Hurghada is one of the coastal city of Egypt on the west coast of Red Sea. Red Sea is a world famous destination for snorkeling and sea-diving due to its warm crystal clear water with corals and its diversity of marine life, but majority of these diving spots are centered around the island of Ras Mohammad near the east coast in the vicinity of famous resort destinations like Sharm-el-Sheikh and Dahab. Hurghada is not as famous as Dahab or Sherm-el-Shiekh, but it is growing very fast as a dive destination in Egypt. Its less famous name makes it a perfect destination for snorkeling and diving at a relatively lower cost in comparison to Dahab and Sherm-el-Sheikh.
I arrived in Hurghada from nearby Luxor city in the afternoon. My sole purpose to visit Hurghada was the snorkeling, but I was not aware of any diving center. There are lot of information available on the internet and all of those centers charge around 100-120 USD for one day snorkeling. I thought to explore the city in the evening to get a good deal for snorkeling. Meanwhile, I also asked at the front desk of my hotel to arrange a snorkeling trip and they told me that they would confirmed that by the evening.
In the evening, the front desk executive informed that I was booked for a snorkeling trip on the next day and it would cost me about 120 EGP. I was asked to be ready by 0730 in the next morning. I was happy with the deal, as it again saved me about 500 EGP from my estimated cost, just like in Abu Simbel and as well as in Edfu, Kom Ombo and Abydos. I paid the amount in advance and went to explore the Hurghada city.
I wanted to move along the sea on any of the beaches. From the hotel window, they appeared within 500 meters , but I kept walking along the coast for nearly 3 kms and to my surprise, I didn’t get any access to the beaches from anywhere. Then, I called one of my local friend in Hurghada, whom I met during the trip to Abu Simbel. She informed that all the beach areas of Hurghada are the private properties, so there is no accessibility for the general public, unless you are staying in any of the coastal resort.
I also didn’t see any public transport in the city. Some micro-buses were running there as a local transport, but I didn’t have any idea of them. Disappointed, I walked around the city, but couldn’t find any other exciting attraction in that booming resort town. I reached to a newly built mosque, known as Hurghada Mosque. It was the only significant architectural monument that I found in Hurghada. I kept walking in the market randomly. The city has a nice market to enjoy variety of cuisines and other shopping items.
Next morning, a van picked me from the hotel. Some people were already in the van. We went to pick some other people and then, reached to a luxury resort on the coast. There were about 10-12 people in our group. As I said earlier that, to access a beach in Hurghada, you have to approach a private resort and thus, we were there at that resort. We accessed the beach from that resort. We went to a shop to collect our equipments for the snorkeling. We got a fin, a dive mask and a snorkel from that shop. Renting those equipments was the part of the package.
Everybody collected their own set of gears and then we moved towards the docking area. Many small as well as big yachts were parked in the docking area. We boarded a yacht from there and moved towards the Giftun Island in the sea.
There were lot of yachts and luxury boats moving all around with the tourists. I haven’t seen such beautiful boats before that trip.
The vast expanse of Red Sea was changing color at every step. Water in the sea is crystal clear with blue, green and light yellow colors at different locations.
Our instructor explained us the method of snorkeling and informed us that there would be three snorkeling session. They asked us to rent the buoyancy/wet suits, that cost us 35 EGP. In the absence of prior knowledge, many of us opted for that. Later, I realized that in the warm water of the Red Sea, there is no need to opt for those suits. You can enjoy snorkeling without the suits also.
We reached to a beach known as Paradise Beach on Giftun Island. Hundreds of people were already there. Many of them were basically not interested in snorkeling. They were just lying down on the sand and enjoying the sun bath, like other popular beaches. Some were taking the bath in the sea and others were walking around with their snorkels and other equipments.
Our first snorkeling session was planned near the Paradise Beach. I went in the sea with the snorkel and started to swim with the help of the fin. Since, it was my first snorkeling attempt, I could not able to swim properly with the snorkel pipe outside the water and eyes inside the water. I struggled a lot and finally able to swim for 15 minutes continuously. I saw some colorful fishes and felt in the love with the underwater world.
But, that was only the trailer of the incredible experiences of snorkeling I had that day. Second session of snorkeling was in the middle of sea, far away from the beaches. I saw many colorful fishes in that session and it was a thrilling experience.
After that, we had the lunch on board. Menu was very simple including rice, noodles and chicken with soft drinks. By that time, we all became very friendly with each other, so in the middle of the sea, we enjoyed our lunch.
Suddenly, our instructor threw a piece of chicken in the air, and some birds came from nowhere to get that piece. After that we threw many pieces one by one and a large group of birds started following our yacht in the sea.
We moved to an area, where water color was green. The instructor told us that the green color shows the presence of corals under the water. There were an extensive presence of corals in that area. And It became the most amazing snorkeling session of the day. Best was left for the last. I wish I could had the underwater camera at that moment !
We enjoyed that session for about 45 minutes and returned back towards the coast.
We returned back to the resort by 5 o’clock in the evening and handed over our gears to the shop. Then the same van dropped us one by one to our respective hotels. I enjoyed the whole day very much. Snorkeling in Red Sea was one of the most memorable experience of my life.
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