Sheephaven divers experienced the full temperature variation last week between 26 degrees in the Red Sea and a raw 10 degrees Celsius in home waters.
Three Sheephaven Red Sea divers – Kevin Boylan, Peter Druce and David Mc Gloin – were guests on the live-aboard MV Legends run by Tekdeep, sailing out from Hurghada on the Egyptian side of the Red Sea.
From there they steamed northwards to the tip of the Sinai Peninsula where the Red Sea divides into Gulf of Suez to the west and the Gulf of Aqaba to the east.
At this junction lie a number of wreck sites, including the Gainis D, the Dunraven, the Rosile Muller and the most iconic of them all the Thistlegorm.
In addition to these wonderful wrecks the crystal clear water visibility also allows divers to experience reef diving in semi-tropical waters, where they can observe hard and soft corals, Long Spinned Sea Urchins, Octopus and a wide variety of fish.
The fish vary from the small Clown Fish like Nemo to large Napoleon Wrasse and the majestic Moray Eels. But the best of the lot is meeting a Turtle, Manta Ray or Oceanic White Tip shark – any of which are magic and makes the dive trip complete.
The flight to Hurghada is from Dublin to Istanbul in Turkey, where there is a significant layover and from there a second shorter flight to Hurghada airport.
The return journey is similar and allows the diver to experience three continents in one day, starting with breakfast in Africa, lunch in Asia and tea in Europe.
The boat is specially kitted out for divers, with air compressors for filling dive bottles and Zodiacs to transfer the divers as close as possible to the dive sites that the live-aboard cannot access.
In addition to open circuit Scuba divers MV Legend also caters for technical divers, who use Rebreathers and can remain dived for much longer and consequently access deeper wrecks.
On this trip the Rebreather divers – of which Donald Cullen Mevagh Dive Centre was one – got to dive on the wreck of Gulf Fleet 31, an American offshore supply vessel, possibly sunk in 1985.
The wreck is 55m long, 12 m wide and had a draft of over 4 metres; she was powered by twin diesel engines and shafts and had a speed of 12 knots.
Today she lies at a depth of 105 metres, lies upright and the wheelhouse can be penetrated –definitely one for the tech divers.
In sharp contrast to the warmth of a November Egyptian sun the Sheephaven divers who remained at home were restricted to snorkelling in PortnaBlagh, due to the ongoing northerly winds that have whipped up a significant swell out to sea.
Nonetheless the divers who got out on Sunday morning enjoyed the exercise of snorkelling in the harbour, despite water temperature barely rising above 10 degrees Celsius, which was enough to encourage them to get out and go for breakfast in Lizzies.
Finally as we head into December it time to consider next years’ diving and to ensure that there is no lapse in dive insurance, club members can pay their fees to the club Treasurer Damien Kelly anytime from here on.