I write this blog to you in a state of confusion and uncertainty as I am currently struggling to figure out where the majority of 2011 has gone. It only seems like yesterday that we in a dire situation with no president, no guests and no idea of what was going to happen. As things have turned out, it would appear as though divers are not intimidated by the relative instability in some cities of the country and decided that diving is much more important to miss out on! How relived and happy am I do be in such an industry where those strength of characters exist.
September was also a month full of surprises in terms of “odd” marine life. In fact this whole year has just be “odd”! I cannot recall the last time that somebody said to me with a straight face “So, did you see the humpback whales today off the coast of Hurghada?!” What!! This is absurd, most likely explanation is that they took a wrong turning going past Somalia!! To make matters worse, not only did the few lucky people get to see the mother and calf from the surface but some people from actually in the water snorkeling!! Deep breath tomorrow is another day.
Don’t even start me talking about the Whale sharks that everybody is seeing each day (well maybe “A” whale shark sighting once a week to be more accurate and not exaggerate too much!) Its always good to hear about the sightings but it makes your blood boil when your safari guests get back from there trip with millions of photos that they have taken when they dived with one for 30mins!!
As you might have guessed I personally am not the luckiest diver in the world, and am yet to see anything bigger than an Anthia fish (common gold fish to those uneducated in fish names!) at the moment!!
So, I move on from marine life to divers as that’s where I have more control!!
To begin the month, Hurghada once again saw the return of Aude Beliard. Aude is a fantastic lady and always likes to bring us out a little taste of Belgium. This time we had a liter of schnapps (did smell like acid if I was honest, will let others enjoy that one!), dark chocolate Belgium truffles (demolished in an astonishing speed), 5 bottles of different dark Belgium beers, gone just as quick as the chocolates and some Belgium salami (think my husband must have ate that as I saw very little of it!) Aude came out to make her final open circuit technical course with us. She is now a full PADI Trimix diver. The course presented little problems for Aude who has taken the time to gain experience before just jumping from depth to depth. She followed up her course with an extra 6 days of technical diving again to try and get as many deeper dives in while she cold before she headed back to the colder, murkier waters of Holland and Belgium!
Whilst Aude was out Hurghada also saw the arrival of a new guest to Tekstreme Erik Skold. Erik had decided that TDI was going to be the way forward for him for his technical courses, and so he came out with me to make his Advanced Nitrox & Decompression procedures course. After a little jumpy start, Erik proved by the end that he well deserved to qualification and is already thinking about joining us on the final technical safari of the year to get more dives and experience. We do also have to say thank you for Aude and for Erik for their efforts on quiz night that contributed to us winning a litre of vodka. Just so you guys know, the bottle has now been drunk, the hangover endured and we are ready for the next!
Heading over to Sinai we were joined by Richard Von Trapp. I’m probably going to get this a bit wrong but, I don’t think I am far of the mark is stating that Richard was part of the US special forces and has the body as a reflection of that! (and a lovely accent I might add) Richard, an existing CCR trimix diver managed to squeeze in a few days of tech diving on his trip to Sharm. Richard is also planning to return to Egypt with a group of Americans not for diving, but to educate them on tolerance of different nationalities and cultures!! Goodluck with that Richard!
At the same time as Richard coming out to join us we also had some days of technical diving with Kathleen McIlwaine & Tam Hughes. Kathleen and Tam have been coming out to Sharm for many years as recreational divers. More recently they made their technical courses and are now in the process of getting some technical dives under their belt to improve and gain more experience. As avid wreck lovers we would love to have them join one of our northern technical safari trips, which is condensed with different, wreck dives at all depths!
Towards the end of the month one of our resident technical guides in Marsa Alam, James, welcomed Richard Kurzyca. Richard made his technical courses up to TDI entry Trimix diver some years ago and has not had an opportunity to expand on his new qualifications. He has come to Marsa to make a 6 day tech refresher to get all of diving skills back up to technical levels and hopefully in the future will continue more frequently to make technical dives.
Back to Hurghada, Alan Reid came to join us to make his first PADI Technical courses. Tec 40 and 45. At this time of writing we should hopefully have the final dive for Tec 40 tomorrow and then move into the next course! We will keep you updated with his progress in next month’s blog!! We wish him luck.
And finally, one of the staff instructors of Emperor Diver’s finally got around to beginning her technical diving path. Eszter Dosa has been waiting some time to begin her PADI Tec 40, and this month provided the opportunity. We spent a full day just getting accustomed to the twin set and then into the course that she completed without any problems. At only 1m 50cm and weighing in at only 50kgs, Eszter certainly had some weight on her shoulders. She did not complain once, just got on with the job in hand and pulled off fantastic dives. Well done Eszter, next time you have free time Tec 45 is calling.
So that’s it from me this month. We are ready to start off October and hopefully share more experiences with the next group of guests.
Take care to all
Cat & the Tekstreme Team