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Thursday
Nov052009

paddleboarding marsa alam

In the previous post I mentioned I have just been to the ‘characters of Egypt festival’ in Marsa Alam. While there I decided to make use of the free time to do some inflatable paddleboarding in the red sea. The inflatable paddleboard is a brilliant invention as you can carry it on the plane, this time I used a collapsible paddle as my long paddle incurred a charge last time. My clothes were hand luggage and the weight of the paddle board and paddle was less than 15KG.

The flight from Cairo was less than an hour. The drive to the hotel was another hour. Marsa Alam, in trying to avoid the concentrated build up of Sharm and Hurghada is spread along a hundred km of seafront. This means each resort is huge and the beaches are clean and empty. Though rocky. Since the area is aimed squarely at divers and snorkellers the reef and the nearby drop off (you can swim out from the beach and see the deep blue after only thirty metres in many places) are given primacy over loads of soft sand. Which isn’t great for the inflatable paddleboarder in bare feet. So I made a mental note to bring slip on neoprene socks next time.

The weather was calm, very calm, hardly a wave being raised- which was fine by me- I just paddled around getting a good dose of exercise. It was warmer and more humid than other Red Sea resorts I have been too, but I would trade that any day for the emptiness and clear waters. There were more fish and more varied fish than I have seen close in to a hotel beach than anywhere else I have been too.

After taking a break to witness the musical extravaganzas at the festival, I walked back through the desert- the eastern desert is always a nice change from the western. It has plants and trees and lots more snakes. I did some more paddleboarding the next day going a long way out into the Red Sea. Emptiness and waves all around. Not so far away a dolphin fin broke the water. The sun shone. A nice place to be at the end of October.

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