BDiver distinguishes itself from other travel companies in Egypt in its commitment to being environmentally friendly and providing adventurers with a sense of community on every trip. Omar Awad heads to Ras Mohamed for an alternative summer trip...
Let’s be honest, spending your summers in Sahel is getting a little blasé. You see people you can see in Cairo, while doin the things you can do in Cairo, listening to music you can listen to in Cairo... and you hate all of those things anyway. Step in BDiver. BDiver is a company that organises diving trips all over Egypt in a variety of beautiful spots and, uniquely, BDiver is all about sustainability. Established in June 2013, one of their main tenets is to leave every site in the exact same condition as it was found, and this shows in every aspect of their business. Trading in ostentatious hotel rooms for traditional, simple camping sites, it is certainly a breath of fresh air in a country where taking trips is less about enjoyment, and more about keeping up the pretence that you’re uber trendy and hip.
I was lucky enough to be invited on one of their trips to Ras Mohamed, a beautiful spot in the south of Sinai. I was immediately struck by the landscape of the place. The unique juxtaposition of blue seas and coral reefs with rolling red mountains made a huge impression straight away, and the lack of any buildings, let alone hideous corporate-built compounds, made an extremely welcome change.
We were then shown to our accommodation; a line of white cloth tents. Now, I can practically hear the more metdala3een of you scoffing behind your Macbook Pros, but the tents were spacious, clean, and above all, comfortable. You have to immediately get into your head that this isn’t the kind of holiday where you will sit by the pool in your most expensive sunglasses and Instagram photos of you “getting away from it all.” You really are getting away from it all, you’re going to one of the few unspoiled spots left in Egypt, and the Bedouin locals intend to keep it that way. Once you learn to accept that, you’ll very quickly realise that it’s a rather relaxing feeling to wake up with a soft breeze rolling through, and a view of the ocean that isn’t obstructed by a swimming pool full of screaming kids.
Now, I’m a complete novice when it comes to diving (I went snorkelling once in Sharm when I was 14, and almost drowned in waist high water), so I chose the “Intro to Diving” course, and even though I was essentially treading water, the amount of beauty under the surface was amazing. Huge elaborate coral reefs (some of which are called fire coral and sting, which I learnt the hard way), and the widest variety of fish I had ever seen, of every conceivable shape and colour.
All the dive spots we were taken to were uniquely beautiful; the site opposite to our campsite had wonderfully intricate coral reefs, the Shark Observatory had beautiful rocky tunnels that we swam through, and Yolanda was home to some of the weirdest and most wonderful fish I had ever seen.
Despite the fact that Ras Mohamed is considered something of a diving hotspot, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other activities you can take part in. Other than the obvious snorkelling, there are plenty of other ways to pass the time. For example, volleyball is a rather obvious yet fun way to while away the day, but before 4pm, it’s far too hot to play. And with Sharm El Sheikh just 20km away, you won’t be lost for places to go.
I discovered that something interesting happens when you throw a bunch of relative strangers together into a bus and send them to a remote area in southern Sinai. Very quickly, a community sprung up, and people who’d only known each other for a day were treating each other like best friends. Now, I’m not sure if that’s because of the circumstances of often being the only people around for miles, or something that BDiver themselves have managed to cultivate (probably a bit of both), but it’s damn near impossible to have the petty squabbles that Egyptians are often known for when you’re staring up at the sky at midnight, and the universe is illuminated to the point that you can see the edge of the Milky Way. You sure don’t get that in Sahel...
Find out more about BDiver and their upcoming trips here.