, myself and a "newly qualified OW" who has (I think) 10 dives logged for our check-dives.
Immediate reaction is that the House reef at the Sheraton is in better condition than the one at the RGV - coral in better condition, more marine life. Approved by divemaster to do the Thistlegorm

Fri: 6.30am pickup from the hotel, arrived at boat at 7am, load onto boat
Turns out that I'm the only diver from Aquarius thats doing the dives so I have a private divemaster/guide for the day at no extra cost!
Dive1: nice briefing on the dive - down the shotline (don't forget its colour so you know which boat to return to), down to max depth, off the wreck to see some of the dispersed wreckage, round the props, poss higher level penetration towards the end of the dive
I've requested a 15L with 32% - more bottom time and no deco
Nice dive around the wreck, visiting all the briefed items
"]
Also, including one "wow" moment when I come close to my 1st ever napoleon wrasse the size of a small vw beetle (sorry no photo)
Final bit of "amusement" provided by one of the other divemasters on the boat who is positive we were all "buzzed" by an Oceanic White Tip whilst we were on the shotline on the way back up (strange that the professional videographer didn't get a shot???)
Also, some confusion as we couldn't find the shotline - none coloured as per the one we down. Decided to go back up the only one located at the same point as the one we descended. Confusion cleared up when back on the boat - they'd changed the shotline while we were in the water - for a different coloured one!

1hr surface interval and back down the shotline, this time going for all the usual "interior" stuff:
"]
I "called" the inside part of the dive when it became like Picadilly Circus waiting for divers to circulate through parts of some of the holds and we spent the rest of the dive on the hull/superstructure
"]

Now for the "moment of concern"... On the way down the shotline, my diveguide had realised he'd forgotten his divecomputer, so as I was using 2 (the VR3 set to N32 and a Suunto Favor air), I gave him the Suunto Favor at the bottom of the shotline - he's diving air, I'm diving N32. I presumed he'd tell me if he had deco to do, air limitations, etc so I'd gone about enjoying my 2nd dive. OK, up the shotline, 1min safety stops at 18m, 12m and 3mins of safety at 6/5m. At which point he shows me the Suunto Favor which says "33mins at 3m"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OK, there are stage cylinders on the shotline, but he decides its my computer thats "wrong" and we're OK to get out of the water after the 3mins of safety stops.
Discussion then follows in the boat alongs the lines of:
me - you have 33mins of deco to do
him - no, its a problem with this computer - your VR3 says no deco to do
me - yes, but I'm diving N32, you're diving air
him - thats no problem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lunch and extended surface interval as we motor to Shark Reef / Jolande Reef
Briefing includes thefact that we should expect "currents" and will have to fin (reality says that they mustn't know what UK currents are...)
Cracking "drift" dive, coral in great condition, lots of marine life, lots of toilets - can I say that I've now dived the wreck site of the Jolande???

A great dive to finish off the week - especially as my (much) better half agreed that I'd only done the one days diving

Final thoughts:
1. We can recommend the Renaissance Golden View Beach hotel - superb service, fantastic hotel
2. See other post in "where to eat" for thought on food
3. Can recommend both Dive In at the Renaissance and Aquarius at the Sheraton
4. You can take a non-diving spouse to the Red Sea and only do the one days diving ;-)
 

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I was worred that you would only get the 1 dive on your holiday, Glad you had a plan :wink: Was the guide bent or daft
Ken
 
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