Getting Back In The Saddle!

Matt tells all about his trip to Marsa Shagra in the Red Sea where he does his first dive after a 25 year break!

  • I cannot believe that my last dive was over 20 years ago but having married into a family of divers I decided it was time to get back in the water! Oonasdivers and Red Sea Diving Safari came highly recommended so when I found I had a week’s holiday to use up last year this seemed like the perfect time to get back on the horse, so to speak. I felt very excited and a bit nervous about the trip, I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world so wasn’t phased about going by myself, it was more about ‘can I still dive’ and ‘will there be anyone to dive with’, but mostly ‘will anyone want to dive with someone that hasn’t dived for nearly 25 years’! This wasn’t going to stop me though because the more I thought about getting back under water, the more I couldn’t wait to get there and get on with it.

    The flight all went to plan, immigration was seamless, baggage collected, and out to the awaiting transfer to the resort. I was so happy to be back in Egypt, the pleasure of feeling the warm sunshine on my face. The staff at Marsa Shagra were very friendly and helpful, I had treated myself to a Deluxe Chalet and it was as described, spacious, clean, and welcoming. I made use of the digital safe provided, for my passport, wallet, and dive computer for peace of mind albeit with hindsight unnecessary. Signing out the rental gear was a formality swiftly dispensed with. Good quality, well maintained gear all round.

    Having not dived for a lifetime the dive team recommended I attend a refresher course, tailored for me, one to one with my own instructor including my initial 2 dives. This put all our minds at rest that the cobwebs had been dusted off and any concerns about me as a liability to others and myself were quelled, so now it was time to crack on diving. I did have reservations about how difficult it would be to find a dive buddy, but I needn’t have worried as there were a fair few divers in resort despite it being the quieter season, so finding groups/people to dive with was not an issue whatsoever. Divers are a friendly bunch, and the shared passion helps. I ended up diving with Swiss, Dutch, Italian and Brits all of whom were graciously patient with me as a returning diver.

  • Walking myself and my gear the 50ft to the water edge was enough time to get me excited at the prospect of the impending first dive, aaaaah… I had forgotten the incredible peace and quiet, besides my bubbles. Getting my buoyancy spot on was an interesting exercise after so long, but with patience I was soon there. Quietly exciting is how I would explain my first dive after many years, I saw so much, the conditions were amazing, fabulous visibility, calm and quiet water and the sea life was first class. The resort clearly goes to great lengths to manage the reef responsibly and this can be appreciated in the pristine condition of the house reef and beyond.

    I had two dives outside of the house reefs, Long Canyon with chambers and lovely coral garden, and Turtle Bay which is a shallow dive with a sandy bottom and lots of turtles! Both well worth the visit. The house reef was fantastic, clear, and calm water, more turtles, barracuda, lionfish, guitarfish, blue spotted rays, octopus, and endless schools of brightly coloured diddy ones (I’m not fish spotter). It really was beautiful. I loved the freedom of the unlimited house reef diving package because it meant I could dive as and when I wanted, and this included night dives too. Downtime between dives was chilled, coffee, and drinks at the beachfront cafe, as well as three cooked meals a day. What a luxury! The omelettes were made on request in the mornings and became my routine, partly because they were delicious, but also because there was way too much temptation from the buffets. The chefs outdid themselves every night with the array of desserts on offer and I can give them only the highest recommendation for their food, it was great.

    In short, this resort offers a perfect location for fantastic, calm, quiet beach entries for inexperienced learner and nervous divers in an unthreatening environment, and from talking to the other divers I met it seems that experienced divers from all over the world return every year to spend endless hours on the house reef and beyond, and it never disappoints. Dolphins and dugongs were seen during my visit, unfortunately not by me, however I was fortunate enough to have some amazing night dives with plenty of lionfish, octopus, and a giant moray to name but a few, I was truly spoilt. I have dived in a variety of destinations worldwide, but this really was a special trip, I would highly recommend this resort in all aspects, so in the words of Arnie, I’LL BE BACK!

  • For more details about this resort please call us on 01323 648924 we love to chat!

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