Dive club trips to the Red Sea…an intense week of fun!
University of Hull dive club had a great time in the Red Sea
We’ve just come to the end of a week’s intense diving trip with some students from the University of Hull and what a week we’ve had, both above and under the water. If you’re thinking about organising a club trip to dive the Red Sea, check out below a summary of our week to get an idea of what to expect (all non-diving activities optional of course ;-)
ARRIVAL DAY: Arriving on different flights isn’t a problem when picking up the guys, Ash stays at the airport all afternoon meeting each group individually and making sure the luggage is stored on the bus before they head to the hotel and dive centre. The first night we spend filling in the necessary paperwork and checking out gear so we’re all ready for the first days diving. By 10pm its time to sleep after the days travelling and excitement of being on holiday, for some their first experience of diving all together, for others their first time diving out of the UK…we already know we’re going to have a fun week, everyone is really easy going and enthusiastic!
DAY 1: We’re greeted by excited but slightly tired faces in the morning, can’t blame them since our meeting time is 7.30am, but after dividing in to two groups, Ash has the Open Water students whilst Hannah and Kimo have the divers, we make our way to the jetty. The first day diving is always done from either shore or boat but at local sites as this allows the best conditions for carrying out check dives and for the guides to assess who should dive in which groups based on experience, levels and air consumption. So we dive Ras Bob and Ras Nasrani and both dives result in excited exchanges between the divers about how great the visibility is and what marine life they can see, clownfish may be common over here but any kind of fish in the UK can be difficult to spot sometimes when you’re up against bad visibility so for them it’s great to actually be able to see ‘stuff’.
Late afternoon we return to the hotel to meet up with Maddy and John and hear all about how their first day went. Ash explains it’s going to be a pretty easy few days for him, neither of them have encountered any challenges so far with the skills. After updating Facebook and planning Tiran for the following day, we all head off to Onions a nearby restaurant to stock up on some delicious food and energy in preparation for day 2.
DAY 2: Now commonly known as ‘Shark day’, you can guess why right?! Hannah & Kimo have a little insider knowledge of a couple of sharks that have been hanging around the corner of Jackson Reef so they of course make the first dive there in hope of a repeat sighting….and it pays off. Sure enough at the corner the sharks are still there circling in close to the reef and we spend the most magical 15 minutes finning against the current watching them. When we return to the boat Josh explains that it’s his first ever shark sighting and it’s made his holiday, ‘nothing else will beat this dive’ (he didn’t know then that it was going to get even better). And Jack, well he was celebrating his 21st birthday so the sharks combined with the pilot whales on the commute out were a pretty memorable present.
Day 2-dive 2…a different site but another shark! This time a juvenile black tip passing alongside a massive Napolean wrasse, amongst a school of beautiful batfish. Needless to say we return to the dive centre feeling like very lucky divers, rounding the day off with a big bit of birthday cake before the group head off to dinner in Mercato.
DAY 3 - Is a busy day of teaching. Maddy and John are ready to join us on the boat to continue their open water dives so we choose Local again but this time Ras Katy and Temple. 3 of the other divers have chosen to complete their Advanced Open water and some speciality courses so we do some navigation, peak performance and drift skills. Whilst others are making their 3rd training dive the rest of us relax on the boat’s sundeck agreeing that Chinese delivery to the dive centre is the desired choice for tonight’s meal. It seems 2 or 3 dives a day for a few days in a row are catching up with a few people so an early night is on the cards.
DAY 4 – Visiting Ras Mohamed for the first day, expectations are pretty high that we’re going to see something ‘big’, for the guides the pressure is on to deliver! Luckily on route to the first dive site we are joined by a pod of around 50 dolphins that splash around the boat for so long that it’s us who have to leave them or risk running off schedule. I forgot to mention, this day was nicknamed turtle day for obvious reasons really. Luckily Al one of the divers has a rather professional underwater camera with photography skills to match, so today he took an array of stunning images which he has kindly allowed us to use on the new website.
At night, some of the group go for a night dive at a favourite spot of ours whilst the others head off to Fares to taste some of the freshest seafood in town.
DAY 5: The last days diving of the 5 day package and officially recognised as ‘SHARK DAY 2! Having a choice to go anywhere they want for their last day, it’s not hard to understand why the guys have chosen Tiran again…this time the pressure is really on. They already know what they might see and it’s the last days diving so we really want to end it on the highest possible note!
Thankfully the chance has paid off but this time it’s not 2 sharks, it’s FOUR!!!! And we stay with them until our air dictates we must start heading back. We see a million types of other beautiful marine creatures as well but I think I can safely say for everyone that all we keep imagining are the sharks and how elegantly they swam around and around.
In the evening we all have way too much energy to just hang around the dive centre so instead we’ve organised a football match, Egypt (with Al!) versus England…Egypt won but it was mainly down to Al and his fancy footwork.
DAY OFF – We leave the group to make the most of their last full day of sunshine so they head off to the nearby beach for some snorkelling and general relaxation. We’d all agreed previously that the last night would be reserved for a dinner out and possibly a few cocktails as a celebration. So traditional Egyptian food it is, with a meze of breads, stuffed vine leaves, tahini dips and shish kebab with everyone confirming that they are pretty stuffed and had great value for money working out at about £5 per head…..and so, we venture out to Na’ama Bay for a drink or two and actually everyone is really well behaved. There’s no over indulging on the cocktails with the most popular drink being the freshly squeezed fruit cocktails which quench thirst way better than a pint does. We do however get coaxed in to one of the local night clubs where we end up dancing the night away until the very early hours of 3am…I’m too old for this but very fun all the same!
DAY 7 – Home time Everyone is packed up and checked out of their hotel rooms, some a little tired from the late night before but all in agreement that they would much rather stay than return back to reality in the UK. It’s too early for the holiday blues to kick in just yet and most already have plans for a return visit at some point this year so it gives them and us something to look forward to. But if plans don’t quite work out, we know that we’ve had a seriously excellent weeks diving, had some fun out of the water as well and made new friends….we couldn’t wish for much more really.