Friday, 6 February 2009

Gatwick to Hurghada

Day 2 Friday February 6th

Luckily it did not snow during the night (contrary to the weather forecast), the snow fell further westwards. My fear was of being stranded at the hotel because of blocked roads and therefore waking up for an hourly snow check during the night, revealed nothing but the damp street outside.

Check-in went smoothly with no weight problems, then to landside M&S to buy lunch to eat on the flight, breakfast airside and then off to the gate in time for the scheduled Viking Airline 1015 departure. This very small airline (which possibly absorbed some routes of the collapsed Excel Airways) and does not have the greatest reputation (unfortunately) amongst the dive community but it seems to have cornered a large chunk of the market to Egypt. Although we passed through the boarding gate onto the air bridge for an on-time departure, we stood on the air bridge for a good 20 minutes before being allowed on the plane. The plane pushed back, stopped and then went back to the gate. A two hour delay was announced whilst something technical (rumour said the air conditioning temperature controller) was fixed.

Diving 007

The announced 2 hour delay was then displayed as 4 hours and was in fact 6 hours by the time we left because the spare part was stored off airport and the length of the delay also required a crew change. Although we were given a £4 voucher for lunch, it did not really make-up for the delay. Arrival in Hurghada was straight forward, and the transfer to the boat (Blue Melody) was short and easy.

The boat was built in  2007, it is 38 metres long and can accommodate 26 divers. Much of the boat is air conditioned (including the bedrooms).

The dining room (above) and our  bedroom (below) are all very comfortable.

Although we finally got on board around midnight, we had to set up and test our equipment immediately in case anything had got broken on the way out and spares needed to be purchased. After setup, we had quick dinner and then went to bed for a late 7 am get-up.

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