Diving with…. Dive Urge, Dahab, Egyptian Red Sea

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In a new ongoing series, we speak with the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer

What is your name?

Lynne Helal-Gillis.

What is the name of your business?

Dive Urge, Dahab.

What is your role within the business?

Owner and Marketing Manager.

How long has the business operated for?

Since 2001, 16 years this year.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I am a PADI MSDT and learned to dive in Dahab in 1998.

What is your favorite type of diving?

Low key, shallow, shore dives, impulsive.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

We are the only dive center in the Red Sea that guarantees no more than 4 guests diving with a guide, for courses and guided. We are an Eco Centre, fully committed to responsible tourism. We are a family run club and offer a unique home from home experience. We are number one for our accommodation on Trip Advisor.

What was your favorite dive in your location and why?

Hard question. I do love Eel Garden which I have done literally hundreds of times but it never fails to move me; the light there from early morning to dusk is always amazing. I have seen everything from Turtles, Giant Morays and spectacular fish balls made up of billions of silversides on the reef being chased by Trevallies, which never fails to give you a wow moment.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Mostly shore dives, but with some sites that can be reached only by boat too, on day trips.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

It’s our baby. Dive Urge is built with and shows the love of the area of Dahab. We are on every aspect of someone’s holiday from the first enquiry until they’re back home…and we all genuinely love making it the best holiday ever for folks.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Another hard one eh? Of course we all get excited when we see a ray of any sort or a large moray sticking his head out of the coral etc.…but hands down it’s got to be the Turtle, so serene and majestic… love love turtles.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

Yes, the British government will realize that they forgot to lift the ban on direct flights and take off the negative travel advice for South Sinai and let us all get back to work.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

See above.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Yes, loads, as I mentioned we only dive with 4 guest max and less if they are not compatible divers (i.e. different levels of experience or air consumption). This reduces the impact considerably as a guide can control 4 much better than 6, 8 or even in Sharm… 10 + per guide!

We do regular pickups on shore and anything we come across in the water too. This also creates a good habit for our guests. We teach buoyancy skills to everyone; our Advanced Course includes the Peak Performance Dive as mandatory for this reason. We make sure our guests’ equipment is well trimmed and no dangles.

We conserve water in our club using renewable well water for plants etc. We offer a bottle refilling service for our guests which dramatically reduces the amount of plastic bottles used. We re-cycle everything Inc fruit and veg which is given to the goats. We provide cotton bags for local shopping so our guests don’t have to use plastic bags.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

I think it needs to take a much bigger responsibility for the underwater environment. I think some dive sites should be closed for a period of time i.e. a year to allow fish to re-populate it. All fishing should be stopped now, even by the indigenous population of Bedouins who see it as their right to do so, but the nets are the killers not the fish they take out.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

We would like the world to know that Egypt is very safe, and please don’t believe the negative hype in the media which we have all suffered from since the revolution in 2010. As well as promoting Dive Urge we would like to promote Dahab too – I really love this funky little town.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

We have our own website, www.dive-urge.com and are long standing members of Responsible Travel too. We also have a Facebook page and you can find us on Trip Advisor.

Steve Millard

Steve Millard

Steve Millard is a UK based AIDA Instructor Trainer who is the owner of Apneists UK freediving group. www.learn2freedive.com . Currently Chair of the British Freediving Association and the UKs leading competition organiser.

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