Out of all the problems we have had to cope with in the Tourism industry here in Sharm since we started 'elite diving' back in 2005. This Corona Virus is the most serious, as it not only effects us here in Sharm but everybody in the Whole World.
From 19th March until 31st March, Egypt has closed its doors to any International flights. We at Elite actually closed our doors on Friday 13th for two weeks initially but now Egypt has increased that for us.
We decided to close our doors on Friday 13th March after seeing what was happening in other places in the world due the rapid spread of the disease and the number of fatalities in those countries, and with so many people traveling to Sharm it was always going to happen here also.
Some of our divers agreed that we were doing the right thing and others were very disappointed. Those who carried on with their Holiday and came to Sharm are now risking being stuck here. As you can imagine, the tour operators who have brought the tourists here are inundated with inquiries. I took three days to get hold of my agent and that was eventually by getting up at 6.00 am when their call center opened and waiting in a queue for over an hour.
We hope this Pandemic can get resolved soon and we can all get back to normality.
All our Staff in Sharm are on Self Isolation. Myself (Alun) and Moyra are in UK and had planned to fly back to Sharm on 20 April. Elite e.mails are manned every day from staff's own home. You can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep following your government directives. Usual service will be resumed as soon as possible.
Keep Safe and help other to keep safe.
It's been a while since we've had a stand at a British Dive Show, but with direct flights now available again from UK to Sharm, we thought we'd participate in this new show in Coventry even if we only had a skeleton crew compared to previous shows.
It's only the second year for this show, run by SCUBA Diver Magazine. We are hopping to see new divers coming to Sharm, but it was also good meting many of our divers who has kept traveling to Sharm even during the period where there were no direct flight. Many were sporting their elite diving shirts. Do any of you recognise the young lad with the black Suunto short on in the front in the photo below? It's Taffro, AKA Alec (with a bit less hair), who worked in Sharm with elite for years and now works for Suunto in The UK.
At the end of the show, the draw was made for the winners of our Dive Show Prize draw.
The first prize was for a 5 Day Dive Pack for two people to be taken in Sharm El Sheikh with us at Elite Diving.
There were also two runners up, who both won a 5 day dive pack each to be taken anytime during 2020. There was an an amazing coincidence among the three winners. They were all Diving Instructors. I think it's a first time we have ever had a winner who is a dive instructor let alone three of them.
Here are the winners in the order they were drawn out.
John Smallwood from Rotherham was the first name out of the draw. John learnt to dive back in 1994 and his keen enjoyment of Diving prompted him to pass that enthusiasm on to others, so he followed the instructor route and became an instructor back in 2005. Soon after, John formed Dream Divers in Rotherham where he's still an instructor and runs an active club. John won first prize which is a 5 day dive pack for him and a buddy to dive with us in Sharm El Sheikh anytime during 2020. John has dived in Sharm previously, but not for a while, so he's looking forward to returning and claiming his prize with us.
Dave Keany from Leyland was the second name drawn out. Dave learnt to dive in November 2011 and picked up the dive bug badly. By May 2014 he was a PADI Dive Instructor and he still climbed the ladder to become a Staff instructor and then a Master Instructor who can teach other divers to become Instructors.
Gilly Barbour was the second Runner up to be drawn. Gilly is also a dive instructor living in Oxford, with over ten years experience as an instructor. Most of her instructing has been for the pupils of her school. Gilly is a Physics teacher but teaches SCUBA as an extra curriculum activity for her school's students.
Gilly has already set aside dates to visit us in Sharm, and is very excited to be diving with us there soon.
Congratulations to all three winners. We are sure you will enjoy your time diving with us in Sharm El Sheikh.
This Summer will be our fifth consecutive year for our very popular Shark Safari's.
There are not many spaces left, as the people who have been on the previous Shark Safaris, have snapped up the places. However there are still a few.
The Available Safari starts on 4th July 2020 from Hurghada for a week, and will head for Shark waters, namely Brothers, Elphinstone and Daedalus. Some tour operators call this itinerary "Simply The Best".
If you want to see sharks, you have a great chance of seeing them in the Summer months at the locations we will be heading for. We haven't failed to spot at least five different species of shark during our week long Sharks Safari's. We even got to see Whale sharks, Manta and Dolphin in the water. There's even a FREE Shark Awareness Course you can sit on while on the Liveaboard.
If anyone would like to take up the last few spaces, please contact us on email@example.com reference Shark Safari 2020.
Yes, they are back. If you book early enough, you can get good deals on a Direct Easy Jet flight from Manchester to Sharm with Easy Jet.
We've said for Years that you get the best diving in Sharm during June, so what way to celebrate direct flights returning to Sharm from UK than booking a holiday to come and dive with us at Elite during June.
"The early Bird Catches The Worm". So don't wait and don't hesitate. Book your Easy Jet flights now while they are still low.
Keep your eye's peeled for Easy Jet flying from other airports in the UK soon.
Mola Mola have been seen from time to time in Sharm but they are very rare here, and when they have been seen, it's usually a fleeting glance from the boat as we pass them in the water and then they dive deep straight away.
This time was an exception, not only one, not even two, but THREE Mola Tectra, (very close family to Mola Mola - Sun Fish) and they weren't in a rush to flee, giving our divers a ring side seat as the three cartoon like characters swam in formation around and past them, in no hurry whatsoever.
Let's hope they will pay us a visit on a regular basis.
For the photo, a big THANK YOU goes to Andrej Hajdinjak who dives with us about three times per year. As they say, You got to be in it to win it. Well done Andrej
10 very interesting facts about Sunfish
1. Mola mola is actually the scientific name of the ocean sunfish. Along with three other family members, its closest relatives are the puffer and triggerfishes.
2. The largest ocean sunfish weighed 2.5 tons — which is comparable to an SUV — and the fish is considered the heaviest of the world’s bony fishes.
3. Despite lacking a tail, the ocean sunfish uses its modified dorsal and anal fins for powerful and agile propulsion.
4. The sunfish may sunbathe to regulate its body temp. After making deep dives in cold water, its time spent lazing at the surface is extended.
5. They lack a swim bladder — a fish’s version of a buoyancy compensator — but it has a layer of subcutaneous jelly that keeps it neutrally buoyant in seawater.
6. The sunfish has just 16 vertebrae, the fewest of any fish. Humans, in comparison, have 33.
7. Bycatch is considered the gravest threat to the ocean sunfish. In a South African fishery, an estimated 340,000 mola were caught in a single year.
8. The sunfish is prone to infestation by parasites, harboring some 54 species. It co-opts seabirds and other fishes, and sometimes even breaches to help rid itself of these pests.
9. The fish is one of the most prolific of all vertebrates: one female can produce an estimated 300 million tiny eggs per clutch.
10. The sunfish can make dives up to 490 meter deep, and one tagged individual traveled 1,800 km in three months.
Thanks for the video Andrej Hajdinjak.
As the direct flight ban from UK to Sharm has been lifted, Alun, Moyra and perhaps G (if he's not too busy in Sharm), have decided to exhibit in the Go Diving dive show at Coventry 21-23 February 2020 on The Egyptian Tourism Stand.
We won't have a big team there, but I'm sure some of the team that has helped us in the past will pop in to say hello.
The main point of attending most shows is to introduce ourselves to Divers that don't yet know us, and to tell them about the magnificent dive sites that we can take them to. Also to offer our services to people who want to learn or further develop their diver skills.
A big advantage to us attending these shows, is that we also get to meet up with divers who already dive with us. Most British dive shows are like a big reunion, so I hope many of the divers who have dived with us previously will pop to see us to say hello, and even meet up with us at the end of the day, perhaps for a drink or meal together.
We also love seeing them wearing their elite Shirts or Hoodies.
To try and win a VIP package for Go Diving click here
To get more information on the Go Diving show click here
Contact Go Dive for tickets and ask for their 2 for 1 offer.
Let us know if you'll be calling to see Alun, Moyra and perhaps G at the stand. e.mail Moyra on firstname.lastname@example.org
We had a Crazy week with our American friends from NABS last week! It is November and the Red Sea is still spoiling us.
The water temp is still 27°c, the corals and all year round marine life is spectacular. Night dives filled with Spanish Dancers and Octopus. And we are still getting our big surprises so late in the season. A nice big Hammerhead and huge Whale Shark again in the Local dive sites.
Ras Mohammed giving us yet more dives and snorkeling hours with the Whale sharks and to top it all off a super close encounter with a Dolphin and our regular sightings of Eagle ray's. A big thanks to all that was involved in a very successful Summit.
Dear Divers, colleagues and friends,
As divers and underwater ambassadors, any change towards a positive impact on the environment is one we can all agree on supporting.
Therefore kindly be informed that as of 27th November 2019, as per a recent decree issued by the Ministry of Environment, new Park daily fees will be applicable to diving operations and divers performing scuba diving and snorkeling activities in dive/snorkeling sites located in the following areas:
• Ras Mohammed National Park – Euro 7.00 per person
• Straits of Tiran – Euro 7.00 per person
• Local sites to Sharm El Sheikh – Euro 7.00 per person
• Blue Hole & Canyon in Dahab – Euro 12.00 per person
Applicable fees will be payable upon check out.
The new fees will be nurturing the funding of the National Park Authority and support its recently enhanced efforts aimed at protecting, maintaining, and monitoring the health of our beloved Red Sea, both on land and underwater.
The Ministry of Environment currently has the intention to charge the 6.00 Euro per person fee also for activities in diving/snorkeling areas located in proximity of Sharm El Sheikh coastline (i.e. “local dive/snorkeling sites”).
Please note that CDWS (Chamber of Diving and Waters-ports) is lobbying the relevant governmental bodies in order to prevent the payment of any fee for activities performed in “local” sites. Further updates in these regards will follow as soon as they will be available.
As responsible divers we greatly welcome this move and strongly believe in the implementation of environmental based restrictions, aimed at reducing the diving/snorkeling tourism impact on our lucky area of the world.
We look forward to diving with you.
A massive "THANK YOU" goes out to all our divers and everybody who voted for us in the DIVE Travel Awards. Your loyalty and continued support makes us feel so humble and honored that you hold us in such high esteem.
Our Main Objective was to hold onto our number one spot for Red Sea Dive Centers for the second year running, and you got us there, but you've increased our position over all up to Third in the world where last your we were sixth.
We can't thank you enough, and this coming just after the opening of Direct flights from UK to Sharm. However, a special thank you goes out to those who have continually made the effort to get to us in Sharm through different routes. This has been a big factor to allow us to stay open as opposed to many Sharm Dive centers, who have closed, or as Dive magazine put it, put their dive center's in Mothballs.
The last few years have seen the best diving in Sharm for years, with many sightings of Manta and Whale sharks on a very regular basis. Long may it continue.
Now the Local Dive Authority have banned Intro dives from boats, there are far less boats around the reefs in Tiran and local sites, which in turn will help to keep the bigger pelagic's coming in to visit us divers. Anyone wishing to try diving or enroll on a Discover SCUBA Diving program, we can still do this from a beach.
Thanks again for your votes and continued support. All the Elite team are looking forward to seeing you diving with us in the near future.
Owner of Elite Diving and Divers United and has been diving since 1984.