Diving in Sharm el Sheikh, Nov 2023

Members of Coventry Sub Aqua Club have come back from a holiday in Sharm el Sheikh. Our Treasurer Jeff provides an account below. Members of CSAC can read a longer version with Jeff’s recommendations for future trips.

Almost a year in the planning and gone in the blink of an eye – time flies when you’re having fun. Once again, a great bunch of divers and non-divers who got on really well, had the craic, bit of harmless micky taking, lots of laughter, good food, good company along with awesome diving.

  • twelve divers over six days carried out 151 dives without incident
  • three of the group managed to do all 16 dives each
  • total of 9,475 minutes underwater averaging 62.74 minutes per dive

The objectives of the trip were met and surpassed – some had never dived in the Red Sea, some had never been to Sharm or the Naama Bay area, most had never stayed at the Camel Dive Hotel and one had never done any warm water dives.

Arriving late on the Sunday evening, we literally dropped the bags to the room and went to the rooftop bar at Camel for a relaxing beer and a bite to eat after the 5½-hour flight to Sharm el Sheikh airport. Tired after the day travelling, we all hit the sack in our respective rooms.

Everyone was extremely happy with the standard of the hotel and the friendly staff. All room balcony’s face the square of the pool area. There is a fabulous on-site Italian restaurant, outside and inside breakfast areas, de-brief chill-out reception area, roof-top bar/restaurant, ice-cream parlour, gift shop and dive shop. The spacious double/twin rooms all have en-suite shower, supplied with liquid soap dispensers and clean towels changed daily. Flat screen TV in all
rooms, large wardrobe and free safe deposit box. Free Wi-Fi throughout the Camel site and tea and coffee making facilities in every room.

The first day

We met at the dive centre at 8am on the Monday morning to sort the dive gear for the boat and the obligatory dive forms were completed. The dive boxes were packed, stacked and readied for transportation to the marina. Our guides gathered us up and we began the short walk to the marina where our boat for the week (Gazala II) was moored and waiting. The three staff – captain, boat hand and chef – worked tirelessly to ensure we wanted for nothing and ensuring we exited the water safely, de-kitting if necessary and assisting with getting ready. Dumpling doughnuts or fresh fruit were provided after the dives. Fahad and Sambouk (the dive guides) took turns with dive briefings before each dive.

We were given the standard boat orientation, safety brief and do’s and don’ts whilst on our way to our first dive site – Ras Bob (‘Ras’ meaning ‘head’ and Bob was named after the diver who found the site.)

Needless to say, this was to be an easy first dive to sort our weight and familiarise ourselves with our equipment. Buddy pairs were established and buddy checks done before entering the 28 degrees Celsius waters of the Red Sea. We were split into two groups with a guide each group (Plumbs and Strawberries). The Plumbs’ dive guide was Fahad and the Strawberries’ guide was Sambouk.

Only two dives were done this first day as everyone was feeling the effect of the late flight the previous day with the second dive at Ras Nasrini before heading back to Naama Bay port. We disembarked, made the short walk to Camel dive reception area where the long established obligatory de-brief area awaited the divers for happy hour seated on long couches and floor cushions in readiness for the 2-for-1 Sakara Gold where photos and dive stories could be shared with staff and divers alike whilst establishing where to eat later that evening.

Settling in for great diving

The diving was varied; mooring dives, wall dives, drift dives, reef dives, wreck dives and more including one night-dive from the shore. Corals both soft and hard were in fantastic numbers and all colours of the rainbow. Fish life was prolific – everything from dolphins to glassfish again in miraculous colours, sizes and shapes. Close encounters with giant Napoleon wrasse and turtles were awe-inspiring.

Halfway into the week, the group began to wobble: dehydration and heat hit one of the non-divers, then another non-diver went down with a similar illness a day later and then the first of the divers. In all we had six of the party of fifteen fall to the debilitating illness. All now have recovered but it took some time!

If you get ill with stomach problems, do not take Imodium unless taking an imminent flight. If you do experience stomach related issues – drink water. After every visit the loo wash your hands thoroughly and drink a glass of water. Take rehydration tablets or sachets and just wait for the problem to pass. If the issue lasts longer than 48hrs seek medical advice.

Dive sites visited.
1 16/10/23 Ras Bob
2 16/10/23 Ras Nasrani
3 17/10/23 Ras Ghozlani – Ras Mohamed
4 17/10/23 Shark & Yollander – Ras Mohamed
5 17/10/23 Ras Umm Sidd
6 18/10/23 Gordon Reef – Straights of Tiran, mooring dive
7 18/10/23 Jackson Reef – Straights of Tiran, mooring dive
8 18/10/23 White Knight
9 19/10/23 Jackfish Alley – drift dive
10 19/10/23 Dunraven – wreck dive, penetration
11 19/10/23 Shark & Yollander – Ras Mohamed, drift dive
12 20/10/23 Jackson reef – Straights of Tiran, mooring dive
13 20/10/23 Gordon Reef – Straights of Tiran, mooring dive
14 20/10/23 House Reef – night dive
15 21/10/23 Ras Zat’ar – drift dive
16 21/10/23 Shark, Yollander & Anemone Reef