- 09 October 2013
- Published by Clare
Red Sea Diver’s Guide, Volume 2: From Sharm el Sheikh to Hurghada – Shlomo & Roni Cohen
We’re off to the Red Sea in October, and on the advice of Ned Middleton, author of Shipwrecks from the Egyptian Red Sea, I got hold of this book (which was in itself quite a performance), as he rates it very highly among the proliferation of guidebooks about the area. I did a lot of searching on my own before capitulating and following Middleton’s advice, and was unimpressed by the number of books with lightweight overviews of the dive sites, pictures that were sourced from stock photo banks, and authors who haven’t even dived the areas in question.
If you plan to get hold of this book, Middleton’s review on Amazon.com highlights the errors it contains (some shipwrecks are named incorrectly, for example), which is important if you plan to dive the area. If you plan to dive the Red Sea and are looking for a reference book, this list contains some books to avoid, and this one lists some reputable guides.
The Cohens’ book was published in 1994, and at that stage, having dived in the Egyptian Red Sea for years, they could already observe deterioration in the reefs and a decline in the number of sharks and large fish. The nature of most dive sites, however, is such that their topography usually does not change appreciably with time, particularly in relatively sheltered waters. The book includes a number of maps, some of which are clever combinations of aerial photographs and semi-transparent overlays marking the pertinent landmarks and routes.
Both boat and shore dives are featured here, and with respect to the shore dives the Cohens’ layout and style reminded me very much of the excellent book we used when we visited Malta in 2011: Scuba Diving Malta – Gozo – Comino. There is enough information for a shore diver to be fairly self sufficient, although I would check the locations of hyperbaric chambers, filling stations, dive centres and other amenities as they may have changed (and increased in number) in the last 20 years. Live aboard diving was in its infancy in 1994, but was growing in popularity and the Cohens refer to it more than once in this volume.
Towards the back of the book there is a fish identification guide, which could be handy if you don’t have space to pack an additional fish ID book in your luggage. The book also came with a separate fold-out map of the northern Red Sea area.
You can get the book (probably) here. If you do look elsewhere for it, make sure you’re getting an English edition, as the German edition is much easier to find and looks practically identical. Caveat emptor!