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Adventures of a short vet

Fish and farewells

EGYPT | Friday, 2 July 2010 | Views [788]

As always, stoked to be here

As always, stoked to be here

Another first today – scuba diving! The Americans took a private car to Sharm El Shiekh, where they went snorkeling and hung out at the hotel/resort, the Aussie girls chilled out on the beach, and Shaun and I headed over to the scuba spot near the Hilton. As neither of us weren’t certified, we opted for one dive each as the instructor had to take us down separately. It felt like we were only down for about 5 minutes, not the 30 minutes that were spent cruising through the reef, and despite the fairly poor visibility due to the choppy conditions, it was great to get a taste of what was down there. Although I have seen better coral in the Seychelles and Great Barrier, the fish-life was AMAZING, and this was supposed to be one of the more average spots. I’m definitely going to have to get my PADI and come back for a proper diving trip.

While waiting for Shaun to complete his dive I chatted to the young dive assistant. Unsurprisingly, he asked ‘the question’, “Are you married?” so I said, “No” (forgot to wear my fake wedding ring) but then told him about my fictional boyfriend in the UK that couldn’t come over because of his busy work. Once I’d committed to my little lie I suddenly wondered what Shaun had told him as we’d been using him as a “husband of convenience” whenever any girl was out with him – what if he’d said we were married and now I was talking about another guy?! What a slapper! I asked him later and he cracked up, saying he hadn’t said anything, but now wished he’d said I was single and looking for a nice Egyptian husband. I asked him if he wanted to be beaten up by a girl. We started packing up only to discover that the car we’d arrived in had a flat tyre, and had to sit in the sun to wait for a replacement vehicle. It wasn’t too hard.

We arrived back relatively early and spent the rest of the day lazing in the sun (and wind). We had to wait until the evening to go snorkeling as it was quite windy and choppy. I managed to drop my snorkel on the way to the reef (apparently the clips DON’T hold it to the facemask!) and so was forced to “goggle” instead of snorkel. The reef was still pretty impressive, though nothing like what we’d seen on the dive and I was glad I’d done it. Snuck up on a few lionfish, followed a trumpet fish with the camera, and saw what I think was a sea-snake (didn’t look like an eel but I wasn’t getting close enough to be sure!).

After swallowing more than my fair share of seawater we decided to call it a day and had to walk back to camp past the crazy Bedouin, who was squatting on the beach cleaning a pile of potatoes. He invited us to dinner (“potatoes! They good!”) and I elbowed Shaun, hissing, “Don’t even think about it!” before he could get us dragged back into the hut. This is why you only make friends with mentals on your LAST night so you don’t keep running into them! Instead we had another lovely meal at our camp and a bit of a miserable attempt at making a dent in our still impressive supply of beer, soon having to admit defeat and head to our mattresses and mosquito nets.

The following day we were supposed to have an early start on the 3 or 4 hour drive back to Cairo, but managed to convince Sam to let us leave around 11am to allow time for a lazy breakfast and swim. It was hard to leave the beach, despite the average windy weather, and I can only imagine it would have been even more difficult had the weather been better.

The drive was a bit hairy as we took a different route which ended up being quite windy through a mountain pass. This would have been fine, except that our driver decided he wanted to be the next rally champion, and took corners way too fast as well passing people on blind corners and crossing the centre line. You know if you have to hang onto the side of the car then the cornering is a bit rough! Luckily we hit the desert straights before I had to request they let me drive, and I guess I should be grateful that it was the only time I feared for my life in the whole trip!

We arrived back at the Pharaoh Hotel in Cairo early afternoon, and spent the arvo having a blessed shower and rest. Despite our tour being officially over, Sam took us back to the first restaurant we’d had dinner in on our arrival in Egypt, and we celebrated a great trip and a great group. After dinner we had a few beers in our room before the American girls had to retire early to catch some ridiculously early flight the following morning. The Aussies managed to talk Hent, our Cairo guide, into joining them for a daytrip out to Alexandria the following day, and I was extremely jealous and gutted that I hadn’t decided to stay an extra couple of days. I got up early to say goodbye to them and then went back to bed until it was time to catch my flight back home and back to reality.

Tags: cairo, coral, nuweiba, scuba diving

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