Days 278a Red Sea Beach Camp
Supposedly we are to board a ferry to cross the Gulf of Aqaba and continue your journey to Egypt (approx 2 hrs) unaccompanied by our awesome group leader Mohammed 1.0. You’ll be met by our new Egyptian leader (also named Mohammed) on arrival in Nuweiba. The fast ferry can be cancelled without notice. On some trips we have to take the slow ferry which can take anywhere between 3-5hrs. On the rare occasion when the ferry is cancelled arrangements may be made to travel via Israel to reach Egypt overland. However, we discover our ferry has been delayed by 14 hours and is scheduled to go at midnight. So we are waiting now to see what plan B is.
Plan B turns out to be… sadly the same as Plan A… so we get 3 hotel rooms to day share and explore the sights of the city of Aqaba… but not too far sadly in case there is a change to our ferry departure time. Oh well… stuff happens.
Days 278b Red Sea Beach Camp
So when we leave at last to board the midnight ferry going aannyyywheerrre, the crossing itself is reported to be rough on occasions but was actually fairly calm. The ferry itself is, hkwever, particularly seedy… especially the toilets which… thankfully I used as I boarded. They don’t flush. Apparently towards the end of our deep dark crossing of doom they were brimming with a soup of mixed urine and various people’s poop. Soooo glad I missed out on that particular experience. Now, having gotten an entire 80 mins of sleep before we departed at 2.20am, I play a few mobile games and read and drink my 9mm giant bullet shaped energy drink while i keep watch over my travel buddies. Then 7 of 11 of us who need visas leave separately after we dock at 5.20am, only for me to be temporarily stopped when the security scanner guy is baffled by the mysterious complexities of my padlocks… not what was inside… just the locks. Shrugging we leave that malarkey and wait even longer without luggage awaiting the visa folks to awake and serve us. We are finally sufficiently visa-ed up and return to the ship to collect our luggage with Intrepid representative Mohammed 2.0. Then… bleary eyed and super cranky at the world (well me anyway… 80 mins of sleep FAST catches up with me) we head out to meet our actual tour leader, Mohammed 3.0.
Day 279… So finally we travel by van to our Red Sea beach camp complete with armed police escort (approx 30 mins) at about 5:30 am… exhausted, tired and very, very, ridiculously cranky.
This is a harsh and barren land of sprawling windswept plains and rugged mountains, but it’s also home to some fantastic beaches. The tiny settlement of our beach camp is reminiscent of its Sinai neighbours, Dahab and Sharm el-Sheik, before mass tourism arrived. Thankfully the camp is still a hidden gem for Intrepid groups. Set on one of the only stretches of fine golden sand along this coast, this is a place that you’ll be raving about to your friends for years to come.
We stay in simple but comfortable beach huts with the water literally right at our front door. The huts in our camps are made from local palm trees and mine has a queen sized beds, electricity, linen and mosquito nets. The toilets and showers are in a communal block. All of which is lost to me as I immediately fall literally into bed and a deep, sound sleep for 3 hours.
Its a real shame we couldnt be here earlier as the Red Sea coast is justifiably famous for its beautiful scenery, both above and below the water. After an amazing mid-morning brunch, it’s a short drive to Dahab, where the rest of the day is free to take in the many treats the village has to offer; cafes, seafood and snorkelling in the Red Sea. Dahab is famous for its drop-offs, spectacular coral reefs that plunge vertically into the deep blue depths below, which is something I will partake of on the morrow old boy.
After a kip and a late lunch of ginormous proportions and a quick souvenir shop, we meet for dinner with our guide Mohammed 3.0 (& I chat with the head of the diving shop Mohammed 4.0 to sort my dive tomorrow). At dinner, as we dine, cats are everywhere! They seem to follow me a lot over here… from Petra to Dahab i am the cat whisperer. However they are literally everywhere here are doing 1 cheeky bugger leapt on our table, ran across Jew’s food and stole Maddie’s steak! Hilarious stuff… then one took a little of my (thankfully finished) chicken cesar salad… lols.