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.
We have to thanks everybody who has voted for us so far. This has pushed us up to 7th place in the Dive Center Resort Awards so far, but there's still time for us to climb higher or even slip back down.
For those of you who still intend to vote and haven't got around to it yet, your vote can make a massive difference to the outcome as we are told that the top ten places are all very close.
I know life gets in the way of doing things sometimes, but if you could just place your vote (whoever it is for) (I hope it's us), this could make a big difference at the end of the month when the winners are announced.
We need all the help we can get. Thank you.
Pixie hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus)
Really difficult subject, every time I pressed the shutter it moved, I now have lots of pictures of empty coral, but finally managed to get him/her
White-banded cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis)
with Durban dancing shrimp (Rhynchocinetes durbanensis) @ Sharm el-Sheikh
Yellow lip shield slug (Celidonura flavolobata)
The location I found this on was unusual, Woodhouse reef, mostly found in sheltered areas away from currents.
It seemed happy enough to pose for a photo
Brown slate pencil urchin (Brown Hertrocentrotus mamillatus)
Nocturnal between 1metre - 25 metres, crawling out of cracks in the reef, commonly seen on night dives around Sharm el sheik, they feed mainly on algae, or sessile (immobile) animals.
Taken with my Olympus TG-5 using built in flash; set to fill in.
Blue cheek butterfly fish (Chaetodon semilarvatus) usually found in pairs in nooks and crannies along reefs 2m -20m depth.
Whitespotted Puffer (Arothron hispidus)
There's very little time left to get voting for DIVE Travel Awards.
We'd like to thank everyone who has voted for us so far, you've put us at mid-table so far. There is still time left for those who haven't got around to it yet to make your vote count.
At the moment, we are just behind two other Red Sea Dive centers. We are used to being higher, and with the amazing year we've had, and the awesome team we have, we hope you can help to put us closer to the top. I know our team deserve to be there. They work so hard although they enjoy every minute. They've seen so many great marine animals this year and they get as much joy seeing the look on the faces of our guests when something spectacular appears.
So if you haven't got around to voting yet, and you intend to, please do so now. Don't put it off for later if you'd like us to be further up the list.
Hope to see you out in Sharm for more diving soon.
Click here or on the picture above to vote
For the fourth successive year, our Summer Shark Safari's were a huge success.
We had three sailings this year and all three had their highlights and excitment.
Many on the first sailing had dived together on last years Shark Safari and arranged to come back at the same time, so there wasn't much getting to know each other apart from a few who were introduced to the pink group. All apart from one had dive previously with 'elite diving' in Sharm El Sheikh.
Although there were five different type of Sharks spotted during the week, White Tip Reef sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, Thresher Sharks, Hammer Head Sharks and a Silky Shark, the highlight was the schooling Hammerheads. Up close and personal.
The Scalloped Hammerheads are so graceful in the water. They often are inquisitive and come close to check out what the divers are but there is not threatening behavior what so ever. In fact, their presence is very calming.
I think there was a blue theme going on for the week! Or was it pink?
Nitrogen Narcosis maybe. Confusion between feet and hands!!
There were many great sightings of manta this summer in Sharm and on Safari. This Manta was registered with Manta Trust and as it wasn't on their data base, the photographer get's to choose it's name. In honor of The Farley family who cancelled the trip last minute due to John Farley's illness, the group on board who sorely missed the Farely's, decided to name the manta Farley.
The first weeks photos are credited to Tony Madelin
The second week's sightings were on par with the first but a lot less pink! There was again a great experience with Schooling Hammerheads, Thresher Shark and more Manta. Again there was a Silky Shark spotted, along with Grey Reef's and a swim past from an Oceanic White Tip Shark.
On these safari's, we are treated to some spectacular sunrise and sunset scene's, some wreck dives, and was visited by a big green sea turtle as well as much smaller critters also
The second week's photo's are credited to Jochen, Nick, Khalil, Ken and Christina.
Week three produced much of the same with more up close and personal shows from Manta. It's been a bumper year for Manta this year, on Safari and also in Sharm. Close encounters with Hammerheads and a visit from dolphins in the water on the safety stop on Elphinstone. As we always say. You've got to be in it to win it!!!!
Photos Credited to Richard Jones
We will be running shark safari's again Summer 2020, so contact our office to record your interest. email@example.com
Our Divers once again has nominated us for DIVE Travel Awards and again we have made the final vote. If you want us to do well in the final vote, please vote for Elite Diving now. You can only vote once per e.mail address. Just follow the instructions on the following link. You need only vote for elite in the Dive Center/Resort category. You need not vote for anyone else if you don't want to.
After our success in these awards last year, there are a few Sharm Dive Centers now canvasing their divers to vote for them. We are confident that our ever loyal divers will out perform these dive centers as usual, but we will need each and every one of you to help.
Please click on the following link to cast your vote. http://divemagazine.co.uk/travel/8594-dive-travel-awards-2019-the-vote-is-open
All the team at 'elite diving' in Sharm El Sheikh are very greatful of your continued support. Hope to see you there soon.
Underwater photography Instructor Mark Le Gros (AKA Mr Lucky Lucky, Le Groan and 20 20) shares more of his photos with us.
Red Sea mimic blenny (Ecsenius gravieri)
Hangs around on coral branches and in vacated worm holes.
Mimics the venomous fangblenny (M. nigrolineatus) in colour and behaviour.
#corals #diving #egypt #elitediving1 #instadaily#olympus_tg5 #mimic #rasmohammed #redsea#sharmelsheikh #sealife #underwaterphotography#blenny #fish #ilovethis #blenny #paditv #dive — inSharm el-Sheikh.
Christmas tree worm (Spirobranchus giganteus)
Lives in (calcareous) tubes embedded in living corals.
Tricky to photograph because as soon you line up your shot they sense your presence and disappear into their hole, really frustrating, but that's half the fun!
#corals #diving #egypt #elitediving1 #instadaily#olympus_tg5 #pipefish #rasmohammed #redsea#sharmelsheikh #sealife #underwaterphotography#unlimitedegypt #blenny #fish #ilovethis #chestnut#paditv #worms #christmas — in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Chestnut blenny (Cirripectes castaneus)
They are very shy and rapidly retreat to shelter when approached, making them very tricky to photograph, but with a bit of patience and perseverance.
The colours are variable from very dark brown to very pale.
We see them frequently on the reef fringes around Sharm, depth from 0.3 to 7m.
They feed mainly on algae. — in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Boxer Shrimp, (Stenopus hispidus)
It is a cleaner shrimp and advertises itself by slowly waving it's long white antennae at passing fish, using its three pairs of claws to remove parasites fungi and damaged flesh.
I took this on at Sharks bay, with my Olympus TG-5 using the built in flash, not an easy subject, but very happy with the result.😁😎
#elitediving1 #sharmelsheikh #diving #nightdive#brittlestar #elfanar #egypt #ilovethis #natgeo#olympus_tg5 #padi #paditv #underwater #amazing#coral shrimp #boxersofinstagram #boxer — atSharm El Sheik.
Savigny's brittle star being watched by a sea pen porcelain crab.
Taken on a night dive on El Fanar, one of the best sites in Sharm el Sheikh for night dives accessible from the shore.
If you get the opportunity to do a night dive you won't be disappointed you get to see a lot of creatures that sleep during the day, AMAZING!!
Taken with my Olympus TG-5
#elitediving1 #crabs #porcelain #sharmelsheikh#diving #nightdive #brittlestar #elfanar #egypt#ilovethis #natgeo #olympus_tg5 #padi #paditv#underwater #amazing #coral — in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Look our for more photos from Mark Le Gros on our next newsletter
You can enroll on a Underwater photography course with Mark. He's also available for one to one photography sessions. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information and costs on these services.
There are now eight divers booked on our Truck Lagoon adventure for March 2020.
Truck Lagoon, off the Island of Weno's actual name is Chuuk Lagoon is situated in the warm clear waters of The South Pacific and is part of the Micronesian Islands.
This is a wreck divers paradise. The wrecks are due to the American attack on Chuuk and sinking many of Japan's ships in retaliation to Pearl Harbor.
Truck Lagoon is on many diver's bucket list. If it's on yours and you fancy joining us for March 2020, please contact us on email@example.com and ask for more details.
Mark Le Gros first dived with elite back in 2008 when he was on holiday in Sharm El Sheikh. He had learned to dive in Sharm with another dive center, and had returned to visit them to carry on diving on a few occasions until one time, he decided to walk into our dive center. When he realised that we were the same nationality as him (that's debatable with all the different permutations) or at least we had the same passport, and he sensed our friendly atmosphere, he decided to give us a go. Since then, he hasn't dived with anyone else in Sharm.
Mark dived with us here in Sharm for many years after that initial meeting, sometimes coming to Sharm three times per year to dive with us. With so many regular dive trips, his diving skills improved no end, and he also took his rescue diver with us and even his Dive Master.
Mark had his heart set on becoming an Instructor, and work just like us in a warm climate. At that time, we didn't offer the Instructor Development course, so Mark trotted off to The Far east and did his PADI Instructor and Instructor Exam over in Thailand. He worked as a diving Instructor there for a while, but yearned to be an Instructor in The Red Sea as that was where he felt he wanted to be.
Back in 2015, due to the growth of elite diving, we had a vacancy for another Dive Instructor, so we asked Mark if he fancied it. At the time he was back working as a warehouse manager in West Midlands UK, so when given the opportunity, he took it with open arms and moved over to Sharm to start working with elite towards the end of October 2015. That made the compliment of Dive Mater/Instructors up to ten.
Unfortunately for everyone, the UK Government stopped direct flights from UK into Sharm El Sheikh five days after the downing of a Russian flight over Sinai.
Tourism stopped overnight with other European countries already banning flight into Sharm. Mark hadn't been working with us for a week and due to the no work situation made his mind up like others, to go back home and pick up where he left off. Mark even said with his dry sense of humor "I've been on longer holidays here"
It wasn't so long and other European countries started flying back to Sharm, and with them came many of our regular British divers who were missing diving in Sharm. Flying from UK, it just takes one change in Cairo, Istanbul or even Milan, and it's no hardship getting to Sharm. Things started to get busier, so we invited Mark back to work with us. He told us that he would need a month to take care of things back home and work his notice. Within a week he was diving with us from our boat in Sharm and enjoying the chocolate cake that we get treated to from the boat crew now and again.
Mark has always been a keen underwater photographer, even back in his early days, he used to take some impressive images. Through the years while upgrading his camera and no doubt taking inspiration from our other top photographers such as Karen Bruce, Nigel Wade and Jamie Hall, Mark has developed into an accomplished Underwater photographer.
He often posts the odd photos on his facebook and Instagram account. If you'd like to follow Mark on Instagram, follow him on @leggo51
With his 20/20 vision! Mark has developed a keen eye for Macro photography, which is taking photos close up of very small things. Here are some of his amazing photos and descriptions of the critters he's photographed.
Red Sea Pipefish (Corythoichthys sp.)
Often found on pinnacles with glass fish, and sheltered outcrops with sandy area's. At a depth ranging from 2m to 30m.
They come from the same family as Seahorses in which the male incubates the eggs, and gives birth to around 150 young.
They feed on tiny crustaceans which are sucked in by the tubular mouth.
Clown fish muscling in on a Cleaner shrimp
Jewelled Blenny (Salarias fasciatus)
This was a very unexpected find, on the mooring rope at 'Marsa bareika' in 'Ras Mohammed' hiding behind the rope, it swam away giving me the chance to take a quick pic. Usually found on rubble or perching on dead corals. Only about 2cm long.
Taken with my Olympus TG-5, fill in flash, no processing, just cropped.
Savigny's feather star (heterometra savignii)
Night dive on El fanar (Sharm el Sheik)
Nocturnal above 6 metres, continuously active below that. They swim quite majestically using their arms to propel themselves through the water, mesmerising to watch in action, grasping onto corals with their feet in order to position themselves for optimum feeding. They use their arms to sift tiny plankton, curling them downwards to a central mouth.
Look our for more photos from Mark Le Gros on our next newsletter
Mark is also an Underwater photography instructor, so you could enroll on a Underwater photography course with him. He's also available for one to one photography sessions. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information and costs on these services.
Yes, you guessed it. It's Manta Season here in Sharm El Sheikh again.
It's usually April time that was start spotting these magnificent creatures on a more regular basis and this year has been and exceptionally good time for Manta spotting.
So far this year we have had 12 different sightings in four weeks. We are not sure if sometime we see the same Manta as it's not always easy to get close enough for a good photo, so we can identify the markings.
Their markings, especially on their underside are like a persons finger print. It's unique to each different Manta, but the marking on their back among other things, tells us if they are a reef Manta or a Giant Manta (also know as The Oceanic Manta).
This is a Giant Manta above. What distinguishes them apart from the reef Manta is the black and white markings on the front of it's back.
The Giant Manta's marks form a T where the reef Manta's markings form more of a Y. You can clearly see in picture 1 and 3 that there is a shape of a T on the back of this manta, so this tells us it is an Giant or Oceanic Manta.
You can see the difference on the Manta to the left. It's markings forms more of a 'Y' so this is a reef manta.
Next it's the Whale shark season, however there has already been some spotted on their annual migration up into The Gulf of Aqaba. Let's hope we see a lot more as these also are such magnificent creatures like The Manta.
WE LOVE THE RED SEA
Owner of Elite Diving and Divers United and has been diving since 1984.