20 Years Away Diving Instructor Makes Return Visit To Hurghada-msvbvm60.dll

Sports-and-Recreation Twenty years ago to the month I was here in Hurghada working as a PADI instructor for a run of the mill slightly dodgy Egyptian dive school. Now I’m back once more and much has changed. Hurghada is a dump; please don’t misunderstand me it’ll be great when it’s finished… The city itself reminds me a lot of Naples, innumerable abandoned building projects and general refuse in abundance. I’m staying at the 3 star Sand Beach hotel which is alright but 3 stars? One good point about the hotel that does .es to mind is the presence of a diving centre on the hotel’s beach front. Octopus Diving is run by two PADI certified instructors Rafat and Shant – I coughed up for four days diving at 320 (40) per day to include hotel transfers to the marina, two dives per day, full kit and lunch on the boat. I had only brought my snorkelling gear with me not necessarily intending to dive, however, at that price I couldn’t resist. I didnt have any Egyptian money with me opting instead to draw some cash out from a local autobank machine. Directly outside the hotel there is just such an ATM and so I drew out 2000 The exchange rate subsequently turned out to be 8.9349 Egyptian pounds to 1 pound Sterling which is a much better exchange rate than was being offered in the Uk. The bank charged me 4.47 for making the withdrawal which when factored in gives an overall exchange rate of 8.76 – still excellent value in .parison to anywhere else outside Egypt. Twenty years ago to the month I was here in Hurghada working as a PADI instructor for a run of the mill slightly dodgy Egyptian dive school. Now I’m back once more and much has changed. Hurghada is a dump; please don’t misunderstand me it’ll be great when it’s finished… The city itself reminds me a lot of Naples, innumerable abandoned building projects and general refuse in abundance. I’m staying at the 3 star Sand Beach hotel which is alright but 3 stars? One good point about the hotel that does .es to mind is the presence of a diving centre on the hotel’s beach front. Octopus Diving is run by two PADI certified instructors Rafat and Shant – I coughed up for four days diving at 320 (40) per day to include hotel transfers to the marina, two dives per day, full kit and lunch on the boat. I had only brought my snorkelling gear with me not necessarily intending to dive, however, at that price I couldn’t resist. I didnt have any Egyptian money with me opting instead to draw some cash out from a local autobank machine. Directly outside the hotel there is just such an ATM and so I drew out 2000 The exchange rate subsequently turned out to be 8.9349 Egyptian pounds to 1 pound Sterling which is a much better exchange rate than was being offered in the Uk. The bank charged me 4.47 for making the withdrawal which when factored in gives an overall exchange rate of 8.76 – still excellent value in .parison to anywhere else outside Egypt. So then time to go diving. I had been partnered with a young English girl called Rachel. We met at the dive centre at 8:15 packed our kit into crates and set off at a brisk walk up through the hotel to the main road where Gamez our Dive Master hailed a taxi. Within a few minutes we had arrived at a public access quay. First surprise; speaking to Rafat the previous day he had said that the boat was his but this was evidently not the case. The Princessa Manal was a good 25m in length and currently swarming with about 6 million Russian scubies all of them smoking their heads off. Oh well in for a penny… With the Russian contingent looking on we crossed the gap from the quay to the boat via a somewhat precarious wooden plank and we were aboard! Gamez then proceeded to explain to us the layout of the boat, the wet areas, dining area, toilets and so on – all very clear – and with our gear safely stowed we .menced with preparing our tanks. With everything eventually sorted it was time to enter the water – we let the 6 million Russians jump in first! This dive site is called El Fanus – don’t go there if you can at all help it. Being one of the closest sites to Hurghada, if the wind is up (which it was with a vengeance) all the dive boats go there. We saw .paratively little marine life but sadly vast tracts of dead coral – a heart breaking sight. The water was very warn at 27 but with the occasional very noticeable thermocline. Gamez our DM proved to be a very good guide very thorough, calm and helpful. The dive followed exactly the route described to us in the dive briefing. All of his signals were clear and he was extremely attentive – no .plaints there. After forty-five minutes or so we had returned to the boat and lunch was soon served. This was a definite high point, twenty years ago when I was last here lunch consisted of a couple of very strange burgers on pita bread. This time around there was a fabulous spread of various buffet dishes including a rice dish, tuna and onion, pasta, beans, potatoes in a spicy sauce, and fried chicken wings. Reasonably enough there was no beer to be had but bottles of fresh water and 7Up were readily available. The second dive took place on the opposite side of the same reef – more swaths of dead coral. From that point of view together with a general lack of marine life it was an altogether somewhat disappointing first day. A Blue Spotted Ray and a very, very large stone fish were the high points. The maximum depth on this dive was 13m and the surface was clearly defined but what was the overall horizontal visibility? In Ullswater it’s easy to gauge the viz because you know how long your arm is! Here in the Red Sea though I always find it a bit more tricky. Returning to the boat I noted that holding onto the ascent rope of the dive boat immediately in front of ours I could clearly make out the shape of our boat’s twin sea ladders. Now the dive boats are twenty five metres long and I was hanging on to the ascent rope of the boat in front with a gap of about ten metres between them. I was then at a depth of eight metres below the surface so I suppose Pythagoras tells me that at a pinch I could make out recognisable detail at about thirty six metres – not bad at all. After another night of grotty music from the grotty disco day two was just as windy as day one. This time we headed south to the Gota Abu Ramada reef with a boat load of Poles and three German divers. This was an altogether better diving experience with abundant marine life in evidence including a beautiful Eagle Ray and a lone Barracuda. I had with me my Vivitar 6200W digital camera which, whilst only rated to 10m, I can confirm is perfectly usable down to 15m. I tend to do everything on a budget and bought this camera in Italy for 84 Another spectacular lunch and the second dive was a drift down the opposite side of the reef; the two days of constant wind had given rise to a strong current. The high point of this dive was a two metre Moray eel living in a hole in the coral wall directly underneath the point where the boats were moored to the reef. Anchors are no longer permitted which is good; it was actually in 2006 that HEPCA managed to push through a .plete ban on the use of anchors on reefs in the Red Sea. Returning to shore I called home – the previous evening I’d bought an Egyptian SIM card for 1 (0.12) together with a telephone scratch card to the tune of 10 (1.25) The Vodafone network coverage even out to sea is excellent and the credit I had on my phone lasted precisely two minutes and four seconds – 0.50p a minute has to be excellent value especially when .pared to the 70 (8.75) that the grotty hotel charged me to call home on my first day here and that for just over a minute! We subsequently moved on to a third reef nearby and on route had a delightful encounter with a school of .mon dolphins. Again I found abundant marine life to occupy my attention here including a pair of sea-horses. I desperately wanted to photograph them but found that my camera batteries were too depleted. Day four and we’ve changed boat again this time we’re on board the Boshra belonging to the Gulf Divers diving centre. After lunch we headed south for the afternoon’s dive site – the Shab Ruhr Umm Gamaar reef which has a small Egyptian army supply-boat wreck at 30m. A fragment of the wreck lies very close to the mooring point at 7m. Upon seeing it I recognised it immediately and realised that this was the location of my very first Red Sea dive twenty years earlier. This really is a superb dive site; from the mooring at the southern tip of the reef head up the east side in the morning and the west in the afternoon otherwise your dive may be somewhat gloomy. This site is renowned for sightings of Grey Reef sharks but today unfortunately not. Maximum depth attained on this dive was 15m and once again the 6200W performed exactly as advertised with no signs of water ingress. Returning to Hurghada everyone was quiet, lost in his or her own thoughts and simply enjoying the afternoon sun. Another end to another perfect day’s diving in the Red Sea. At around 6:30pm I took a taxi into the town centre (a ten minute journey) to meet up with my Swedish friends for dinner – the taxi fare was 10 (1.25). Funnily enough we ate in a Swedish owned restaurant called Caf Del Mar; a fabulous chicken pizza and 66cl beer cost me 65 (8.13). To save money on food the thing to do is to eat locally. Pita bread sandwiches are readily available they are called TaMeya in Hurghadan Arabic. There are three main varieties available; the classic Egyptian Falafel made from the fava bean, the potato and the egg varieties. The pita is served stuffed with diced vegetables and usually eaten along with peppers that are very, very hot indeed. They cost 1 each which is 0.12 and are absolutely delicious. A litre of Guava fruit juice from a local supermarket costs 4 (0.62) and a five litre container of water costs 5 (0.70). If you have a mind to haggle then many a bargain is to be had here; every conceivable good is for sale from a gold trinket to a 500hp diesel marine engine. There are numerous dive shops offering excellent equipment prices and a diving centre on every corner. One of the dive shops on Sheraton Street was selling the Suunto D6 on offer for only 320 which is an absolute bargain. Over the counter prices for boat diving vary from 25 to 50 per day ostensibly for exactly the same service and remember of course that the more days you book the less you pay. Day Six. No grotty disco last night so I’m awake fresh and ready for my final day’s diving. We are to visit Carless Reef – more or less one hour directly east from Hurghada. This reef enjoys visibility easily in excess of 30 metres; the water is crystal clear. Its .bination of exorbitant marine life and wonderful topography places this amongst the top five dive sites in the Hurghada area. Occasional strong currents are the only issue at this site. After lunch the boat turned south for Turtle Bay. This is a large reef with the sea bed at 12 metres and with the reef top at around 3 metres below the surface. We entered the water and initially headed west over the sandy bottom with the reef over to our right. The visibility was terrible but Gamez had a plan. After twenty minutes we turned right towards the reef and rose up to 3 metres in order to pass over to the opposite side of it. Good buoyancy control is needed here so as not to end up bobbing on the surface – that would be most embarrassing! Passing over the top we first encountered a beautiful mature blue spotted ray quickly followed by a large male sea turtle – absolutely stunning. Here the visibility was once more twenty metres plus and the reef teeming with life. We watched the turtle for around three minutes before proceeding south along the reef and encountering a very large Moray eel and numerous Lion fish. I returned to the boat a little tired but smiling, it was a fabulous dive to end my return visit to Hurghada with. Twenty years on and Red Sea diving in Hurghada still delivers. To read the full article which also contains lots of photos please visit the authors website – link below. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: