Ras Mohammed

From Luxor, we flew to Sharm El-Sheikh, a Red Sea resort town on the tip of the Sinai peninsula.  Diane Barile, one of our friends, recommended stopping in Sharm, and we're glad she did.  Our guide had suggested Hurghada, but Diane said it was too much like Daytona Beach, and that the Ras Mohammed National Park is far superior.  Ras Mohammed, near Sharm, is one of the only National Parks in the middle-East.  Sharm is also near Saint Katherine's, a Greek Orthodox monastery built in the 4th century AD where Moses reportedly met the burning bush.  Unfortunately, the monastery was not open during our window of opportunity.

We stayed in a 5-star hotel, the "Jolie Ville Movenpick" in Sharm El-Sheikh (which was the site of a terrorist bombing a few years later!).  Sharm is a Westernized tourist town, often the place of Government dignitary summits.  Some USA diplomats had proceeded our visit by only a few days.  Long after our visit, the Sharm Movenpick was a target of terrorist bombings in 2005.  Such events are rare, but more common than in the United States.  The Movenpick is located in Sharm on the beautiful Naama Bay.  The Bay offers a boardwalk with snorkeling, glass bottom boat rides, and many other activities familiar to Westerners.  Our only complaint was the water pressure.  During peak hours, the shower slowed to a minor dribble.  The huge resort pool and chow-hall were big hits with the kids, and adults could easily find a refreshing libation.  We even had access to the internet.  Of course, the place was swarming with visiting Europeans.

We took a 20km bus ride to the Ras Mohammed park.  The weather was cold and breezy, so the thought of snorkeling was not foremost on our minds.  We stopped at several locations and took short dips.  The Red Sea water was warm, so the temptation was to stay under as long as possible.  The snorkeling was incredible, easily some of the finest in the world.  In several areas, an offshore cliff drops hundreds of feet under the surface.  The entire cliff is alive with brilliantly colored sea life.  The waters off the cost of Ras Mohammed are a natural wonder of the world.

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