Part 1 of the Liveaboard Series – Aug 11, 2016
Today, I started a 8 day, 7 night liveaboard scuba diving safari in the Red Sea on the luxurious Sea Serpent yacht booked through Top Liveaboards (for more info, check it out here). We will be heading out to some of the best diving sites in the Red Sea, really some of the best in the whole world. It is the famous BDE route – Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone reefs, which are all reef oasis in the middle of the open blue ocean. Consequently, they are pristine and the coral reef is beautiful and lush without garbage since they’re far from civilization and it is hard to get to. Also, there is sea life there that are often only found in the wide open sea (which makes them very hard to locate) but come to the “cleaning stations” on the steep slopes of the reef to visit. This includes mantas and sharks…
As the 16 passengers (including myself) arrived throughout the day, we all settled into our comfortable cabins (each with twin beds or a double bed, ensuite with a hot shower, bar fridge and individualized air-conditioner settings. There were two couples and the rest were single men. Since I was the only single woman, I got a cabin all to myself! The boat is very comfortable with cabins on the lower deck, a lounge area, dining area and the diving equipment deck on the second floor, two open lounging decks on the third floor and another saloon for watching movies and then a flydeck on the top floor with more lounge benches and chairs. This is good for all of the post diving napping we’re going to be doing. Our lives for the next week will consist of three things: dive, eat, sleep and repeat. There will be three dives a day so literally, we will wake up in the morning for a dive and then eat breakfast and nap until we are called until our second dive before lunch. After lunch, there is another few hours of relaxing and napping until the third dive and then we eat snack, relax, dinner, sleep. Not a bad life.
For today, as everyone was arriving at different times (most of the other divers are flying into Egypt specifically for this dive trip so they arrive on the first day of the dive cruise and then fly back home – often to Europe – on the last day), me and a couple of the Swiss divers went out into Hurghada to explore a little bit. I had not explored the city either since I arrived late on the bus last night and went straight to hotel and bed. The marina is carefully manicured as a tourist area would be with delightful little restaurants in different food themes and décor. The restaurants on the marina boardwalk are more expensive than a local restaurant outside but still relatively cheap in the bigger picture. During the heat of the day, everything seemed very sleepy and half closed. We went out and found a working ATM (they also seem to take a lunch siesta!), lunch at a busy local shwarma place, “coffee” at a hip local cafe (after Ethiopia, it did not seem like real coffee) and then to traditional Egyptian coffee shop where Ben, one of the Swiss guys, and I smoked seisha, drank fresh watermelon juice and played three exciting rounds of backgammon. There are the tourist attractions such as the ancient pyramids and temples but when I think back to my travels in Egypt, what I really remember most is the afternoons spent at an Egyptian coffeeshop with a fellow traveller, chatting over some strong sweet tea, puffing the flavoured tobacco from tall glass water pipes and playing games and games of backgammon while watching life pass by on the street.