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Debunking the top 5 myths heard about Sharm el Sheikh at DIVE 2018

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Camel Dive Club & Hotel recently had the marvelous experience of sending a representative; yours truly, to DIVE 2018 at Birmingham NEC over the rather chilly weekend of 27 and 28 October 2018. Even though there are still no direct flights from the UK to Sharm el Sheikh, it was definitely not a waste of time attending. The Experience Egypt stand, where Camel Dive Club & Hotel co exhibited was busy from the minute we opened with many of the British public asking similar questions.

Based on this, I figured that many more of you might have heard incorrect information about one of the top dive destinations in the world. Therefore, here I go, trying to debunk the common rumours.

  1. Sharm el Sheikh Airport is CLOSED! – UNTRUE

Sharm el Sheikh Airport is open for business as usual and has never been closed. With over 51 airlines flying in everyday from all over the world, including direct flights from (in no particular order): Holland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Estonia, Switzerland, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Latvia, Giorgia, Armenia, Lithuania, Belorussia, Poland, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. It is definitely not closed.

2. Sharm el Sheikh must be a ghost town. – UNTRUE

With currently over 45,000 people arriving in Sharm el Sheikh every week, I am not sure where we would hide all these people for Sharm to give the impression of a ghost town. I won’t lie to you, it has been a tough few years for this charming town but it is definitely on the up. November even saw Sharm hosting the World Youth Forum for the second year running. This event brought thousands of youths and world leaders from around the globe, representing over 60 delegations.

The only ghostly events occurring recently have been the local Halloween celebrations, including the annual party at the historic Camel Bar located in the heart of Na’ama Bay.

  1. It is difficult to reach Sharm el Sheikh from the UK – UNTRUE

It is true that there are still no direct flights from the UK to Sharm. But with so many other options in the form of Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines (via Istanbul) from many UK airports, Egypt Air (via Cairo) from Heathrow and a variety of other routes direct from European Airports, there is no excuse not to visit the tranquil and safe resort.

My personal preferred method is with Egypt Air who Camel Dive Club & Hotel used to send me to the show. I left Sharm el Sheikh at 05:30 in the morning and arrived in Heathrow at 13:00 lunchtime. For the return, I decided to take the red eye flight so that I could sleep on the plane. I left Heathrow at 22:30 that enabled me to land in Sharm in time for a late breakfast at 08:45. There were brief stopovers in Cairo on each trip, which I gratefully used to stretch my legs and grab a quick coffee, to ensure I arrived refreshed at each destination.

Additionally with 2 bags of 23 kilograms and 8 kilograms of hand luggage, my extra Christmas supplies were not limited so your dive equipment wouldn’t be either.

  1. There are no British divers visiting Sharm el Sheikh – UNTRUE

The number of British divers we have embraced diving with us during 2018 at Camel Dive Club & Hotel this year has increased by 32%. This is thanks to many loyal, repeat guests but also new divers who had decided to take the opportunity to visit the legendary Sharm dive sites after hearing about the amazing sightings that have been experienced in 2018.

  1. The Diving must be brilliant now – TRUE

Ok this was a red herring, but I didn’t want to miss the chance to share with you that 2018 has been one of the best years of diving that has been experienced in the last twenty or so years according to long term residents, instructors, return divers and me!

The Sharm diving public has dived with schools of dolphin, whale sharks, mantas, turtles, sailfish as well as a whole range of different sharks in addition to the usual Red Sea suspects. All of these encounters have been framed with the stunning Red Sea hard and soft corals that are currently blooming.

So before you strike Sharm off your list of your dive destination for 2019, remember not to believe everything you hear. Come and visit us now in Sharm el Sheikh, where the summer never ends.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

For more information please about Camel Dive Club & hotel, please visit the website by clicking here.

Beth "my lovelies" Sanders achieved her PADI Open Water in her native Wales and became completely addicted to the underwater world. Her fixation has cost her jobs, boyfriends and a whole load of other 'respectable' things so finally she had to make the diving pay! Becoming a Scuba Instructor was the only option... Beth was very lucky to combine this with her love of warm weather and has lived in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt since 2007. Currently operating as a freelance dive instructor and environmental tourism consultant, Beth can usually be found chatting with guests and even occasionally underwater!

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

The world’s 12 best places to snorkel with whales

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Whales have captivated our imagination for centuries and snorkeling with whales is one of life’s best experiences. Whether you want to meet them in the tropics or under the Arctic sun, there is a whale adventure for you. Here is our guide to the world’s best places to snorkel with whales.

HUMPBACK WHALES

Humpback whales are found at destinations worldwide, making them easy to spend time with. These huge whales are known for their spectacular breaches and complex song and are just as rewarding whether you watch them from a boat or get in the water.

  1. Tonga

If you want to snorkel in clear blue waters with humpback mothers and their calves, visit Tonga. It is one of the most popular places to swim with humpbacks, where you can choose from day safaris or longer trips. Just make sure you book early so you don’t miss out.

When to go: July to September.

  1. Moorea, French Polynesia

French Polynesia is the perfect place to combine a luxurious getaway with a humpback whale swim safari and world-class snorkeling. There are endless snorkeling spots, beautiful beachside resorts and numerous whales. If you want to try scuba diving for the first time, the diving in Moorea is ideal for beginners. The reefs are pristine, the waters are sheltered, and you can swim with Moorea’s famously friendly stingrays whilst you’re there.

When to go: July to November.

  1. Silver Bank, Dominican Republic

The Silver Bank marine reserve provides a safe winter haven for the North Atlantic humpback whale population whilst they gather to mate, calve and raise their young. There are various liveaboard operators that offer multi-day safaris dedicated solely to learning about and swimming with these charming whales. This is a great option if you want to immerse yourself fully in the world of whales.

When to go: January to April.

4. Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

UNESCO-listed Ningaloo Reef hosts tens of thousands of humpback whales each year and is also a migratory route for dolphins, dugongs and manta rays. Lacking the crowds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, it is the most peaceful place to swim with humpback whales in Australia.

When to go: July to November.

  1. Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia

Hervey Bay – the world’s first World Whale Heritage Site – has been called the whale watching capital of the world, thanks to its abundant humpbacks. This conservation-focused destination is just a 3.5-hour drive north of Brisbane and offers day trips to swim with the whales.

Time your trip right and you can also enjoy the annual Hervey Bay Whale Festival and Paddle Out for Whales.

When to go: July to November.

  1. Reunion Island

Réunion lies 550 km east of Madagascar and is a lesser-known humpback whale hotspot. With only a handful of people allowed in the water at any one time, it is a great destination for more intimate whale encounters.

When to go: August to September.

  1. Iceland

Iceland’s rich waters are a prime feeding ground for humpbacks and offer a unique whale swim experience. Wearing a cozy dry suit, you can spend hours admiring these whales in Iceland’s incredible gin-clear waters.

When to go: June to August.

 DWARF MINKE WHALES

These pint-sized whales grow up to 8 meters long and were only discovered in the 1980s. They might be relatively new to the whale watching scene, but they are wonderful to swim with.

  1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Known for being exceptionally friendly, dwarf minke whales create truly memorable encounters as they swim around you, under you and sometimes even between your fins.

Hop on a minke whale safari at Cairns and enjoy. Go snorkeling or try Great Barrier Reef diving whilst you’re there to experience the incredible wonders of this enormous reef system.

When to go: June to July.

SPERM WHALES

Weighing up to 50 tons and reaching 15 – 20 meters long, sperm whales are one of the most sought-after and impressive whale species to swim with.

  1. Dominica

The sheer drop-offs and deep sheltered bays around Dominica are perfect for sperm whales, and the females and calves stay there all year. After just a short boat ride from the coast, you will be swimming with these amazing animals in calm azure waters.

When to go: Year-round, though November to March is peak season.

BLUE WHALES

Weighing up to a staggering 200 tonnes, blue whales are enormous, and there are two great places you can swim with them.

  1. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of the only places where you can swim with blue whales, watch them from a boat, or go whale spotting in small airplanes – which is arguably the best way to get an idea of their sheer size.

When to go: March to April.

  1. San Diego, California

Baja California hosts the largest population of blue whales in the world every summer and there are a small number of operators that offer blue whale swimming safaris from San Diego. With small group sizes and week-long programs, they are perfect for maximizing your time with these huge whales.

When to go: June to October.

BELUGA WHALES

Beluga whales are easy to recognize thanks to their bright white coloring and rounded heads. These highly social animals are one of the most vocal whales and gather in large groups in Canada.

  1. Churchill, Canada

Tens of thousands of beluga whales gather each year in Hudson Bay and the small town of Churchill offers unique trips to swim with them. You can enjoy close-up encounters with hundreds of belugas in the water, plus spot polar bears, moose, Arctic foxes and more whilst you’re there.

When to go: June to September.

If you can’t get enough of whales, read the SSI guide to diving with whales to discover even more destinations where you can meet these giants of the ocean.


Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer for Scuba Schools International (SSI), wrote this article.

 

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Gear Reviews

Tried & Tested: Typhoon International’s Totland Dog Vest

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Typhoon say about their pet flotation aid: “Our Totland Dog Vest is bound to be a hit with canine crew members whose safety is just as important as that of the rest of the family.  The Totland Dog Vest offers the all-important buoyancy in an easy-to-spot bright orange tough coated nylon. 

It is easy to buckle up and has a handy haul out handle and lead loop attachment point, making it easy to help your dog on and off the boat.”

Test Conditions

  • Location: Trefor, UK
  • Temperature: 20 degrees C
  • No of Swims: 4
  • Equipment Used: Gucci the Golden Retriever
  • Test Equipment: Typhoon Totland Dog Vest
  • RRP: £20.95

Review

The Totland Dog Vest is available in four sizes, and having consulted the size chart we went for the XL to fit our big Golden Retriever, Gucci. He is a good swimmer, so for a day at the beach does not need an aid to help him stay afloat whilst chasing his favourite ball, but if we were taking him on a boat we would certainly be using one.

The vest was easy to fit and the neck fitting was padded and looked really comfortable. Gucci certainly put up no complaints at wearing it and was happy to charge up and down the beach with it on. It did not impede his movement (both running and swimming) at all. The handle is really useful for close control, as well as being essential if we were to have to assist him back onto a boat or river bank. There is an attachment for a lead too, so for those who are training their dogs to swim or worry about their recall, a long lead can be attached to let them swim and have fun and still be able to get them back!

The bright orange colour is great to being able to keep track of your dog if they swim further away from you than you would like too. The float kept Gucci nice and high in the water and he was keen to try it out over and over again! It is a tough vest with secure clips giving you confidence that your best buddy would be safe if caught out in a current. We will certainly be using this to give our nervous puppy some confidence as he ventures into the water in the future.

Visit www.typhoon-int.co.uk to see the full range and to find details of your nearest stockist.

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Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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