Wave Shape
Wave Shape

Marsa Alam

Wave Shape

Well here we are back safely in good old blighty, a wet, cold and very windy blighty. How can one in a few paragraphs convey the spirit and the facts of what happened. We could start at the end but that would be unfair to David. So let me start at the beginning and see how we get on.

It was a very sleepy group that collected together from the four points of the compass at Manchester Airport at 6am for the 9am flight. There was no inkling of what was to come, over the next seven days. I should list the members of the group for posterity and to give the reader an idea of the talent available. Mike, Vi, David, Carol Wyn, Helen, Peter, Lorraine, Carl, Anja, Ben, Gemma, John, Isabelle, Hugh, Simon, Alan, Tim, Richard, Malcolm, Lee. Together they were known as Mr Duck’s group.

8am Thursday the group presented itself at the dive centre to register. Everything OK so far. 8:45am on the boat. Where was the DO? Still putting his kit together? Chris our Emperor Dive Marshall for the week along with Silvan his deputy probably started getting a bad feeling about Mr Duck’s group. However things generally improved with just the occasional comment about air reserves and coming up without a buddy.

However as a mere participant I would say that the diving went very well, and that the Lleyn Sub Aqua Club ?? itself with honour. There were alleged minor diving infringements such as coming up with less than 30bar, and possibly going slightly over the 40 metre limit, unauthorised use of nitrox and diving without a buddy . We saw most of what we were hoping to see with the exception of sharks although we tried very hard, and if we didn’t see another blue spotted ray for a year or so we would not be too bothered. The aroma amongst the wetsuits at the back of the dive boat after a second dive seemed to indicate that most of the group were getting rather too relaxed in their diving. The more public spirited amongst the group developed a new dive signal was introduced to minimise this aroma. This signal was best given following the 100bar signal, about halfway through the dive. The less said about the unknown person who accidently flushed solid toilet material into our next dive site the better.

Health wise the group did remarkably well considering. Gemma started the holiday with a badly grazed foot which slowed her down at the beginning of the holiday. Robin, Richard, Gemma, and Tim all fell foul of Pharaoh’s Revenge with all of them looking, when visible during their suffering, as so they should have been put out of their misery. They had nothing to do with polluting the dive site. That material was too solid.

The dives we had were all excellent but I suppose the one which I best remember was the Elphinstone reef. Maybe because it wasn’t like the normal sort of Red Sea reef but it was its isolation, the drop off, the slow current carrying one along, the weightlessness, the sense of freedom and being at one with the sea. It was about that time that a diving couple (Sarah and her female companion for the holiday) became known to us, by refusing to accept Chris’ authority to marshal, and complaining about our group’s diving methods. They were an unhappy couple and always seemed to be moaning.

24/1/08 Shouni Soraya
25/1/08 Marsa Shouni Kebir
26/1/08 Marsa Morena
27/1/08 Dolphin House
28/1/08 Elphinstone
29/1/08 Ras El Torfa

The evening entertainment was popular. See photos. It was of course the only show in town. Each successive show would be even better than the last. Each show would have a different theme. This advertising ploy fooled us until halfway through the second evening when we realised that we had seen all the dancers before but wearing different garments. This made us feel really at home, since most of us were used to ‘small village Pen Llyn culture’ where for years we have seen our Auntie Doris’ and our Uncle Wills’ donning various guises as they took part in yet another local drama group production. As you can see from the photographs most of our number were surprisingly free of inhibitions.

It was also surprising that some of the males of the Club seemed to accidentally or otherwise stake their territorial claim to the women’s toilets at various times during the holiday. Was it the signage or was it the need for the alpha males in the group to lay claim more female territory? Whatever. Unfortunately this temporarily rendered the said facilities unusable by any female who still had even half operational olfactory senses. That only left one female member of the party unaffected.

The evening meal became a great social occasion as holiday progressed. It was a chance for the divers to meet up with the non-divers, husbands to meet up with wives. A chance to socialise without having to have a briefing. This led some undisciplined members of the group to take advantage of the situation and the innocent had to endure mouth drying experiences and had explain to the restaurant manager that the crashing attack on their table was an accident and he could call off security.

Our last day. A couple of hours before the bus trip to the airport. Everything packed away and ready for the trip home. All of us in our travelling clothes sauntering along the harbour front, licking our ice creams, contemplating the past seven days. You had to have sympathy for David. Solar panels are regarded as environmentally friendly. But not to David, who embarked on his 13th, but this time unplanned, dive of the holiday when his head came into solid contact with a particularly low panel, and he gracefully (from all accounts) pirouetted into the harbour. (See photographic re-enactment). Since the most likely rescue manager was still in the ice-cream shop David had to rescue himself. The final photograph shows a fully dried out David who has just realised he had been leaning too hard against his palm tree.

The trip back was uneventful. Amid the gentle drone of the engines, David was rather quiet. (He had just caught a bug). Sarah and companion were still moaning but were finally shut up by the no nonsense cabin crew and John seemed to be happy with his lot, sitting next to a young family with their delightful children. All was well with the world. It had been a great holiday. Many thanks to Mike who had organised it and who is contemplating organising another. Thanks also to those who contributed photographs for this report. Simon, Carl, Anja, Robin. – Hugh

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