After all the early starts and travelling through Egypt, we decided to head to the Red Sea and chill out for five days of snorkelling. We opted for a night in the Continental Plaza Beach Hotel before camping on Ras Mohamed National Park followed by one more night at the Hilton Sharks Bay. Ain’t hindsight a b#*tch! What we should have done was stay on Ras Mohamed the whole time with Rayya and Mohamed from Bedawi Tours.
Firstly, while the hotel at the Continental was okay, the cliental are horrible but are superseded by the even more horrible staff. The house reef was alright, but going right of the jetty meant dodging the hundreds of plastic bags floating towards you. The Hilton was lovely but the house reef was pretty average. It only got better when we may have snuck next door to the Concord El Salam to try theirs. In both places the food was pretty basic.
Here are a couple of photos from the house reef from the Continental Plaza Beach.
And the Hilton.
Now the good stuff. The location of Bedawi’s camp was brilliant. Two tents facing the water, one for us and one for our hosts. We arrived mid morning and as our bags were put in the tent, we quickly unpacked them for our fins and snorkel gear before walking out to the entry point onto the reef which is guarded by Nemo and his family.
We went to the right first and were welcomed by an array of um… rays, who would frequently encounter over the next few days. We spent just under two hours in the crystal clear waters before a nice hot bucket shower before siting down for some freshly grilled fish.
Mornings would consist of waking up and snorkelling followed by a hot bucket shower and a delicious breakfast. Then some more snorkelling, followed by another hot bucket shower and a tasty lunch.
Afternoons would consist of some more snorkelling followed by a hot bucket shower and some Bedouin tea and coffee followed by some more snorkelling.
Evenings would start by watching the sunset, then looking for giant ears of the desert foxes roaming past the camp before we would sit down for an enormous meal under stars. As the night grew older and stars shone brighter, we would grab a torch to walk along the beach spotting everything from baby lion fish, to baby octopus. We would follow the wiggles of morays before being mesmerised by a larger octopus clambering across the top of the reef hanging on for dear life as waves came in. In between we would try and catch fish with our bare hands.
One other highlight was one day heading out for a drive further into the National Park to watch the fiddler crabs scatter amongst the mangroves with their unusually large nipper before searching for sea horses in the seaweed and random blind shrimp in a small lagoon formed after an earthquake. We then arrived at the most southern point of the Sinai Peninsular where we walked out to a natural whole in the reef to drop into incredible reef wall teeming with fish and coral. A bit over an hour of trying to test our lungs by diving down to catch a glimpse of the bigger fish cruising below us left us with just enough energy to climb to the top of the point to an amazing view. To the right and left of us was a view over the reef where you could still see the colours of the fish darting around doing it is what fish do. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, a pod of dolphins swam by to say G’day!
We returned back to camp with big smiles across our face ready to spend the afternoon doing what we do best. Some more snorkelling.
Oh we may or may not have had the following done…
Our last snorkelling of the afternoon would almost be our most memorable. Heading to the left of camp we had swum for about an hour and a half when we decided to head back after exploring one more batch of reef. Just when we thought we had seen all there was to see, I looked over my shoulder to see if we should keep going when I saw what looked like a huge tree trunk in the water. I popped my head out to check where I was. Yep still a desert, no trees. I moved closer to take a look when the tree trunk turned into a Giant Moray Eel and headed back into the reef. I looked at Sarah, Sarah looked at me. Did not expect that! especially in about a metre and a half of water. We snuck around the side of the reef and hid until he made his return. We spent another 20 minutes hanging out taking some photos of our new friend before swimming back to our home past the numerous lion fish heading out for their night of floating around looking pretty.
We had to leave the next day in the afternoon but still managed four more snorkels when on the last swim home we spotted our first turtle of our adventure.
Next time we are in Egypt, we vote staying at Bedawi’s the whole time. Awesome!