Undersea gardens at Sharm el-Sheikh

In Sharm el-Sheikh the talk was of sharks.  A few weeks earlier four tourists were attacked and the beaches and reefs closed.  They were reopened and a German woman was killed in 2 feet of water off the Hyatt hotel, very close to where we were staying.  A satirical website is Serbia reported that a cannonballing fat Serbian tourist landed on, and killed, the shark.  Croat and Russian papers picked it up and published it as fact, much to the delight of Serbs.  When I got back to Belgrade a staffer asked me if I had met the Serbian “Hero of Sharm.”

At Naama Bay, north of the town, the beach rules were confusing.  Several hotel beaches flew red flags, “no swimming.”  Others, next door, flew a green flag.  The Marriott was neutral, flying no flag.  I went into the water for a short while one day and enjoyed swimming with the colorful fish. Diving was closed the first two days we were in Sharm which meant that more people than usual booked the submarine tours of the reefs.  We took a sub tour. To get to the dock we traveled in a minibus.  The driver had the music cranked up in a way that I would have considered anti-social in Anchorage.  The bus was crowded and I was pressed up against a door.  The door vibrated passing the rhythm through my whole body.

I think the submarine company lost a bet by not painting its boats yellow.  What a marketing ploy that would be.  The sub never fully submerged, but we were down a few meters and could look at the reefs from the side and watch fish side on.  I actually liked the glass bottom boat we took a couple of days later more because we looked down on the reefs and the light was better, coming from the top, showing off the coral colors.  But in the glass bottom boat we looked mostly at the top of fish not their colorful sides.  Off Naama Bay there are three protected coral gardens.  You can rent a glass bottomed canoe to paddle the gardens on your own.  Of course you could snorkel or dive but because of the sharks no one was doing that when we were there.

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