It's been a few weeks since I had a holiday, so clearly it's time for the next one. I'm in Sharm el Sheikh thanks to the agreeably competent Saudi budget airline NAS Air. That meant a 5am kick-off yesterday, finally landing here shortly after 8, to discover the Novotel is less competent, and failed to send a taxi. Our newly arranged transport to the hotel stretches the definition of limo service to breaking point and beyond, and is notable largely for its demonstration of how much luggage you can fit on the roof of a Nova using only string and hope.

So today there's a 7:45 pickup for the dive centre, where we sort out hire kit. Then a bus down to the chaotic Naama Bay jetty where a stream of boats are jostling for position to tie up, take on tanks and punters, and get underway for today's destination. Our boat is the Kastan Sea, which is agreeably functional.

Because it's our first day, we're taken to "local sites" so the centre can evaluate our experience. The first is Ras Bob (famously used as the location for a building society advert in 1996). There's stunning visibility even just off the shore - up to 20m. Relatively shallow, with a crinky fringing reef featuring a short cave swimthrough. I end the dive after some malevolent reeflife stings the crap out of my leg.

Second is Ras Nasrani, just up the coast. It's equally nice if a little bit currenty. The water temperature here is about 29 degrees, so still no need for me to invest in a wetsuit.

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