Today is a very rare day here in Sharm. This surprise event happens only once or twice a year, and is never planned. We all turned up at work today, loaded our trolleys and were setting off from the centre, only to be told the jetty was closed. To be fair, looking at the beach, it is what i would describe as a tad lumpy, the white foamy water should have forewarned us. Just shows what you miss when you haven’t had your morning coffee! The reason for closing it is simply a safety consideration. It can be hard work loading a boat at the best of times, but with waves and a floating jetty, the task becomes impossible. And even if we managed it, the guests would find it a little challenging to embark, to say the least.Not that good today!
At times like this, we are very lucky to have the House Reef, so that guests don’t have to miss out on a days diving just for a few white caps! Those who want a day off are whisked home and the rest ready themselves for some beach diving. The obvious issue will be visibility in the shallows, as the sandy bottom will have already been disturbed. Having experienced this situations a few times over the years, we plan to swim out until the water appears clearer and then descend. However, my plan is slightly altered when I realise that the waves are making me feel sea-sick (don’t even start on the “What? An instructor who gets sea-sick!”). So I head under and follow my guests from below, where it is much calmer. With visibility down to ‘lucky if I can see my fins’ I follow my compass out to deeper water. It’s really surprising how disorientating this lack of vis is when you are used to such clear water.
Before I know it, I emerge into beautiful blue water, and it’s as if someone has transported me to a different site! With my guests keen to start the dive, they all join me on the bottom before we head off for our dive. Although not as clear as normal, the fish don’t appear bothered and are all in their rightful places, just waiting to be pointed at and photographed. A baby pufferfish comes past, finning like a madman, and quickly decides against the open sea and hides back in the reef.
As we head back in, I give the guests the option of ascending in the clear water and swimming back or braving it through the silt. I think the swim out must have been tough on all of them as they all choose to follow me. Thats a loose term today and I just head back blindly. Just keep swimming, I tell myself. Just keep swimming. Suddenly I feel something touch my leg and stop with a jump. As I feel down, I realise its the sandy bottom and I’ve slightly overshot the exit point.
No problem for me to stand up in 18 inches of water, but I think you can guess how my 6ft guests got on!