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The Unassuming Guardians of Sharm el Sheikh

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At the very heart of Sharm el Sheikh, there is an unsung hero.

Quietly hidden away just past the Old Market area (aka Souq, in Arabic) is a small building where many life-altering events happen and an extremely inspiring team reside – The Hyperbaric Chamber, Sharm el Sheikh.

Dr Adel Taher and Dr Ahmed Sakr – both keen scuba divers themselves – are the resident doctors at Sharm el Sheikh’s hyperbaric chamber which opened and was fully operational over 25 years ago on the morning of 10th March 1993.

Many people are not even aware of the Chamber’s existence unless they need to make use of the facilities.

We all know that diving is a relatively safe activity as long as we play by the rules and we all hope we will never need to pay a visit to this location. However, on the off chance that something does happen whilst diving, it is reassuring to know that you will be in one of the best places in the world to be treated.

This is proved by the vast experience provided by the sheer number of cases that have been successfully treated, with over 1,700 people of different nationalities walking out of the doors after they entered with potentially life threatening injuries. In addition to the local incidents that have occurred, the Doctors also coordinate and assist with remote area medical evacuation in the Red Sea and provide medical consultation and referral to patients all over the globe.

It is not that diving in Sharm el Sheikh is particularly dangerous for scuba diving: it is all a numbers’ game. When you take the number of divers that have visited and continue to visit Sharm el Sheikh, it is inevitable to expect that some of them are bound to need the Chamber’s service.

In addition to standard activities, Dr Ahmed and Dr Adel have implemented several pioneering treatments, which have been developed by the fantastic Team at Sharm’s hyperbaric facility.

“The chamber” as its friends fondly know it, also takes the time to educate those that want to learn. It offers internships for young doctors from all over the world, in addition to training keen members of Sharm’s dive industry and turning them into chamber tenders and operators.

At Camel Dive Club, we are proud to say that many instructors past and present have taken these courses, which they found to be informative, fun and a life changing experience. Many have subsequently volunteered at the chamber to gain more knowledge in the hyperbaric field.

Now, diving hyperbaric treatments do not come cheap with the minimum cost being Euro 750 per hour (due to the high costs of transporting the required gases in Egypt and routinely replacing the chamber components before they deteriorate) and with an average treatment taking 8 hours 45 minutes, you had better have some good dive insurance. This being said, the chamber has never refused anyone treatment due to lack of insurance or funds; this is very humbling.

They rely strongly on donations to survive, especially after the quieter years that have been experienced recently. A good way to help is at the end of your diving holiday at Camel Dive Club, you will be asked if you would like to make a one Euro per diving day donation to the chamber; please say yes and make it more if you are able.

The chamber is also a place that Camel Dive Club recommends you visit if you have a “yes” on your diving medical form. With the charge being only Euro 35.00 for a fit to dive medical and the doctors being more knowledgeable than your average non-diving GP, it will give you peace of mind to continue your diving adventures safely.

Being on call 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, the doctors are always friendly, professional and courteous; with kind advice for residents and holidaymakers alike.

Please join me in thanking and congratulating “The Chamber” on its 25th Anniversary and for its many years of service to all, divers and non-divers alike. We wish you many more.

In honour of this amazing milestone, there will be a 4-day celebration planned for November 2018. These days will include: lectures on technical and recreational diving by world renowned experts aimed at diving professionals, an open house during which you can receive a guided tour of the hyperbaric chamber, a Divers Alert Network (DAN) day (which will aim to provide information about the latest research in diving medicine) and of course some diving!

If you wish to make a donation or you are interested in their anniversary events in November, please email sharmchamber@gmail.com for more information.


Interested in diving in Sharm el Sheikh? Take a look at www.cameldive.com and book your trip!

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!

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10 Great Coral Reef Destinations for Every Snorkeler

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There is nothing like drifting over a coral reef, watching vibrant fish life and thriving corals as the sun shines overhead. If you’re lucky, you might spot a passing sea turtle, manta ray or even a whale shark whilst you explore. Reef snorkeling is simply one of the best experiences and you don’t need to travel far to try it.

Whether you’re looking for an affordable destination close to home, a family-friendly trip, an idyllic island getaway, or a touch of luxury, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our pick of 10 great coral reef destinations for every snorkeler to enjoy.

Family-friendly coral reef destinations

  • Easily accessible.
  • Year-round sunshine.
  • Plenty of facilities and entertainment for families.
  1. Egypt

Egypt is a classic family destination that offers clear blue waters teeming with life. There are dozens of snorkeling spots just off Egypt’s beaches, especially at bustling Sharm El Sheikh. Snorkeling there is like swimming in an aquarium, and it is a perfect for adults and kids of all ages.

For a more laid-back vibe, head south to Marsa Alam. This small resort town is renowned for its sandy beaches and coral reefs. That said, the real highlight there is snorkeling with large families of spinner dolphins, dugongs and sea turtles.

  1. Australia

Australia might be further afield than Egypt for many people, but the big marine life and year-round sunshine make it hard to beat.

Take a trip to Cairns and you can visit two UNESCO World Heritage sites at one place: the enormous Great Barrier Reef and the ancient Daintree Rainforest. As well as plenty of smaller reef life, the Great Barrier Reef hosts reef sharks galore, plus dwarf minke whales and humpback whales in winter.

Love whale sharks? Head west and to snorkel with these spotty giants at Ningaloo Reef and explore the remarkable UNESCO-listed Ningaloo Coast.

Luxurious coral reef destinations

  • Romantic settings.
  • Luxurious accommodation options.
  • Combine world-class reef snorkeling and relaxation.
  1. Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Sitting in the heart of the Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat has some of the highest marine biodiversity in the world. There are numerous manta rays, whale sharks and pastel-hued soft corals, putting diving in Raja Ampat at the top of many wish lists. These stunning islands are best enjoyed by hopping on a Raja Ampat cruise.

  1. Wakatobi, Indonesia

If you want to indulge in a luxury getaway and explore coral reefs that few people visit, go to Wakatobi. There you will find palm-fringed islands washed by azure waters with almost no other people in sight.

Underwater, Wakatobi is known for having huge sponges and corals that are busy with prized Coral Triangle critters. There are healthy seagrass beds with plenty of juvenile green sea turtles and you can spot Hawksbill turtles on the reefs.

  1. The Maldives

The Maldives is what luxury getaways are all about. Picture-perfect islands, warm waters, soft white sands and fantastic food. All with a generous helping of excellent snorkeling just a few paces off the shore.

Whether you hop on a day-boat to the outer reefs or explore around your resort’s house reef, snorkeling and diving in the Maldives are hard to beat. You can swim with whale sharks, hang out with hundreds of mantas at Hanifaru Bay, or simply enjoy a cocktail whilst the sun goes down.

Idyllic island destinations

  • Perfect for island-hopping adventures.
  • Tropical destinations far from daily life.
  • Easy snorkeling at some of the world’s best reefs.
  1. Fiji

Fiji is known as the ‘soft coral capital of the world’ and doesn’t disappoint. The reefs at this welcoming destination are swathed in vivid soft corals in just about every color you can imagine.

As well as eye-popping reefs, Fiji has fantastic seasonal marine life, including plenty of whales during winter and large pelagic fish. Go island hopping to swim with mantas or become a certified diver to join Fiji’s famous bull shark dive. The choice is entirely yours.

  1. The Solomon Islands

 The Solomon Islands offer some of the finest snorkeling in the South Pacific, if not the world. Whilst there are numerous destinations to choose from at these volcanic islands, don’t miss Marovo Lagoon.

It is the world’s largest saltwater lagoon and is dotted with hundreds of jungle-clad islands, many of which are uninhabited. The waters are calm, and the reefs are thriving; with huge sea fans, countless reef fish, shallow shipwrecks and stunning coral gardens

Coral reefs off the beaten path

  • Great for adventurous travelers and experienced snorkelers.
  • Go the distance and enjoy the rewards.
  • Few other tourists in sight.
  1. Sipadan Island, Borneo

Sipadan Island was formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcano and offers fantastic snorkeling thanks to the deep-water currents that bring up nutrients to the reef.

There you will find mesmerizing underwater landscapes with around 600 species of coral and 1200 fish species. There are huge schools of barracuda, plus parrotfish, reef sharks, tiny critters tucked among the corals, and abundant sea turtles.

  1. Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is well off the tourist trail. But if you don’t mind the travel time, you can snorkel among untouched reefs and immerse in a tribal culture like no other.

With over 600 islands, there are numerous destinations to choose from in PNG. Kimbe Bay was voted as one of the world’s most beautiful reefs by National Geographic. Take a trip to Tufi and you can snorkel in the shadow of dramatic fjords and experience PNG’s incredible marine diversity.

  1. The Marshall Islands

With around 5000 visitors a year, the Marshall Islands are one of the world’s least-visited countries. Don’t expect to go there and find endless restaurants and resorts. Instead, you will find friendly locals and vibrant reefs that few people ever get to see.

Even better, the Marshall Islands has been home to the world’s largest shark sanctuary since 2011 and this island nation continues to be committed to ocean conservation. Go there before the rest of the world finds out.


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

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Marine Life & Conservation

Virgin Pure partners with PADI Aware Foundation to highlight plastic waste threat

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To help hammer home the severity of the issues of plastic pollution home water filtration system, Virgin Pure – which has made it a mission to reduce the number of single use plastic bottles we consume in the UK – has partnered with marine conservation charity, PADI AWARE Foundation, to reimagine four classic fish recipes as they might be in 2050, by including one incongruous ingredient: plastic.

Imagine tucking into a hearty portion of fish and chips, or a comforting fish pie, but instead of eating fish, you’re confronted with dirty, discarded plastic. The starkly damning image of whole fish replaced by plastic waste could well be a reality by 2050, when research predicts there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. It may seem an extreme image, but it is already happening, albeit invisibly; studies continue to reveal how much we consume in the form of microplastics in our food and water.

The average Londoner still buys more than three SUP water bottles every week, an eye-watering 175 bottles every year per person. In total, some 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste.

Data from PADI AWARE Foundation, which works with scuba divers across the world to remove plastic waste from the seas, also reveals there are over 8 million pieces of plastic entering the ocean each day; it estimates that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic in the ocean for every square mile, with the majority (80%) of that plastic coming from the land.

Virgin Pure has recreated four recipes as a wake-up call to all bottled water buyers: Golden Beer-Battered Fish with Chips, a seafood Linguine, a traditional Fish Pie and a Seafood Paella to the same quality standard but with one additional standout ingredient replacing the majority of the seafood in each: plastic. All the plastic used in the dishes has been retrieved from the ocean by PADI Aware Foundation, meaning it’s the exact plastic rubbish that’s being dumped into the world’s oceans which causes serious issues for marine animals and the environment.

These plastics are not only ingested by animal life, but through the water we drink and the food we eat. In fact, researchers believe that between 10 and 30% of fish in any sample will be contaminated with microplastics.

Tom Stazicker, CEO of Virgin Pure, comments: “None of us want to be consuming plastic, visible or not. Our products filter out harmful substances like chlorine, rust and microplastics that are commonly found in regular tap water, giving a better reason than ever before for people to stop buying bottled water. We’re delighted to be supporting the work that PADI AWARE Foundation does by partnering them, and proud to be able to offer a solution for those who want to kick the plastic bottle habit for good.”

Danna Moore, Global Director, PADI AWARE Foundation adds: “We hope this campaign helps bring to life just how severe the problem is, and encourages people to do better, get involved in ocean conservation and cut down on single-use plastic bottles. Whether you are a certified diver, a fisherman or a small child building a sandcastle at the local beach, the declining health of the oceans affects us all.”

One of the benefits of Virgin Pure is that it provides clean tasting, filtered drinking water on tap, making it that much easier to stop buying bottled water altogether. The devices also filter out microplastics from tap water, the same microplastics that are also commonly found in fish and other seafood.

To donate to PADI Aware Foundation, visit: https://netdonor.net/page/81717/donate/1

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