Today we visited the very Westernised Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh – a kind of Costa del Sol plonked on the edge of the Sinai desert in Egypt, with an array of western bars, discos and restaurants that couldn't really be any further from traditional Egyptian life. Of course, we weren't here for the "culture" - the reason that the resort was built here, is that it's perfectly located to discover the best coral reefs and underwater sea life North of the Equator.
We took a boat from Na'ama Bay out to a couple of the reefs off the coast, and as soon as you put your face mask under the water, you were confronted with an unbelievably colourful underwater world, full of vividly decorated fish of all shapes and sizes, nibbling away at the reef. Tracy was fairly convinced that there would be man-eating sharks out there, but the biggest thing we saw was an unthreatening parrotfish, lurking below us.
The second reef we went to was closer to the coast, so was a lot busier; but even though I saw one man walking around stepping on the coral, the reef was actually in pretty good shape – it looked healthier than some bits of the Great Barrier Reef that I've snorkelled on.
It's funny to have a similar feeling of being in an alien environment as we experienced in Alexandria, but in such a different way. Again, there was a sense of being on the outside looking in, of being somewhere we weren't quite meant to be – some of the quizzical looks I got from the fish who popped up in front of me, looking me straight in the face, were unforgettable.