And that includes not being hungover! In fact, not alcohol should be consumed for at least 8 hours before diving. Our Scuba diving day in Sharm E; Sheikh started around 8 am, when we were picked up from our hotel read my review of Rixos Seagate here and escorted to Circle Divers. All scuba diving students had to answer a scuba diving medical questionnaire before beginning the diving course.
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We met with our guide for the day, who did the debrief with us and explained to us some of the basic steps and situations that would or could happen underwater. His name was Abdelsalam and he was also the general manager of the diving school. Some minutes later, we got our equipment and drove to the shore. We were pretty happy that we had one guide just for the two of us, so the whole day felt like a private trip. Our dive started from El Fanar beach, a stunning bay just a few minutes drive from the Circle Divers shop.
Our guide prepared the equipment very carefully, and it was time we all dressed into our wetsuits and carried all the other gear a diver has to wear. It was all pretty heavy, so walking the last few meters to the sea was pretty exhausting. My first moments in the water were special. It felt quite different to enter the water with the equipment attached to me. Also, I had to get used to breathing the oxygen from the tank. Each breath out resulted in a bunch of bubbles making their way up around my face.
It is not without discomfort to breathe like this. It actually made me pretty nervous. I guess Abdelsalam is used to seeing the fear of first-timers, and was great in helping me to overcome it.
He simply instructed me to stay at his side, follow along, and just breathe. He then proceeded to take us along a simple route, and we just followed. Using hand gestures, he regularly had us confirm that we were doing OK.
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By making these baby steps, we slowly felt more secure and began exploring the underworld world around us. The deepest we got was 8 meters. We saw so many colorful fish, corals, and other creatures, and everything was so much more intense than when snorkeling. As a diver, you simply get to see more and become part of the underwater world for some time.
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The experience was both exciting and scary. Despite the challenges, I even tried to take some underwater pictures to capture some memories of those beautiful scenes. We loved the location of our diving lesson so much that we actually decided to stay there longer after the time. El Fanar beach is a chilled out spot, with sun loungers and a bar. We said goodbye to our guide, Abdelsalam, who gave us contact info for a driver so that we could come back to the hotel later, and we used the rest of the afternoon to enjoy sunbathing and swimming sea.
There was a great snorkelling area, so we made a good use of snorkelling gear that we had with us. In fact, we stayed there until sunset. If you want to have the same experience, there were some lessons learned on our side. We booked the tour via our tour guide contact, and we paid the standard price of 45 euros per person, including the pick-up. Like most experiences in Egypt, we knew the agency got a commission for booking this for us. Ras Nasrani can also be dived as a mooring dive. The dive starts a little further South. The beginning of the dive is a wall dive with very pretty shallow corals.
As a mooring dive it is possible to go on to the plateau but only when there is very little current. The main feature is the impressive open canyon. You can enter the canyon mouth from the sandy plateau at around eight meters, or go through the little swim through.
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At eighteen meters there is another off-shoot cave which can be explored by those who are qualified as lights and lines are required. Most divers exit the canyon at around 28 meters and begin to slowly ascend using a multi-level dive plan. If you follow the reef around to the left from the canyon and make a loop back to the sandy plateau you will see the Eel garden at around meters.
If you follow around to the right you will eventually find a small wreck of a dive boat which sank in The site is generally used as a training site as there is a nice sandy area for skill sets and pretty coral gardens to explore — making it ideal for students first open water dives.
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There is also an open canyon which starts at around 18m, this is perfect for the PADI deep diver speciality or the core dive for the PADI advanced open water course. Far Garden dive site is the northern headland to the Middle Garden site. It can be dived as either a mooring, semi-drift or drift dive although the current is normally very light.
The topography is mainly a sloping wall but at the beginning of the dive there are quite a few large coral pinnacles with some Gorgonian Fan corals. Middle Garden is a large sheltered bay. The site is very protected from the weather making it an ideal site for the first holiday dive or for Discover SCUBA diving dives. The fringing reef drops down between meters to a large sandy area.
This gently sloping sand area is dotted with small coral heads and is a great space to spot bottom-dwellers like the blue spotted sting ray. Middle Garden is an ideal site to have a relaxing dive over the reef with a chance to see if anything is cruising by in the blue. Once in a while Sharm el Sheikh local sites like Middle Garden can surprise you with a sighting of huge turtles, whale sharks or mantas.
Out of all of the Sharm el Sheikh local sites Near Garden is the closest to our jetty — making it ideal for divers to join our dive boat at midday for the afternoon dive. It is located on the southern headland of Middle Garden or the northern headland of Naama Bay. This dive can be done as a mooring dive but is more popular with divers as a semi —drift dive. Divers normally enter where there are several pinnacles making a ridge down the sharp coral slope.
You can then head north along the steep reef until it starts to flatten out as you enter Middle Garden. If the dive is planned as a semi-drift you can spend the last minutes of the dive exploring the fringing reef which has lots of small inlets. Naama Bay is a huge bay in the center of the Sharm el Sheikh resort and it just happens to be our very special House Reef. The Red Sea Diving College is literally steps away from the beach entry to this site. However it should not be dismissed as just a place to train.
Dive a little deeper into the bay and you will be greeted with vast sea grass fields with hundreds of small critters to spot and grazing rays and turtles. There are large coral pinnacles with a plethora of fish life from tiny reflective glass fish to shy sleek Moray Eels. Tower is one of the Sharm el Sheikh local dive sites which offers stunning topography with a dramatic U-Shaped vertical wall formation. This site is normally dived as a drift dive in a southerly direction towards Naama Bay, but can also be dived as a shore dive. Drop in on the wall and swim towards the U-shaped cutting.
After exploring the vertical canyon and admiring the amazing light the dive continues along the gently reef slope and can finish on the plateau of the site named Sodfa which has a collection of delicate fan corals.