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Get the Sharm Low Down...
Interested in diving in Sharm? Then follow our new DiveBunnie Dive Guide to Sharm. Follow our trip around the reefs of Sharm el Sheikh.
So what is Sharm el Sheikh and why do people just keep coming back? Well... there are many reasons I am sure, aside from of course, the spectacular diving.
I think for those of us who come from the shady isles of the United Kingdom, the sheer heat and amount of sunshine is always a winner. I love the fact that our winter here is not dissimilar to a sunny UK summer. I love the fact that I am surrounded by peachy mountains and desert on one side, and deep blue sea on the other, and I love the fact that in summer, the sheer heat just takes your breath away. And it is because of all those unique features that we have the most incredible diving available here. With gentle sandy plateaus stretching out from the fringing reef on our local sites, ideal for beginners, and stunning coral walls and flying currents on our more challenging dives. Enough to inspire the most jaded of divers. The lack of rain means that the water is generally clear, and the location on a tectonic fault line means that the water is warmer than you would expect this far North of the Equator. The fact that we have three stretches of water, all coming together at this one point, also results in a huge influx of sea life, especially in summer.
The town itself used to be a Bedoin fishing village, with none of the Egyptians currently living here actually coming from Sharm. They have all moved in from surrounding towns and cities in order to better their lives with the relative riches that can be earned. During the late 70's and early 80's people used to come down from Israel to get in a bit of top quality diving. In 1982, it was handed back to Egypt, and since then it has gradually grown larger and larger. From a cluster of tents and huts on the beach, we now have a sprawling city that stretches from the edge of the Ras Mohammed National Park along the coast and up way beyond the airport. Originally it was primarily a scuba diving resort, with 98% of the guests being divers and only 2% your normal holiday makers. Over the last few years, this statistic has completely reversed with only 2% of the visitors actually diving. And of course in line with this, we now have other activites available, such as quad-biking in the desert, wake boarding, wind and kite surfing to name just a few.
Please remember that when you land in Sharm, if you are planning to visit the Ras Mohammed National Park, or "mainland" Egypt, you do need to get a visa (no matter what anyone says at the airport itself). Simply go to the bank with the shortest queue in the arrivals hall, before you go through passport control and purchase your visa stamp (only about £10 sterling). Just so you know, you can get just the free Sinai visa at passport control if you are staying in Sinai and this would include plans to visit Dahab, Mount Sinai or St Catherine's Monastery.
For more information on Sharm's watersports, take a flick through Blue Magazine, run by the CDWS (Chamber of Diving and Water Sports), it gives you the full low down on watersports in the area, how to play safe and how to make the most of your time in the water here.
Now you've heard all the buzz, why not pay us a visit? With almost guaranteed idyllic diving conditions, whatever your level of diving, it's well worth a visit in winter or summer. For your flights and hotels, the best deals of the moment are on the Last Minute site while the Ocean College Site offers a 10% discount for all on line bookings.
The Ocean Club Hotel is is very popular with the divers and has restored its family atmosphere after a short closure for refurbishment. Thomsons do have a limited supply of rooms, so if you find they are fully booked, you can try Sportif or feel free to drop the hotel a line directly via the website. Khaled will sort you out via email. OK it might sound a bit odd in this day and age of fully automated on line bookings, however it works, and you get to stay in your favourite little dive hotel.
Aside from our resident centre Ocean College, there are of course many many other dive centes here, with a some of them being more organised and reputable than others. Dive centres we would recommend are: Camel Dive, Red Sea College, Emperor Divers with Werner Lau Colona and Sinai Divers catering for both our British and Nordic visitors as well. You will find that these, along with Ocean College will all have similar standards of safety and price.
If you are looking for some dedicated diving with a little luxury thrown in,
try a liveaboard with the Tony
Backhurst or Blue O'Two crews. It truly is a diver's dream, live on a luxury boat,
do a bit of diving, bit of eating, some more diving and a bit of sleeping…
bliss! They have some great trips to the Red Sea as well as world wide
trips to the Maldives, Thailand and Sudan to name a few. Blue O'Two also win in my books, as they regularly run conservation trips where you can learn a little more about the reefs, do a few clean up dives and get a discount on your holiday!
Whilst here, you want to stay healthy, so here is a little about the health aspects of visiting a desert, and some more about the health aspects of diving.
And once you are here in Sharm el Sheikh, how about a few things to do, places to go etc? Already mentioned elsewhere, Clare H at Ocean College has created her own range of uniquely funky silver, handmade jewellery. Pop along to the Ocean College dive centre to order your made to measure, pure solid, silver pendants. Or order your items ahead of your arrival, on line via us here at DiveBunnie. Requests can be taken for horoscope signs, sharks, dolphins, starfish etc. You want it, she can create it. You can also email us your advance designs in order to pick them up when you next visit. The silver she uses is actually recycled, so you are actually doing something a little green here too... happy days.
Still on the jewellery front, you can also pop along to Pearls and Gems to get yourself decked out.
Of course, while shopping, be sure to get your very own
DiveBunnie Hoodie, vest or Tee Shirt!
available at all Ocean College branches, Colona Divers, Sinai Divers, Maison de la Mer and Blue Wave Dive Shop in Old Sharm and now at the Umbi Dive Centre in Shark's Bay.
Some of our available on-line DiveBunnie Goodies. Click on a pic to buy:
For a fun night out, pop along to The Tavern our local sports bar. Two versions, include one in Naama Bay, and T2, which happens to be our local. It's by our dive centre on Motels street in Hadaba. These bars are run by our very own Charlie and Monty who both started off life here as diving instructors, before venturing into the realm of British bardom, and bringing much loved bacon butties, sport and British Breakfasts to us ex-pats wanting an occasional taste of home.
Of course those of you who have been to Sharm many a time, you might find yourself thinking of popping up the road to Dahab for a little trip. Here is a new place where you can have a bit of an eco holiday, hosted by Louise and Birgit, see for yourself what they have to offer:
And... as always, feel free to drop us a line should you want more advice or information:
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Tried and tested by us to get you to your
Another tried n tested team:
bear in mind that whilst we have researched all the information contained within
this site, we are not qualified medical experts
the majority of suggestions made here are based upon much of what you would
have learned in your diving training, combined
with a dash of common sense and shared experiences. Should you suspect that
you have a medical condition or issue, please
consult your doctor immediately. If you suspect that you or a fellow diver
are suffering from a life affecting or life threatening condition, please
the emergency services. To find your nearest hyperbaric chamber, click here.
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Diving advisor: Clare Wilders PADI MSDT.
Copyright © Clare Wilders (formerly Clare Goodman) of DiveBunnie 2003-2011 all rights reserved. Reproduction of any images or articles within the DiveBunnie web-site in any format is not allowed without prior, written permission from the DiveBunnie creators