Marsa Alam Holiday – Part Two

Day 4 – 9th Feb 13

The night divers returned back to the hotel around 8.30pm and we welcomed them in the restaurant with the ‘eat as much as you possibly can” buffet. During dinner several large portions of giant grilled shrimp, several kilos of BBQ’d chicken and one or two bowls of pasta were devoured (and that was just Dave), as we caught up on the events of the night dive. A large Spanish dancer and a few cuttlefish were spotted which always make these nocturnal reef dwellers a head turner. I left the restaurant at 10pm to go to bed and left Andy, Zoe and a few gooseberries to go the bar. Apparently Zoe creped in to her room at 4am!

What the “flip” is that noise? That’ll be the sound of my alarm as it bellows around the room at 5am, or should I say my dual time reads 3am UK time. Today is Elphinstone day, one of the most famous of the Red Sea’s dive sites. Last November at the same site we saw about four Oceanic White Tip sharks, they have all moved south for the winter but it is still worth getting blurry red eyes for.

Natalie and Leo had to be woken up as the rest of us sat in the mini-bus to take us to the boat. The  guys who got in between 3-4am had a little kip while the boat made the 2 hour journey in calm seas to the dive site.

On arrival I buddied up with Derick and Andreas as part of their deep diver specialty training course. We rolled in backwards off the reef and quickly descended to 40m. We checked out how the colour red disappears at depth, did a quick narcosis test and checked out our NDL’s. We then let the mild current push us along  the reef wall while we joined up with ‘Andy and Zoe’, Dave and Jenny. We followed the reef wall and kept one eye out in the blue just in case something big whizzed by. The 50 minute dive ended up with a safety stop just by the boat ladders. On board a German couple claimed they saw a shark but no one believed them.

An hours surface interval quickly passed before we headed to the other side of the reef. We once again descended down the reef wall and bottomed out at 30m. There were several large fan corals a moray eel and the usual red sea suspects. There was little current this time so we had to depend on our fins to propel us along the wall. By the time we arrived back at the boat we had plenty of air left in our tanks so sat waiting just in case the shark was still around. The wait wasn’t boring as we all were entertained by one of our guides giving Pavel a ticking off for trying to stay down deeper then the rest of the gang.

After a much needed lunch we made our way back and stopped off at a local dive site where a few of us made a 3rd dive. This time I buddied up with Liane, an experienced diver which meant that we could leave the group and spend some quality time with a couple of turtles. The typography was truly stunning and resembled a Japanese garden if full bloom.

On returning to the hotel we ended up back at the bar having gone for a pit stop at the restaurant. Ian and Raj decided to race Derick’s young lads to a race in the miniature replica Merc and Jag cars. Raj tried to cheat and still ended up losing.

I left the bar at 10pm as a 6.30am start beckons, the younger members of the group stayed behind keeping our waiter ‘Sam’ on his toes and well towards completing the same distance as a full marathon.

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