The people on board a liveaboard can make or break the experience. Not that we were too worries about that for our King Snefro 3-day Mini Safari Ras Mohamed-Thistlegorm trip, as, being a party of four we could ignore everyone else if necessary.
But we needn’t have worried, there was one man on the mini bus that fetched us from Sharm, and one man on board it remained. One! We practically had our own private charter! Luckily for him, Lawrence turned out to be a New Zealander of similar age to us, so off headed our fivesome, with our six crew (!), out into the Red Sea.
Departing in the evening from Travco port in Sharm el-Sheikh, we woke at our destination in the National Park, to do our first dive at Jackfish Alley. It was a lovely early dive, very still water, and family of fish, including heaps cute puffers, meandering about. Amazing safety stop, with a pair of Eagle Rays gliding close by as we waited.
We did two more dives during the day, equally as lovely win the blue water and plenty of creatures to be scene. Partway through the first of these dives, with KC and I meandering along behind the group, a very excited Jenni turned up wiggling her hand excitedly above her head: What’s that you say? Shark you say? So we followed. And came across a really gig leopard shark having his morning nap. Proud Jen. Score!
The latter was a late afternoon dive, on the Kingston wreck, which was sunk in 1881. It was more of a reef dive than a wreck, as the sea and its inhabitants had well n truly claimed it. . Nice. And easy, very shallow.
So, out of the water we got, got to have our waiting pizza snacks and green fizzy drink (slightly odd) and rest for the night dive. But then….
We heard a bit of a commotion from the crew that the back, and then, as soon as we realised what was going on, us five crazy westerners went hurtling off the back of the boat in to the water to play. Hello friend!!!!!!! Grabbing only our mask on the way past, we frolicked in the sea with the dolphins, a mum and calf in particular, who went round and round us, so close but ever just out of reach.
The crew clearly thought we were ridiculous, but also encouraged it – and soon the dinghy was heading out, to help us tiring humans head further out to the rest of the pod. Not sure it was the best option – hauling each of us over the edge of the boat must have looked so undignified, and the dolphins were heading away by then, so we headed back to the boat. But though, it did provide the comedy view of Kristy, rather than getting in to the boat, being dragged along behind by a rope.
Exhausting, hilarious, unexpected, most magical experience ever.
The second day of diving was what we had come to Ras Mohamed for – the Thistlegorm wreck. We did two dives on the wreck, a wreck reccy and a penetration. What a sight the Thistlegorm is. So intact, with much of the cargo it was transporting during the second world war still aboard: we saw a tank, car, ammo, motorbikes (stacked in rows on the back of trucks), aeroplane wings, many many many gumboots (Egypt was flooded in the war, apparently), and guns – anti-aircraft and rifles. And many fish too – lionfish, tuna, scorpionfish, crocodilefish, morays. All-in-all a great site.
That night was also did a really good night dive, at Stingray station. A circular route round a bomby where we saw many of the night treats – shrimp, crabs, and a banded snake eel (that was the most interesting for me, I’d not seen anything like it before).
On our final day, we did two dives at Shark and Yolanda reef. Yolanda has the strange sight of many toilets on the sea floor, more cargo overboard. Our second dive encountered many other divers – some with not much etiquette going on. But nothing could dampen our happy mood.
Back to Travco we headed, ready to transfer to Dahab to continue our Egypt fun.
> And just be aware: the elevation of the road to Dahab means that it’s almost treated as a flight, so you may to have some no-flight time before taking the trip. Check with your dive team before making travel arrangements.
So thanks very much to the King Snefro team:
To Samuel, our dive guide, you were always helpful and had a clear love of the sea – not just for the sights but also for conserving them. Exactly the type of person I love to dive with.
And finally – the wetsuit I had during the trip, a 5mm Aqualung, was great, by the way. I wish it were mine.