This particular diving adventure actually started a couple of decades ago when we watched a short series on scuba diving called ‘Descending’. Two divers visited some of the best dive locations in the world. One of them was the Red Sea and it hooked us immediately. So when Karen’s birthday coincided with an opening in our schedule, the decision was easy.
We flew from Cairo to Sharm el Sheihk and headed to the docks. We got a glimpse of how busy it could get as the day trips were returning as we walked to our boat. I felt like a salmon swimming upstream.
We spent the first night in the harbour waiting for all the divers to arrive. The crew on the Snefro Love dive boat were excellent and took care of all aspects of getting gear and accommodation sorted out.
The trip consisted of 13 divers from a wide variety of destinations. Wales, England, Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Egypt, and Canada were all represented. We had 10 crew members that took care of us for the week and they were fantastic.
This was the standard view of the shoreline as we worked our way around the southern most tip of the Sinai Peninsula. We did a total of 17 dives. We could have done another 4, however for Karen and I, one night dive was enough. We were wanting to relax by the end of the day.
We did a couple of dives in this bay. Our night dive was here and it was very pleasant. The guides gave us the briefing but then we headed off on our own with just our partner. Nighttime is a great time to slowly move along and search for the interesting creatures that only come out after dark. This was the closest dive to a busy shoreline. The rest were a little more remote.
Every time we arrived at a location where we would be spending the night two of the crew members would head out to secure the mooring lines to the sea bed with the skipper yelling instructions from atop the boat. It was quite entertaining to watch.
I must come clean here and admit that the underwater still photos were not taken by me. Ben and Jesús graciously gave me permission to use some of their fantastic shots to highlight some of the sights beneath the waves. Thank you to them for that. Not to mention it demonstrated the advantage of upgrading my own underwater photographic capacities.
One of the best wreck dives in the world was part of our list of sites to visit. The Thistlegorm was an Allied supply ship sunk in 1941. The history behind it is quite interesting and worth a read. We did 3 dives on the Thistlegorm, exploring both levels of the interior of holds 1 and 2 as well as checking out the exterior damage and debris from the explosions. There were several trucks, dozens of motorcycles amongst the equipment in the surviving holds. It was weird to see the massive destruction from the bomb that hit hold 3, then go into hold 2 and see trucks with their windshields intact and motorcycles in the backs of the trucks waiting to be off loaded.
Getting down to the Thistlegorm was interesting as the currents were quite strong in that area. Most divers needed to use the mooring lines while descending to prevent being swept from the area. Due to the excellent visibility of the water even though we we getting down to 30 metres the light from the surface was plentiful and allowed easy examination of the wreck.
The only downside of this diving site is the volume of divers. When we were there, there were 11 other dive boats present. The guides made a good effort to keep things moving, however with dozens of divers in the wreck at any one time there were inevitable traffic jams. It was better around the exterior where there was a lot more room to move around. Being able to get a close up view of the anti aircraft gun was rather neat.
The aquatic life on our dives was fairly good, though honestly a little less than we had hoped for. However the one very impressive creature we saw were the Moray eels. They are huge here. Not always great in length, but the circumference of their heads was easily twice that of any other eel I have ever seen. Very cool.
There were acres of coral on most dives we did, mainly located between the surface and 20 metres. Most of it was fairly drab in colour and not terribly impressive to see. However every once in a while you would come around a corner and be rewarded with a wonderful blast of colour and life surrounding you.
While on the boat it was Karen’s birthday. The crew did a fantastic job of helping to celebrate it. The chef baked a cake for her and the crew gave her a shirt as a memento of the trip. The food on board was simply excellent. There was never a moment when you felt the least bit hungry and it is safe to say that everyone looked forward to mealtime with anticipation.
The last bit of our trip was in the Straits of Tiran. There are tons of wrecks all around the areas we visited and they provided many good stories. This one on Gordon Reef is the remains of the Russian ship Louilla which ran aground in 1981. It is not a livable wreck, but does make for nice photos on the surface.
Most nights we were treated to beautiful sunsets to enjoy and relax with after a good day of diving.
I hope you enjoyed our trip. Check out my video below.
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So this was 20 years ago? Is it as good as Vanuatu or better?
This diving in the Red Sea was last week. As for comparing to Vanuatu they both have their ups. The Red Sea visibility was way better and the wrecks were a bit shallower and numerous. However the fish and coral in Vanuatu were more plentiful and colourful. It is certainly worth doing both.
So amazing! I love reading about your adventures and seeing your pictures.
xo Brian Louise and Squat
Happiest of Birthdays Karen