A warm welcome to our latest blogger, Beth Sanders, who joins us from Camel Dive Club in Sharm el Sheikh.
I will “begin at the beginning…” to quote another famous Welsh poet! I would like to start with the roots of Sharm el Sheikh to help you understand how this captivating place grew into the magical area it is today.
Now, I may be getting on a bit but I wasn’t actually here at the beginning. However, I am lucky to see some of the founders on a daily basis as Camel Dive Club was established in 1986. I am proud to say that they are still very active members of the community. I get sat down and shown pictures of the good old times on average once a week.
“Boring” some may say, but I love every second of it! To imagine and hear about how Sharm was before the hotels and all those ghastly taxi drivers is a privilege that I would like to share with you.
Sharm el Sheikh is of great strategic importance geographically and like many great territories it has had its ownership changed many times. That is, until 1982, when it was for the final time restored to Egypt.
The diving here started long before that though. The first tourism originated as early as 1967 when Sharm was nothing but an occasional base for local fisherman passing through. With few hotels, and a unique underwater topography, divers started to appear. Not wearing what we wear today for a dive but clothed in the old BLJ’s and very unfashionable fins, masks and wetsuits.
They discovered an underwater realm with a thousand different blues and kaleidoscopic fish. They of course told their friends. It was tricky to get to Sharm at first: no airport, frightful roads and nowhere to stay, but with demand so comes the supply.
Hotels, dive centers and even roads started to emerge in the desert landscape! Sharm grew from having three resorts in 1982 to 91 resorts by the year 2000! Sharm el Sheikh with its year round sunshine and warm water turned into a destination enjoyed by divers and holidaymakers alike.
Now I won’t lie to you Dear Reader… Sharm, like many other places in our crazy world, has had its fair share of annoyances over the past few years but if anything this only drives to make this amazing place stronger. The already tight community pulls even tighter together and the diving gets better and better.
Having lived here for so long, I have to say that I feel safer in Sharm el Sheikh than most other places in the world, especially as a single female. I always feel reassured by the smiles that meet me as I go about my daily tasks. This is something that is very difficult to find anywhere in this day and age.
With fewer dive boats than in the early 2000’s, I personally have seen that these days the coral is gaining strength and other marine life recuperating quickly.
Rare fish like sailfish are becoming almost a regular encounter and whalesharks are popping up all over the place. It’s getting increasingly difficult to finish a dive briefing without someone screaming DOLPHINS halfway through!!
This summer was honestly the best summer of diving in Sharm el Sheikh I have ever had in 10 years of living and guiding dives here.
Many tourists and residents leave, but they always return. I think Sharm el Sheikh is a bit like “Hotel California” – you can leave, but you can never check out!
When are you coming back?
Inspired? Take a look at www.cameldive.com and book your trip!
There’s still time to enter our fantastic competition to win a holiday to two people to Sharm El Sheikh in association with Camel Dive Club and Hotel, the Egyptian Tourism Authority and Westfield (Sub Aqua & Marine) Insurance Services Ltd. Enter here for your chance to win! Competition ends: 23/12/17.