Travel Website Logo
Travel Journal
Dan Walker’s Travel Website
Travel Photos

Travel Journal

Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 02:57:45

Egypt 2011: 3 - Sharm El Sheikh

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We were picked up at the boat and transferred to the airport for our 10:30 AM flight to Sharm El Sheikh on the Red Sea coast. The Embaraer 170 jet was comfortable, and the 50 minute flight passed quickly. We are on our own here - no tours or transferred laid on.

The Stella de Mare Hotel was very impressive from the beginning - we had people doing everything for us from the time we walked in the door. The room was large and comfortable, with a huge bathroom and a patio. As has been the case everywhere in Egypt the temperature is cool - 18-21 degrees C, but with bright sunshine. We decided to put off snorkelling as the wind was blowing hard.

We did a tour of the property before Marilynn and Adrian headed off to swim in one of the three pools while I caught up on some of the 74 emails waiting to be dealt with. We closed the day with a superb meal at the small Asian Restaurant perched near the cliff overlooking the ocean. Adrian received two more birthday cakes today - an amazing chocolate cake was sent to the room complete with a waiter who sang Happy Birthday, and an ice-cream cake was presented in the restaurant. He is being fawned over by everyone here!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In the morning I checked with the dive shop to see about a snorkelling tour - they said they'd call if anything was on for the next day. They also recommended we try the snorkelling in front of the hotel where two jetties are each manned by life guards, so we got our gear and introduced Adrian to his first open ocean snorkel trip. He did very well, and was anxious for more, so in the early afternoon we went twice more. His confidence is now good and he enjoyed it thoroughly. We also got a call that the dive shop had arranged a boat for us tomorrow for a full day snorkelling trip.

At 4PM we caught the free shuttle into the town of Naama Bay, a fairly modern town with every fast food chain known in addition to a number of traditional restaurants. It is new, but designed like a traditional town with narrow winding alleys connecting streets, loads of shops, malls and services. Marilynn & Adrian got some shopping done - he has caught onto the bargaining quite well! We also walked down to see the long, sandy beach. Dinner was at a Lebanese Restaurant that was recommended and was very good.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yesterday morning we were met in the hotel lobby at 8 AM and driven to a very comfortable dive boat. It had a large upper deck, a big interior lounge and lots of outside are near the stern. After about an hour we arrived at the first dive site - a large expanse of brilliantly coloured coral that dropped off about 4 meters to a sand bottom. The water was cool, but the visibility spectacular. There were dozens of varieties of brightly coloured fish. Adrian was a bit nervous at first, but soon settled in and was snorkelling and diving under like a professional. On all the dives we were accompanied by a professional diver, Karim, who has lived here for 8 years. He is from Asam.

After half an hour we were getting cold, so went back to the boat to lay in the hot sun on the upper deck, where lots of vinyl mattresses were laid out. Lying down gave protection from the cold wind, so we were soon warm and dry again.

The next dive was along a wall that dropped off into dark blue depths. Once again, the vibrant purple, blue, green, orange, yellow, and red of the corals would have to be seen to be believed. I don't have words to describe this fantasy garden where crystal clear water allowed one to see such a long distance. Again, fish were there in profusion.

After another half hour we returned to the boat to warm up and join 5 Dutch people who were on board for a delicious hot lunch cooked up in the boat's kitchen. After lunch we cruised to another spot at the base of tall, sun baked cliffs to explore another reef. We added moray eels to the long list of fish we had spotted, and on the way back to the boat Adrian pointed out a large barracuda that was cruising past us. It was a truly fantastic day! Even cruising along the edge of barren desert was a fascinating experience.

Things went downhill a bit when Marilynn contacted the gardener at our Serena Suites condo project in Playas del Coco. The tile layer doing a large job for us while we were away had not followed instructions, was trying to raise his price, and was making a huge mess which was disturbing the people staying there. The gardener got him on the phone and there was quite a shouting match!

That was followed by our first bad experience in the hotel - we went for dinner in their Mediterranean Restaurant where we waited half an hour for a drink and over an hour for food. Poor Adrian was starving! (Me too) Even this couldn't dampen the excitement of the day, though.

This morning Marilynn and Adrian went snorkelling in front of the hotel, where Adrian says there were a lot larger fish than before. I was still getting work done, and catching up on this update. There was no possibility of a late checkout from the hotel, so it was necessary to wait in the lobby from noon until 3 PM when we could taxi to the airport for our 5 PM fight to Cairo.