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Diving the Egyptian Red Sea

Since I don't actually dive, Mark picked this one up (again on eBay) as a possible reference to the many dive sites in and around the Red Sea (the Sinai Peninsula and farther south).

It is not a travel book, per se, but offers at least the basics of traveling and booking a diving vacation on the Red Sea, hotel and food options, and general info about getting to the Red Sea and where to head for. The real meat of the book, of course, are detailed descriptions of the dozens of fabulous dive sites along the coast, including the Ras Mohammad park and some of the most populated reefs in the world.

We were told that if we went diving in the Red Sea, it would spoil us for every other diving site in the world. A few people said that the reefs and the fish here make the Great Barrier Reef - the holy grail of tropical fish - look pale in comparison.

The sites are well-described, with the expected level of expertise required to dive it, the depths, and access points carefully lined out. The available schools for PADI certification, contacts for live-aboards (which go out to major dive sites for several days at a time), and hotels with private sites are also listed.

Sharm el Sheikh is a popular diving destination, and we were told there that since the sites and companies change, it is probably best to contact a reputable diving company for detailed information before planning a trip to dive. The book can give you an idea where you want to head -- wreck diving, tropical fish viewing, caves, etc -- and then you can work with the diving company to set up the excursions. Unfortunately, since our timing didn't work out to leave us enough time to dive and then fly again (experts recommend 12-24 hours between), we did not go diving in Sharm.

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