Divetravel Sharm el Sheik | May 2019
Updated: Feb 4
Most divers are off course already familiar with the beautiful Red Sea and many websites have one or more divespots of the Red Sea in their rankings. So as it is only 5 hours flying from Amsterdam, we just had to visit Egypt for our annual spring divetrip!
Unfortunately, Dirck couldn’t join us this year so our group was made up of three scuba divers this time: me, Luka and Nima. All three of us visited Egypt before but Luka and Nima hadn’t been to Sharm el Sheikh yet. Only I had visited Sharm el Sheikh before 8 years ago when I got my PADI AOW. And because of my previous experience with Camel Dive and their great 2019 group offer, Camel Dive was once again our dive centre of choice.
We arrived in the very very early morning of Friday the 24th of May at 04:00 AM at the hotel. And after a short 4 hour sleep, we reported ourselves at the diveshop where we were welcomed by Omar. The same instructor who certified me for my AOW eight years ago. Omar even remembered me! We started by filling out the necessary PADI paperwork and sorteing our dive gear. The divegear was transported to the dive boat while we had a short walk to the jetty. The outside temperature was 41 degrees Celsius, even for Egypt quit hot at the time of the year. Upon entering the dive boat we were very kindly greeted by the crew, which would be ‘our’ crew for the coming days. And after this nice welcome we settled on the spacious dry deck to take a rest.
On our way to Ras Katy and Ras Umm Sid, the captain pointed a manta out to us. So after a thorough briefing from our guide Assad we were really excited to enter the water. And though we didn’t see a manta on this first dive, we had enough to look at. Blue spotted stingrays, eagle ray, huge gorgonians, napoleons, clown fish, pufferfish and many more! The visibility was very good and it was at a comfortable 25 degrees Celsius.
And during our surface interval we saw dolphins and again a manta. Our first day started very promising! Upon arriving back at the diveshop we were welcomed by Beth the marketing director for Camel Dive. While drinking a beer, we had a talk about diving, Camel Dive and off course the Divespot team. After finishing our talk we had a refreshing dip in the pool. On our first day here we saw manta’s, dolphins, lots of fish, beautiful corals, had a very warm welcome and were guided and briefed very professional. You can imagine we slept like babies that night.
The next day we went to Ras Mohammed, visited Jackfish Alley, Shark & Yolanda Reef and Tower. The first two spots were great and impressive. Exactly what Ras Mohammed MP is so famous for. We saw crocodile fish, green turtles, hawksbill turtle, unicorn fish, arabian boxfish and barracuda. But Tower was the best of them all as we were finally graced with the visit of a manta ray. The way they glide through the water is a mesmerizing view. With that experience in mind we could easily go to sleep early, because the next day the Thistlegorm was on the program. We had to leave early for two dives on this fantastic wreck.
The Thistlegorm is a full daytrip because it is a 3-hour boat ride to get to the divesite. So we had to get up very early and breakfast was served on the boat. During the boat ride we had enough time for breakfast, the briefing and catching up on some sleep. The dive briefing turned out to be very impressive as it also included a short video and a even PowerPoint presentation to learn about the history of the wreck. We did two dives on the wreck. The first to recon the wreck on the outside, the second to explore the holds and its cargo.
Because of the currents the water is entered on the mooring line. While slowly descending, the wreck becomes slowly visible. On the first glance it is already clear that it is a huge wreck. But only swimming next to it you can ‘feel’ how enormous it is. Seeing the tanks, locomotives (at 20 meters away from the wreck!) and the hole caused by the explosion, you can only imagine how big and forceful the blast must have been. Halfway through the dive we stopped to make some pictures of Luka with the propeller, because it was his 100th dive!
After the surface interval we prepared to enter the holds and see the cargo. This can easily be done without a wreck specialty, as there are a lot of openings to leave. Swimming through the wreck really is a special experience. Seeing all the motorbikes, trucks, rifles and rubber boots that are still there after this time, guarded by all the soldier fish, with the light coming in through the cracks…. it was simply amazing!
On the fourth day we visited Ras Mohammed again. And even though we visited the same dive spots as two days earlier, we were not disappointed. This time we could add a bit more current to the mix, which always attract more fish. We saw swimming moray eels, turtles and also a huge Napoleon Fish.
On our last day we visited the Strait of Tiran, Jackson Reef and Woudhouse Reef. Both were wall dives with a strong current. And as strong current wall dives are Dirck’s favourite, we were really thinking of him that day as he was not with us on this trip. We got to see lots of fish, schools of jackfish, batfish, angelfish, goldfish, lionfish, blue spotted stingrays and many more. With the sunlight coming in while diving between all the fish, it was clear why those dive sites are among the best in the Red Sea. On the way back we visited a more local dive site, Near Garden, in the hope to see manta rays. Luck was not with us, but we saw two giant Napoleon Fish. Size is always a guess underwater, but both were at least 1 meter! To complete our Egyptian dive adventure, we did a night dive at the local reef. Even though this dive was definitely less spectacular than the dives on previous days, we spotted a sea snake, octopus and several shrimps. As that was our fourth dive of the day, we went to bed early with big smiles on our faces.
To conclude our five-day dive trip we stayed at the pool on the last day. Mainly to recover from all the diving but also to reminisce on our dive experience whilst diving here in Sharm el Sheik. The diving was very good, we saw lots of fish and beautiful corals. We were also very happy with Camel Dive Club & Hotel. We felt very welcome and the rooms are spacious, clean and decent. The swimming pool is a clear plus. After a day of diving nothing is more refreshing than a dip in the pool. Well perhaps a cold beer is not so bad either. At the end of the diving day all divers gathered at the dive shop to talk over the dives of that day enjoying a cold drink. A great way to meet people and share experiences. Furthermore, the boats were never to full, at least during our stay, and we were briefed thoroughly and guided professionally by the guides.
We would like to thank (random order), Assad, Omar, Mohammed, Yasser, Ahmed, Beth and the crew of the Mansour for making our diving holiday such a great experience. Expect us back!!