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Thread: So Who has Dove the Red Sea ?

  1. #21
    TadPole
    Join Date
    09/02/2007
    Location
    Keller, TX
    Posts
    19

    Sharm el Sheikh

    Just returned from Sharm el Sheikh and all I can say is AMAZING!!! 2 weeks diving the Red Sea was by far, the very best diving we've ever had. My wife and I have dove all over the Caribbean and there is no comparison. I don't know exactly where RECDiver's friend was diving but, like anything else, it's all about perspective and what one is looking for in a dive. We had 23 dives in 9 days and I can honestly say, there was only one "local" dive that was not exceptional and we expected that going in. The viz, reef health and variety/abundance of marine life was better than anything I've ever seen in the Caribbean. We dove almost every major site in the Straits of Tiran and Ras Mohammed National Park.

    The "liveaboards" tied together were probably the large dive boats (20 to 35 divers) who were doing their surface interval. It's a common practice to head to nearby lagoons, bays, etc to grab lunch and chill before afternoon dives. Since there are strictly enforced laws governing dive ops, this is the most practical and least disruptive method of doing your SI.

    We stayed and dove with Oonas Dive Club (http://www.oonasdiveclub.com/) located on the north end of Naama Bay. If you’re serious about diving, it’s all divers, all about diving, all the time!! Oonas is owned by a group out of Cairo but run and staffed mainly by Brits, Aussies and South Africans. It is a first class operation with professional, world class dive guides who allow you to dive without being hassled. A side benefit is they have 15 liter (equivalent to 120s) steel tanks if you're looking for a little extra bottom time! The dive day usually started at 08:00 and we were back at the hotel by 5:00 PM.

    After diving, we'd get squared away and then head out to eat at one of the several excellent restaurants surrounding Naama Bay. In addition to the restaurants, there are also several excellent saloons (with and without entertainment) around the bay. Even though we were there during the last 2 weeks of Ramadan, the Egyptians were the most gracious, hospitable folks we've ever run into. We were out every night and, without exception, everyone we met made us feel welcomed and were genuinely glad we were there. It was like Disneyland on steroids except the people were sincere. Unlike many Caribbean destinations, we were never concerned with safety and walked everywhere at anytime without any fear.

    We stopped in Cairo on the way back and that was equally excellent. We lined up a private guide (200 euro for 2 days 2 people) through Oonas Tours which was exceptional. Spent 2 days seeing everything in and around Cairo in a brand new air conditioned van with a driver and a guide who had degrees in Egyptology and archeology. We went where we wanted to go and spent as long as we wanted.

    The ONLY bad part of our entire trip were the Russians EVERYWHERE. Our dive guide told us that after a couple of rare car bombs in Sharm (aimed at a group of Egyptians) in 2003, the Egyptian government made a deal with the Russian government to subsidize tourists traveling from Russia. Consequently, you get a lower class of rude, arrogant Russians who act like they own the place.

    I could go on and on but, suffice to say, we had an exceptional time. My wife and I have traveled all over the world but Egypt and especially Sharm el Sheikh, ranks at the top of the list for all of the above reasons. We are already lining up our return trip next year!!!

    Here’s a link to a few pics
    http://s226.photobucket.com/albums/dd145/TexasDiver53/

  2. #22
    Grouper Founding Member
    Join Date
    07/09/2007
    Location
    Highland Village, TX
    Posts
    569
    Thanks for the great report -- I'm still on the fence between a liveaboard and shore diving. Leaning toward the former cause I'm a single diver. Your group experience in Sharm might not have given you incite into this, but; can single divers easily find buddies on the day trips?
    Tom

  3. #23
    TadPole
    Join Date
    09/02/2007
    Location
    Keller, TX
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by Illini_Fan View Post
    Thanks for the great report -- I'm still on the fence between a liveaboard and shore diving. Leaning toward the former cause I'm a single diver. Your group experience in Sharm might not have given you incite into this, but; can single divers easily find buddies on the day trips?
    All I can speak to is my experience with Oonas and absolutely no problem with them. There were several on our boat who were singles and either got buddied up or dove with the dive guide.

  4. #24
    TadPole
    Join Date
    10/21/2007
    Location
    northern VA
    Age
    62
    Posts
    20
    We also just got back from Sharm, TexasScuba53 was in our group, and I will agree with most of his post above (he forgot to mention the extremely inconsiderate Italian divers). We took the day trip to the Thistlegorm and I would NOT recommend doing it this way. (other than the fact that the rest of the group got to interact with a school of hammerheads while we were on the wreck) as it was extremely crowded. We got to the wreck about 10am and there were at least seven boats moored with about 25-30 divers each. Of course the arrival times were not staggered so you had what seemed like a hundred divers in the water all at once. It was a nice dive, but way too crowded, rushed and lots of inconsiderate divers pushing their way past. There are lots of lion fish within the wreck, that if you are not careful, you will get stung. We determined that if we want to do the Thistlegorm again, a liveaboard is the way to go OR if we can find a charter that leaves a couple hours before sunrise. This way we get there at daybreak and leave before everyone else gets there.

    We also just learned that the Thistlegorm will be closed in November to put in permanent moorings. The moorings now consist of tying off on the wreck.
    Join us for Dive Camp 2008 in Roatan. http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/p...12&postcount=1

    Lady Kate, Scuba Diva of the Red Hat Society (www.redhatsociety.com)

  5. #25
    TadPole
    Join Date
    09/02/2007
    Location
    Keller, TX
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by K8brandt View Post
    We also just got back from Sharm, TexasScuba53 was in our group, and I will agree with most of his post above (he forgot to mention the extremely inconsiderate Italian divers).
    Thanks Kate, I forgot about our "encounters" with the Italians. They were pretty much the same on land!!!

  6. #26
    TadPole
    Join Date
    02/24/2008
    Location
    Victoria, Texas for now
    Posts
    9
    I am responsible for luring both K8 and TexasScuba53 to Sharm and I am glad they both seemed to enjoy themselves. Talk about grins...

    I have been to Sharm alone and the operator had no problem getting me squared with someone to dive with. If you want more info, PM me.
    While she may have to kiss a lot of frogs to find her knight in shining armor, you will have to kiss a lot of fish to find your mermaid!

  7. #27
    Megalodon
    Join Date
    11/12/2007
    Location
    Wichita, KS
    Age
    58
    Posts
    14,155
    Images
    13
    I did a live aboard out of Hurghada back in the pate 80's. It was a definitly a great trip. The humongous tanks took some getting used to, but it was outstanding water if a little cool, but great trip. I definitely recommend the Red Sea as a stop on anyone's worldwide dive destinations.

  8. #28
    TadPole
    Join Date
    09/23/2007
    Location
    Dallas
    Posts
    4
    (sorry I'm late on this response) We dived off the Wildcat out of Sharm for 7 days. Very convenient, but we saw day boats at many sites. Great diving. Luxor was worth the side trip; try to get out to St. Catherine's monestary at Mt. Sinai.

  9. #29
    Grouper
    Join Date
    10/31/2007
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    317
    Quote Originally Posted by TexasScuba53 View Post
    Just returned from Sharm el Sheikh and all I can say is AMAZING!!! 2 weeks diving the Red Sea was by far, the very best diving we've ever had. My wife and I have dove all over the Caribbean and there is no comparison. I don't know exactly where RECDiver's friend was diving but, like anything else, it's all about perspective and what one is looking for in a dive. We had 23 dives in 9 days and I can honestly say, there was only one "local" dive that was not exceptional and we expected that going in. The viz, reef health and variety/abundance of marine life was better than anything I've ever seen in the Caribbean. We dove almost every major site in the Straits of Tiran and Ras Mohammed National Park.

    The "liveaboards" tied together were probably the large dive boats (20 to 35 divers) who were doing their surface interval. It's a common practice to head to nearby lagoons, bays, etc to grab lunch and chill before afternoon dives. Since there are strictly enforced laws governing dive ops, this is the most practical and least disruptive method of doing your SI.

    We stayed and dove with Oonas Dive Club (http://www.oonasdiveclub.com/) located on the north end of Naama Bay. If you’re serious about diving, it’s all divers, all about diving, all the time!! Oonas is owned by a group out of Cairo but run and staffed mainly by Brits, Aussies and South Africans. It is a first class operation with professional, world class dive guides who allow you to dive without being hassled. A side benefit is they have 15 liter (equivalent to 120s) steel tanks if you're looking for a little extra bottom time! The dive day usually started at 08:00 and we were back at the hotel by 5:00 PM.

    After diving, we'd get squared away and then head out to eat at one of the several excellent restaurants surrounding Naama Bay. In addition to the restaurants, there are also several excellent saloons (with and without entertainment) around the bay. Even though we were there during the last 2 weeks of Ramadan, the Egyptians were the most gracious, hospitable folks we've ever run into. We were out every night and, without exception, everyone we met made us feel welcomed and were genuinely glad we were there. It was like Disneyland on steroids except the people were sincere. Unlike many Caribbean destinations, we were never concerned with safety and walked everywhere at anytime without any fear.

    We stopped in Cairo on the way back and that was equally excellent. We lined up a private guide (200 euro for 2 days 2 people) through Oonas Tours which was exceptional. Spent 2 days seeing everything in and around Cairo in a brand new air conditioned van with a driver and a guide who had degrees in Egyptology and archeology. We went where we wanted to go and spent as long as we wanted.

    The ONLY bad part of our entire trip were the Russians EVERYWHERE. Our dive guide told us that after a couple of rare car bombs in Sharm (aimed at a group of Egyptians) in 2003, the Egyptian government made a deal with the Russian government to subsidize tourists traveling from Russia. Consequently, you get a lower class of rude, arrogant Russians who act like they own the place.

    I could go on and on but, suffice to say, we had an exceptional time. My wife and I have traveled all over the world but Egypt and especially Sharm el Sheikh, ranks at the top of the list for all of the above reasons. We are already lining up our return trip next year!!!

    Here’s a link to a few pics
    http://s226.photobucket.com/albums/dd145/TexasDiver53/
    I have never hear anything bad about diving there. I believe what you are saying. Thanks

  10. #30
    Grouper Penguino's Avatar
    Join Date
    04/01/2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Age
    35
    Posts
    258
    Thanks for the pics. This is definatly one of the places on my lifetime goals list.
    Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity

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