Hurghada Travel Blog› entry 3 of 4 › view all entries
By now, I had spent several weeks on board. As the only female crew in a Muslim country with Muslim crew, I had to be given my own cabin: the rest of the crew was up in the bow, aside from the captain (in the wheelhouse) and the videographer (in his editing room). The crew was all Egyptian, other than the Dutch Captain and Greek videographer, and some spoke little, or no, English. I learned some key phrases, like 'how are you', 'I'm fine', 'I don't want to go there', 'I want to stay here', 'don't take my picture', and how to count to one hundred. My job was to do most of the dive briefings, and guide some of the dives (the captain and videographer also went in on some of them, so that none of us had to dive more than 3 times in a day), as well as oversee Nasser, the host. That didn't jive very well: a female overseeing an Egyptian male! Several times, I had to go through the captain instead, because he wouldn't listen to me (no, it's not okay to use the vaccum to get the crumbs off the table!). It was early to bed, and early to rise: I was up around 5:30 to get things prepared for the morning dive (unfortunately, there was no Diet Coke, I had to rely on Diet Pepsi to get my caffeine buzz going).
Some groups were a lot of fun. One week, we had a photographer who had to photograph a pretend underwater wedding, for a advertisement contract with a jewellry company. He had brought along wedding dress, tuxedo, priest's collar, as well as some of his friends to act the part! There were some guests that I really bonded with, even a couple that I still keep in touch with now.
There were also a few that were impossible to please. And we had constant complaints about the cooking (an American cook would have helped, but we just had one Egyptian after another, trying to cook to please Americans, when they had never been there). And the standards just weren't the same: I once went into the galley to find the cook with his shirt off, smoking a cigarette- ew!
The diving was phenomenal, the best diving I've experience so far. Beautiful soft corals, incredibly diverse marine life (spanish dancers, crocodile fish, lionfish, clownfish, the occasional hammerhead, tons of brightly coloured nudibranchs). We also had a couple wrecks we went to. I'm not normally too interested in wrecks, but the one was the Thistlegorm, a WWII cargo vessel that was bombed at anchor. It still had rows of motorbikes and jeeps in the holds. The other was the Salem Express. It had a sad history with it: it hit the reef and sank with all its passengers on the way to Mecca one year. The lifeboats were still in their davits.
And one amazing week, we swam with dolphins! They usually will play near the bow of the boat when it's moving, but take off once it stops. But they stayed around, so we all jumped in with masks and snorkels. They stayed and played with us forever! They'd stay just out of arms length: diving down when you did, it was so incredible. We all drifted so far from the boat, they had to send the Zodiac to come and get us.
And I had my buddy, Paullywolly (well, I called him that, everyone else just called him Paul), on board. He was the videographer, and such a fun guy. We'd take off our fins and dance underwater in the sand (it's like you're on the moon, so you can have really great kung-fu fights!), and hangout with a beer sometimes at night.