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Learning to dive in the Red Sea
okmister1 - 3/31/2007 12:00 AM
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Category: Travel
Comments: 2
Learning to dive in the Red SeaA co worker of mine who is also an instructor, informed me that I learned to dive in his wet dreams when I showed him my pictures of the Red Sea when I got back from a deployment to Egypt in 2003. I didn`t expect to get to learn SCUBA on a deployment to Egypt but I`ve wanted to ever since I did a resort dive in St Thomas in the early 90s. Oklahoma just isn`t the type of place that says, let`s go diving today. I wandered around the town of Naama Bay next to old Sharm talking to the different schools trying to figure out which one was the best deal. Some of them just scared me with how casual they were. Some like Camel were very expensive, they seemed to have a lot of bennies that didn`t involve diving and I had no chance to enjoy them anyway. The Red Sea Diving College seemed to me the best mix of professionalism, cost and nice people. I recommend them for training or diving. They also train in multiple languages by the way. -------------- ------------- During the 6 months I was stationed in Egypt, I managed to get 29 dives logged and a PADI AOW C card. 23 of the dives were with Red Sea. There are many excellent sites in the area. Shark Reef and the Yolanda are technically seperate sites but if you drop in on Shark Reef, there is just enough current to speed your dive along and get you to what`s left of the wreck of the Yolanda. I`ve never seen such a big pile of toilets and bathroom fixtures before. Don`t pose on the toilets, fire coral has taken up in the bowls and ruined a wonderful photo op. The biggest wreck site is obviously the SS Thistlegorm which was nearly blown in half in WWII. It`s in just over 100 feet of water. The wreck is well mapped out and the holds are exposed so the guide routinely lead groups of 10 straight through the packed trucks and motorcycles she was carrying. There are several islands in the straits of Tiran that are known for attracting a lot of sea life. If you get lucky enough to dive on the outside of the reef, schools of hammerheads are supposed to be fairly common. The Sinai Penninsula basically has one of the largest protected reef systems in the world and you can dive several times a day for a couple of weeks and not hit the same spot twice if you don`t want to. It is a national park so expect to follow the rules. The police there carry AKs. For lists of the sites try these. ---------------- --------- (Camel Dive Club had a good reputation and the prices to go with it while I was there) ---------------- ---------------- ------------------ ---------------- I`d like to try this myself. ------- ----- Towards the end of our tour, a group of us who had taken up diving while we were there got together and did an overnight boat charter through Dive Africa. We had the oppurtunity to get in 7 dives on that trip if we hit the water every time. I got in 6, including a night dive and two on the Thistlegorm. Despite the regions reputation, the area is remarkably safe. But not completely so, they did have a few bombings up and down the Sinai over the last few years including one in Sharm and another at Taba. But the area is well guarded and there is a US infantry battalion stationed between Old Sharm and Naama Bay as part of the Camp David Peace Accords. The monitor the treaty zone that the towns sit in. To read more about it. ----------------


ScottPadipro - 4/08/2007 12:00 AM
I lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for year which is right on the Red Sea. It is beautiful, even though the Saudies trash the reef with bulldozers and backhoes the diving is still fantastic. I miss the deep wall dives we used to do there. Scott
mswindland - 4/07/2007 12:00 AM