Archive for the ‘scuba diving’ Tag

Egypt – Diving the Thistlegorm   Leave a comment

Hello readers,

It’s been a while, in fact it’s been a long time since I wrote here.  This site was/is all about Kerry and I’s travels around the world, so it feels only appropriate to share our trip to Egypt back in June 2014 and in particular diving the World War 2 wreck the Thistlegorm.  For Kerry and I this was a must see attraction (we had done the pyramids on a previous trip in 2006 on our first ever holiday abroad)

Because we we hadn’t dived since Thailand in September 2012, we thought we would break ourselves in gently with a few reef dives before the big one.  These were amazing with so many fish and coral.  It was great being back in the water, but always on the horizon was the Thistlegorm. To give her her official title the SS Thistlegorm was a British armed Merchant Navy ship built in 1940. She was sunk on 6 October 1941 near Ras Muhammad in the Red Sea and is now a well known diving site.

She set sail on her fourth and final voyage from Glasgow on 2 June 1941, destined for Alexandria, Egypt. The vessel’s cargo included: Bedford trucks, Universal Carrier armoured vehicles, Norton 16H and BSA motorcycles, Bren guns, cases of ammunition, and 0.303 rifles as well as radio equipment, Wellington boots, aircraft parts, railway wagons and two LMS Stanier Class 8F steam locomotives. These steam locomotives and their associated coal and water tenders were carried as deck cargo and were for the Egyptian Railways. The rest of the cargo was for the Allied forces in Egypt. At the time the Thistlegorm sailed from Glasgow in June, this was the Western Desert Force, which in September 1941 became part of the newly formed Eighth Army. The crew of the ship, under Captain William Ellis, were supplemented by 9 naval personnel to man the machine gun and the anti-aircraft gun. She was bombed and sunk by the Germans basically because they has bombs left on their bombers. They hadn’t found there intended target. The ship sank with the loss of four sailors and five members of the Royal Navy gun crew.

The ship was torn open like a tin of sardines, which gives the idea of the scale of the explosions that occurred that day.  Its an eerie place to dive.  We first made a dive to the wreck with a tour of the outer hull and deck. Our second dive was to penetrate the wreck, though the holds to see the aforementioned cargo and onwards up through the wreck to the captains quarters, past the bridge and on to the deck.  Put simply it was amazing. Our guides from Emperor Diving where brilliant which all added up to an experience that will stay with us both for a lifetime.

 

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Backpackers, Diving and Germans   1 comment

For out initial stay on the main populated side of Koh Toa we stayed at a resort called Souiree Village which, of course, had a scuba diving center attached to it. Koh Toa is a renowned diving location with over 50 dive companies on the island. The resort was situated close to restaurants and cafes and on the doorstep to the beach. My first dive since January in Queensland was to a well known and great site called Chumporn Pinnacle  It was brilliant to get back in the water. It was a nice leisurely dive with an older gentleman from Frankfurt and our guide Paddy from Surrey. Max depth 29 metres, dive time 40 minutes. The amount of coral was disappointing but there was a huge abundance of fish.

I have noted that after a few days on this side of the island I can’t help noticing the number of Germans. I would like to point out that I have no issues with our European friends however they are everywhere. This must be the time of the year that they get good deals to travel to Thailand. The older gents are particularly easy to spot on a dive boat or the beach prancing about in their black skimpy speedos….its so wrong.

The next few days involve sunbathing, diving and studying for yet another dive course. This time Nitrox/enriched air training.

If you are interested in purchasing photographs from this site, my favourite images are available at http://stefanpalmer.photium.com

January 2012 – 12 by 12   Leave a comment

Further continuing the highlights of our first year of marriage

We finally finished our dive master courses. It felt like nothing happened for a long time then suddenly we were visiting the island for the last time.  A couple of days later we bid a sad farewell to Alana and chelsea and before we knew it were on the plane heading for Melbourne.  We had a few days in a very nice hotel then checked into the excellent space hotel where we became long term residents while I looked for work. It took about 3 weeks until I found a great job in my field.  In between job hunting we visited the botanical gardens, went to the tennis and met up with friends.

By Kerry Feely

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

So close you can smell the saltwater   Leave a comment

We are comfortably settled into our new home in Altona (see post link here). We are two minutes walk from the beach. Having never lived on the coast before, it feels like being on holiday. So far I’ve been for a run along the beach track, cycled a little bit around the town and had a few morning swims in the sea. If only I could get hold of some cylinders, I’d go for a dive…….mmmmmm. With so much coastline around Philip Bay, all close to Melbourne, Altona appears to have missed out on all the trendy sea front bars and resturants. The town centre is made up of a supermarket and a handful of hairdressers, bric a brac shops, average to poor coffee shops and restaurants providing food from various Asian countries. None of which concerns us.  We are here for the views, and the smell of the sea.  On the beach there is a lifeguard station, a pier and a few grassy areas before sand and sea. The sea itself is very shallow for a good 30 metres out. Due to the lack of surf, around Altona, Kite surfing is very popular. A walk by the beach is guarenteed to give you the opportunity to watch the guys in action. Because the area is so flat the skyline of Melbourne is nearly always visible. I had the coolest view the other day running along the beach looking at both the sea 10 metres away and the hazy skyscrapers in the distance some 18km away.

I do like this seaside living.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

November 2011 – 12 by 12   Leave a comment

We started one of the biggest challenges of our lives… our dive master training. This is the first step to becoming a diving professional – actually earning money to do something we love. Our DM was tough. It was with a school that runs weekend camping and diving trips to a remote island on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.  There were very early mornings (at the shop for 04.30), very late nights, lots of carrying of cylinders and A.MAZE.ING diving!  This month was not all about diving though, we also went out with our lovely housemate Alana to the wetlands to look for kangaroos and birds, walked Chelsea and got to know Townsville better.

By Kerry Feely

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

October 2011 – 12 by 12   Leave a comment

Continuing our damp Vietnam experience, Kerry and I spent my birthday in Saigon and had a great Mexican meal. We visited the scary tunnels where the Vietnamese took refuge during the war with the US. It was then our first plane trip of our adventure to Kuala Lumpar. What a great place that was, with the spectacular Protonus Towers and panoramic night time views from the KL Tower. It was in KL that we visited the Elephant sanctuary and had a brilliant day being entertained by those wise old animals. Finally during October we arrived in Australia for the next leg of our adventure…….

By Stefan Palmer

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

September 2011 – 12 by 12   Leave a comment

Further continuing the highlights of our first year of marriage

In September we managed to visit three countries. The end of the first part of our tour found us in Hong Kong – an amazing city where East truly meets West in a fusion of English road signs, dumpling houses and mega malls. We spent the day on the beach a stone’s throw from the skyscrapers, and hardly slept for three nights. It was there we met our second tour group, and continued into Southern China where we were fortunate to be invited to a Chinese family’s house for their Autumn festival celebrations – a traditional meal including… chicken feet!!!

The tour continued into Vietnam where we trekked in Sapa, the mountainous north, all steep hills, thick mists and incredible views. Next stop was Ha Noi where the tour officially ended, but the group decided to visit Ha Long Bay where we found ourselves marooned on a deserted island called Cat Ba after a day of deep water soloing and sea kayaking. As has been a tradition on this trip the quietest places were the most fun and an afternoon of Cat Ba Games and Cat Ba Karaoke we fell asleep to the sound of the sea.

We said goodbye to our new friends on the mainland and Stef and I continued southwards through Vietnam. We visited the ancient capital Hue before heading on to pretty Hoi An , then managed to find an excellent dive school in Na Trang and finally finishing in Saigon. My overriding memory of Vietnam is the rain. From the second we bid farewell to our tour group until we finally made our escape it rained. Poured in fact. Every. Single. Day. But what a country!

By Kerry Feely

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer