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It all started when we thought it would be a good idea to form a Dive center with more of a personal service. A daunting task when there were so many very big Dive Centers in Sharm, but we gave it a go, and it worked, and us still operational on our 18th Birthday gives testament to what we provide the new and experienced diver is what they want and what you want if you are reading this.
27th August 2005 Elite Diving was born. The logo and websites have all been created by Graphic Designer Greg Bottle, and he still works with elite diving today, and designs our art work for adverts and promotional items.
Meet our first ever Divers who dived on our first dive trip out of Sharm
Graham Morgan from Bingley West Yorkshire, pictured above in the blue shirt was a very talented footballer in his youth and also loved diving in his later years. He was one of the first ever to dive with Elite Diving on a boat trip out to Ras Mohamed out of Travco on M.Y. Sabeel. There were two brothers also on that trip. Do anyone recognise them? Of Course the photo above of the two young brothers with me, Alun, is Gwyn and Huw AKA G&H, Moyra and my son's. H worked with us at elite later for a spell and G is now our dive center manager and works in Sharm still, with his wife Valeria who's also a Dive Instructor with Elite Diving.
,Top left. H and myself in the early days. After the boat we would go for a beer (much as we do now) As we didn't have a dive center as such in the early days, we went to a beach bar to socialise, have some light refreshments and talk about the marvelous day we just had on the boat. Also we used to finish any paperwork, so that beach bar was nicknamed "The Office".
Top middle. Alec listening to one of my briefings, when he was a mere apprentice. He soon progressed to Instructor and delivered accomplished Dive briefing's himself.
Top right. The Count. Also called Alin, but spelt different. He work with Elite for several years before moving on to be a technical guide using his rebreather. We nicknamed him the count as he had a distinctive accent coming from Transylvania. He also taught us all about Vlad the Impaler!
Bottom left. Alec. supposedly working at the 2010 NEC Dive show for Elite.
Bottom middle. Walid was the only asset worth having when Elite Diving took ownership of Divers United. Walid learnt to dive and did his Divemaster course with us before leaving to join the petrochemical industry.
Bottom Right. A coming together of two Tiger sharks on our South African Shark Safari in 2008.
Our Success over the years has been down to many factors, namely our dedicated staff that enjoy what they do so much and delivers a great but safe service to our faithful divers. Then there are our faithful Divers themselves, that keep coming back much of that due to our dedicated Dive and Boat crews.
There have been many epic trips and there are so many groups and individuals that come and dive with us on a regular basis and now we have resumed business as usual after non direct flights and the pandemic, we have welcomed so many old and new faces recently.
A special thank you must go to the divers that kept coming when there were no direct flights and kept us motivated enough to keep going where many dive centers folded. That's a big factor in us reaching our 18th Birthday.
The photos above give you a taste of the fun that we have had with a bunch of clowns, boarded by pirates, a safari full of flower power divers, wear your Tutu Days, a Pink Safari and so many night dives. One even with a naked diver on her 100th dive (no photographic evidence, we're a family business LOL)
A Big part of our identity was having our own boat where we could hand pick our crew. The stories of why the crews came to us will have to be kept for the book, but all who dive with us will agree that Captain Yahia and his second in command Zenga forms the basis of one of the best dive boat crews in the whole wide world, without even mentioning Zenga's chocolate cake.
Our several Worlds best Dive center awards are attributed to all our Dive center staff from the office, tank personnel, boat crew and dive instructors alike.
Most Divers would like to see sharks and we have been very lucky running several Shark Safari's.
Top Left. Hammerhead Shark Cocos Islands 2015 Shark Safari.
Top Middle. South Africa Shark Safari 2008.
Top right. Red Sea Shark Safari 2017
Bottom Left. Cocos Island trip 2015. Dressed in our Elite Diving shirts for dinner. We have 22 divers booked on the 2025 trip. Will they be as smart I wonder?
Happy Birthday 18th Elite Diving. Just coming of age. What's in store for us next?
It has been said that Cocos Island is the world’s most remote diving destination with regular liveaboard service! It also has so many big shoals of fish and even bigger fish to feed on them.
Lying approx 340 miles off Costa Rica's Western coastline in the Pacific Ocean, and due North of Galapagos, Cocos Island is notorious for it different species of sharks that frequent the waters around the Island and masses of sholes of fish.
The Island along with a few small Islands around Cocos including the waters, are a designated National Park and they charge 490US$ plus 13% VAT to be able to dive there. The wardens come on the boat the day we arrive to collect the money from each individual.
Also there is an Evacuation fee that they collect on the boat of 30 US$. This is an insurance in case anyone needs to be taken back to the mainland early due to illness or accident and saves the whole ship going back. There is also a fule surchage of 200 US$ as security if the is a fuel increase all of a sudden.
After our recce a good few years ago, we intended to run this trip earlier, however as you all know things got in the way. Now it's on again. There are a few people going this time who have been before with us and who are coming again and will have seen all the following creatures on the dives there previously. Who can blame them for wanting to go back again.
Although the sharks on every dive is spectacular, the schools of fish that gathers in their thousands is also very impressive.
For some this is a Once in a lifetime trip. We are estimating for the liveaboard which is ten nights and six days diving will cost for the Full Board Liveaboard approx £5265 depending on the Exchange rate at time of paying. Flights not included.
All the more expensive Master Cabins on the upper deck have now all been filled.
There is the National Park fee to pay the Park Wardens on Arrival at Cocos. They will board our boat and collect the money.
This is 490 US$ plus 13% VAT which is approx £432. Best to have Dollars handy
Fuel surcharge is 200 US$ approx £160 and Evacuation policy is £24.
It is highly recommended that you have travel insurance that also covers diving in case of cancelations or diving accidents.
The Last Time we were there we saw a gentle Giant.
To Book your space on this Liveaboad, you need to pay a non refundable deposit of £500.
You will need to book your own flights to Tobias Bolanos International Airport San Jose Costa Rica.
You will need to be outside Park Inn by Radisson, San Jose, Av6, Bosca. phone: +506 4200 1100, on Thursday 9th January 2025. There will be a transfer from there to take us to the boat and back again on the 19th January. Times of pick up to be confirmed at a later date.
The Cocos Island Aggressor
If you are interested in joining us please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This time last year, we were showing you photos of our boat in Dry Dock. It's surprising how soon a year has passed.
We need to have our boat inspected each year at dry dock. We could leave it 18 months but then we would be in our busy season and we know how much our regular divers enjoy being on MY elite with Captain Yahia, Zenger, Hamada and Ahmed.
Captain Yahia and Zinger are the only members of the crew that work on the boat when in Dry Dock. They organise the local craftsmen, parts and paint etc. We always get a warm welcome form Yahia and Zenger when we arrive to see how they are getting on, and they take so much pride in showing us what they are getting done. This year there are some structural ribs on the starboard bow that need to be renewed and in the middle photo above you can see captain Yahia showing and telling me all about it. He's also breaking it to me gently that it's going to cost loads.
The middle photo is of M.Y. elite after it came out of Dry Dock last year, and on the right is a photo of the new ribs that were replaced on the port bow two years ago.
We look forward so much to getting her back on the water for our divers to enjoy when they come to dive with us.
This year, Elite Diving is one of the official sponsors of the only UK Dive Show. The show is being held on March 4th & 5th 2023 at NAEC Stoneleigh, Kenilworth CV8 2LZ, United Kingdom.
To buy tickets click here
Come and visit Alun, Moyra and G at our stand 224.
How to Get to Stoneleigh
From London / M40. Leave the M40 at junction 15 and head onto the A46 towards Coventry. Follow the signs to Stoneleigh Park main entrance or NAEC on the B4113.
From the M6/M9. Leave the M6 at junction 2 and head onto the A46 towards Warwick or at the end of the M69, head onto the A46 towards Warwick and the M40. Follow the signs to Stoneleigh Park main entrance or NAEC on the B4113.
From the M1 (Northbound). Leave the M1 at junction 17 and join the M45 heading towards Coventry. Pick up the signs for the A45 Coventry (NOT Daventry). Stay on the A45 heading towards the A46, follow the signs to Stoneleigh Park main entrance or NAEC on B4113.
By Bus or Coach
Coventry bus station is 6 miles (10km) away from Stoneleigh Park. Warwick bus station is 9 miles (14km) from Stoneleigh Park.
Royal Leamington Spa. Warwick and Warwick Parkway rail stations are situated on the main London Marylebone line. The Birmingham line stop for the Virgin West Coast Mainline.
London Euston – Coventry services every 30 minutes weekdays.
London Marylebone – Warwick Parkway services every 30 minutes.
Birmingham – Coventry frequent services from Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International and Coventry.
From these mainline stations you will need to take a short taxi ride. Taxi ranks are based at both Warwick Parkway and Coventry stations, which are approximately 5 miles from Stoneleigh Park.
We hope to see you there.
Mark Russell, or Crowley to his friends, is the Senior Correspondent for DIVE Magazine online. He has a wealth of diving experience, especially of Sharm as he worked here for a good while for Sinai Divers. He also did some freelance work with Elite when he first came.
Egypt dive centres hit by currency devaluation
By Mark 'Crowley' Russell
Many dive centres – and other small businesses – in Egypt are suffering devastating financial losses after a massive fall in the value of the Egyptian Pound (LE) in recent months.
The Egyptian Pound was floated – that is, its value made dependent on the supply of, and demand for, the currency – in October 2022, as part of a deal to secure a US$3billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The value of the Egyptian Pound has since fallen dramatically, dropping from just over LE17 to 1 Euro at the start of 2022 to more than LE32:€1 by January 11, 2023.
Egypt, one of the world’s largest importers of wheat from Ukraine – one of the world’s largest exporters – has struggled financially since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which followed swiftly after the huge loss of tourism income during the pandemic.
Since then, soaring global inflation has led to a secondary drop in tourism, of which Russian and Ukrainian tourists made up 30 per cent in 2021, while inflation in Egypt hit 21.9 per cent in December 2022, with food prices rising by up to 37.9 per cent over the year.
The Egyptian Pound has devalued dramatically over the last year (top) and (bottom) fluctuates dramitically by the hour (source: XE Currency)
Payments made to Egyptian businesses in foreign currencies are automatically converted to Egyptian Pounds by the Egyptian banks that receive them, hence a booking for which €1000 was paid in February 2022 would be worth just over €500 to the dive centre today. Should a customer wish to cancel, refunding that amount would cost the dive centre almost double the payment it initially received.
The problem is further compounded by the fact that Egyptian dive businesses pay significant overheads in Euros for dive equipment and staff. Dive centres are essentially having to pay double the salary for half the earnings for bookings made in 2022.
As of the time of writing, the exchange rate remains extremely volatile – a Cairo businessman was quoted by an AFP reporter saying that he ‘sell[s] at one price in the morning, another in the afternoon, and a third at night.’ In the current global financial climate it is impossible to say when the Egyptian markets will stabilise, with some speculating that there may be another significant fall in the currency before it does.
Some European-owned centres will be less affected by the devaluation of the Egyptian Pound, as their bank accounts are registered in Europe and, therefore, are potentially saving some money on payments they need to make in local currencies.
One solution that may help Egyptian-owned businesses, however, is for customers to pay in stable currencies such as Euros, US Dollars and British Pounds when they visit. Dive centres are understandably hesitant to make such a request for fear they might be implicated in the burgeoning currency black market, but a polite enquiry before travelling and carrying at least partial payment in those currencies may have a significant impact on the survival of some of Egypt’s best dive centres.
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If you are not subscribed to DIVE online, we recommend you do. It's free and there's always some very interesting articles about the underwater world all around the globe. To see the above article on DIVE Newsletter, click on the following link https://divemagazine.com/scuba-diving-news/egypt-dive-centres-hit-by-currency-devaluation
It's good news for diving tourists however, your foreign currency such as The British pound, Euro or Dollar, goes even further now when dining out and shopping for local produce, and with our offer of 7 nights B&B and a 5 Day Dive pack including airport transfers for only £350 per person when two people share the same room. A bottle of local Stella Beer costs approx £180 for some very cheap 'Après Diving'.
It gives us great pleasure to announce that the Home of Elite Diving for the last Ten years, Uni Sharm Hotel, is under new management and it has had a face lift.
We haven't recommended people stay in the hotel previously, but now it has been fully refurbished, it is an ideal hotel for a Dive and stay Budget Holiday.
All the bedrooms have en suite with flat screen TV and a fridge. Most of the ground floor rooms have a veranda that gives you access to the pool area.
All the en Suites have everything you need to freshen up after a days diving.
There is new comfortable seating in the spacious lounge, water slides into the pool and a poolside bar which is ideal for some Après Diving socialising. There is also a British bar currently still under refurbishment.
An Example of a package offered is for 7 nights B&B for two divers sharing a twin or double room, a 5 Day Dive Pack and Airport transfers, all for only £350 per person. - Flights not included.
For one person in a single room for 7 nights B&B with a 5 Day Dive package and Airport transfers will be £423. - Flights not included.
We can also tailor a plan to suit your own personal needs i.e. ten nights 8 day Dive Pack, or 14 nights and 10 Day Dive pack etc.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Due to popular demand, we will be running a Shark Safari again during Summer 2023.
All our other Shark Safari's has been a tremendous success with sightings and encounters of many different species of sharks and other Elasmobranches, saying that, we have had our best ever Summer of hammerhead sightings in Sharm on our daily boat this Spring and Summer.
We are looking at running a Shark Safari during the last week in June and another on the first week of July.
The Itinerary is planned for Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone. The cost approx. £1100 (flights not included)
Diving Cruise (Double/twin Cabin sharing) in full board, water, coffee and tea and planned route to board the BELLA LIVEABOARD.
Diving Program, air / weights / aluminium tank
Food and drinks all inclusive basis (non alcoholic).
Flights to Egypt
National Park Fees
Entry visa to Egypt.
Nitrox 12l or 15l
Equipment rental (We offer equipment for rent for additional charge).
There are two mandatory extra-charges for every guest:
- National Park Fee - 10 EUR per day per person at the moment. 2023 it could be increased by the government.
- Crew tips - recommended 10EUR per day per person.
If you are interested in joining one of our Shark Safari's, let us know which week, end of June or beginning of July.
A Non refundable deposit of £200 will secure your place. First come first served basis.
Please contact: email@example.com
After two years of restrictions due to the Covid Pandemic, SCUBA Diver Magazine and their associates took a big leap of faith to put this Dive Show together. A massive thank you and well done goes out to Mark Evans and his team of Go Diveshow Organisers.
Some of the big names that usually Exhibit were missing, and others were slow enrolling, us being one of them, although we were waiting for The Egyptian Tourist Board to make a decision of showing or not. Once we had that answer which was late in the day, we decided to take a stand of our own.
Being quite tentative ourselves, we just took a small stand with just Moyra and myself planning to man it. However we had a few offers of help which in the end we were very grateful for.
Our good friend and loyal diver Ian Cripps came to help and an awesome job he did telling the people who stopped at our stand about the amazing diving he's had over the years diving with Elite in Sharm. What ever Moyra and I said about our operation and our amazing staff, couldn't top what an actual client of ours was telling people. First hand experience and recommendation is the best form of publicity.
The Show exceeded all expectations. Even the organisers were pleasantly surprised by the turn out. Apart from the tickets that were presold to enter the show, there were far more than anticipated who turned up on the day and paid at the door.
Some guest speakers drew some good crowds to their presentations but we were too busy talking to people that were looking for diving in Sharm to go and sit to listen to any presentation that was going on. We were even too busy to take any further photos after the show started!!
We were very pleased with the response from the Diving Public and many have already booked with us to dive in Sharm over the coming months.
This Years Go Dive Prize draw Winner is Nigel Troth from Southport. Nigel is a very keen diver and St Helens Rugby Supporter. You can see him above holding a porthole which was acquired off the wreck of The Englishman.
Nigel has dived in Sharm many times previously, however, it will be the first time with Elite Diving. We look forward to giving him and his buddy a warm welcome into the Elite Family. Congratulations Nigel.
Bookings are coming in thick and fast. If you're thinking of joining us to dive, please let us know so we can manage our diary and so we can plan to give everyone the service we are well known for. It's great to see people's enthusiasm to get back diving in Sharm.
Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries.
NAEC Stoneleigh has been announced as the new venue for the underwater exhibition Go Diving.
The Go Diving Show is a trade and consumer scuba diving exhibition. Hosting by Andy Torbet, our 2022 event will see the return of Steve Backshall, Monty Halls, Alex Mustard and a host of other local diving hero's to talk about all things diving. The show moves to a new venue at NAEC Stoneleigh, just 10 miles from its previous venue. The new space offers more exhibition space across 2 purpose-built halls, with 19,000 free parking spaces, better facilities, and no clash with rugby events.
The premier event in the UK diving calendar will take place at the venue on 4-6 March 2022.
The Go Diving Show is an exciting and interactive, trade and consumer, scuba diving exhibition, which allows seasoned divers, novice open water divers and even those interested in taking their first steps into the sport, the opportunity to get hand’s-on.
Showcasing new equipment from the major brands, visitors can take part in skills workshops, attend keynote presentations, venture beneath the sea on virtual reality dives, or just socialise with fellow divers in a relaxed and friendly environment.
Hosted for the third year in succession by adventurer and technical diver Andy Torbet, the 2022 show will see the return of headline speaker Steve Backshall, along with the likes of Monty Halls, Alex Mustard and a whole host of specialists in the arenas of technical diving, dive training and underwater photography.
Lynn Gardener, Account Director at NAEC Stoneleigh, said: “It is always exciting when we get to host an exhibition for the first time and Go Diving was the perfect fit, our halls can easily offer the space the event requires for their interactive displays and pools, where visitors can have a go at diving themselves.”
To find out more information about NAEC Stoneleigh, visit www.naecstoneleigh.co.uk or search for NAEC Stoneleigh on social media.
To find out more about Go Diving 2022, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/naec-stoneleigh/go-diving-show-2022/719142368926947/
Owner of Elite Diving with Divers United, has a wealth of diving experience and has been diving since 1984.