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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.
Owner of Elite Diving with Divers United, has a wealth of diving experience and has been diving since 1984.