Egyptian Divers of the future at Red Sea Diving Safari – Marsa Shagra !

In February 2017, Red Sea Diving Safari had a visit from 55 students and staff from the New Cairo British International School (NCBIS) in Marsa Shagra.

For students at the NCBIS, the last week in February means ‘challenge week’, where students get to choose from a variety of trips and experiences. With some students opting for skiing and others choosing Bali, these kids all opted to stay much closer to home in Marsa Alam.

In recent years, Red Sea Diving Safari has seen a sharp increase in the number of Egyptians taking up scuba diving and, more importantly, getting PADI certified. In 2015, 35% of entry level certified divers in Marsa Shagra were Egyptian, while in 2016 the number increased to 57%. So far in 2017, Egyptians have made up a quarter of Shagra’s entry level certified divers vs. 16% for the same period in 2016. The past few years have seen internal tourism to Marsa Alam boom due to increased internal marketing for the Red Sea as a destination as well as issues with currency exchange rates, which have made it expensive to travel abroad.

The students from NCBIS ranged from 11-18 years old with 36 students totally new to diving and starting their PADI journey with the Open Water Course, or Junior Open Water Course. The rest of the group opted for either the PADI Advanced Open Water Course or Enriched Air Diver course to continue their diving education. Students were divided into groups: Turtles, Dolphins, Nudibranches, Stingrays, Remoras, Clownfish, Octopus, Seahorses and Sharks, and then the fun began!

On the first day, students went through the process of getting their equipment. For some this was the first time they had tried on a mask or seen a BCD! Then it was off to Shagra’s restaurant for a group session to watch the PADI Open Water Course DVD.

All the students were immediately taken in by this new adventure and learning curve, whether it was something their parents had signed them up and sent them away for, or it was something they had heard about and dreamed of learning one day. They practiced assembling and dissembling equipment until it was second-nature and tackled the PADI Open Water Course skills one by one. Advanced Students opted for adventure dives including Fish Identification and Peak Performance Buoyancy alongside their compulsory Navigation and Deep dives.

Groups were coordinated to carry out different parts of the course to make sure each group had space to learn and do activities in an unrushed, constructive but fun learning environment. For the confined water activities, the different groups were divided between the local swimming pool and Marsa Shagra’s shallow sandy-bottomed bay, which is ideal for training.

Working through the skills, the students gradually became more and more comfortable underwater, with the help of Shagra’s dedicated instructors. While the Open Water students worked through their open water dives on the house reef, the Advanced Open Water students went to dive Marsa Egla, a local shore dive site, and explored the outer parts of Marsa Shagra’s vast house reef by zodiac.

By night, other activities were on offer, including a campfire on the beach and a guided Astro Tour at the Bawadi Bedouin café to learn about the night sky and take advantage of the unpolluted, clear skies of the Southern Red Sea.

On one evening, a team from HEPCA (Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Agency) visited to conduct a workshop with the students, talking about their valuable activities in the region, including their new Red Sea Defender educational vessel. They then collected plankton from Marsa Shagra’s bay and examined their findings under the microscopes, giving them an insight into the science behind what they were seeing underwater and the importance of protecting the fragile environment.

On the final day students celebrated all their hard work and certifications with a trip into the desert close to Marsa Shagra, with sunset camel ride and traditional Bedouin dinner.

By the end of the week, it’s fair to say that students, teachers and the team at Marsa Shagra were exhausted but thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone, many new divers were born and buzzing about what adventures their PADI certification will take them on in their future.

On behalf of PADI, congratulations to NCBIS students and staff! 

…. and special thanks Red Sea Diving Safari’s Team : keep up the good work!

www.redsea-divingsafari.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Course Director in Egypt – Wael Elshahat

IMG_6012<< I started diving in 1998  …I always dreamed to dive, especially after seeing some underwater videos; therefore, as soon as I had a chance I did my PADI Open Water Course!

In 1999, I finished my university and started working as an accountant in a big diving company in Sharm el Sheikh / Red Sea; this gave me the opportunity to keep on diving and, at the same time, continue my education …until I became Divemaster and consequently PADI Instructor in 2002.

I love teaching and the feelings you have when you share your knowledge and experience to help others to become good divers and love scuba diving!

My ambition, as PADI Course Director, is to teach candidates how to be good Instructors and sustain them during their career so that they can become not only great ambassadors but also role models as PADI professionals >>.

Congratulations to Wael for successfully completing his CDTC !

New PADI Divemasters within the Al Mezena tribe in Dahab

PADI is proud to welcome Eid, Eid, Haggag and Salim to the PADI family!

a

…Everything started back in 2013 when Karim El Hemeidy – owner at Daniela Diving in Dahab – decided to start an Environmental Conservation and Awareness Project in Dahab.

2013

April 2013 – the project starts!

Part of this project included the PADI ‘zero to hero program’:

The idea was to help the local community, specifically a team of Bedouins from the Al Mezena tribe, to get into the diving industry and slowly progress from Open Water Diver all the way up to Divemaster.

This project, personally conducted by Karim himself and sponsored by PADI, Codex (the local PADI redistributor), Dr Heinkal from The Hyperbaric Medical Center Dahab had some clear objectives:

  • Give the participants the opportunity to find a job within the diving industry
  • Have the participants becoming mentors for other youngsters within their tribe
  • Have the participants becoming role models in terms of marine protection and awareness within the local community

PADI Regional Manager – Teo Brambilla – had the privilege to follow the progression of the students during these years and eventually award them during a party that has been organized at Daniela Diving!

bGoing back to 2013 an excited Karim stated:

<<The attendees are motivated and even if it will be hard work we are looking forward to the challenge. The aim of this project is to bring the awareness of the susceptibility of the marine life, the ecosystem and the need to uphold and respect the local and international laws. Diving will be a form of integration into this environment with the opportunity to adapt and to be ambassadors for the protection of marine life>>

cHere his words at the end of this journey:

<<It was a very long but successful journey. It was for me a great and rewarding experience: being able to help their dream come true, is something fantastic. I believe the more we involve locals in our industry the more they will be concerned with its protection, this will help to protect the marine life, so fragile specially in our area>>

Well done Karim, congratulations and keep up the good work!

Eid, Eid, Haggag and Salim, from all of us at PADI: congratulations on your Divemaster credentials and all the best in furthering your career within the diving industry!

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Egypt, PADI …and The Boot Show

After the supportive attendance of Egypt’s Regional Manager and Regional Training Consultant at Dive 2016 in the UK, PADI decided to increase the support towards Egypt and have a dedicated booth – within the PADI Village – at the Boot Show in Dusseldorf, to promote and support this fantastic country.

boothDedicated flyers – in English and German – were handed out with info about Egypt, a map highlighting the different diving destinations, the closest airports and a QR code with a link to the PADI Dive Shop Locator …in order to help visitors to find their favorite PADI Dive Resort in Egypt!

boot3During the 9 days of the show, PADI Regional Manager [Teo Brambilla] and Regional Training Consultant [Pam Holt] shared roles in promoting Egypt and helping Boot Show’s visitors with practical tips on how to travel to Egypt, how to move around, answer generic questions and overcome concerns about security in the country.

boot4Having someone like Teo, who lives in Sharm El Sheikh since almost 20 years and has an extensive local knowledge of this region …and Pam, who is handling – from the Bristol office – any request from Egyptian-based Diving centers and Individual members on a daily base was an inestimable added value!

boot6The Show was also a great opportunity for Pam and Teo to further support all the PADI Diving Centers (located in the Red Sea) exhibiting at the show: beyond providing the usual marketing kit “PADI Show support pack”, there was time for discussing ideas, campaigns, training and sales for 2017.

boot7 copyThe Boot Show was really successful and even more important we succeeded in our intention: more and more people were inquiring about Egypt, especially compared to last year were visitors were just neglecting the country.

The general feedback from participating Egyptian based Members was positive for the whole region …we just hope for more flights and the removal of the travel ban from some countries!

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Egyptian PADI Instructors among the winners of the 2016 Elite Instructor My PADI Challenge!

PADI EMEA has recently announced the winners of the Elite Instructor My PADI Challenge:  15 PADI Professionals who certified more people between July and October than they did during the same four-month period last year.

Considering the tough times Egypt diving industry is facing (due to the lack of tourism) it is a source of pride to have, among the winners, two Egyptian Instructors both based in Dahab!

It is with great joy that I present you Asharaf and Hassan: respectively winners of the ‘100 level’ and ’50 level’.

Let’s start with Asharaf!

asharaf-1

Asharaf, tell us about your diving background:

I did my first dive ever in 1997 …I liked it a lot, so i decided that this was my career: I took my Open water course and Advanced in 2001. Then PADI Divemaster 2004 and enjoyed working as a PADI pro until 2009 when I upgraded my  level to PADI instructor. I loved it so much and I am making the best out of it by trying to help all divers to become a professional and to enjoy it.

How do you feel to be part of the exclusive group of Elite Instructors?

I am the happiest person on earth !

asharaf2

What helped you, personally and professionally, in achieving the goal of winning the challenge?

Long time teaching and learning and diving. My crew and colleagues. And the  great way and materials that PADI provides me.

asharaf3

Which message would you like to deliver to those who are reluctant to visiting Egypt?

Come back now!! It’s great fun and safe here in EGYPT.

 

…and now we want to know something about Hassan!
hassan1

Hassan, tell us about your diving background:

I started diving in 2001; I always had a passion for underwater discovery, it was a passion that ignited once I first set foot into my suit and had my first dive, after finishing my studies I was determined to finish my DM course; which I got done in 2006. As I grew more experienced with diving, my passion grew with it. But I wanted to do more. I wanted to teach people how to dive so that I can help them discover and share the wonders of scuba diving so I decided to get my OWSI + MSDT done in 2011. Eventually I became a manager at Seven Heaven Divers. I wanted to develop a more fun approach to diving where it took the whole experience to another level; One where the diver could further enjoy the courses.  My next goal is to be a CD so that I can pass on my methods to IDC students whom are going to help enhance the whole experience for generations to come of curious divers.

How do you feel to be part of the exclusive group of Elite Instructors?

Happy! To say the least.
It really is a matter of pride for me to know that all the hard work that I put into the dives has paid off:It brings me joy and self worth to know that I am a member of the group of Elite PADI instructors!

hassan2-1

What helped you, personally and professionally, in achieving the goal of winning the challenge?

Perseverance and a never quit work ethic, I was relentless, I always wanted to make sure that I did the best possible job so that my students always had the best experience. I want them to be special and distinguished among divers. That way when I saw how successful they were, it always gave me the power and energy to keep going. And I can’t go without mentioning that I wouldn’t have done it without my Seven Heaven Divers Team. I want to give them a huge shout out and say that I couldn’t have done it without them!

Which message would you like to deliver to those who are reluctant to visiting Egypt?

I would like to send this message out from my beloved country Egypt and take the chance to say that. Mainstream media and social media have made it seem like we are at war and that Egypt is not safe to visit. When in fact that is not the case. Yes, there have been a number of terrorist attacks but the same has happened in France, England, Belgium and the USA. Regardless that has not stopped tourism in these places and the same should apply to our beautiful country; it makes me sad to see the major difference that has resulted from these ongoing rumors about how “Egypt is not safe”.  We have beautiful weather, and many forms of history and entertainment that should be visited and admired by people from all over the globe. Diving in the red sea could be an exhilarating and breathtaking experience that I would recommend to any diver worldwide. I can only hope that my message has some kind of impact and gets a message through about how “Egypt IS safe”

Thank you Asharaf and Hassan for your amazing achievements, your dedication in teaching the world to dive, and for creating more ambassadors for the ocean.