Friday, July 11, 2014

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt ~ Snorkeling, Reading, & Wreck Dives

Hello! You have arrived on the fourth in a series of posts about our incredible trip to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in 2012! To start over at the beginning, click here!

The third post covered our first and second days' dives, and boy, were they pretty epic! Our very first dive, the one that started it all, was in Cozumel, Mexico. Then we got our Open Water PADI Certification during a trip to Croatia, and our Advanced Open Water PADI Certification in Palma Mallorca! We had purchased our own "kit" (complete sets of diving gear) in preparation for this trip to Sharm! We definitely love to dive!

Monday 2 July 2012

We didn't end up napping through the whole third dive :) the water was just too inviting, so we hopped in with snorkels and took a little swim around for about 15 minutes. There were a lot of fishes even though the visibility wasn't great. Right next to the boat there was a big school of fusiliers, Suez, I think, because they had the dark stripe on their backs. There was a nice shallow coral reef nearby and we saw some clown fish and more of those frilly turquoise fish. At one point a diver on a scooter and his buddy were right below us. They got some clown fish to swim up out of their anemone and Austin and another snorkeler from our group did surface dives down to get a better look. The diver gave the other guy a breath from his tank!

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Suez Fusiliersimage credit

It was Mick, Michelle, and John's last day diving, so we had a beer with them back at the center. Thy had taken some neat pictures, so we gave them one of Austin's business cards. Michelle said they would hit us up for future dive trips, too!

We said our goodbyes and hopped onto our respective transfers.

We got back to the hotel earlier than we have all week, but still not early enough for ice cream :( So we took nice long showers and enjoyed some quality time in the room before dinner. Austin was really tired and not very hungry, but he accompanied me to dinner anyway (he's so sweet)! After dinner I did some laundry and we turned on the tv. Austin fell asleep around 20:30 after watching the end of "Deep Blue Sea" (for the record, a really bad movie to watch while on diving holiday!).

I stayed up until about 23:00 finishing my book Asenath - a fictional account of Joseph's wife's life (I figured it was an appropriate read while on vacation in Egypt).

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I was wide awake at about 5:10 this morning but fought valiantly to go back to sleep until about 6:15 when I gave up and started getting ready. In spite of my early rise, we did end up getting to breakfast a little behind schedule. They also forgot to make us lunches today. Thankfully we have a decent amount of leftovers from yesterday.
We're back on the Empress Shorouk today with 12 other divers 2 guides from {Emperor Linky}Emperor and a private guide who is with some underwater photographers (part of the 14). There's a guy on the boat today who looks really familiar, but I can't place him. Chris is still with us today, and probably will be tomorrow as well.

We're kitted up and ready to go with 15 liter tanks for this first dive, and we're en route to Ras Mohammed.


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Our first dive of the day was a drift from Eel Garden to Shark Observatory. We jumped with the second group, which was the two of us with an instructor called Brian. He was leading two AOWD students, so he pretty much left us to ourselves. We were both on 15 liter tanks, and we ended up with a 46 minute dive. We went to about 30 meters right away and initially we were over a sandy sloping bottom full of garden eels on the way back up to where we leveled up (about 20m), we saw a big stone fish. Pretty soon we came to a reef wall, and there were loads of anthias and butterfly fish and unicorn fish and some big parrotfish. I love how they sometimes swim on their sides!

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There were also some smallish schools of medium-sized fish that were half yellow on top and half purple on the bottom, Chris said he thinks they're goat fish, about ten or twelve of them were schooled together and they would dart in and out of the groups of anthias! Thy was pretty cool to watch. Additionally, there were several green anemones with couples of clown fish on them. Austin is the clown fish whisperer apparently because he would put his face right up next to the anemone and the clown fishes would practically bump into his mask swimming towards his eyes. He pulled me over to have a try, but they don't seem to like me as much as they like him.

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Who knew I was married to the clown fish whisperer?
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We had an hour-long surface interval and Kirstie briefed us on Shark & Yolanda take 2. This time I was on a 15-liter tank and Austin was on a 12-liter. We started out the dive in Brian's group again. We jumped on Shark, went with the current around the front, spent some time in the saddle, came around the back of Yolanda and dropped in over the wreck. We were able to really explore the bathroom fixtures this time which was cool! There was a really big stonefish and a moray poking his head out of his hole that I saw on the way to the wreck, but no one was close enough for me to point them out.

On the front of Yolanda we saw a huge moray out feeding, and Ryan and the students went up a little ahead of us and we joined up with Kirstie's group. We went through a small cave, and came out around 5m. It was the first dive that I wasn't the one making us come up -- my longest dive ever at 52 minutes -- and I came out of the water with 72 bars!

We opted out of the third dive again, but right now the group is doing a local dive called Paradise.


They did see a small white-tipped reef shark, but I don't really feel like we missed that much ;) Another diver, Kevin, who skipped the third dive as well, regaled us with stories of the Thistlegorm - an amazing wreck nearby. If we don't do it this week, it's definitely on my bucket list. They say it's one of the best wreck dives in the world.

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Next time we wrap up our diving days, and after that we go from wet to DRY!!! Be sure to check back!


Click here to read part 5!

To see a list of ALL of our travel stories, in chronological order, click here!

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