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Going Local in Sharm

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As our series of articles about diving in Sharm el Sheikh comes to a close, we finish by sharing the love for the local reefs in the area. Whilst the more famous dive-sites of the Strait of Tiran, Ras Mohammed and Thislegorm tend to steal the limelight a little, there is fabulous diving to be had just minutes from the jetty.

We tried to pack in as many dives as we could on our return to Sharm, and so always took up the offer of a third boat dive in the afternoon if we could. Whilst your morning dives might be further afield, these afternoon dives are often closer to home and take in the reef systems that hug this coastline.

The topography of the area lends itself to shallow dives, with a sandy sloping bottom, and coral pinnacles springing up from the seabed. These pinnacles provide a home to a myriad of marine life and we found ourselves, sometimes, spending most of the dive engrossed in the comings and goings on just a single bommie. At Near Garden, we found glassfish shoaling around a pink seafan, tiny pipefish hiding in the shadows and minute coral crabs, which kept Caroline, with her macro lens on, entertained for a good 30 minutes. There were blue-spotted stingray, angelfish and gorgeous corals for Nick to focus on in wide angle.

Fiddle Reef, which lies between Middle and Far – hence the name, saw Nick and Beth having fun, with Beth modelling for Nick as she peered through the many windows in the reef. The more slowly you go, the more you will see, with butterflyfish and parrotfish giving flashes of electric blue and various shades of yellow against the reds and purples of the soft corals.

Temple saw us spend the whole dive circling a single pinnacle, starting at the bottom and working our way, at snail’s pace, to the very top. Caroline was trying out the new LenzO iPhone housing and spent her time switching between video, panoramas, and photos with and without the filters applied, so this shallow dive was perfect for her. There is always plenty of light on these dives, making them perfect for the underwater photographer, and there is no need for artificial light.

Whilst we have written about the shore diving in Naama Bay during the day, there is, of course, always the opportunity to dive this site at night too. With such an easy entry, and being so close to Camel Dive Club, the shore dive here is perfect for night diving. You do have to watch out for lionfish, who eagerly rush over to any diver with a light to try to gain an advantage over its prey. Nick was testing a couple of UV lights on this dive to try to photograph the coral glowing in the dark. You will be able to see these dive light reviews on Scubaverse soon. Alas, somewhat contrary to what we thought would happen, the lionfish were still attracted by the blue light, and so Beth had to spend her time fending off lionfish, while Nick concentrated on photography. One of the highlights of the night dive was to see a Torpedo Ray hunting amongst the seagrass and sand.

One of the great things about basing yourself in Sharm for a diving trip is that you can choose to dive the Thistlegorm, have a day at Ras Mohammed, spend a couple of days diving the Strait of Tiran, and you can even do a day trip to Dahab to dive the Canyon and Blue Hole. But if you want a relaxed day of shallow diving, then the local dive sites have so much to offer, and they make the perfect way to round off your diving day after one of the longer boat rides too.

www.cameldive.com

www.egypt.travel/diving-in-egypt

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

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Gemini Switch Box from Lungfish (Watch Video)

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In a video shot exclusively for Scubaverse.com, Jeff Goodman reviews the Gemini Switch Box from Lungfish.

For more information, visit www.lungfishdivesystems.com and www.facebook.com/divelungfish

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Dive Training Blogs

Jump into… A career in diving

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A career in doing something that you love… I have heard so many times that diving is just a hobby and not a career. A career by definition is ‘an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.’

I started diving at the age of 17. I became a PADI Divemaster and from this point progressed to an Open Water instructor, to Staff Instructor, to Master Instructor, to Course Director. Surely by definition this is a career path? The only difference (in some cases) that would dispute this matter… the controversial subject of pay!

I am 100% not going to say that no dive centres in the world pay. I myself do, and I know others that do, too. It does however seem to have become very much the norm, that the ‘because I enjoy it’ philosophy has eradicated the UK diving career path for years. Divers volunteering their help for little or no reward (again… not everyone before you stop reading). To eventually realising, that they are doing hard work, for not much to gain… even paying to carry on doing courses, and to become an instructor to work for that centre. What is all that about?!

If you are the type of person to be happy with that, that is completely fine, so long as you are happy. I was at one point… and then realised that I had invested a lot of my time and money, and when this realisation hit, started to feel undervalued. The instructor I was ‘working for’, for a free hot chocolate at the end of the day, would sit in the cafe whilst I taught in the 3 degree waters in the middle of winter. Obviously the paying customer had booked his course through this person and not me… I was happy with a hot chocolate and having fun… but aren’t all of the best careers the ones that we do not see as work. They aren’t all volunteer roles. 

Those of you looking for a career in diving, don’t be put off. There are places that you can work, and a career in diving can literally take you all across the world. Those saying that there is no money in diving… ignore those guys too. There is. Obviously working for free is never going to get you there, but if you want to do it, then do it. There are plenty of places not only looking to employ scuba instructors, there are other jobs at aquariums, conservation roles, the Navy and many others for you to take a look at. 

There are also grants to look at for education, the open water instructor course, or anything else after that is not exactly cheap… but still nonetheless worthwhile.

So, please do not take away the fact of diving being a career. It is. The only thing that I will leave you with (dropping a bombshell), is that if we accept the fact of ‘working for free’ then it will never change and still be hard to make a career in diving… I mean, of course there is limited need when there is still the alternate option for a business to have free labour. 


Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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