"Sawa" means "Together" in Arabic. Thats the name of our beach camp on the Red Sea. The Gulf of Aqaba to be exact. I have just been snorkelling about 200m off the beach. Who could have imagined the sea offered riches like Ive just seen, straight off the desert!?! The mountains behind me are jagged and heavily eroded, like a giant gravel slide. Imagine the landscape north of Cairns where the mountains meet the sea. Now imagine not one single tree or bush or blade of grass. Like that. Except here theres no jumping on a boat for two hours to get to the reef - I can see it from here!I didnt know what was out there when I headed out this morning.
Our new guide for Egypt, Mohamed, showed us pictures of some of the fish we might encounter, but I didnt really know what to expect. Mohamed told us we needed to swim to the point where the turquiose water turned dark blue. OK. About halfway out I swam over a carpet of lawn with sea cucumbers lazing about, then I spotted some spiky sea urchins. So-so. When I saw the beautiful blue lips of a clam I knew I was getting somewhere. Then before I knew it I was off the edge off the reef and came face to face with the most amazing coral and fish Id ever seen! I had no idea coral could grow in these waters (it wasnt exactly warm). Im serious though. There were corals of all different shapes and colours - blue, pink, yellow, baby-poo green, orange. There were rounded coral with labyrinth patterns, brain coral, tree like coral, anemones, you name it. And the fish! I followed around a massive black one with a bump on his head and a british green racing stripe down his middle. Everywhere I turned there were mire amazing coral and fish. Just brilliant.
Sawa camp is gorgeous. The huts are made frim palm fronds. The are very basic but very cute with a mattress on the floor and mossie net above. Theres a hammock under the "verandah" out front. Like a little bure. If I take two steps to the left I have a beachfront view. Sweeeeeet. It has been really good to have some down time and a pleasure to have an unexpected beach holiday. The common area faces the beach and is a series of little ground level lounge areas with a little coffee table. Sitting and sleeping on the floor is taking its toll on ones back and butt - but its a small price to pay.
We've thought about spending the next two weeks here instead of the rest of the trip. But I havent come all this way not to see the pyramids. So tomorrow we're off to Mt Sinai. It will be sad to leave the beach but there is still so much more to come.