Red Sea, South Sinai: Getting lost in the colours!


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Africa » Egypt » Red Sea » Sharm el-Sheikh
May 6th 2011
Published: May 28th 2011
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Sand, Sun & Blue sky Sand, Sun & Blue sky Sand, Sun & Blue sky

Sharm El Sheikh
Although one of the most popular dive destination in the world, the Red Sea off the Egyptian coast was somehow still on my “special” wish list, the one that implies that the site be temporarily deserted by tourists.

So, I had been patiently waiting for the right occasion & with the events that took place in Egypt, it was somehow now or never! Guess it would be the case still for a little while so for the one of you who simply cannot handle diving with more divers than fish and who had until now put the Red Sea on the side for this precise reason, this is simply the perfect time.

From what I could read, Sharm El Sheikh seemed to be the option when it comes to day trip diving: lots of diversity, some of the best known sites which were on my wish list and overall an effort toward the protection of these underwater jewels (only 3 jetty in Sharm against one for each hotel in Hurghada). So off to Sharm I was!

First impression of Sharm El Sheikh



Uninteresting would be the main impression I had when I arrived in Sharm. One
Jelly FishJelly FishJelly Fish

Sharm El Sheikh Straits of Tiran: Woodhouse reef
long avenue, with on one side a dusty deserted land, low range mountain in the background and on the other side, one gigantic hotel after the other, lined up along the sea (which you end up not really seeing from the road anyhow..)

Mass tourism comes second in my line of thoughts, not only based on the number & size of the hotels but the fact that I had to argue for 15mn to get a taxi in the airport at a price which was still a rip off but a little less than the initial one while groups of tourists, mostly Russian, were heading to the bus arranged by their tour agency, leaving the 20 or so taxi drivers with no client (except me..)

Taxi, I learned my lesson…Overpriced and he brought me to the wrong hotel (same name but different location). The second one got me a little closer but instead of the hotel lobby he dropped me at the golf course, ended up going to the hotel on a golf kart…Well, will have the chance to see this golf course up close again but first let’s go for some diving!

Picking up the right

Cutty!Cutty!Cutty!

Sharm El Sheikh Straits of Tiran: Jackson Reef
dive centre, not as easy as it seems!

Plenty of choices when it comes to dive centre and one would thought that as the number of divers was extremely limited, the clubs would be even more willing to attract the clients, well it seems that this rule doesn’t apply to Sharm.

Freshly arrived at the Marine Jolie Ville Golf Resort, one of the many huge hotels along the Red Sea, I headed straight to their dive centre, which is managed by a Swiss lady. Explained her briefly that I was here for a week, wanted to dive at least twice a day & my last dive was less than 6 weeks before. She then explained me that the first day, I will have to dive from the beach and do basic exercises (clearing mask, taking out and back the regulator ...ect) for them to “make sure I knew how to dive”. At first, I truly thought that she didn’t understand that with nearly 200 dives and a rescue diver diploma I indeed knew how to dive, so I explained her that no I was not planning on wasting my first day doing beach dives, the reply was
Lion FishLion FishLion Fish

Sharm El Sheikh Ras Ghamila
just as shocking as the initial statement “well, you know there are many divers who have fake certification!”. Right… Guess my log book with all the stamps is a fake one too then…Next!

Luckily enough, I had read just before leaving for Sharm about a German run dive center, Sunshine divers so they were the next one on the list.
Quick call, and initial same reaction, boat dives would be for the second day only, but once I explained my diver profile & what I was looking for, the lady immediately offered to skip the beach dives, at last, someone who is not trying to scare off potential clients!

Few minutes later, all my details including passport number were provided to Sunshine divers, and ready to go for boat dives I was…pff…

Bubble Time!



From Sharm El-Sheikh you can dive Ras Mohammed, Ras Umm Sid, the Straits of Tiran and wrecks like the Thistlegorm and Dunraven. There are as well some really good local dive spots when heading toward the straits of Tiran. Ended up doing 12 dives and with the very little number of divers, we simply went for the best!

Short list

Huge school of BaracudasHuge school of BaracudasHuge school of Baracudas

Sharm El Sheikh Ras Mohammed: Jack Fish Alley
of my four favorite dives sites (indeed, will try my best to keep it short…)

Local dive: Ras Nasrani (left)
At first, I was a bit dubious about the idea of going for a local dive, especially with Tiran and Ras Mohammed around, but the dive master insisted that this one was truly worth it and indeed the colors and amount & diversity of fish simply blow my mind!
With a visibility well above the 30 meters and very little current, this was simply a dream dive, immense fire corals here and there and then plenty of all the other type of corals you can think of. School of groupers, Jacks, travelers here and there, reef fish by the hundreds, blue spotted ray, lion fish and the list goes on…

Ras Mohammed: Shark & Yolanda Reefs
One of the top dive site in the Red Sea and indeed although it was my third dive that day, the moment I was underwater the energy was back!
The site is located at the extreme south tip of the Sinai Peninsula, and made of two pinnacles with a spectacular drop off along the Shark reef, a plateau surrounding
Nemo & bubble coralsNemo & bubble coralsNemo & bubble corals

Sharm El Sheikh Ras Mohammed: Shark & Yolanda Reefs
Yolanda Reef and at the end the wreckage of the Yolanda.
Again lots of colors, from purple to red, yellow to orange; the reef is covered with soft corals trees. Plenty of giant moray eels, school of barracuda, batfish, sting ray, puffer, and hogfish animate the reef and plateau. Toward the end of the dive, one of favorite fish showed up, a gigantic napoleon wrasse…Great dive!

Ras Mohammed: Jack Fish Alley
The first part of the dive is made of the exploration of two swim through caves where plenty of glass fish can be found. Then, the dive becomes a drift dive above a beautiful plateau and then along a sandy gully. This site has one of my favorite coral pinnacles with simply so many glass and reef fish around that it looks quite unreal. The huge school of barracudas was the added bonus.

Straits of Tiran: Jackson Reef
The strait of Tiran is known as being the bottle neck of the gulf of Aqaba and as such has mild to strong current but as well a huge diversity of corals & marine life.
Got to dive all the main sites in Tiran, but my favorite
Bat Fish, up close!Bat Fish, up close!Bat Fish, up close!

Sharm El Sheikh Ras Mohammed: Shark & Yolanda Reefs
of alls remain Jackson Reef for the richness of corals and my first Red Anemone! No big pelagic at that time of the year but just like for the other sites, you get to witness a never ending ballet of tropical fish…

As for the Thistlegorm, it got to be the best wreck diving I got to do so far and well deserves a blog on his own so I will keep this one out of this first blog on the Red Sea.

These six days of diving out of Sharm were simply fantastic, great yacht with all the comfort you can expect, sunshine from dawn to dusk, an average visibility during the dives of 30 meters, colorful dives and an excellent dive club (sunshine divers).
This was as well the perfect occasion to get my nitrox diving certificate, which come really handy when you do underwater photography and end up with deco dives more often that you wish to, well guess no it is something of the past, the max depth & my air consumption are the limits!

From Blue to Green – time to hit some golf balls!



Sharm is known too for
9 holes to go!9 holes to go!9 holes to go!

Sharm El Sheikh Jolie Ville Golf course
its great golf course part of the Movenpick resort, the Jolie Ville Golf course . The resort was a nice one although a bit too big for me, but one of the main advantages was that as a hotel guest you would get discounted rate for the golf & priority tee time. So, it didn’t take me long to make my mind!

The golf course might be a desert one but it is nothing short of tropical elements. Here and there, there are small lakes (lost a few balls…), flowers, palm trees giving a little bit of shadow, add to this that the course is impeccably well maintained & staffs extremely welcoming & helpful and you got a perfect 18 holes under the sun!


From blue to green, this week in Sharm was really about colors and sun, back in Baghdad, slightly more tanned, and already preparing the next week long trip (just got to find the destination as always!)





Additional photos below
Photos: 46, Displayed: 28


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ColorsColors
Colors

Sharm El Sheikh
Crystal Clear...Crystal Clear...
Crystal Clear...

Sharm El Sheikh
Cutty !Cutty !
Cutty !

Sharm El Sheikh
Back to the blueBack to the blue
Back to the blue

Sharm El Sheikh Ras Mohammed: Jack Fish Alley
Cute nudibranchCute nudibranch
Cute nudibranch

Sharm El Sheikh Ras Mohammed: Jack Fish Alley
My favorite pinacle, simply so much marine life!My favorite pinacle, simply so much marine life!
My favorite pinacle, simply so much marine life!

Sharm El Sheikh Ras Mohammed: Jack Fish Alley
ColoursColours
Colours

Sharm El Sheikh
Sea FanSea Fan
Sea Fan

Sharm El Sheikh Tiran Straits - Jackson Reef
Our dive boatOur dive boat
Our dive boat

Sunshine Divers Sharm El Sheikh
Simply huge coralsSimply huge corals
Simply huge corals

Sharm El Sheikh
Swim through caveSwim through cave
Swim through cave

Sharm El Sheikh Ras Mohammed: Jack Fish Alley


28th May 2011

Jealous....that is all we have to say.
You ARE living the life. Good for you. Enjoy each moment. YOU are my new hero. Can't wait to read more.
30th May 2011

Love your blog!
I love your writing and photography! I've been thinking about one thing and I hope that it is okay if I ask you, but do you travel on your own or do you have a partner? And one more, what kind of an camera do you own? Thank you! And I have to agree with the other comment, you are really living the life, I want to do this one day!
30th May 2011

Re: comments
Hello Dave & Merry Jo! Thanks so much for the sweet comment, glad you enjoyed this blog & indeed guess we are both sharing a similar life phylosophie, enjoying every moment! Catch up in Amman, inchallah. Hello Sophia, the camera I am using for the underwater pics is a Canon Ixus 960IS (with diving mode) + diving case and for everything else that doesnt involve water, the latest Canon EOS 550D 18-135mn. As for the travel part indeed, I got quite a bit of holiday so I do end up traveling alone from time to time which I actually enjoy(and to be honest I do not write a blog for every single travel/ long week end I do...simply not enough time, and it is always a good thing to keep a bit of privacy) Take care,
12th June 2011
Cutty!

love it;-)
17th November 2013
Jellyfish

Great pic
Great pic Laetitia

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