Wave Shape
Wave Shape

El Gouna – February 2009

Wave Shape

For a moment I thought that I was going to get a wetting of a life-time. In the next seat Richard, having enjoyed several breakfast lagers had passed bursting point as the plane accelerated towards take off, with his bladder pressed hard up against his spine, was in agony. The speed with which Richard shot out of his seat (luckily an aisle seat) when the seat belt light extinguished would have done credit to a greyhound. So, little did any of the other passengers know of the joy of relief being experienced in the rear left hand toilet as our craft powered up to 30,000 ft scattering those little amber tears of relief (joy?) over the good people of Greater Manchester.

Yes another Red Sea trip had started. In Mr Duck’s group this year was Mrs Duck, Robin, Hugh, Richard, Dewi, Lois, Rhian, Carl, Anja, Tim, Wyn, Helen, Peter, Lorraine, Malcolm, Lee, John and Isabelle. How all managed to get together on time is one of the other miracles of life. Maybe Malcolm was rounding us all up.

It became pretty obvious early in the evening of our arrival that we were a very large group of divers in a very quiet hotel of couples and small families. The bar area became ours, the Bedouin tent became ours and by the afternoon of the second day the beer prices were ours. The latter was thanks to a timely complaint by Mrs Duck (Treasure as she is sometime known) to our Rep Lisa which got us 20% off all drinks as long as we didn’t tell any of the other guests. Then Helen refused what sounded like a good offer when she was told that if she bought a 100 beers, the barman would give her one. She still wasn’t interested when the bidding got down to “Buy one get one free”.

By the Sunday morning there were worrying signs that the sleeping arrangements were becoming a bit on the fluid side. I suppose I am talking about Helen & Wyn who finally settled comfortably into their third room and Isabelle & John who swiftly changed rooms within minutes of their arrival. Was someone trying to avoid paying their bar bill? Then there was Malcolm for whom Lee graciously gave up his bed and slept on the sofa. Probably with less grace and more pragmatism, as Malcolm had reached Lee’s bed first.

Entertainment. Well after such a high standard last year and no Alan Kibble to take the lead, things were not looking good. However on the first evening Dewi and Robin were fortunate enough to catch the eye of the belly dancer and as you can see from the photograph they did not let us down. There were also some very colourful dancers Our next experience of the entertainment was on White Night where guest were encouraged to dress up in white (Egyptian Style) garments. We all, in one guise or another, did our bit. However whoever told Malcolm that Egyptians were extraordinarily well endowed can take the blame for his outfit which had attached something which would not look out of place on a well hung donkey. Without exception the prayer on everybody’s lips was; “Please God don’t let the belly dancer get Malcolm out on to the floor, …..and luckily…….. our prayers were answered.

After a couple of evenings a pattern was to emerge. Meet for a long debrief after the diving at the pool bar, a clean up, then to dinner in the hotel. Then down town to the bright lights and the bars. The first time it was down to the Irish Bar but the following evenings it was the Sand Bar that was discovered and frequented. Games of pool with the local mafia, rummy, vingt-et-un (Castellmarch rules) and connect 4. We were made to feel very welcome at the Sand Bar and spent most of our evenings and even an early morning there.

The diving. Well that was excellent. I think the three wrecks we dived on day two and three were the best Red Sea wrecks we have ever dived on. All three had broken their backs but most of each of the hulls were intact and quite safe swim throughs were possible. All three wrecks were well covered in life and teaming with fish. We share the wrecks with other divers but it was only on the second wreck that it got a wee bit busy. The reef diving was good perhaps not quite as good as Marsa Alam. Some were excellent 100% live coral and swarms of fish everywhere. Then there were some rather barren parts and with small numbers of fish. But hey it was all great. The guides Horas and Bruce along with the Captain and the crew were great company. They did us proud: they excelled themselves in putting on a birthday party for Lois. She doesn’t look 29 does she? A cake was made and Horas did a belly dance; they looked after Rhian who because of an acute ear infection couldn’t dive but was able to do some snorkelling before the pain got too much.

Other memorable happenings included:

  • Malcolm using femidoms to get into his wet suit, “No penetration without lubrication”, and it worked for him.
  • Some un-named divers who tried to out do each other by diving deeper and/or longer. (Let it go Malcolm).
    Tim & Richard who attracted more than their fair share of mosquito bites.
  • Tuc Tuc racing.
  • Anja who got a real shock when she rounded a corner and was confronted by a big, scary moray; at least she said it looked like a moray. So just be careful giving Anja a fright when she has something delicate in her mouth. This time it was only the regulator mouthpiece which was cleanly bitten through.
  • Peter who spoilt Horus’ story of the wine racks and the missing engine on the schooner when he identified the wine rack as one of the ship’s boilers and found the ‘missing ship’s engine’ right next to it.
  • Peter, again, who hijacked a Tuc Tuc outside our hotel with a passenger still in it. I could go on.

All too quickly the diving came to an end. Our farewells were made to the guides and the crew. A very pleasant last night in the Sand Bar was spent with members of 999 Squadron staying well past the barman’s bedtime. A small hiccup in the operation at the airport, when Rhian was told remove her luggage from the plane. We braced ourselves for some tearful farewells. But it was a false alarm. She just had to repack her hubble-bubble pipe. Finally five hours later we were back in a very cold Blighty. We had a brilliant time. Many thanks Mike for organising it all. Hugh.

Date Dive Site
24/1/09 Abu Kalawa
24/1/09 Marsa Abu Kalawa
25/1/09 Wreck: Chrisola K
25/1/09 Wreck: Ghiannis D
26/1/09 Wreck: Carnartic
26/1/09 El Gilwa
27/1/09 Um Gamar
27/1/09 Shabah I
28/1/09 El Fanadir
28/1/09 Shabah II
29/1/09 Dolphin House Reef
29/1/09 Dolphin House Reef
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