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The College gets a surprise visitor, and a glowing report .

Anyone who regularly reads DIVER magazine will have no doubt read our right up by Louise Trewavas in her column in DIVER in August. For those of you who missed it, here it is (excuse our smug moment!!) COLLEGE GIRL
Really big, very spotty, with an enormous mouth. But enough about the Dive Master with the flashy camera gear, let me tell you about the whale shark.. Ok, I was wrong. There you have it. You cannot write off an entire dive destination because it has a crap airport and some of the trashiest tourists on the globe. I’m back in Sharm and I’m back at College, the very fabulous Red Sea Diving College, to be precise.I wandered in off the pavement, lured by the promise of free nitrox, and found a little corner of diving paradise on Naama Bay. Bliss.This college is bursting with energy, enthusiasm and bright young divers with a passion for the marine world. It’s the perfect remedy for my Prozac-addled, stress-loaded London lifestyle. And so much cheaper than psychotherapy! Every day’s dive adventure feels like an invite to a special party.“Are you coming to Ras Mo?” asks the guide. Like J-Lo, Ras Mohammed is famous enough to be abbreviated. “We’re on the look-out for Dave – he was spotted there yesterday”. Ah, Dave; the turtle who deserves his own reality TV show. Rescued by divers after being horribly mangled by a prop, he was eventually nursed back to health (and patched up with concrete), after being adopted by Snowy. Not Snowy from TinTin, Snowy from the College.Humans with animal names, turtles called Dave – its all part of Sharm’s bizarre and compelling soap opera. Irresistible. Dave is indeed at Ras Mo, sleeping soundly on the remains of the Jolanda like your favourite grumpy old grad-dad. Even when awake, he is unfazed by the attentions of divers.
“I keep getting messages from divers telling me that they’ve seen Dave and he’s dead,” says Snowy. “He’s been ‘dead’ hundreds of times. He’s getting his own blog soon.” Classic.So when the shout “WHALE SHARK!” went up, I thought they were having a laugh. Why the heck would a whale shark turn up here? With shed loads of dive boats and enough Italians present to deafen a stone? Please. But there it was; big, spotty wide-mouthed and swimming straight at me as I floated, transfixed at the surface.

Louise Trewavas

Whoah! This had to be the least-shy whale shark in existence. Chased by dive boats, pursued by snorkellers; as soon as it gets into a clear patch of ocean it turns and heads back for more adulation. Cushty.It’s an 8m long baby. It’s either a whale shark on a fame-hungry teenage rampage, or it’s frighteningly dim-witted. Quite possibly both. Definitely an adolescent then.Despite the opening of a new terminal, Sharm airport still runs like a high-security mental asylum. Perhaps the long and largely senseless queues are there to provide the tourists with a healthy and bracing antidote to all that lolling about in the sunshine. Determined to look on the Brightside, I catch up on writing my dive log. “Day One: Whale shark at Ras Mo.” What could I possibly add? And I’ve certainly learned more at the College than I could ever have expected.

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