Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Couple sun-bathing on the lower deck of a small yacht used for tourists off the shore of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Couple sun-bathing on the lower deck of a small yacht used for tourists off the shore of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Couple on the lower deck of the yacht off the shore of Sharm el Sheikh in the Red Sea in Egypt. Sharm El Sheikh sees a large number of tourists from Europe and other parts of the Northern Hemisphere during the winter months, times when these lands are groaning under the snow and ice of winter while the weather in Sharm el Sheikh is perfect, with sun, beaches and perfect temperature water. Part of the activities at Sharm El Sheikh deals with making a trip to the various coral formations off the shore of Sharm El Sheikh (these are protected areas with restrictions on commercial shipping and fishing in order to preserve the coral formations), and since the journey can take some time, a number of tourists take the time to get some sun. Also, this is one of the few regions of Egypt (which is otherwise a conservative Islamic country) where tourists can wear a bikini or swimwear and not cause raised eyebrows.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Snorkeling mask, air pipe and life vest at the water surface at Sharm el Sheikh

Snorkeling mask, air pipe and life vest at the water surface at Sharm el Sheikh

One of the biggest pleasures of the water at Sharm el Sheikh is the coral reefs. They provide an incredible assortment of reef, colorful and other marine creatures that visitors come a long distance to see. Visitors can do either of 2 activities - they can put on scuba diving equipment and dive to slightly deeper sections and enjoy the marine life there, including the viewing of sharks and dolphins; or you can do snorkeling on the surface near the coral reefs. If you are doing snorkeling and are a beginner, it is recommended that you have the protective gear such as safety vests (unless you are a good swimmer), snorkeling tubes and the goggles (the safety vests are useful for beginners since the water depth can be 15 feet or more, enough to drown you if you are not careful). The photo shows a young man having all these protective equipment and also clutching onto a rubber tube for added safety and flotation. Doing snorkeling and admiring the beauty of the coral reef can be really incredible. We had taken a water proof camera and were able to take a number of shots of the area.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Monday, December 24, 2012

A view of the sea near Sharm el Sheikh - liked the shine in the sea

A view of the sea near Sharm el Sheikh - liked the shine in the sea

The sea near Sharm el Sheikh is very attractive. This was a scene where we were on a tourist ship, heading towards the coral reefs for some snorkeling. This was fairly warm water, and it was fun just standing there and watching the sea pass by while we whizzed by at some speed (not too much speed, but when you are standing on the lower deck and looking at the water going by, it can seem that the water is going by at some speed). There was a shine on the water surface that was pretty interesting, and you can see it in this photo, a shine or glimmer on the surface of the water.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Head and upper body of a Bottle Nose Dolphin emering from the water in the Red Sea near Sharm el Sheikh

Head and upper body of a Bottle Nose Dolphin emering from the water in the Red Sea near Sharm el Sheikh

The Red Sea is one of the smaller seas of the world, connecting the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea (almost touching the Mediterranean, this connection was made with the construction of the Suez Canal), but has some exceedingly beautiful coral formations in the shallower parts of the Red sea. Portions of these shallower coral formations are found in the Ras Mohammed marine park (a protected stretch of water containing a number of beautiful coral formations). We were on our way to the coral formations from the Sharm el Sheikh coastline in a tour ship run by one of the operators over there, and on the way we came across a pod of Bottle Nose dolphins; coming across this pod was a treat and we spent some time around the location of these dolphins (along with many other ships that also landed up in the area) until the dolphins made their move and got out of the area.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A submerging bottle nose dolphin in the Red Sea off the coast of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

A submerging bottle nose dolphin in the Red Sea off the coast of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

A Bottle nose dolphin, with the body of the dolphin almost fully submerged. The only part of the dolphin visible above water was the fin of the dolphin, which had not yet gone below water. This was one of the dolphins that were part of a small pod of dolphins (not sure about the size of the pod since we could see only 3 dolphins at the max at any point of time). This was off the shore of the tourist town of Sharm el Sheikh at the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt. Control of the town has tossed between Egypt and Israel twice over the past 60 years, but now is fully under control of Egypt. Over the past 40 years, there has been a concerted effort to promote tourism in Sharm, especially related to the waters of the Red Sea along with the incredible coral formations in the region that attract snorkeling and scuba diving. While on the way to the coral formations, we came across this pod of Dolphins, providing a fascinating beginning to the trip. It was not only us, in front of us, there was another ship that had spotted this pod, and our ship and many other ships behind us all started circling the pod of dolphins until they tired of all the attraction and dived under the water.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Bottle nose dolphin above water in the Red Sea off the shore of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Bottle nose dolphin above water in the Red Sea off the shore of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

One of the prime attractions of the tourist town of Sharm el Sheikh is the sea, the Red Sea. Sharm el Sheikh is located at the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, and control of the Sinai was transferred between Israel and Egypt after 2 wars in the region. During the control of Israel of the Sinai, there were efforts made to ensure that tourism in the region was developed; this was continued after the Sinai was returned back to Egypt where the efforts to develop tourism was continued and there was the demarcation of the Ras Mohammed marine park as a protected area, in order to ensure that there was no fishing in the area, no commercial shipping, nothing that could impact the coral formations in the area. These coral formations now form the backbone of tourism in the area, since the coral reefs and their colorful fish attract snorkeling and scuba diving; further in the Red Sea there are multiple variety of dolphins. While heading to the coral formations, we were lucky to to come across a small school of dolphins and were able to see these dolphins at fairly close quarters for a few minutes before they decided to submerge and vanished from view.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Bottle nose dolphin in the Red Sea off Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Bottle nose dolphin in the Red Sea off Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

The main attraction in the Sharm el Sheikh and other Egyptian resorts on the Red Sea is the water and the weather. Temperate weather all year ensures that people flock here during holiday season in other regions, especially in Europe and Russia. Sharm el Sheikh is easily accessible with a large number of people arriving her through charter flights, and through other airlines as well. Once here, you can relax in resorts, enjoy the water of the beaches (fairly long beaches). The other attraction of the location is the coral formations located fairly close to Sharm el Sheikh, primarily in the Ras Mohammed marine park (a protected marine habitat where fishing and commercial traffic are banned, where people are prohibited from feeding fish and also from picking up any coral); tourists head there in yachts and small ships run by tour operators to do snorkeling and scuba diving (snorkeling is done in places which are shallow while scuba diving is done in places that are deeper). While on the way to the coral formations, we encountered something which was incredible. We came across a small school of bottle nose dolphins, and soon there were a number of ships all around these dolphins, with cameras out in full and people admiring the view. However, after around 15 minutes, they dived and were soon out of view.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Tourists relaxing on the deck of a yacht in the Red Sea off Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Tourists relaxing on the deck of a yacht in the Red Sea off Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

The Red Sea is a fairly narrow sea compared to other seas or oceans, being bounded by Asia on one side and Africa on the other side and being a channel that goes through them. In addition, the parts near the tourist town of Sharm el Sheikh are even narrower, and there are a number of coral formations near Sharm, with these coral formations attracting a large number of tourists. The Red Sea can be very deep in parts, with an average depth of 490m, but is also famous for some shallow regions that have coral formations. These coral formations provide a magnet for tourism in the region, since the shallower coral formations let tourists enjoy snorkeling while the slightly deeper coral formations and reefs providing an extensive location to enjoy scuba diving. Tourists are taken to the site of these coral formations in the Ras Mohammed park (declared protected locations to prevent shipping and to prevent the creation of resorts nearby) through the use of yachts or small ships such as can be seen in this photo. The temperate weather also ensures that getting into the water is not a problem throughout the year.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Sunday, December 09, 2012

Small ship heading towars the coral formations off Sharm el Sheikh in the Red Sea in Egypt

Small ship heading towars the coral formations off Sharm el Sheikh in the Red Sea in Egypt

This is a familiar sight off the waters of Sharm El Sheikh (located near the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula in the Red Sea in Egypt). The water here is great, and the temperate weather of the region ensures a steady inflow of tourists (there are a number of tourists who come here through charter flights from Europe, especially in winter where the weather in large parts of Europe is very cold). This is a photo from February, and as you can see, the temperature seems just fine. Off the shore of Sharm el Sheikh, at a short distance, there are a number of coral formations that draw tourist to them for the purpose of snorkeling and scuba diving (for shallow areas, it is snorkeling, while for deeper waters, it is scuba diving). The coral ensures that the marine life over there is rich and vivid, and yet the amount of danger is very low. Tourists are taken to these coral formations through small ships and yachts, and what you see in this photo is one such ship carrying tourists. It is a lot of fun, with the experience of the ship also being something that a number of people may not have experienced.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Blue water and limestone cliffs at the Red Sea off the shore of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Blue water and limestone cliffs at the Red Sea off the shore of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

The waters off Sharm el Sheikh can be really beautiful. Sharm el Sheikh is located near the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, and boasts of some great weather (and more importantly for tourists, the weather here remains temperate during the freezing and icy winter months for Europe and North America). The sea coast here is extended and provides some great sun and tanning for tourists. The location of Sharm el Sheikh on the Sinai peninsula, on the Red Sea is very strategic. As a result of this location, Sharm was developed as a naval base by the Egyptian army, and was also conquered twice by the Israelis during the combat with their neighbors; and was returned to the Egyptians as part of peace settlements. For the past 40+ years, the Egyptians have been developing Sharm el Sheikh as a tourist location, and the water, the shore line, and the coral formations make this a much visited tourist location. Tourists from all over come here, including many who come here but do not visit the monuments of ancient Egypt.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Saturday, December 08, 2012

Multiple ships heading out from Sharm port to the coral formations in the Red Sea in Egypt

Multiple ships heading out from Sharm port to the coral formations in the Red Sea in Egypt

Sharm el Sheikh is a town located near the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt. The town is fairly recent in importance, with the strategic history of the town only being present for the past few decades. Starting near the 1950's, the strategic location of the town meant that the Egyptian navy started using it as a base; and then in the 1956 war with Israel it was captured and then released back to the Egyptians in 1957. Similarly, in the 1973 war, the Sinai was captured and was released back to Egypt in 1982 as part of the peace agreement. Over a period of time, the town was developed into a tourist location, helped by the long stretches of beach, the great weather, and the incredible coral formations in the sea. These coral formations in turn help develop an incredible environment of different types of fish, which has been used by the Government to drive the whole area as a tourism magnet, especially related to snorkeling and scuba diving. A large number of ships head out to the coral formations on a daily basis, taking tourists for their adventures.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Tourists at the upper level of the small ship at the Red Sea in Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Tourists at the upper level of the small ship at the Red Sea in Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

In previous photos, I have described how these small ships set off from Sharm el Sheikh to the coral formations where tourists can go off for snorkeling or scuba diving. For tourists who have come in from Europe or North America and are shivering from the cold in their native lands in winter, the weather in Sharm el Sheikh was great. In winter, you can easily get into the waters of the Red Sea without any issue, the water temperature is great. One of the prime attractions of Sharm el Sheikh are the coral formations, located at a short distance from the port of Sharm. These coral formations are grouped together into a marine park, declared to be a protected environment by the Egyptian Government to ensure that the wonderful formations created over here over the millenia don't get disturbed due to shipping (one oil slick in the region could end up spoiling large sections of coral). Tourists are welcome in this region, but the operators are given strict instructions over how to ensure conservation; tourists are taken close to the coral formations in small ships such as the one in the photo and then are taken from there by a guide.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Friday, December 07, 2012

Ships around a dolphin in the waters of the Red Sea around Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Ships around a dolphin in the waters of the Red Sea around Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

One of the most interesting aspects of going to Sharm el Sheikh (located near the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula in east Egypt) is the presence of the Red Sea. The Red Sea and the coral formations found nearby provide this place with a great deal of beauty (besides of course providing an excellent climate which attracts a large number of tourists when their own countries are in the grip of cold winters). These coral formations are now under the protection of the Egyptian Government with no development allowed nearby, control of marine traffic in these areas, and a tourist driven economy that has a significant stake in ensuring that the coral reserves and marine life in the area remain in a protected condition. Tourists make the journey from the shore to the coral formations through small ships or yachts, and it takes some amount of time. In one such trip, one of the ships detected a small school of dolphins and went close, which meant that soon there were a number of such ships that were around the dolphins, showing them off to the admiring tourists on board.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Small ship loaded with tourists heading off towards the coral formations in the Red Sea off Sharm el Sheikh

Small ship loaded with tourists heading off towards the coral formations in the Red Sea off Sharm el Sheikh

When you see images of Sharm el Sheikh, you mostly see photos of water. After all, the major attraction of this tourist town on the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula is that it provides a lot of water for tourists to enjoy. Tourists come here for the excellent temperate weather (imagine that it is January or February in Europe, very cold, and you see this incredible place that is not cold or hot, where you can enter the water of the sea), some great beaches, and a lot of attention paid to finding locations where you can do scuba diving or snorkeling (the coral formations provide an environment for a lot of beautiful colored fish, providing ideal locations for snorkeling in shallower waters, and providing great locations for scuba diving when the water is deeper). There are a number of small ships and yachts that serve to take tourists to these locations, providing facilities for eating and drinking while on the path to these coral formations, and then being the base when indulging in snorkeling or scuba diving.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Float marking a point in the Red Sea off the town of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Float marking a point in the Red Sea off the town of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Sharm el Sheikh is a major tourist attraction on the shore of the Red Sea, near the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt. This is different from the rest of the towns that attract tourists in Egypt, most of which are geared towards showcasing the tremendous historical heritage of ancient Egypt, the structures created by the pharaohs from 35-45 centuries back. Those highlight the architecture from those times, and are the ones that also draw most of the tourists. Sharm is more important that it provides a different sort of tourist experience, and the way that we had structured our trip was that we spent the major part of our trip seeing and admiring the monuments of ancient Egypt (and some of those monuments are indeed incredible, such as when you stand in front of the Pyramids, you admire the incredible size and magnificence of such an immense structure), and then we would head over to Sharm el Sheikh (either by road or by flight) where it was all about fun and recreation (and it was indeed fun, especially the snorkeling in those coral formations). This is a photo of a float which we passed by while on a small tourist ship along with other tourists, heading towards the coral formations. I don't know the purpose of this float, but it could be a milestone in the water.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Reflection of the waters of the Red Sea off the shore of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Reflection of the waters of the Red Sea off the shore of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Being in Sharm el Sheikh is very different from the rest of the main places in Egypt (such as the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel, etc) in the sense that all these places show the monuments that highlight the prominence and importance of ancient Egypt (especially the power of the pharaohs and the architecture they had created so long back - 35 to 45 centuries back). Most visitors to Egypt come to see these monuments, and most tourist packages also highlight trips to such monuments; there are few such trips that tourists take to go visit Sharm el Sheikh. At the same time, there are a large number of tourists who do know about the attractions of Sharm el Sheikh, such as the temperate weather that does not go into the 40's that other parts of Egypt reach during the summer; the beaches, and most of all, the presence of the large number of marine life, drawn by the coral beaches (now under government protection to ensure that these natural structures do not get impacted in any way) that also provide venues for people to do snorkeling or scuba diving. This photo is a reflection of the Red Sea as seen in the window of one of the yachts that take tourists to the various scuba diving or snorkeling locations.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Front portion of a neighboring yacht along with others off the coast of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Front portion of a neighboring yacht along with others off the coast of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Sharm el Sheikh is a tourist town located near the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt, off the Red Sea. The Red Sea is one of the prime tourist attractions of the area, with the coral formations providing a colorful marine attraction along with the colorful and variety of fish that are found in such locations. Sharm is a fairly recent tourist location; in the 1950's, the strategic location of the town meant that it was an Egyptian naval base. The overall strategic location of the Sinai peninsula meant that it always became a target in the wars that of the region and was twice conquered in wars (in the 1956 and 1973 wars, but was then returned to Egypt in 1957 and 1982 as part of peace settlements). As a part of the tourist attraction, there are a large number of tourists who arrive at this location looking for sun, water, and scuba diving or snorkeling. To take tourists to these watery locations, there are a number of these yachts and small ships that set out from the port and carry tourists in some amount of comfort. This photo was taken in such a ship, taken of the adjoining yacht and numerous other such ships in the region. In the distance, you can see the shoreline and the small hills that dot the horizon.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Young photographer standing on the railing of the ship while on the snorkeling trip in Sharm el Sheikh

Young photographer standing on the railing of the ship while on the snorkeling trip in Sharm el Sheikh

This is a brave guy, standing on the railing of the small ship, getting some good video shots of the tourists. The setting is that of the tourist location of Sharm el Sheikh, located near the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt, off the Red Sea. The place has a complicated history, since its strategic location meant that it was an Egyptian naval base in the 1950's, and was then conquered by the Israelis in the 1956 war, given back the next year, and then again conquered in the 1973 war, and handed back along with the rest of the Sinai peninsula as part of the Camp David Agreement of 1979. Over a period of time, the great weather, the sun, the excellent coral formations in the waters nearby (now as a part of the protected zone) all prove as a great tourist attraction. On the yacht, along with the tourists, there was also this guy who was the photographer and who would take videos (the idea being that we could take videos of the trip and buy such videos; and that is what was offered to us). For the purpose of taking such videos, this guy was even willing to stand on the edge of the ship to get a different overhead perspective.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Yacht tied up at the pier in the town of Sharm el Sheikh at the Red Sea in Egypt

Yacht tied up at the pier in the town of Sharm el Sheikh at the Red Sea in Egypt

The town of Sharm el Sheikh near the southern portion of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt has a large number of yachts and ships over there, the photo just shows one of these. Sharm attracts a number of foreign tourists, especially from Europe arriving in charter flights. The attractions of Sharm includes great sun, and a number of facilities for scuba diving and snorkeling. We had gone there for snorkeling and the routine started with being taken from the resort to the water, getting safety equipment and the snorkeling gear, getting onto a small ship with other tourists who would be going to the same area, getting food on this same ship, and then reaching the snorkeling points (we reached 3 points) where you can have a lot of help. One of the interesting points about this snorkeling was that the guide told us about some hand signals when in the water, and they covered a number of events, but the most interesting was about when somebody asked as to what happens when they see a shark, and the guide said that in that case, you shout help.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Ships buzzing near the shore at the town of Sharm el Sheikh in the Red Sea in Egypt

Ships buzzing near the shore at the town of Sharm el Sheikh in the Red Sea in Egypt

Large number of yachts and small ships near the town of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, at the Red Sea. Sharm el Sheikh is now a tourist own, offering a large number of resorts, access to water, and plenty of snorkeling and scuba diving. Sharm el Sheikh has an interesting history, being used as an Egyptian naval base in the 1960's, and then being conquered by the Israelis twice, first in 1956 and then in 1973. Both times, they were handed back to the Egyptians. It was also during this time that the development of Sharm as a tourist center started taking place, greatly helped by the presence of coral formations in the water near the town (with the entire water around these coral formations now being designated as protected water bodies). Now of course these coral formations attract a large number of people who do snorkeling around these coral formations and enjoy their beauty (these are fairly shallow waters with the maximum depth being around 15-20 feet0 at the point of the coral formations).
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Monday, December 03, 2012

Cruise ship with floats on the side at Sharm el Sheikh on the Red Sea in Egypt

Cruise ship with floats on the side at Sharm el Sheikh on the Red Sea in Egypt

At the port of Sharm el Sheikh in the Sinai peninsula in north-east Egypt, you will always find a large number of ships or yachts. These are mostly run by operators and are not private, primarily meant for taking tourists to either the coral formations for the purpose of snorkeling (and to the destination that we had gone, we had 3 different places where we would get down from the yacht and do snorkeling, all of them near 3 extensive coral formations) or for the purpose of scuba diving. This photo is an example of a yacht that was near the port. Given the busy nature of the port, a number of yachts and ships were not tied up at the pier, but were at a distance, coming to the pier when required. Also, as per safety regulations, these yachts all had to have a certain number of floats (depending on the number of tourists and crew they carried). In the distance, you can see more such yachts and small ships as well as the hills in the background, very close to shore.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Tourists walking on the pier that leads to a yacht at the Red Sea in Sharm el Sheikh

Tourists walking on the pier that leads to a yacht at the Red Sea in Sharm el Sheikh

Sharm el Sheikh is a town near the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula that is famous for being a tourist destination visited by a large number of people every year. As late as the 1950's, the strategic location of Sharm el Sheikh meant that it was being used as a naval base, but after that, the town went through changes in ownership, having been conquered by Israel twice and being returned through treaty. It was being set as a tourist town and with its beaches, coral formations and infrastructure for snorkeling and scuba diving, it draws a large number of visitors on a regular basis. From the pier, people use yachts and small ships to head to the locations for snorkeling and scuba diving, and it can get pretty busy in the morning times when the ships all head out. This is a photo of the pier, with tourists making their way to the various yachts and ships that are headed out. In the background you can see the hills that are very close to the shore at Sharm el Sheikh.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Sunday, December 02, 2012

Large number of ships and yachts starting out from Sharm el Sheikh towards the snorkeling and scuba diving center

Large number of ships and yachts starting out from Sharm el Sheikh towards the snorkeling and scuba diving center

In previous photos, I have described how busy the city of Sharm el-Sheikh can get very busy due to the large number of people who land up there for enjoying the relaxation, want to get a tan at the beach, and do snorkeling and scuba diving. Close by to Sharm el Sheikh are some large coral formations in the Red Sea, protected by the Egyptian Government and hence not going through any degradation. Any idea of how busy the place can be seen from this photo, which shows the yachts and ships that are heading out from the Sharm port. Most of these yachts are full of people who have come here for doing snorkeling and scuba diving, and these coral formations are some distance from the port, making for a hours long trip (these yachts take passengers to the coral formations, provide them guides who help, and also provide food and drink on board). Overall, doing one of these trips is real great, something that the large majority of people who have come there would not have ever done before.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Sleek looking yacht on the shore of a cliff at Sharm el Sheikh in the Red Sea in Egypt

Sleep looking yacht on the shore of a cliff at Sharm el Sheikh in the Red Sea in Egypt

For those people who want to do snorkeling starting from the city of Sharm el Sheikh, the trip we took took us to 3 different snorkeling locations. These locations were not very deep, with the coral formations coming right to the surface of the water, and the water depth at these locations not being more than 15-20 feet. Equipped with safety vests, there is absolutely no danger of drowning in these water levels as long as you don't panic (during all the time that we were in the water, we did not see any kind of large fish, just large colorful fish). The yacht in the photo (and this yacht looks very sleek with its top pulled back) is right next to the cliff. The slope of the cliff looks very unsteady with these boulders, and loose soil visible on the slope of the cliff. One of these stops is a place where the coral formation comes right to the water surface, and there will be a number of ships at close to these points since the tourists congregate at these points.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Saturday, December 01, 2012

Tourists on the yacht that takes people to the snorkeling location in the Red Sea in Egypt

Tourists on the yacht that takes people to the snorkeling location in the Red Sea in Egypt

In the previous photo, I had shown tourists on the yacht that takes people to the snorkeling location. This photo shows a bit more of the yacht (or small cruise ship) that can take a number of tourists. During the busy season, the ships tend to be full, and even while boarding, we could see a large number of people at the pier with yachts coming there to pick up. Once on the yacht, since it takes some time to reach the snorkeling location, people relax on the yacht. Sharm el-Sheikh is a location that has a bit of history, which was captured by the Israelis from Egypt twice in wars, once in the 1956 war and one in the 1973 war as a part of the Sinai peninsula which was captured. Both times, the Sinai peninsula was returned back to Egypt as part of agreements, and the development of Sharm el-Sheikh was helped by both the Israeli and Egyptian governments over the years.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Classic looking boat in the waters of the Red Sea off Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Classic looking boat in the waters of the Red Sea off Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Sharm El-Sheikh (also known in short form as Sharm) is a pretty popular destination for water related stuff such as snorkeling and scuba diving. Most visitors to Egypt go there for the ancient buildings such as the pyramids and the sphinx, and the temple of Abu Simbel along with a number of such monuments in the city of Aswan, but there are many who also know about the attractions that Sharm provides to visitors. Sharm has a great climate, attracting visitors in groups who come here for the beaches, for the water, for the snorkeling and for the scuba diving. If you go to the pier, you will find a number of small ships there, with most of them being like the traditional white yachts, but there are others that are built in a different design, such as this one in the photo, which is made to attract visitors due to the unique colors and design.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Tourists relaxing on the small yacht used to take tourists to the snorkeling and scuba diving

Tourists relaxing on the small yacht used to take tourists to the snorkeling and scuba diving

The environment of Sharm el-Sheikh provides a relaxing vacation, given that it provides a proper tourist location geared towards tourists (a short flight from Europe, separate from the tensions of the region, the Red Sea location, coral, infrastructure for snorkeling and scuba diving). It also provides a great weather during the cold months of the year, since this photo was taken during the months of February, when it is very cold in the region of Europe and North America. This is a photo taken on one of the yachts that take tourists out to snorkeling locations, where tourists can relax on the yacht during the journey to the snorkeling location, which can take some time. The sun provides a great tanning companion to those who want to get sun, something that will be balanced later when they step into the water for snorkeling.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Friday, November 30, 2012

The First Aid center at the pier of Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai peninsula of Egypt

The First Aid center at the pier of Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai peninsula of Egypt

The pier at Sharm El-Sheikh is a fairly busy place. Given the tourist attractiveness of the place as a center for sun, snorkeling and scuba diving, there are a large number of tourists who visit there. Further, given that there is a certain time period in the day when most tourists go to the pier for their snorkeling and scuba diving, there can be a lot of crowd. Also, there is the potential for people to suffer small injuries or other problems such as a scratch due to the coral (trust me, in a couple of areas, they almost reach the water surface and can be pretty sharp), others can suffer breathing problems if they are doing snorkeling for the first time, and in odd cases, there can be attacks by some fish (for example, a couple of years back, there was an attack by some sharks on tourists in the water).
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Couple of ships that carry tourists to the snorkeling or scuba diving areas at Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Couple of ships that carry tourists to the snorkeling or scuba diving areas at Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt

Sharm el-Sehikh is a small town located near the southern region of the Sinai peninsula. The place was located at a strategic place, and became a base for the Egyptian navy in the 1950's. It was then captured by the Israeli army twice over the wars that happened in the region and was finally returned to Egypt as a part of the return of the Sinai in 1982. It was developed as a tourist attraction over the decades, with the Israelis and then the Egyptians both continuing this effort. Now, Sharm el-Sheikh is a place that attracts a large number of tourists from all over who come here to enjoy the snorkeling and scuba diving in the Red Sea, especially with the coral formations that are present in the region and which now enjoy a protected status in order to ensure that the fragile environment of the corals is not threatened. At the same time, there are a large number of ships that take tourists over there, either for scuba diving or for snorkeling.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

The pier at the Sharm el-Sheikh where people are boarding a ship bound for snorkeling

The pier at the Sharm el-Sheikh where people are boarding a ship bound for snorkeling

The city of Sharm el-Sheikh sits at the southern portion of the Sinai Peninsula, one of the Egyptian cities that are located on the shore of the Red Sea. The prime aim of tourists coming here (and a number of tourists charters come here from Europe) is to get the sun, and to enjoy the fun provided by snorkeling and scuba diving in the waters of the Red Sea. It can get pretty crowded during the tourist seasons (and keep in mind that this photo was taken during the month of February) as you can see in this photo. At the pier, there are a number of small boats tied up, all meant to take tourists for a course of snorkeling or scuba diving (the location where scuba diving is done and snorkeling is done are different, so these are typically different ships used for the same purpose). The ship that can be seen in this photo is meant for the snorkeling cruise, and a number of people are lined up for the trip. The course we went for took us to 3 sites for snorkeling, with some amazing coral reefs for us to admire.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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On a boat at the pier of the Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai peninsula in Egypt

On a boat at the pier of the Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai peninsula in Egypt

A number of people who come to Egypt come there driven by the ancient attractions in Egypt - attractions such the Pyramids, the Great Sphinx, the Valley of the Kings, or Abu Simbel. All of these are incredible structures by itself, but when I was traveling with a group, I could see that after visiting some of these structures, they got bored of seeing one historical monument after another. Well, Egypt has one great place to visit that is more of a fun place (not to say that these incredible structures are not fun to visit); it is more of a place to enjoy adventure water sports such as snorkeling and scuba diving. At the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, there is a place known as Sharm el-Sheikh. It has a number of beaches, and also has some extensive coral formations in the waters nearby, in protected areas. Visitors are allowed to do snorkeling and scuba diving in these regions, you need to make an arrangement to take a boat from the pier which will take you to these coral locations. Since the coral location is protected, visitors are prohibited from picking up any coral from the sea (even if the coral has broken off from the main formation) and the tourist guides going along with us enforced this rule.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

People at the pier at the Sharm el-Sheikh resort in the Sinai in Egypt

People at the pier at the Sharm el-Sheikh resort in the Sinai in Egypt

Sharm el-Sheikh is a very famous tourist resort in the Sinai area of Egypt, a tourist destination different from the other historical places that highlight the structures (or temples) of ancient Egypt. Sharm el-Sheikh is located on the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, along the Red Sea (and it is the Red Sea that provides much of the attraction of the area). From time to time, there are a number of international conferences that have taken place here geared towards some sort of peace settlement or the other (for example, there was a lessening of tension between the Indian and Pakistani Governments at a conference held here a few years back). Sharl e-Sheikh is located at a strategic position with respect to the Gulf of Aqaba, and hence it became a major naval base for the Egyptian navy. During the 1956 war, the Israeli army captured it, and it was returned in 1957. Again, in the 1967 war, it was recaptured and then returned back to Egypt as part of the 1979 peace settlement. Now, there are strict environmental laws in place in the city and in the waters around, aimed to increase its attraction as tourist potential, and the coral reefs and others nearby ensure that a number of people come here for the sun, and for snorkeling and scuba diving. The photo shows people heading towards the boats and ship that take them for diving and for snorkeling.
Sharm El Sheikh (New Millennium Collection: North Africa)
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Vast open areas with some small hills and a lot of clouds overhead on the way from Abu Simbel to Aswan

Vast open areas with some small hills and a lot of clouds overhead on the way from Abu Simbel to Aswan

As in some previous photos, you get a view of the terrain on the way from Aswan to Abu Simbel. The terrain is a dry, almost desert kind of view, as you could see in this photo. The distance from Aswan to Abu Simbel is around 260km with most of this route being of a deserted and dry condition. One would not think that this would be true about being a dry place, given the presence of the massive River Nile through this area, but the Nile has been famous in the past as well for fostering greenery on a narrow patch next to the river, but otherwise the most common terrain type is that of a dry place. The photo shows a large plain with a few hills in the distance, and no greenery in the place, just a vast flat area that seems like a desert. However, if you consider that the place is like a desert, the clouds that cover more than half of the sky seem to depict it to be other than a desert and a dry place.
The Mysteries of Abu Simbel: Ramesses II
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shimmer of light as the sunset happens over the horizon on the trip from Abu Simbel to Aswan in Egypt

Shimmer of light as the sunset happens over the horizon on the trip from Abu Simbel to Aswan in Egypt

The journey from Aswan to Abu Simbel can take a fair amount of time, around 3 hours each way. Abu Simbel is a beautiful location, but it is some distance away from Aswan (taking a 3 hour journey on a highway with little traffic; or by flight - but that takes time since you need to check in to Aswan, do the procedures for security, and then disembark at the Abu Simbel airport and then make your way to the temple from the airport; or you can take a cruise from Aswan to Abu Simbel, but that can take even more time). This was on the return journey from Abu Simbel to Aswan. Given the total journey time taken around 6 hours, and if you spend some time at the temple and have left in the morning from Aswan, then on the return journey, you will be close to sunset, and that is why we got these sights of the sunset over the horizon and the shimmer happens.
The Mysteries of Abu Simbel: Ramesses II
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