Wednesday, April 29, 2009



The wind blew a gale again last night. Several times during the night, we heard waves crashing against the hull but the harbor area is well protected and quite pretty. Again, we have breakfast in the room as the snorkeling tour to Ras Mohamed National Park leaves at 9:00AM from the dock.

We tried to get a dive worked out, but could not get them to pick us up and we were afraid that getting a taxi and getting there in time would be a problem. Nothing is easy in Egypt! Therefore, we signed up at the last minute to do the ships snorkel tour.

Things were a little confused getting off the ship, the tour company had not told the ship people that we would need to come in our swimwear and bring a towel so many have to go back and change and/or get a towel…this type of thing always chaps Dick. To top it off, when we get to the beach, there are not enough fins of the right sizes to go around. This is in spite of giving our shoe size when we signed up and some of the snorkels have faulty purge valves (we had the same problem in Safaga also). Anyway, the trip to the park takes about 45 minutes through various checkpoints. We have an armed guard riding on the buses with us from the pier and when we get to the Park gate, we pick up a truck with five police, each armed with an AK-47 automatic rifle. They follow us along the shore as we snorkel and then follow us as we drive around in the park! There are three 13-passenger buses carrying 28 tourists and we have eight, heavily armed guards! Interesting or scary, however you want to look at it! After a somewhat shaky start, the trip is outstanding! The water is beautiful with 100 foot plus visibility. The area colors are brilliant with deep blue sky, the many browns of the desert and the many blues of the sea! We go to a beautiful bay and snorkel for about two kilometers. We swim with a gentle current and can concentrate of the reef fish and underwater beauty. We swim along the edge of the reef that is at the beginning of a steeply sloping sand bottom. The coral reef is drop dead beautiful. We have never seen anything comparable. There are dozens of brightly colored fish, which we have never seen before, and the coral is pristine in all shades of pinks, creamy yellows and blues. After about an hour, we get out and the buses pick us up and take us back to the starting point for some time just enjoying the beach. Carolyn gets a chance to look for shells.We get back into the buses and head around the bay and down to the very end of the Sinai Peninsula. It is a stunning area. We get out and can see the Gulf of Aqaba, which is shades of a rich blue on our left, and the Gulf of Suez, which is shades of aqua, on the right. There is a line of ships waiting their turn to go through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean. We will be in that line day after tomorrow.

The buses drop us back at the ship on time at 1:30PM, in time for lunch. Since the ship sails at 4:00PM, we are through with our on shore activities for the day. We take a nap and go to the Sky Lounge for drinks. The snorkel trip was a hit with everyone according to the talk around the lounge. We then have a nice dinner. It is Tammy’s last night with us. She heads home to South Africa tomorrow for her two-month break. We will miss her humor!

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