My earliest trips to the Red Sea were immediately after the Six-day War had concluded. We dove with an operator out of Amman, Jordan, diving the twelve-mile coast between Aqaba and the Saudi border. The treasure of the trip was that we drove from Amman, the capitol to Aqaba via Petra, “The Rose-Red City half as old as Time.” YouTube video. We also explored the sites where the film “Lawrence of Arabia” had been filmed, and drank cool fruit smoothies at the “Omar Sharif Bar.”
The marine life was superb, with more flamboyant lionfish than I have seen before or since. The reef topography was a sloping dropoff, which limited the dramatic possibilities. After three years, I met Howard Rosenstein. Howard had set up the Red Sea Diving Center at Sharm el Sheikh, on the very tip of the Sinai Peninsula. The diving here was superb—dramatic drop-offs, big animals and a multitude of smaller, intensely colorful reef creatures. For years we worked together to get divers to see the wonders of the Red Sea. Howard eventually got a live-aboard and ended up diving in the Indian Ocean at the Seychelles and Aldabra.
By then, I had discovered the diving between Port Sudan and the Egyptian border—in those days undiscovered and unspoiled. Best of all, we had the only boat offering it.
Succeeding years have brought many more boats, crowded dive sites and some degradation of the marine life, but I will never forget those pioneering days when the Red Sea was all ours!
A YouTube video on the Red Sea.
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