HISTORICAL CHAMBER TAKES PRIDE OF PLACE
Over 13 years after the first purpose built Recompression Chamber facility was opened in Sharm el Sheikh, Red Sea Diving College has, in recognition of the superb work and support Dr Adel and his team give to the dive community, presented him with a little piece of history which is very close to his heart – the very first Recompression Chamber in Sharm El Sheikh.
The purpose built Chamber in Sharm was opened on 10th March 1993 by Dr Adel Taher, and is still run by him and his team Dr. Ahmed Sakr and Dr.Heikal to this day. The four man facility is a non-profit making enterprise, and its continued service is made possible by donations, mostly from dive centres in the region. The cost of running the chamber is huge, with even the smallest maintenance being expensive due to the medical grade parts required.
Regular visitors to Sharm will be aware that, wherever you dive, you will more than likely see a Voluntary Contribution to the Chamber added to your bill. At €1 per day, this contribution is normally collected and given to the chamber to help them in their everyday efforts to keep the chamber and its expert advice and treatment available to all. However, it is reported that not all centres that collect this contribution pass it on to the intended recipient. In fact, only a very select few still make these valuable payments. If you are intending to dive in Sharm, please take the time to check whether your chosen dive centre is supporting the Chamber and its work by contacting the Chamber directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
The item so proudly presented is the first one-man “Portable Monoplace” chamber used in the Sinai area. After it was decommissioned in the 80s, in response the need for a larger capacity facility, the chamber was abandoned on dry land. Later it was reclaimed by Red Sea Diving College and submerged in the shallows of Naama Bay, used to mark the outer edge of the Red Sea Diving College confined diving area, to enable teaching in a safe environment. It was hoped that it would also become an artificial reef, to promote coral growth and encourage a growth in fish life. However, due to the material of the chamber, it was never to fulfil this role.
Early this year, the confined area was redefined and new markers were put in place, funded by Red Sea Diving College and installed by HEPCA (responsible for environmentally friendly placement of moorings and markers in the Red Sea).
As we speak, a new artificial reef is in the process of being created by the Red Sea Diving College, made from more suitable material, that will ensure an abundance of fish and coral life. The new reef will enable staff and students to monitor its progress, all under the watchful eye of Thom, Resident Marine Biologist at the College.
This meant that the old chamber could be removed and restored before presentation to Dr Adel. Staff from the College spent the day carrying out the unusual task, with Hooch, an experienced Red Sea Diving College Instructor, supervising the lifting and moving.
Once removed from the water, the college team got busy doing the initial clean up of the chamber before it was moved to allow repainting to begin.
It was with great pride that the newly restored chamber was presented to Dr Adel at the Hyperbaric Facility in Sharm El Sheikh, and it was received with gratitude at the recognition of over a decade of support and care given to divers.
Dr Adel commented that it is due to the past and current level of support that this facility is in the position it is – they offer a 24 hour service and will never turn anyone away. Only with the continued support of the dive centres and the dive community as a whole can the chamber guarantee this high level of service into the future.
Dr Adel took this opportunity to remind all divers coming to Sharm the important role they can play in ensuring diver safety. Obviously, Drinking and diving do not mix, but also minimise your risk by drinking at least 3-4 litres of water a day and diving sensibly. Ensure you have suitable insurance and carry any details with you!