Back on land... then back on a boat
28.03.2012 - 28.03.2012
So, after 5 days at sea, we woke up to find ourselves in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, renowned by Europeans for it’s “Spring Break” atmosphere and, apparently, an amazing scuba diving and snorkeling spot. Being early April, it’s a bit early for the party scene, so it was fairly quiet. Instead of taking a snorkeling trip with the boat, we opted to be a bit more adventurous and go find a dive shop and see if we could hop onto a dive boat. After a bit of walking around, learning a few important points and overcoming a few problems (no atm card, for one, and one shop not taking credit card, for another), we managed to talk our way onto a dive boat tour headed out about five minutes later. It’s a good thing Simone had her Advanced Scuba card and they were so rushed to get us in the car to the port, because in Egypt you have to prove you have had a dive in the last 6 months, or you need to pay for a “skills check dive”, which is the most ridiculous scam we ran into. This one check dive was more expensive than the two dives we signed up for, and wouldn’t have been an additional dive, but 60 seconds with the dive master on the first dive. Complete extortion. Anyway, not having dive books with us (or bothering to keep them up to date anyway), meant we had no proof with us of having dove in the last 6 months (not that we had anyway), but with the coaches pulling out and being so rushed, they gave in and didn’t charge us for the check dive. It was a bit risky, considering we only had a vague promise to be back in time before our cruise ship left, but we figured if worse came to worse, the dive boat could pull up next to the ship and let us off (or so we liked to think). So, within 5 minutes of stepping in the shop, we signed some waivers, paid and were out the door, to the port. The port was the most amazingly efficient (and massive) assembly line of tourism I have ever seen, it was amazing. There must have been 100 boats all being prepped and loaded with food, scuba and snorkeling equipment and masses of people (between 20-40 tourists per boat, plus 5-8 crew). Within 30 minutes (our boat was moving out in 20), all 4000+ people had been metal detected and walked in group to their respective boats, loaded up and launched. If only LAX security was half as efficient…
So, we had a nice boat ride over to the Ras Mohamed Nature reserve for two great dives, a delicious local lunch, and afternoon of lounging around on the boat, and made it back to the Aurora with 15 minutes to spare.