in Taba Heights.

Not having dived for 10 years, I had to do a full scuba review – a written test, and all those skills like the maskless swim, buddy breathing, etc etc. Which was probably a good idea but a bit tedious. But did four proper dives as well.

Highlights – Crocodile Fish (Carpet Flathead), quite a big squid, some attractive spotty morays, pyjama slug (a kind of nudibranch), partner gobies with their little shrimp friends, a good view of a stonefish, blue-spotted ray, juvenile Emperor Angelfish, some attractive versions of Lyretail Grouper (purple with little blue spots and a yellow trim). Lots of pretty fish generally. Christmas tree worms in lots of colours; attractive ferny-looking black crinoids. Lots of scorpionfish.

I get the sense that the diving at Taba Heights is a bit limited, really – all rather the same – but good enough for a short trip. And the snorkelling outside the hotel was excellent – when the water wasn’t too choppy.


List from Taba Heights (a dive resort in Egypt): House Sparrow, Blackstart, White-crowned Wheatear, Spectacled Bulbul, Laughing Dove, Collared Dove, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Rock/Crag Martin (not sure), Swift, Kestrel, Sooty Gull, European Bee-eater, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Little Green Bee-eater, Mangrove Heron.

The Bee-eaters are probably the pick of that list, though I didn’t see any of them very well. The distribution maps in the book were clearly unreliable for the area, and I never managed to decide whether they were Rock Martin or Crag Martin.

One day I spent some time trying to track down a bird I could hear making a loud ‘chk chk’ call – I thought possibly a warbler. Eventually I was looking directly into a bouganvillea, not more than 4-5 feet away, and I couldn’t understand how I couldn’t see the damn bird, and I realised that on the wall directly behind the bouganvillea was… a gecko.

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