Diving in the Red Sea

Posted: 4th May 2010 by Trent in Posts by Trent

Pics coming soon…

Executive summary: It was hot. We dived. It was nice.

Full story: About a month ago we decided to take a break, and after a few years of Caryn holidays (i.e. touring old towns and visiting every cathedral, museum, castle, bread museum (yes, really…) and [add tourist attraction here] we decided to do a Trent holiday (i.e. snow skiing, coasteering in Wales and [insert awesome holiday here]. I’ve always dreamed about doing a diving course in the Red Sea, so after a bit of convincing (hardly any at all actually!) Caryn was up for it.

Day 1 was the travelling. Let me start by saying that Thomson Airlines (yes, they have their own planes now) did a great job of getting a quality set of planes together. I’m sure they paid the seat testers (pygmies) well. The only way I can describe it is to imagine yourself not as travelling with the person next to you, but rather as spooning the person in front of you. For 5 hours. If you’ve seen the movie “without a paddle” then all I’m saying is “I for one choose death”.

Ok so we got there in one piece. So much so that they had to get a crow bar to separate us all into separate pieces again. We bought our visas and braved the queue at customs, showed them the visa we just bought (yes, really) and got waved through.

If you haven’t been to Sharm El Sheikh before then you really have to – this place is amazing! Our 5 star hotel has it’s own private beach, swimming pool, gym, 5 different restaurants, and funny water things that shoot fountains of cold intrusive water up your nether regions. Apparently it’s better than toilet paper. I tried it once and maybe it’s because I don’t sit on the toilet properly, but is shot straight out the toilet and hit the toilet door. Really makes you miss good old two ply.

Day 2 was the first day of our diving course. We’d already finished the theory part of our course in England so we only had to do the 5 confined water dives and the 4 open water dives to finish. We did, however, have to do a quick refresher test before we could start the dives. Caryn and I were the only ones in the class so our instructor left us in a room to do the multiple choice test. He left the answers right next to me.

We passed.

Our instructor was a real character, an Egyptian guy with VERY curly hair. His name is Curly. His idea of a confined water dive is to dive in the ocean but not very deep. He also wasn’t big on smiling, explaining, or english. We did get him smiling, and 1 out of 3 isn’t bad! (He kept telling us to ‘shill’. This apparently means ‘chill’ in Egyptian.) We were completely thrown into the deep end (which was in the shallow end) which meant Trent was happy and Caryn was panicked. To be fair, Caryn’s panicked state didn’t last long. Her thought process was “AAARGH! There’s so much to remember! Breathe in regulator in inflate BCD deflate BCD equalise ears do buddy check ohnoiamgoingtodie… ooooh look – fishies!” After that she was fine.

I REALLY struggled to equalise my ears and even at about 2 metres I was in serious pain, but I got it sorted out and after that it was simple, although I was told to get a nasal spray.

Pharmacy visit #1 – Nasal Spray.

Day 2 of the training was also fine, although Caryn was starting to feel ill with stomach cramps and nausea.

Pharmacy visit #2 – Medication for stomach cramps and nausea.

Day 3 was supposed to be a dive from the boat but we both woke up feeling horrible. Caryn still had her cramps and nausea, and I had a serious case of dribbleys (AKA Pharaoh’s Revenge). We had to cancel our diving trip and we both went straight to bed. After about 8 visits to the toilet I decided it was probably worth figuring out the squirty water toilet paper replacement thing. There’s only so much toilet paper a man can use without feeling guilty about his carbon footprint.

Pharmacy visit #3 – Medication for Pharaoh’s Revenge.

The afternoon was spent dead in bed and Pharaoh, obviously unhappy with the level of revenge being meted out, added a chronic headache to the list.

Pharmacy visit #4 – Headache tablets.
It’s nice being on first name basis with the local pharmacist.

Day 4 was our final day of training and the 2 dives we did were amazing. It’s like being in the world’s biggest fish tank. After that we were finally PADI qualified divers. We still weren’t up for celebrating with local cuisine so we played American Tourist and got a couple of Big Macs and slept early.

After that it was all boat dives and they were all amazing. Incidentally, we learned it’s important to discuss the hand signals. For example, Caryn thought that a random wavy wiggly motion of her arms meant “the current is moving us”. I thought she was doing the dance to the Little Mermaid song “Under the sea” so I laughed and got my mask full of water.

Oh – here’s a miracle for you. I usually get seasick when I walk on damp grass, and I just spent 2 full days on the boat and didn’t feel sick at all.

Anyways, that’s long enough. Well done for making it this far. In summary – diving is awesome and we’ll be doing it again!