Snorkelling in the Red Sea is a treat not to be missed and was without doubt my favourite part of my recent trip to Egypt.
Although I had been snorkelling before, it was a long, long time ago. That was also in the Red Sea, but in Israel rather than Egypt. I can remember then that each time I put my head underwater I started to hyperventilate and had to concentrate on breathing calmly until I relaxed enough to enjoy the experience. That had been in a location where you could walk into the sea and view the coral reef and fish in very shallow water. This time we would be swimming off the boat in deep water so I was a little nervous. Not that I was going to let that stop me! Snorkelling in the Red Sea is an amazing experience that I was not going to miss out on.
We left Shark Bay in Sharm El Sheikh around 9.30am. I beg your pardon! Did you say ‘Shark Bay’? I could almost hear the theme tune for the movie ‘Jaws’ playing in my head but that was soon forgotten as the boat made its way through the beautiful deep blue water passing numerous luxurious hotels that lined the shore. We headed out to Tarin Island for the first dive. On board were a mix of divers, snorkelers and a few just along for the ride and I was pleased that it wasn’t crowded. There was plenty of room to spread out and relax. And relax we did!
When we arrived at the first dive spot we were delighted that it would just be Neill and I snorkelling with our guide Karim.
Karim had a life ring with him so at any point we could simply hold on to that as we explored the reef. Neill had never snorkelled before and we both found it useful until we were more sure of our selves. It really was the perfect re-introduction to snorkelling. The reef was as beautiful as I imagined, in fact it was so captivating I didn’t think about anything other than enjoying it. No hyperventilation and no imaginary Jaws theme tune playing in my head. My entire attention was concentrated on the reef and trying to capture its beauty on video.
There were three stops for diving throughout the day as well as an excellent lunch on board.
We saw an amazing array of fish including Picasso fish, snappers, parrot fish, angel fish, clown fish, royal angel fish and butterfly fish. We also caught a glimpse of a small ray darting across the sea bed which I managed to capture on video (just). One thing I hadn’t expected to see was someone, and I have no idea who it was, dive down and steel some coral which is also in the video. This is my first attempt at filming underwater and it doesn’t come close to capturing the beauty of the reef, in particular the colours. So if anyone has any advice, I’m all ears!
Aquarius Diving Club
This is not a sponsored post but I was so impressed with Aquarius Diving Club that I am happy to give them a plug! And as I didn’t take any photographs I emailed them to see if they had any I could use to show you just how wonderful it is, which they kindly agreed to.
Emma Soliman, from Aquarius Diving Club, also commented “It has been widely reported regarding the recent troubles in Egypt. It is true, it has been an uncertain time over the past 2 years but we would like to assure you all, that the Red Sea Resorts, including Sharm El Sheikh, are very safe and operating as normal. Since the beginning of the revolution 2 years ago there has been no trouble within the resorts and this remains the case today. We are more than 500km from Cairo. There is so much Sharm El Sheikh has to offer its visitors and there is no reason they shouldn’t come and enjoy it!”
The future of the reefs
Although I would recommend snorkelling to anyone, I am worried about the number of boats and the amount of people that visit these reefs, day in, day out. A coral reef is a very delicate system that takes many years to grow and is easily destroyed. Just the slightest touch can kill a piece of coral I am told. Sadly, tourism itself is contributing to the untimely demise of coral reefs in the Red Sea through the amount of sewage being pumped into the sea. Oil spills are also a great problem. More information on this can be found in the links below.
Red Sea coral reefs face extinction by Ibrahim Naffee, Arab News (Published 2012)
Egypt must go green to save Red Sea by Joseph Mayton, The Guardian (Published 2010)