Last summer, Newcastle University’s Sub Aqua Club (NUSAC) hosted an expedition to Egypt and Jordan. 16 members of the club took part in the 7-day trip which began in Egypt, before heading to Jordan, where the travellers visited Petra, one of the seven wonders of the world.
The team were based in Dahab, located on the South East coast of the Sinai Peninsula, 50 miles north of the popular holiday destination, Sharm El-Sheikh.
Dahab is considered, by many, to be one of the most treasured diving destinations in the world. The group from Newcastle had the chance to experience this first hand.
The Blue Hole, found just 5km north of Dahab, is Egypt’s most infamous dive site consisting of a giant sinkhole that drops straight down towards the ocean floor.
Club President Paul Whitworth described the experience, “the visibility was amazing, the coral is beautiful and we dove some of the most wanted sites in world.”
The reef reaches depths of about 120m, too deep for the students to fully explore but an amazing experience nonetheless, according to Whitworth. “Obviously we can’t dive down that far, but even getting there and being able to see down is just fantastic.”
The expedition then headed to Jordan where the group visited Petra, named amongst the seven wonders of the world. The group posed for pictures in front of the UNESCO World Heritage Site which is thought to date back to as early as 312BC.
The team then travelled by 4x4 and spent time in the desert where they bonded over other activities such as camel rides, sandboarding and staying in a traditional Bedouin tent.
Paul said: “We didn’t all know each other before we went.
“Some people hadn’t met until we all got to the airport and by the end of it we were just like best mates.
“If you’re not a diver don’t worry, you can go snorkelling rather than diving, or we teach it before hand through our ocean diving course in Easter.
If you are a diver, come along and feel free to join in.
It’s a massive group of friends and you come away as a group with something special to remember.”
The club predominantly dive locally in the North Sea and often head north to Scotland to dive at the Farne Islands. He added: “With diving in the UK it’s quite cold water so whilst it does appeal to people who want to go and see the seals, when we’re diving abroad it’s warm water diving, it’s a lot less strenuous and there’s a bit more to see.”
The recent attack on a Russian plane over the Egyptian desert have heightened security worries in the region. The club remain keen to repeat the trip. Paul said:
“Last year we had an armed guard who took us from Sharm to Dahab which was very secure and one you get to your complex you’re nice and safe.”