Egypt - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 93
Friday 13th June
We never got to see Henk before the morning pick-up for the dock so all we had to do today was to concentrate on enjoying the world under the surface of the Red Sea. Our two dives today were both boat dives and we went, again, to the local sites just a few minutes ride from the jetty. Since there was just a small group of people on the boat today together with the fact that we now have a few more dives under our belt, we decided that it was no longer necessary to pay for a private dive master.
We continued to see amazing things under the water and we are still honing our diving skills. The downside to diving with a group of people, however, is that you are diving with a group of people. In our group today, there were a couple of guys from Bahrain who supposedly have over four hundred dives to their name. I assumed that this meant that they were very good divers but this wasn’t the case. After descending, one of them sunk immediately to the bottom and collided with the coral. The other was continually steering into other people, including myself, and was generally a nuisance under the water.
I was supposed to have fifteen-litre tanks again today but before the boat departed the dock, we found out that they were both missing their valves so we couldn’t hook up the regulator. Luckily, one of the boat crew found some replacement valves but they must have been the wrong size or something because the O-ring would blow each time the regulator was pressurised. I subsequently had to make do with the regular tanks but I still managed to get thirty-three minutes of bottom time (with an average depth of about thirteen meters) before reaching the fifty bar mark and rising to about five meters for the three minute safety stop.
We saw some more new marine species during both our dives today, including a Spotted Ray but the highlight for the day was a White Tipped Shark that came within photographic range. We saw it twice, in fact, and managed to get one or two good shots of the beast. This is the first time that I’ve seen a Shark whilst diving. Sandy saw some briefly during one of the dives in Sodwana Bay, South Africa but I was already out of air at the time and had ascended for the safety stop. The thought that we were sharing the same space as a wild Shark was actually quite a thrill.
We had checked out of the Palerma hotel this morning and our bags were taken to the Tivoli hotel next to the dive centre. Henk was able to negotiate a better rate for us after all and we have now checked into a very nice suite for just €11 per person, including breakfast. It’s a far better hotel and a much bigger room than our previous one - well worth the additional $7 per night and we are still well within our $50-$60 daily budget allowance for food and lodging.
After returning from the day’s dives, we discussed the costs involved with completing the advanced open water certification along with an additional day of fun diving. Henk did well for us again and gave us an overall price of $1090 for the entire package. This covers the six dives over the three days that we just completed as well as the five certification dives over the next two days and two more dives the following day. The price also covers all the equipment hire for the six days. At a total of twenty-six dives between us this works out to about $41 per dive. Given that this covered the cost of the certification, the equipment hire as well as the private dive master for the first couple of days, I was very pleased with this arrangement.