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Mogs Travels: November 2008

Mogs Travels

Friday, November 28, 2008

Homeward bound

Well we're all packed and have checked out of our rooms. The coach isn''t picking us up for another 4 hours so we're just pottering around the hotel. We're due back in Gatwick at about midnight for an overnight stop then home tomorrow.

The night dive was interesting. The coral was very different at night with lots of flower like coral polyps out, waving in the current. Two lion fish ( see previous photos!) followed a couple of feet behind us for the whole dive. They hunt small fish by sight so use the divers light to find an easy meal. It was quite disconcerting as their many spines are poisonous and apparently very painful but they didn't attempt to come too close and I managed to keep out of their way!


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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Last Full Day

Today is our last full day here, so we've tried to make the most of it. Didn't get up any earlier, but hit the beach by 10 am. Took a 2 person canoe out for a paddle, but it isn't as easy as the experts make it appear. After zig zagging around for half an hour we returned to base, and went for a snorkel. We finally saw a surgeon fish ( very appropriate ) and I've added the photo to the blog. Elvie is doing her night dive at the moment but she hasn't taken the camera as she will have plenty else to think about.
I think she may be along later to tell you about it. LB


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Just had a quiet day around the hotel today so no news. Here's a jellyfish for you and a pair of bat fish.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2008


No fish today as we had our morning swim in the pool for a change. There are 4 pools here and we went in the unheated one! It was surprisingly cold; not surprisingly it was empty! We had a good swim as it was a long narrow pool so we didn't have to keep turning around.

This afternoon we took a taxi into the local town of Hurghada. This is fairly modern and three quarters of it is a building site. It's not very prepossessing but it was nice to see a little bit of Egypt instead of Europe, which the hotel is. We had a look in a mosque and a Coptic church then a wander around the shopping district of the older part of town. The armed guards were outside the church. Security is obviously an issue here as there are police checkpoints on the roads to the hotels. Incidentally that is a gun between the legs of the guy on the left. We smiled nicely at the shopkeepers but didn't buy.

The only sour note was the hotel demanding more money for the taxi as they said we'd had a tour. As we'd agreed a price in advance they didn't get it!


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Monday, November 24, 2008

Diving practice

Little to report today. LB and I took a boat trip a short way up the coast this morning. He went snorkelling on his own. I went diving with young sexy Italian diving instructor Andreas. Unfortunately the photo doesn't do him justice!

If you've watched Finding Nemo you'll recognise todays fish. they're red Sea anemone fish, two adults and, if you look carefully, there's a baby top centre


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Sunday, November 23, 2008

More fish!

Nothing exciting to report today. This morning LB and I walked around the bay to the shopping centre to get some cash from the ATM as the ones near the hotel weren't working. This turned out to be about an hour and a half walk in hot sun so by the time we arrived back at our room I was worn out and slept for a couple of hours! This afternoon we just went snorkelling off the beach again. We're getting much better at recognising the fish, with the help of our fish book. The amazing thing is that we see new fish each day.

The Picasso trigger fish (above) is a permanent resident of the reef but the broom tail wrasse ( below) was first seen today. The little black and white fish just visible below it is a cleaner wrasse. These hang around at so called cleaning stations and nibble off any parasites or dead scales from other fish wanting a clean. The broom tail wrasse had obviously come in just for this service. It stayed fairly still but turning from one side to the other so the cleaner fish could reach all parts, including inside the gills. Once satisfied it swam off into deep water and the cleaner wrasse started approaching other fish looking for another customer.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sand Buggies!

No fish for you today although I took some good photos while snorkelling this morning. The excitement of the day was our outing into the desert on sand buggies. First we were taken to some huts in the middle of the desert where we were advised to buy the arab style headscarf. I'm afraid I don't know its proper name but our guide Anwar dressed us in them. We then donned goggles and set off in our sand buggies through the sand ( surprise!) dust and rocks. We were very grateful for the headscarves as the dust got everywhere and they were very effective at keeping it out of nose and mouth. LB and I had individual buggies. We rode over the desert and then up a wadi. Here's me in my buggy and LB surveying the wadi when we got to the top. We watched the end of the sunset over the desert ( actually we were a bit late and missed most of it!!) then drove down to a small Bedouin encampment where we had mint tea and tried shisha or hubble bubble pipes.These were filled with apple tobacco(?!) and not narcotics!! You had to suck quite hard to make nice bubbly noises which made me cough! I'm no smoker however but LB was rather more successful.By now it was dark so it was doubley exciting driving back to base. At times I couldn't see the ground at all, for dust, and just followed LB's lights in front of me, hoping there were no big rocks in the way. It was a great trip ....and if we ever go into the desert again we have the correct scarves and know how to wrap our heads up in the correct manner a la Bedouin!


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Friday, November 21, 2008

Padi Open Water Diver

Well, I'm a diver! I completed the Padi Open Water diver's course today and will pick up my certificate tomorrow. I'm under no illusions as to my diving ability as it is a very basic level but it's still nice to have done it. I wasn't able to take the camera on the training dives as I had too much else to concentrate on but LB went snorkelling while I was stuck in the classroom doing my final exam. He took some nice fishy photos. The stripey one is a tiger cardinal and the spotty one is a white spotted puffer fish, they're the ones that puff up into a ball when scared .


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Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Submarine Trip

Well not quite a submarine, but almost as good. While Elvie was having a diving lesson today, M and I took an organised trip to Hurghada to look at the local reefs. The submarine was basically an ordinary boat with a deep keel, and the hull was glass plated. We were actually seated about 4 feet under the water, and had spectacular views of the reefs and the fish. M managed really well especially as the access to the cviewing area was down a narrow and steep staircase. I took some video footage which I will post up when we get back.

Fish of the day. LB

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Snorkelling Trip

This morning we took a 2 hour snorkelling boat trip in a glass bottomed boat. Our first stop was over an excellent reef with different fish to those we see off the beach. The photos aren't so good as it was in deeper water which absorbs all the red tones from the light. Our photos all look a bit blue but nonetheless this blue spotteed ray was rather splendid. He had beautiful turquoise blue spots which you can easily see if you enlarge the photo. We had another snorkelling stop with rather less fish and then meandered over a reef so we could view it through the boats glass bottom before heading back for lunch. This afternoon we went to sleep! It's such hard work here!!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Mondays fish!

We're having a really relaxing time here. So far we've not left the hotel but have spent our time eating drinking sleeping and snorkelling. Mother-in-law is having a wonderful time although she's missing out on the snorkelling! She's walking more than she has for years, as it's a big place with extensive grounds, so hopefully will be super fit when we take her home!

Tomorrow, for a change LB and I are taking a trip.........snorkelling! Anyway here's todays fish, a splendid lion fish of the sort known as a Radial Firefish and below is a Bird Wrasse with an unknown silver fish.


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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Todays Fishes

Sorry I can't limit myself to one fish of the day..... that's one of the many beautiful parrot fish above and a threadfin butterfly fish below


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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fish(es) + of the day

The underwater case we bought for our camera works! ( Thank Heavens! No leaks!) I had thought to post a fish per day whether you like fish or not! Anyway this is our first day so you get two fishes + a bonus animal as I can't decide on just one. Unfortunately, apart from the bonus, I don't know precisely what they are yet as I haven't looked them up in our book, however, they are very pretty! The photos were taken in a couple of metres of water just off the beach at the hotel.


ps the yellow one is the aptly named Exquisite Butterfly fish and I think the pink one is a Big Scale Soldier fish.

No points for knowing what the bonus animal is!

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The Red Sea

Here we are on holiday with my mother in Hurghada a holday village on the Egyptian Red Sea. As you can see from previous posts, Elvie's mother hasn't been too well, but she decided to accompany us as her mother is more settled on her new medication. I'm really glad to have her company, but I do realise how worried she is about the situation back home.

We are staying at the Hotel Fort Arabesque, and there is free wifi at reception and at the beach bars!! I'm on my best behaviour at present and have yet to visit a beach bar in anger, so as far as my posts go this is likely to be as good or as bad as it gets. I've included a couple of photos just to give an impression of the hotel.

The temperature is about 28 C and there is a nice cooling breeze, so we must be careful not to get sunburned. Later today we are going to try our underwater camera, so if all goes well we should have a photo or two of the coral reefs and fish living just a few metres off the hotels beach. LB

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bike Project

Two girlfriends V & H and I have enrolled in a local motorbike maintenance course. We're not getting a lot of hands on experience there but now we have acquired a project bike to work on ourselves.

It's a 1998 Suzuki GS 500 that has been standing idle for 2 years. Us three girls have not had any previous mechanical experience so we've a lot to learn. Just undoing screws and connectors seems to be a major achievement at the moment! Anyway last week we took the tank off and put the battery on to charge. We were going to have a look at the carbs and clean them this week but V's husband P had discovered the starter motor wasn't turning over. As we felt a bit out of our depth P & LB led us through checking the starter motor circuit tonight.

No need for all the details but it's now turning over! More importantly we now understand the principles of testing the components of the electrical circuit and narrowing down where the problem is.

This is going to be great fun & we're going to learn loads. It's also a nice social occasion as the 5 of us get on very well. We've decided on a regular Tuesday evening session & if we don't need the boys help they're allowed to go down the pub to the weekly quiz night! I'll be missing the next couple of weeks as we'll be away but as this is likely to take us months progress reports will be made intermittently on this blog.


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Monday, November 10, 2008

Trials & Tribulations

It's been 11 days since I last posted and what an emotional time it's been. One thing that I have never mentioned here previously is that my Mother suffers from dementia. It started as simple short term memory loss but has progressed to confusion, poor recognition of people ( she thinks I'm her sister most of the time) and of her home. In recent weeks she has been wanting to go home and becoming aggressive when Dad won't take her, which of course is impossible when she is already there. Things came to a head while I was in Pembrokeshire and my father was having difficulty coping. This week I've had to arrange for her GP to visit and subsequently she was seen by a psychiatrist at home. She's now on some medication and has settled down. In fact she's quite happy and jolly though more confused than previously. It's not helped by the fact that she denies any problems and gets very angry and upset if anyone suggests her mental capacities are anything less than normal.

To complicate matters LB & I are taking my mother-in-law away on holiday to the Red Sea at the end of this week. She's too frail to holiday on her own and has been looking forward to this trip for months. Originally I wasn't going to go but as things are now I think I probably will. There are other family members who can support my father even though I seem to be the pivotal point of help. My mother-in-law has no one else who is close.

Talk about being torn in two directions! I'm a bit of a wreck at the moment worrying about the next few weeks in particular and the long term while also mourning the loss of my mother. The woman I knew hasn't been with us for a long time but this has really brought it home to me. The only good thing is that I don't have to cope with working as well. Retirement came at just the right moment!

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