When you go to a place like Hurghada, chances are that you want to do some diving, this is, after all, the red sea and honestly there isn’t much more that you can do except hanging around the resort and succumb to the animation or walking the streets of the towns without an history to speak of where all the shops want to insistently sell you the same things.
I have qualified as PADI open water diver in a previous holiday in Sharm El Sheik.
So the first thing on arrival at the resort, the morning after was to check on the resident club.
I wasn’t impressed by their attitude .........a little distant and not particularly friendly.
They did say that the house reef wasn’t anything interesting (which was true) and that they would not have house reef guided exploration but that they would rent me the gear to dive alone!
BIG flashing alarm. Dive alone? Very dangerous in any waters, no matter how shallow a dive and certainly with my level of experience.
The day after we met the local Egyptian (there is also a Dutch one) rep of our tour operator, Arke, from the Netherlands, he offered us an excursion to Luxor and King’s valley ( a must but if you want to do it find yourself a private guide and a taxi with air conditioning, it won’t cost you much more and you won’t have to taxi people from one resort to the other before you even leave Hurghada for the long trip to Luxor, as we did, 2,5 hours only picking up people!).
After the excursion I ask about diving and he says have fun and dive as much as you want , and sold me 10 dives with Diving World!
Monday I start.......... I am excited.
I am picked up on time from a driver on a minibus and he picks up more people on the way to Diving world (which is on the other side of Hurgahada compared to where I was with the Arabia Azur).
On arrival I am welcomed and we start clearing the formalities like filling forms and so on.
There is a large group speaking Italian. I am diving with them.I immediately socialise since I am Italian born and speak the language.
I am quickly provided with good equipment, the only problem are, as usual, the mask (all of the a bit small) and the Fins ( Flippers) one size bigger than my already large 12 (46).
BCD and regulator are almost new, the dive suit is a shorty 5 mm which just about fits, but it is the largest (XXL) that they have. They ask me how much weight I need and provide me with that and a belt long enough.
We leave the harbour (5 minutes walk from the diving centre) and reach the boats.
Two very large ones with an impressive number of 12 L tanks being safely fitted in slots on deck (apparently the centre has only ONE 15L which I did use later on).
We get to know the dive master the legendary 67 years old Gigi Ferrari. The Italian crowd knows him very well, apparently they have been coming back once or twice a year to Hurghada for years to dive with him.
The man is a character! You have to meet him to understand what I mean. He knows everything about diving and about the red sea and has written a book (out of print) on the red sea for divers.
Gigi decides where to go when the boat reaches a certain point, he looks t the sea and then tells to skipper to head towards one of the many islands or anchorage spots.
Some dives are easier than others and he would probably test the divers first on a simple place then see how they all go and then go to a more complex dive.
Anyway we had fun. Every day two dives on two different locations. On board there was simple but much needed food (PASTA!) between dives. The dives were great and Gigi is superhuman. He has gills!!
The man practically doesn’t use air and that’s very good, because I had to share air 3 times during dives with him because I was running low.
We saw many dolphins on at least two occasions.
Unfortunately although some of the dives are spectacular, we saw no large fish.
Maybe I was spoiled from Sharm where I had seen the almost all (with the exception of a Whale Shark )........Manta, Eagle ray, Large Napoleon fish and one small white tip reef shark.
Anyway, you want to dive in Hurghada? Go to see these folks!
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