Sinai Dive Club (Sharm El Sheikh)
Member Name: MollyWH
Sinai Dive Club (Sharm El Sheikh)
Advantages: Great staff, excellent teaching methods, beautiful marine life
Disadvantages: The walk from school to Beach!
I travelled to Egypt in May 2007. The main purpose of the holiday, apart from the obvious, was for myself and my boyfriend to complete our PADI Open Water Diving Course.
We browsed online before booking anything to see what sort of price we would have to pay to complete our course. We were looking to stay at the Hilton Sharks Bay hotel and we found that they actually had a Dive Club onsite at the hotel which we thought would be nice and convenient so we booked the holiday and the diving course.
Sinai Dive Club
The Sinai dive club first came about in 1987 in Sharm El Sheikh. There are actually three Sinai Dive Clubs in Sharm El Sheikh which are all located at hotels - Hilton Fayrouz Hotel, Baron Hotel and finally the Hilton Sharks Bay hotel.
Sinai Dive School has more than 25 years of experience of teaching people to dive and 14 years of that experience have been gained in Sharm El Sheikh so if you are looking for a dive school that are familiar with the sites they are diving, then you will certainly get that here.
In total, there are probably no more than 10 instructors that work for the Sinai Dive School which was located at the Hilton Sharks Bay Hotel. On top of this, there was a receptionist as well as a couple of sales people (who would walk around the hotel informing people of their services) and about 10 Egyptian lads who were always on hand to help you with 'kitting up', getting you equipment ready and putting on your wetsuit.
Myself and my boyfriend had just one instructor for all our dives we participated it. Obviously for the Open Water Course, it made sense that we would have the same instructor and we also took part on various dives after passing our course for which we had the same instructor (at our request as he was fantastic!)
We had 2 friends who came away on holiday with us and they are already qualified divers. They used a couple of the other instructors on their dives and couldn't fault them either.
We met all the instructors as we spent quite a bit of time at the dive school and they were all extremely friendly and easy going, you could really feel their passion for diving. It was reassuring to see that every instructor had plenty of experience of diving and their enthusiasm for it was certainly infectious.
Booking The Diving
As we already knew what we wanted to do before we set off on holiday, I contacted the Dive Club through their website and enquired about prices and dates. Upon sending the first email, I was sent a bog standard email stating that they had received my enquiry and would get back to me as quick as they could.
Their correspondence was always quick and polite and despite that fact that their English was not perfect, I managed to book my diving courses over the course of about 3 emails.
I was informed that sometime dive schools allow you to pay the money into their bank account before you arrive, which means you avoid the 10% sales tax which you would have to pay when you get there. I enquired about this and was pleased to find that we were able to do this so it's always worth asking.
About The Dive Club
The Dive Club is located fairly near to the Beach at the Hilton Sharks Bay Hotel. Although the front of the centre looks quite small, it does go back a fair way so is actually bigger than you would have thought after first impressions.
There is a small reception area where we went to on our first day to 'book in'.
Inside, there are two more reception areas and here you can book various dives from the shore and also the boat trips which the dive club offer.
On the left hand side as you walk in there are two 'classrooms' and this is where the theory sessions are held. The classrooms are fairly small and can probably only hold around 6 people comfortably. Inside, there are a few tables and chairs and also a large TV with a DVD and Video player from which the students watch the videos. This is also where we sat our final exam. The second classroom is used as an overflow classroom (if they have more than one course happening at one time) and this room was also used for people to view photographs which the dive school had taken of people doing their dives (which were available for us to buy!)
Out the back of the Dive Club was where all the divers got kitted up. Once you had all the correct equipment, it was stored in a box for you to use until the end of your holiday which was very useful as it means you save time as you don't have to look for equipment that will fit every time you want to dive.
In the kitting up area, there were several seats on which you could sit while putting on your wetsuits etc. In the middle was a large marble wash area where you had to wash out all the equipment once you had finished your dive. There were also several pigeon holes here where you could store your items such as clothes and jewellery while you were diving.
What Does Sinai Dive Club Offer?
Sinai Dive Club has lots to offer anyone who is interested in diving whether you are already fully qualified or totally new to the experience.
Every day at 12.30, guests of the hotel were able to take part in 'Taster Sessions' which are great for people who have never tried scuba diving and would like to see what it is all about. Although this is only done in the pool, meaning that you will not get to see any of the fantastic marine life, it is still a great chance to see how you get on with all the new equipment and will at least give you some sort of idea of whether scuba diving is for you. Best of all, its free so even if you don't like it, you haven't lost anything and at least you can say you gave it a go!
During an Introductory Dive, you will be taken (with an Instructor) to depths of about 5 metres where you will get to experience some breathtaking marine life. There is a house reef onsite at the Hilton Sharks Bay Hotel so even with this dive you will get to see a massive amount of marine life which lives in the corals in front of the diving centre.
All the prices are the dive school are charged in Euros for some reason and an Introductory Dive costs 50 Euros.
Open Water Courses
This is the course that myself and my boyfriend completed while we were in Egypt. Sinai Diving School follow the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) curriculum) and once you have passed the course, your qualification will be internationally recognised. PADI is the world's largest diving organisation, although the others such as BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) are just as professional and train to a similar standard. We chose PADI just because the certification is so internationally recognised and this was the curriculum which the Sinai Dive School followed anyway.
An Open Water Diving Course takes between 3-5 days of training which includes theory as well as five confined water dives and then finishes with four open water dives and a final exam. The confined water dives are made to a maximum of 3 - 4 metres on the beach in front of the diving centre, or in the hotel pool which is 3.5 metres deep.
The first two open water dives are made from the jetty which overhangs the beautiful coral reefs which are just in front of the Dive Club. On the first two dives, you go to a depth of 8-10 metres.
To finish the course, you do a further 2 open water dives to a maximum depth of 18 metres. We did our dives from the same jetty.
The Open Water Course costs 299 Euros.
Advanced Open Water Course
Qualifying for you Open Water means you can dive to a maximum depth of 18 metes. If you want to dive deeper than this, then you need to complete an Advanced Open Water Course.
The Advanced Open Water course takes two days with five open water dives. The course is less formal than the Open Water Course. For the Advanced there are 5 specialities required, two mandatory ones include deep and navigation, the remaining three are chosen from night dive, wreck dive, search & recovery dive, drift dive, naturalist dive, multi-level dive and peak performance buoyancy and the Nitrox dive.
The Advanced Open Water Course costs 225 Euros.
These courses are for people who are already qualified and wish to extend their skills. You get a certificate for each speciality course that you complete and the courses include things such as PADI deep diver, PADI wreck diver and PADI Night Diver.
Speciality course vary in price with Night Diver being 150 euros and wreck diver being 165 Euros.
I really can not fault this Dive School. All the instructions were so professional but on the same note that were so easy to get on with and really put you at ease which I thought was important and I know both myself and my boyfriend were quite nervous about whether we could pass or not.
Our instructor Mido, was brilliant, his style of teaching was very easy to understand and he was extremely patient and could answer any questions we had with ease.
There is one slight downside and that was the fact that the dive club is probably about a 5 minute walk away from the jetty where you get into the water and although that doesn't sound like a very long walk - believe me it is when you have all the gear on and you are walking in 40 degree heat!! The advantage was that the lads that help you to kit up also help you to walk down to the beach and they hold the weight of the tank from your back which makes it much easier.
Every single member of staff added to the appeal of the dive school, for the bubbly receptionist, the enthusiastic instructors and the really helpful lads in the kitting up area - I don't know what I would have done without them as they literally had to dress me in my wetsuit every time as I found it so hard to put it on!
Considering this dive club is onsite at a hotel and has its own house reef, the prices were about the same as other dive schools in the area that didn't have their own house reef so we were pleasantly surprised by the prices.
I would 100% recommend this school, the staff are great, the location was so convenient, especially considering that when doing a course you need to by at quite early so having the dive school at the hotel was a real god send.
Summary: Scuba School