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Chillin’ in Naama Bay

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Another great thing about being based in Sharm is that, if you fancy a quieter, more relaxed day, with a later start and a more sedate pace, then you can ask to do some shore diving instead of heading out on the boat. As we have been hard at it since we got here, we decided this would be just the ticket for today. The dive in Naama Bay is incredibly chilled out, but that does not mean there isn’t plenty to see; with eagle rays, artificial reefs, hoards of lionfish, huge grouper and even a barracuda trying to hunt a pufferfish in the sandy shallows to entertain us.

After chatting through what we wanted to photograph with Beth, our private guide, we donned our wetsuits whilst still at Camel Dive Club. We set up our gear, which was then put on a trolley and wheeled down to the beach, by one of the lovely local staff, which is just 2 mins away. Once in our gear, we strode into the water and slipped into the clear blue sea and started exploring. Once past the first shallow coral bommies, we reached the artificial reefs. Here a number of wire sculptures have been sunk, several years ago now, to create a new reef system. There is a globe, a pyramid (of course), a boat and a dolphin that provide a perfect hide out for juvenile fish, lionfish and gorgeous angelfish. A playful school of juvenile bannerfish followed us around each of these structures, as well as a pile of amphora that adds to this reef scene.

Beth told us to keep an eye out on the sand, as this is also a regular site to see young spotted eagle rays. We were in luck, as we made our way to one of the deeper reefs, we caught a glimpse before it went on its way. The larger, and deeper piece of reef, lying at 12-16m, is home to a huge grouper, young napoleon wrasse and lots of lionfish. Enigmatic porcupine fish also patrol this part of the dive. It is a novice photographers dream and needs to be done in both wide angle and macro.

On our way back in we stopped to watch a pufferfish swim right up, unknowingly, to a large barracuda. As the barracuda went to strike, the puffer inflated and the bemused predator skulked away. It was a relief, as whilst a barracuda has to eat, those pufferfish are just too cute to be dinner for anyone.

The great thing about diving Naama Bay from Camel Dive Club is that you set the pace of the day. Want to do three dives, no problem. Two dives in the morning, spend the afternoon catching some sun by the pool and then do a night dive – perfect. You can decide what suits you best.

www.cameldive.com

www.egypt.travel/diving-in-egypt

For more from Nick and Caroline visit www.frogfishphotography.com.

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. Both have degrees in environmental biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after the world's seas and oceans. Their Manchester-based company, Frogfish Photography, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to complement the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques. They also offer equipment sales and underwater photography trips in the UK and abroad. For more information visit www.frogfishphotography.com.

Dive Training Blogs

Deptherapy returns to its Roots – Part 1

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Over the next seven days, join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy as we publish a Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.

Deptherapy made the very brave decision to book an expedition to our home in Egypt as soon as Roots Red Sea received their certificate from the Egyptian Authorities that the camp and dive centre was COVID secure. Roots is one of very few resorts to receive a certificate from the Egyptian Government.

We arrived in Roots the day after they re-opened.

Getting together an expedition was a major task. Very few Approved Medical Examiners’ of Divers or Dive Referees are conducting consultations at the moment. Availability of beneficiaries and the requirement to quarantine on return from Egypt affected the number of beneficiaries available.

There was also a requirement to pass a COVID PCR virus test within 72 hours of travelling.

We had decided on a small expedition and on the day of travel we had six flying to Egypt.  Unfortunately, Chris Middleton had to drop out the day before we travelled after emergency wisdom tooth surgery.

Our group comprised of Richard Cullen, Michael Hawley, Tom Oates, Tom Swarbrick, Keiron Bradbury and Corey Goodson.  Keiron was undertaking his RAID Master Rescue Course and, as it turned out, Corey was undertaking the RAID Open Water 20 course.

A deserted Gatwick Airport at 0900 on 10 October

Our outbound flight was before midday on Saturday 10 October and I must admit we were all shocked at how deserted was.  Checking in with easyJet took minutes and when we boarded the plane, we found it less than half full.

Corey is a paraplegic since a car accident two years ago while he was training prior to joining the Royal Anglian Regiment.  Corey has no sensation below the waist and is unable to use his legs.  The cabin crew on our flight were quite amazed to see the two Toms and Michael lift him from his wheelchair and place him in his seat for the flight.

Mask protocols were strictly observed by the team, the flight was uneventful, and the easyJet Cabin Crew superb. We also took a digital thermometer to check temperatures prior to flying.

Corey having a pre-flight temperature check

Hurghada Airport was very quiet and we moved through Immigration and collected our baggage in very quick time.

Two things to note:  If you are travelling to Hurghada you need to complete a COVID declaration for the Egyptian Authorities. If not, you have to fill out the rather lengthy form when you arrive.  You can undertake a COVID test on arrival at Hurghada Airport but the queues are long.  It costs much less than the tests we had done in the UK – BUT – you are required to be quarantined at your hotel until the test result comes through.  This means two days with no access to resort facilities.  If the test comes back as positive you have at least two weeks being confined to your room.

COVID guidelines

Transport to Roots was, as ever, on hand and we were soon at the camp and being briefed about the COVID arrangements.  A lot of work has been put in place to make Roots COVID compliant – and all at considerable expense.

None of the usual hugs with the Roots team and you have your temperature checked every morning and every time you return from the dive centre.  Your dive kit is sterilised every night ready for the next day’s diving.

Sterilised Dive Kit

We all felt very COVID secure.

Check back for tomorrow’s Blog and our first day diving…


Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at www.deptherapy.co.uk

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And the winner of our TUSA Paragon S Mask competition is…

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We’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who entered our competition to win a TUSA Paragon S Mask from our good friends at CPS Partnership!

As usual, lots of you entered… but there can, of course, be only one winner!

And that winner is…

  • Lee Evans from the UK.

Congratulations Lee – your prize will be on its way to you soon!

Not a winner this time? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other competitions running on Scubaverse.com right now. To see what other awesome prizes you could be in with a chance of winning, click here!

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