What has been your best vacation memory?
I am going to go all slushy here and say my honeymoon…awww…
We married in an old converted watermill, eight years ago this summer; it was a stunning location and a perfect day spent with friends and family. Straight after our wedding we went to Lyme Regis for a couple of days, before flying out to Egypt. Well I say Egypt, Sharm el-Sheikh to be precise.
As we disembarked the plane, the heat hit me. It was like walking into a sauna. It was over 40 degrees and stayed that way for the fortnight. The heat was unbearable to sit in between the hours of 11 and 2. I like heat and love to sunbathe but it was even too hot for me.
My husband is a qualified scuba diver. He has always encouraged me to give it a go. He was off diving in the morning so I decided, why not? Let’s give it a shot.
If you are going to learn to dive anywhere, then the Red Sea is one of the best places. The diving is in warm water, the underwater creatures are fascinating and visibility is amazing; the water was so clear you could see for 35 meters.
My first dive in Egypt was ideal. The instructors took charge of all the equipment so you just had to remember to breath. That was it. Which sounds pretty easy, but actually as soon as I ducked under the water my instinct was to hold my breath. Then you realise you have to take that first breath… what a strange experience it was. It goes against nature but it is exhilarating when you realise that you can do it! You are underwater, breathing and what a sight it was to behold. It is a world that so many people go through their entire lives without experiencing.
Then there is the weightlessness, which is an amazing and strange experience. It gives you the feeling of what it would be like to be in space.
We just swam along the shore but there was plenty to see. Incredible bright fish and stunning coral. It was all enough to get me hooked. I walked away from that dive, went straight to the diving school and booked myself onto the next Open Water PADI course.
I was so excited and the next day turned up early. This is most unlike me, especially when on holiday. Those were the days when I enjoyed a long lie. Actually, I still enjoy a long lie – I just don’t get the opportunity to stay in bed until midday these days.
I was so lucky to have fun, friendly and enjoyable classmates. The instructor made everything fun and interesting. His enthusiasm really rubbed off on us all.
After a few days in the classroom and doing exercises in a pool, we were ready to go out into the big bad ocean and meet the underwater world once more. It was an incredible experience. Clear blue seas and the feeling you get when you are underwater is truly exhilarating.
After five days of doing my course, which included an exam, pool dives and diving in the sea, I was so pleased to become a qualified open water diver.
The hubby and I decided to do a couple of dives together after I qualified. On our first dive, we swam off the boat and suddenly we felt the buzz coming from the instructors. The word on the sea was that there were Whale Sharks nearby. People were excited. One man couldn’t wait to finish getting all his gear on, grabbed his tank and a mask and descended under water. We were already good to go and had our gear on. As we stuck our heads under the water we saw them. There in the distance were imposing and incredible shadows. As they got closer and swam underneath us, I really couldn’t believe our luck. Some divers wait years to have that experience. My instructor told me later he first saw them after an incredible 672 dives – I know the exact amount as I wrote it in my dive log.
That was not the only highlight of our holiday, we also managed a day trip to Cairo. It is something special as you approach the pyramids, standing tall and grand in front of you. Although I think the image has been ruined slightly after watching Despicable Me, I now always wonder if they are real or not!
Let me know in the comments if you have tried scuba diving. If so, where did you go and what did you think of it? I’d love to hear your recommendations on where to dive. If not, would you like to try it out?