I was awoken at 5am on Christmas day by the local Muezzin, giving Allah his dues. The last time I was up at 5am on Christmas day I was six years old and had peed myself with excitement.
This time I stayed dry and instead of rushing to the Christmas tree I headed to Cairo Gateway bus station to get a bus to Dahab in the Sinai.
I arrived shaken & stirred many hours later and headed to Dive-Urge where I had organised a room at last minute. The greeting was warm and I was given some Bedouin tea (with sage) and told that there would be a Christmas dinner on the beach in a couple of hours.
I skedaddled to the local bottle shop (imaginatively titled “Drinks”) and purchased some Stella [sans Artois]. Safely back on the beach, the food was slowly served up and honestly [sorry mom] it was the best Christmas meal ever. It was like the Egyptian chef had taken a Christmas dinner cooking course. Succulent turkey, red cabbage, stuffing, crunchalicious roast potatos, bread sauce… The works.
Spent a week in Dahab, which is as relaxed as it gets. Diving, sleeping, eating, sleeping, diving, repeat until done. Dive Urge is a fantastic place, highly recommended. But after this it was time to get on the road again.
Source: Visiting Egypt
To anyone standing on its shore and gazing out across its heavenly waters, the Red Sea may seem to be a mislabeling. Its blueness is eternal and anything less red cannot be fantasized. The Red Sea, where the desert meets the ocean, is truly one of the planet’s most exotic and fascinating natural seascape environments. The Red Sea is located between Asia and Africa. At its most northerly point forms the Sinai Peninsula and stretches over 1000 miles south to join the Indian Ocean, between Ethiopia and Yemen. In the north and west are desert plains, while in the south a mountainous region (2642 meters high), which is part of the mountain range stretching from deep in Saudi Arabia, across the Sinai and then into Nubia of the African continent. The Red Sea holds beneath its crystal blue surface an oasis of living creatures, reefs, and coral formation. Its use as a highway between East and West has attracted man since the beginning of time.
The Red Sea was created by the movement of plates in the Earth’s surface about 30 million years ago. In that time, the Arab peninsula started to part from Africa along a thin break line which was filled by the ocean’s water. However, “Mother Nature” did not stop there. Twenty million years ago another geological movement started. The Arab peninsula which parted from Africa, started to move to the north. That movement struck resistance in Turkey and swung to the east, and another break line was formed. This one stretching all the way from the northern part of Israel, through the Jordan valley to the Dead Sea, and finally through the Gulf of Eilat to Ras Mohamad at the southern point of the Sinai. The young age of the Gulf of Eilat is what makes it so deep, 100 meters in Dahab and 1800 meters north of the Straits of Tiran. On the other hand, the old Gulf of Suez is relatively shallow, with a 85 meters maximum depth. The Red Sea is still widening at about one-half inch per year, the rift is the youngest region of continental breakup on the planet, allowing geologists to learn about processes that occurred in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans hundreds of millions of years earlier.
Water temperatures in the Red Sea remain unusually constant year round, averaging 22^ C in the summer. Low pressure systems develop in the Sahara Desert and draw hot dry east winds from Asia which cause the temperature to rise frequently along with sand storms. At the same time, lows develop over the Red Sea, bringing moist cold air from the south and creating clouds, haze, and more often rain. The northern land mass is the primary influence over temperature in the gulf, but this decreases to the south the closer you get to open sea. The open sea’s cooling effect creates an interesting temperature pattern: maximum summer temperatures are lower in the south while minimum temperatures are higher in the north with the opposite occurring during the winter. In any case, the coldest moth of the year is January and the warmest months are July and August. The Red Sea is notorious among seafarers for its high speed surface winds and aggressively short irregular motion. It may be calm on the inward shore, but journeys to exposed sites like The Brothers islands, a remote off-shore site east of El Quseir, can be perilous and boats have been seen literally to fall apart under the force of the journey.
posted by Gulliver on Daily Scuba Diving
Crystal clear water and red hot desert sun enriches each dive with beautiful play of colors, and perfect as precious stones coral walls and reefs running from the shore are breathtaking. Discover for yourself hundreds of varieties of corals, mysterious ship wrecks and some of the most beautiful reef walls in the world.
Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm El Sheikh has quick become an ultra-modern diving site for a short period of several years. 65 km long reefs are among the richest and most famous in the world. Mile after mile hard and soft varieties of coral reefs and fish abound in the dazzling display. There is no place in the area, which is not hide a small miracle, but, due to inaccessibility and inconvenience, diving is usually limited to a few sites. Here you can read more about Sharm-El Sheikh dive sites
Straits of Tiran
Little straits of Tiran Island are like closing the Gulf of Aqaba from the 12 miles to the north-east of the port of Sharm El Sheikh. These straits are formed in the east of the island of Tiran and the Sinai coastline to the west. Deep water, the continental plateau and a narrow corridor create a kind of bottle neck through which a strong, dense flow of plankton is literally thrown out on the coral reefs. Circulation of food chain of the plankton brings coral organisms and reef fish together with predatory sharks, which find here easy prey. Of course, this is the place where you can still encounter the shark actually during each dive.
This is a 70 meter canyon cut from an edge of a plateau at a depth of 15-20 m. Sharks and big fishes are around here; dangerous currents. Wrecks of Lara ship.
Lies between the reefs Gordon and Jackson, is a long, narrow reef running from the north-east to south-west. Its shallow peak drops sharply on all sides by a sharp angle.
Sharply cut reef is composed of several sections, the plateau and a very deep canyon, stretching from the south reef. This is the smallest of the 4 reefs, and because of its location in the chain, the most exposed to the strong currents.
This reef is a 10-20 m wall extending down to 70 m. Sharks and other fishes around here. Strong flows and wrecks of Loullia ship.
Sand Canyon is next to a sandy plateau, and then goes down to the abyss. Barrier reef and coral slopes.
A small canyon, extending to a depth of 10 – 15 meters. Entrance is from a sandy beach.
Based in the Port Ghalib marina with classroom, equipment room and a training pool next to the jetty at the Marina Lodge Hotel. An established operation and part of the Emperor Divers group…
Popular dive site minutes south of the Port Ghalib marina. Large bay offering excellent training facilities since it offers a number of dive routes ranging from only a metre in depth upwards. Sandy…
- “An excellent dive centre with outstanding service…” Sep 10, 2011
- “Best divecentre i have been!” Aug 9, 2011
- “Excellent diving.” Aug 7, 2011
Spinner dolphins are often (but not always) seen at this reef, as a result it is one of the most popular attractions in the area. Access is managed to help protect the dolphins, boat numbers are…
A beautiful large offshore dropping reef offering a range of dive options and certainly providing some great photo opportunities on the right day. Popular with both liveaboards and day boats due to…
Watch this interesting video to get a glimpse of Marsa Alam’s water sports. The video is fun and there are interesting shots so you can enjoy it even if you do not understand Spanish. The interviews discuss the great wind conditions and the sport of Kite surfing in Marsa Alam, and about the wealth and uniqueness of the marine life in the Red Sea.
From Red Sea Dive News
“Touring and Diving Post-Revolutionary Egypt” by David Hartman
April 20th marks the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The event is one to forget for tourism in Florida and the Florida Keys because overblown and exaggerated news reports kept travelers away for months while no oil affected most parts of South and East Coast Florida. I witnessed the frustration of tourism industry first hand as a resident and local dive instructor in Key Largo, Florida. A year later, I am witness again first hand to frustration of a tourism industry but this time the country is Egypt. The recent revolution in Egypt that ended the President’s 30 year reign was dramatic, poignant and indeed a landmark event in world history. Egypt’s revolution was quick, decisive and officially over a month ago with resignation of Hosni Mubarak. The protests in late January and February that filled Tahrir Square captivated the world for weeks but were also limited to a small part of Cairo. Most of the day to day affairs of Cairo and the rest Egypt, especially in the Red Sea resort areas, were amazingly unaffected by the protests in Tahrir Square. There are parallels of the Gulf Oil Spill’s affect on Florida Tourism and the Revolution in Cairo’s affect on Egyptian tourism. Both events cost a tourism industry billions of dollar in lost revenue, were portrayed to affect areas that were unaffected and continued inaccurate and misguided reporting by media kept travelers away long after the extent of area affected was long determined. Tourists are beginning to return to Egypt with numbers growing everyday but the state of Florida is an example where recovering from major events that affect tourism may be a long road.
I am proud to be one of the first Americans to visit the new Egypt. As the dive travel specialist and marketing consultant for Learning Through Travel (LTT), a New York based destination tour operator for Egypt travel, I have both the enjoyment and challenge on educating tour group leaders and travel professionals on how to sell dive travel to Egypt and the Red Sea. Learning Through Travel had a previously scheduled familiarization (FAM) trip for March 5-19, 2011 that was in jeopardy of cancellation due to the recent events in Cairo but was put back on schedule once affairs in Cairo stabilized after the resignation of President Mubarak. After in depth analysis of the post revolution status of Cairo, Afifi El Shimy, Head of Egypt Operations and Cairo Office Manager, assured the safety of our FAM trip travelers and approved moving forward with the trip. One of our FAM trip travelers, American dive shop owner and PADI Course Director, David Valaika of Indian Valley SCUBA in Harleysville, Pennsylvania was committed to make the trip to Egypt in lieu of a group trip he had booked with LTT for April of 2012. I planned to meet Afifi and David Valaika in Cairo and see for my own eyes the status of post revolution Egypt and why travel warnings were still in effect.
My trip began March 4th on a direct flight from JFK airport in New York City to Cairo on Egypt Air. I had the pleasure of sitting next to a wonderful Egyptian tour guide on the flight who was returning from promoting Egypt tourism for a Cairo based tour operator. The American based tour groups the woman presented to were hesitant but receptive to traveling to Egypt. I enjoyed sharing stories with the tour guide and we both found a common ground in our passion for travel to Egypt and our frustration with continued bias news coverage and unneeded government travel warnings. My delightful experience on my flight to Cairo was a precursor to a similar theme I would experience throughout my week in Egypt.
Upon arrival in Cairo, my mood was both positive and curious. I had questions and concerns but none involved safety. The LTT FAM trip was my fourth visit to Egypt and safety was never a concern and I know Afifi always takes good care of our customers. (100% escorted travel is the only way to effectively navigate Egypt). My concerns were mostly about tourism in the country. Were tourist sites open? Had travelers returned to Egypt and in what numbers? Were sectors of the government critical to tourism still operational under the new military interim government? The answers to all my questions were quickly apparent as affairs in Cairo operated normally just as my last visit in September 2008 only now there was a calmer mood and a more aggressive attitude by all Egyptians to make tourists feel welcome. Tourist sites were open including the Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities but low attendance at these sites made touring a breeze. The military has a stronger presence in Cairo but on only few occasions was army personnel visible during our tours of the city. Life in Cairo was moving along on its everyday fast paced including the usual snarls of Cairo automobile traffic. With first impressions of Cairo in hand, I headed toward my hotel to start the everyday obligation to our followers on Facebook who eagerly awaited updates on travel to Egypt and the Red Sea.
I arrived at the Le Meridian Pyramids Hotel in the early afternoon on Saturday March 5th. I immediately ran into a couple of nice ladies who I met in the Egypt Air check in line at JFK airport. The two women just booked a trip to Egypt on Monday to return to one of their favorite countries and to support the Egyptian people who they love so much. We discussed the future of Egyptian tourism over a couple of cocktails at the pool bar and we were all concerned but optimistic. David Valaika arrived on a later flight in the early evening which gave me a chance to set my theme for the trip on Facebook and our blog. The goal was to have fun with this trip and to show interested travelers and even naysayers that travel to Egypt is fun and the people are warm and welcoming especially to American tourists. I took some nice photo opportunities by our pool overlooking the Pyramids and announced to all of our followers that I was in Egypt safe and sound and ready to tell the real story on the post revolution Egypt.
David Valaika arrived in the evening and it was time to welcome him to Egypt the appropriate way with a few Egyptian beers at the hotel bar. David V. was excited for the trip, his first time in Egypt, and to check out the legendary diving in the Red Sea. An early start on Sunday morning brought us to the foot of Pyramids of Giza to tour the most famous antiquities of ancient Egypt. David V. was riding a camel in front of the Great Pyramid before our tour guide Manal could brief David V. on how to handle the local merchants and camel tenders and their aggressive sales tactics. I have been to the Pyramids of Giza twice previously and each time the immense structures appear more impressive. My task on the LTT FAM trip was to take numerous pictures and video of David V. enjoying his travels in Egypt and to discover new experiences myself. My third trip back to the Pyramids brought me to the South side of the Great Pyramid which provides an entire different perspective on the last remaining ancient wonder of the world including the granite floor of the now missing mortuary temple and a chance to enter and view the Solar Boat of Cheops Museum.
The Blue Water Dive Resort staff has alot of fun as do their guests. Enjoy this entertaining video and get an idea of just how much fun it is to dive in the Red Sea. Dive centers such as Blue Water can be found all around the Red Sea, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all be this crazy!