Well its 0700hrs and here we go, off to Dave’s, ready for Eddie to pick
us all up, for the drive to Manchester Airport. Got lost, trying to find
the Car Park, standing waiting for the courtesy Bus, freezing various
parts off, what’s new?
Manchester Airport, and finally somewhere warm and dry. Got to the check
in, attendant, looking very worried, honest Miss, the cases are not
filled with explosives; it’s just Dave’s camera gear, and all his dive
kit. What they’re over weight, really? Anyway, after some negotiation,
Monarch finally agreed to allow us 5kg extra baggage weight, and with
Eddie agreeing to wearing 3x tee-shirts, two pairs of underwear, 2x
pairs of sockets, and an extra jacket, we’re passed as fit to fly.
Time for our Duty Free, and that big greasy Breakfast we’ve thinking
about all the way to Manchester, only now at 1100hrs, they’ve stopped
serving Breakfast! Nearly lost Dave, somebody, draw an R on his right
hand, so he knows which way to go!
Finally, 11 hrs later, we’ve arrived at the hotel, booked into our
rooms. Time for the beer, and some food. All the restaurants have
stopped serving, except the chinese (staff thought they were getting
away on time, sorry fellas) well not all’s lost; at least we’ve still
got some beer!
Our punishment didn’t stop at the loss of the greasy Breakfast, and no
food at Sharm. We were just dropping off to sleep, when the room fridge
starts up, what a racket, and we’ve already had to switch the aircon off
due to the noise…Back out of bed, and trying not to electrocute one
self, I end up searching for the right dodgy plug in the dark
The last straw, 0400hrs, and some drunken Muppet is trying to get into
our room now (wouldn’t mind but it was a BLOKE)! Give me strength, how
will we ever get enough sleep for the first days diving.
Sunday morning, and at last we’re off to the diving centre, after Gary’s
little c#*up, with the hotels…seems there are 2x Ghazalas, the Ghazala
Gardens Hotel, and the Ghazala Beach Hotel…Sorry lads, any one can make
a mistake! Dive kit sorted out, onto the boat, into our Gold thongs, and
posing on the top deck, in all that sunshine. It was a superb starting
dive, and a dive guide, who looks, well a lot better than Phil & more
than words can describe.
(Paul, please stop trying to nick my wet suit, you’re not going to get
the Brass Ass simply for that).
So after 2 good dives, we return, k#@#kered to our rooms, ready for a
nap and a shower - well for some; for others, it’s a shower and off to
Back to the steak house, to see some old friends, and the best steaks
anywhere, only problem now is, which sauce shall I choose? Was that
lightning, and did I hear thunder? Yes I did, but we ordered sunshine
and clear skies! So common sense prevailing (yes even for us, it does
sometimes!), and after our meal, we adjourn back to the hotel bar, where
about 2100hrs, all hell breaks loose!
I have to say, it was one of the worst storms I’ve ever seen, almost
constant lightning and thunder, and the rain, we were waiting for the
plagues of flies and locust to start, it was that bad.
The first thing the desk clerk noticed some think was wrong, was a drop
of water on his head. Next it turned into a health shower, before
finally, the ceiling gave way and he was last seen doing a very strange
walk towards the changing rooms, soaked! It was the kind of walk a dry
suit diver does when his dry suits leaks, his knickers get wet, and he
knows he’s got that long drive home in wet baggy pants!
Well it was bad, the electrical power was soon lost, promptly followed
by the water, not just to the hotel, but also to the whole town, which
was also flooded out. Fortunately we were after something with a
slightly higher alcoholic content. We spent 2 hours sitting at the hotel
bar, in candle light, drinking beer, (sorry Dave, making eyes at me,
through candle light, doesn’t do anything for me). I refuse to say who
kept asking the 2 young ladies on the next table for a light for our
candle despite B&H Paul being with us.
Monday, and the storm is still rumbling about, though it could be my
belly, as there was little for Breakfast. The diving was cancelled due
to rough seas, as they don’t like customers getting sea sick on waves 2
feet high! Some how, I don’t think they’d hack it on the North Sea. Oh
well, plan-B, B, meaning Beach Bar, and Beach volley Ball. Cost me a
bloody fortune in beer and sun tan lotion, well its thirsty work sitting
in all that sunshine, watching the Beach Volley Ball. One day, I really
must locate the man who came up with the string bikini and ladies beach
volley ball. I’ll nominate him to world, as God’s gift to mankind. I’m
sad, I know!
Evening time, and its back down the town, for some food. However, the
Peking is still closed, several other places also. Amazingly, the
multi-storey shopping Mall is now all cleaned up and open ( it was under
4 inches of water, only 12 hours earlier). I must admit, I’m very
impressed at how the locals got the town and the hotels back up and
working. I don’t think we’d have done so well. Though candle light over
dinner was pushing it a bit - sorry lads, I really must insist on female
company over candlelight dinners.
Oh, well, at least our rooms stayed dry, and no more Muppets trying to
get in, in the early hours.
Tuesday, and the diving is still off, as there were possible issues with
the jetty, cracks in the concrete. Oh well, suppose its back to the
Beach bar, and you guessed it, the Beach Volley Ball, it’s a tough life,
but some ones’ got to drink all that beer and referee the game on style,
neatness of swimwear and stroke!
Hey, what’s going on, there are divers walking down the beach, now we’re
upset, there are limits on the refereeing of volley ball!
Oh well. At least the Peking Restaurant is open again, the food is to
die for, or put it another way, I want to marry their chef.
Wednesday, diving, yippee, though in saying that, not good! First reef
we did was Ras Ghozlani, fine desert sand every where, very little fish
life, and visibility very poor. Many hard corals suffocating as they’re
covered and can’t clean themselves off. Some seemed ok, but the back
wash off the divers fins is once again covering those that have been
able to clean themselves, so we needed to stop the diving and allow the
reef to recover. In truth, it’s heart breaking to see such a beautiful
place in such a bad way. Some times nature can be so cruel.
Happily, the 2nd dive of the day, out at Shark & Yolanda, was all OK.
Examination of the reef, and the occupants, revealed no damage.
Thankfully, it appears to be just the shore reefs which have suffered
from the rain washing the desert sand into the sea.
Thursday, and Friday saw us out at the reefs in the Straits of Tiran,
Jackson, Gordon, Thomas, and Woodhouse, and I’m happy to report, they
were all okay. Red Sea diving at it’s best, flat clam seas, 60 minute
dives to 30 meters, with the reefs dropping away below for another
100meters. The visibility was well over 150 meters.
Friday evening, saw us once again at the Peking Restaurant, after 5
bottles of beer at the hotel bar, not my fault honest, the waitresses
kept putting them in front of me (the bottles of beer that is).
Oh well, Saturday, last day. So, it’s back down the Beach Bar, once
again attired in our Gold Thongs, to top up on our tans and to chat up
the Russian girls in their string bikinis, just joking, they didn’t
understand English so we relied on body language ! Though we did spend
most of the day on the beach drinking beer - it’s a dirty job, but I
suppose some one has to do it!
Boohoo, back to the room, to pack, then it’s off to the hotel bar, for
one last beer, those waitresses are so naughty, they keep putting
temptation and those green bottles in front of me!
Just one last gaff, to make, and I’m happy to say it was mine. We all
got on-board the aircraft, and Eddie was left sitting on his own - luck
devil got the door seats, while everyone else had to pay an extra £35!
We felt sorry for him sitting there on his own, so I piped up, you need
a ‘Blond bimbo’ to come and sit next to you, to keep you company! Oh cr*p,
the stewardess heard me, oh b@@er, she was blond!
Can’t wait for 2011, just hope that stewardess is on a different flight!
The swordfish is named after its sharp beak resembling a sword (Latin
gladius), which together with its streamlined physique allows it to cut
through the water with great ease and agility. Contrary to belief the
"sword" is not used to spear, but instead may be used to slash at its
prey in order to injure the prey animal, to make for an easier catch.
Mainly the swordfish relies on its great speed, capable of reaching
speeds up to 50 mph (80 km/h), and agility in the water to catch its
prey. One possible defensive use for the sword-like bill is
protection from its few natural predators. The shortfin mako shark is
one of the rare sea creatures big enough and fast enough to chase down
and kill an adult swordfish, but they don't always win. Sometimes in the
struggle with a shark a swordfish can kill it by ramming it in the gills
Like most fish, the females grow larger than the males, with males over
300 lb (135 kg) being rare. Females mature at 4–5 years of age in
northwest Pacific while males mature first at about 3 to 4 years. In the
North Pacific, batch spawning occurs in water warmer than 24°C from
March to July and year round in the equatorial Pacific. Adult swordfish
forage includes pelagic fish including small tuna, dorado, barracuda,
flying fish, mackerel, forage fish as well as benthic species of hake
and rockfish. Squid are important when available. Swordfish are thought
to have few predators as adults although juveniles are vulnerable to
predation by large pelagic fish.
While swordfish are cold blooded animals, they have special organs next
to their eyes to heat their eyes and also their brain. Temperatures of
10 to 15 °C above the surrounding water temperature have been measured.
The heating of the eyes greatly improves the vision, and consequently
improves their ability to catch prey. Out of the 25 000+ species of bony
fish, only about 22 are known to have the ability to heat selected body
parts above the temperature of the surrounding water. These include the
swordfish, marlin, and tuna.
Swordfish are not schooling fish. They swim alone or in very loose
aggregations, separated by as much as 10 meters from a neighbouring
swordfish. They are frequently found basking at the surface, airing
their first dorsal fin. Their jumping, also called breaching, is thought
by some researchers to be an effort to dislodge pests, such as remora or
lampreys. It could also be a way of surface feeding by stunning small
fish as they jump out of the water, making the fish more easily captured
Swordfish feed daily, most often at night when they rise to surface and
near-surface waters in search of smaller fish. They have been observed
moving through schools of fish, thrashing their swords to kill or stun
their prey and then quickly turning to consume their catch. In the
western North Atlantic, squid is the most popular food item consumed.
But fish, such as menhaden, mackerel, bluefish, silver hake, butterfish,
and herring also contribute to the swordfish diet.
Swordfish are vigorous, powerful fighters. When hooked or harpooned,
they have been known to dive so quickly that they have impaled their
swords into the ocean bottom up to their eyes. Although there are no
reports of unprovoked attacks on humans, swordfish can be very dangerous
when harpooned. They have run their swords through the planking of small
boats when hurt.
The adults have few natural enemies, with the exception of large sharks,
sperm whales, and orcas. They are easily frightened by small boats, yet
paradoxically, large craft are often able to draw very near without
scaring them. This makes swordfish easy to harpoon.
The swordfish is often mistaken for other billfish (like marlin), but
upon examination their physiology is quite different.