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Dive Review of Divers International/Sofitel in
Red Sea/Sharm El Sheikh

Divers International/Sofitel, Aug, 2002,

by David Bryan, Bucks, UK . Report 223.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving USA (FL & NC, Carribean, Mexico, Hawaii
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 70 to 75 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions All group dives with a divemaster and group all in buddy pairs. Mainly drift dives and depth restricted to 25m (81ft).
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments Accomodation at the Sofitel was good. I live in the UK so travel was fairly easy.
Decided to use dive operation on site as web site looked good and had own jetty at hotel. In reality had to be bused to town to get the boat. Logistics were poor and often it was an hour or two from meeting at the hotels dive center to the boat actually sailing. Two dive trip could mean meeting at 8.45am and not being back at the hotel until about 6.00pm - an appalling waste of time. Lunch and drinks on boat weren't too bad but cost extra.
All gear has to be transferred into plastic crates and they look after it and take to the boat every day. They never lost anything but it never looked that reliable a system. Sometimes had to wait up to 45 mins after getting back to hotel before gear arrived so that I could rinse it.
On one three dive trip we decided to sit out the second dive. After lunch we just sailed back to port. When I asked what was happening they said not enough people wanted to do the third dive. We had been at the dive center for 7.45 and got back at about 4.30 so all that for just one dive.
Coral looked in poor condition in many places. Saw no large pelagics at all. Only large fish was a good sized napoleon wrasse. Smaller fish more plentiful but overall I was disappointed. On one occasion I counted 14 boats moored at the same site for lunch - each capable of carrying 25 divers. Its just too much. Ports are a zoo as well with too many boats for the jetty space.
On the last day I wanted to just do a shore dive. I had snorkelled over the "house reef" and it looked quite good. Max depth about 25-30 ft but they wouldn't let me dive it without a dive master at a $30 charge because I didn't have advanced certification. A few harsh words were exchanged but they wouldn't budge.
Overall a nice place with very friendly people but they need to get their act together with the diving or they are going to kill their main attraction. If you are going I would suggest trying Red Sea Diving College or Camel club or Ocean College - all were recommended to me by others as better run.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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