There were eight of us on this trip, staying at the Falcon Naama Star, within a 2
minute walk of Emperor Divers base.
Weather was warm & sunny with temperatures in the high 20s, water temp was 28°C on
most dives, dropping to 27° later in the holiday although on one occasion it dropped
to 26° and you could really feel the difference.
Diving was in 3mm suits for most, the coldest part was suffering wind-chill whilst
sorting out kit at the end of dives.
There were 2 dives every day, sometimes with an option to add a third.
Our group dived from Emperor’s boat Shorouk on every day but one, the diving tended
to alternate between the straits of Tiran and Ras Mohammed National Park.
Viz was generally very good, there were the usual reef fish, plus a couple of Barracuda,
a few Napoleon Wrasse, a couple of Pyjama Nudibranchs & another warty type, there
were quite a few Scorpionfish, a couple of Crocodile-fish a baitball of small golden
sided fish, plenty of Giant Puffers and Blue Spotted Stingray, especially on one
of the later dives, a single turtle was seen on Thomas Reef.
Due to a cold, Mike managed only 2 dives, one at the start of the holiday and the
other in the last couple of days, otherwise he was unable to get below 2m. He did
kit up and attempt to dive most days but had to abort due to his ears. Our guide
started to doubt whether he was really a diver at all!
Due to the suspected bombing of the Russian airliner a couple of days before our
trip, we were informed that there might be changes to our homeward journey, first
that we might be brought home early, then after a few e-mails and speaking to the
airline we could be coming home as much as 5 days late.
Because of the changes and as there were no new holidaymakers arriving, Emperor agreed
to allow us to continue diving, arranging it on a daily basis due to the uncertainty
of our travel arrangements. Monarch told us we could either stay at our existing
hotel (and be reimbursed the costs) or go to the airport & be put in one of their
choice. We decided to remain where we were as a) We knew the place & wouldn’t have
to pack and then unpack again and b) It was in a convenient location for the town
and the diving.
We were finally repatriated on the Thursday, 3 days later than our original return
date. By this time there were few holidaymakers using the airport so there were no
queues & checkout was straightforward.
Probably the most worrying thing about our journey home was the taxi from Gatwick
to home as due to the M3 being closed, off the M25 we had to re-route & the driver
had little idea where to go, so our group had to give directions & try to keep him
on the right roads.