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.