Monday 15 December 2008

8th December 08

Date: 8th December 08
Location: Sharm El Naqa, Egypt
Weather: Windy and high clouds making it feel chilly but warm later. 28°c
Status: Changing plans and excited about it!

Up early as the wind was howling through the tent making it chilly, a quick bite of breakfast and then spent a while thinking through new options for the final three weeks of the trip….the Libyan visa application is taking far too long meaning that I probably won’t make it home in time for Xmas at this rate, something which would ruin the entire professional approach of Afritrex.

The second option which I have come up with is to drive the remaining 5000kms home but instead of going west through Libya, go east through Jordan, Syria and up into Turkey and mainland Europe. It would probably be the only way I’ll be able to make my Xmas Eve return date. The only sticking points may be the visa for Syria and the conditions of the roads through Turkey during these winter months.

Kees and I decided to head to the dive shop to check out the prices of the various options for exploring the underwater section of this amazing stretch of coastline and eventually decided a single beach dive would be the best option. The snorkelling here is the most incredible I’ve ever seen and only 10m from the waters edge there’s a huge amount to see as the ocean floor drops away from the coral edge. At the last minute Bre decide to come too and we all paid up and went for an exploratory snorkel just to whet the appetite!

After a light lunch we returned to the school to kit up and the procedures of my Open Water certification in Malawi came flooding back, Dusty who trained me back there was very safety conscious and in comparison this resort was ok but not quite as full on as her…it was a great place to learn.

We entered the water and ran through a few safety procedures, Bre taking lot of notice as she hadn’t dived for a year and wanted a good refresher session. As we dropped off the precipice the coral was fantastic and all around a multitude of fish species of all shapes, colours and sizes including moray eels, eagle rays, giant clams and almost everything else…apart from the elusive sharks damn it!

We descended to nearly 25m according to the dive instructors watch, we didn’t get issued with our own gauges which was odd, and that’s the deepest I’ve ever been to and the only slight problem I had was equalising my left ear which has always given me problems since I was kicked in it!

After 45 minutes our air levels were getting towards the red so we heading back to the shore and had a safety stop at 3m for 2 minutes and then left the ocean after a superb experience. We washed and packed the equipment away and warmed up in the showers.

Had a good dinner again and discussed the next few days with everyone, I would like to avoid Cairo and get moving as quickly as possible now in order to get home, along with Kees but the Watkins seem intent on trying to return there as they stayed there for a while. Whatever happens we’re going as quickly as possible home now!

End of day location: Sharm El Naqa, Egypt
Distance covered: 1km underwater

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