After two days of lazing about at Soma Bay, we’re ready for some gentle action. Nothing too strenuous – no hiking or trekking for days on end – just some light snorkelling. We meet Hany the General Manager from Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay, who says he can organise a boat for us. Cool! Our own private yacht!
We set out for the reef with Hany as the skipper and his son as the crew. We avoid the most popular snorkelling spots and throw out the anchor at a coral reef just a few hundred metres from the coast. Hany explains: “As you most probably know, environmental deterioration is no longer a threat but a reality. Over eight million visitors visit the Red Sea every year. With success comes responsibility. There are several organisations who actively work together to develop and maintain projects and campaigns that help to ensure the preservation and sustainability of the Red Sea environment for the future. Because I also would like to show this natural beauty to my grandchildren one day!”
Time to get out our snorkels! We dive in and look around for coral and fish. Neither are hard to find, and within seconds hundreds of fish are surrounding us. They are so close it is as though we have become part of the school, and we wonder who is watching who. After 50 metres we see a group of large rocks covered in bright corals, which attract hundreds of fish of all shapes, colours and sizes.
What’s great about this part of the Red Sea is that the water is incredibly clear: at times we have a visibility of about 50 metres! Even better is that the coral here grows at just a few metres depth, which means the colours are very bright and intense. When we dive deeper down, the water filters out the light, making the coral that is six or ten metres down look grey and colourless.
Back on the boat, Hany suggests we stay out for a bit longer to wait for sunset. He heads westwards and lets the boat float gently towards the setting sun. The sky goes pink, the sun drops down behind the mountains and then, as if someone flipped the light switch, it is dark.
When we get back to the harbour, there is only one thought on our minds: more of the same tomorrow!