I’ve been diving for just short of ten years, and this was the first trip where I have seen a coral reef, and I have to say I thought if was amazing. There is just so much life in one area that you can struggle to take it all in, the colours, shapes, formations, all unique but look flawless together, to form this amazing ecosystem of life!
We had plans for two weeks climbing mountains and travel, however after finishing work on Friday afternoon we had booked a week in Egypt, something completely different to our usual outings. It was fair to say we had planned to visit Egypt for years, but it is quite expensive so always chose elsewhere, however as it was so last minute it was pretty cheap.
The diving was good to and after some research decided to dive with Aquarius Dive centre, based out of the Marriott hotel, after reading some reviews online we found a couple from British divers who spoke highly of the centre and our decision was made.
The first dive site was ok, and out of the whole week was probably the most average, still better than the Mediterranean though. On entrance the guide took us through some drills, which was good to see and a good measure of our buoyancy skills. They seemed like a safe dive centre with good briefings and safety procedures.
One site we dived at was called Hamada, which initially looked like a touristy hell. A few boats were moored up, and a million people were snorkeling. We had signed a waiver with the dive boat so that we could dive without a guide, this was great as we could go as slow as we liked, but also use the whole of our air allowance and dive time. It amazes me how many divers go quickly through dives and miss some of the most interesting things.
Once we descended we made our way from the boats and followed the coral on our left. Unfortunately Jess had trouble clearing her ears, so we stayed relatively shallow, which was fine by me as that’s where most of the life was.
At one stage I went a little deeper as I saw this anemone and was busy taking photos, before I realised that a moray eel was wide mouthed and threatening, right about my private regions!! I breathed deeply and began to ascend giving a few more inches between the eel and my privates. I managed to snap an upside down photo of this as I was getting away and I think it caught the aggression of the eel.
Some of the corals higher up were amazing with tunnels of light shining through, and shoals of fish moving as one. Unfortunately one of the group’s on this dive saw a turtle and we missed out, but hopefully we will see one on a future dive!
My favourite site was O’Rourke Gigi, a very simple dive site, full of life and healthy coral. This was out in mid water and was made up of four to five coral towers under the sea. So navigation meant jumping from one to the next.
I found my first nudibranch at this site, and also an octopus, that was not happy we had spotted him. I love watching them change colour as they move from spot to spot. We dived with a group on this dive and was often left behind, catching up when it suited.
This was my favourite site of all the dives, at one stage I stopped and just sat in my harness like a chair whilst watching this real life screensaver in front of me. I felt so lucky at that moment to see with my own eyes what many will only see on screens.
At the end of the dive the guide took one diver to the boat and let the rest of us carry on diving. I happily went off and started exploring the reef, I was so encapsulated by this that I didn’t realise that everyone else had followed me and I was now leading the dive.
We only dived reefs, so each of the six dives were similar to the last. They did offer us a wreck day, however this was more money and they needed a certain number to go, which was not available. All in all though the price was great and so was the diving.
With coral reefs disappearing of the face of the planet I am so happy to have had a chance to see them. I certainly plan to do a similar trip in the future as this was awe inspiring!