REDTEC PART 7: The Last Supper

Regrettably, the last day of RedTec was finally upon us. Kerri was back on her feet, a mere 36 hours after the on set of seasickness, and we were ready to enjoy a final dive.

The last day was to be one dive only, allowing plenty of time to dismantle kit, rinse it, and ultimately get it dried, before being stuffed back into "The Monolith" for the journey home.

I have to admit it was bloody depressing; although my belly was glad to return to a more temperate climate, as I had consumed the majority of re-hydration powder on the ship.

(I really can't stress how important it is to stay hydrated on big dive trips, and in future I shall be brining many, many hydration sachets with me, in a variety of flavours).

Wifebuddy was in much better form, which was great, as I got rid of that numpty Jim Dowling in exchange for a proper buddy… ahem.

I maintained my new protocol of a light breakfast, got as much liquid down my neck as possible, promptly pee'd it all out, then sorted my kit out for the dive, in anticipation of the next briefing.


Our band of deep diving wreck divers, assembled in the sky lounge for the final briefing with saddened hearts; but excitement of the climactic dive was in the air.

source: wrecks of Egypt

Kevin, the Blue O Two rep, took the floor. The briefing that followed went as thus:

"We're going to dive this wreck. I don't know a lot about it, so don't ask me anything. It sank. Have a nice dive."

It was a fantastic way to end the week.

In all honesty, the tears were tripping us with laughter. Kevin had some information, but not a lot, and figured we'd rather just get in and go diving. A vast amount of banter and abuse followed, along with some more rather splendid anecdotes about the crappest dive briefing ever.

Kevin's wasn't the worst, but it was close.

  • Once home, my great allied Google revealed a little more info:
The Hebat Allah was a small cargo ship of 494 GRT built for the Egyptian Government at Breheret Ets., Ingrandes, France, in 1985. When launched, she was 44.5 meters in length and 8.5 meters in beam, with diesel engines and a single propeller for a speed of 8 knots.

The Hebat Allah was intentionally sunk on 07 November 2004 between the Giftun Island and Gota Abu Ramada in the El Arouk Giftun area as Egypt's first artificial reef. The idea behind the sinking was to relieve some of the pressure from dive tourism on some of the other popular dive sites in the area. The ship had been lying on the reef just outside of Hurghada's main harbor for some years after having broken her moorings in heavy weather and drifted onto the reef and looked to be the perfect candidate for a new recreational wreck dive.

The ship was originally to be sunk in 30-meters of water in order to provide access by divers of all certification levels. However, this was not to be. Unfortunately it was sunk in the wrong location and ended up resting in 46 meters of water instead, putting this wreck in the category of a shallow technical dive. [source: wrecks of egypt]

Buddied up with Kerri, we ran through our checks, and strode off the back of The Blue Voyager into the perfect conditions below. No currents, great viz, superb company, a twinset and a stage; it couldn't fail.

Even I, with the sat nav capabilities of a potato, was able to navigate the wreck. It was completely intact, with very little deterioration due to its infancy in the Red Sea and was basically a tech diving playground; we treated it as such.

I know that the instructors on board felt the wreck was a little mundane (a “skip” was the term I believe), but I think it was a brilliant way to end the week. The Hebat Allah was easy to get around, penetration was simple, the shot lines were obvious, the life was pretty cool, and it was a good depth for everyone aboard.

Kerri in the wheel house

We arrived on the stern and slowly worked our way to the bow, enjoying the Lion Fish along the way. The in-water antics were really good fun, and you could tell we had become good friends through the trip.

Lion Fish

The Greek, Ben, Kerri and I mucked about back kicking off the bow, whilst Jim attempted to maneuver Laura into some strange position; 'refining' her backwards technique. (It is as well he doesn't do that for a living.)

Kerri over the hold

As we began to wrap up the proceedings I noticed Jim Dowling had dropped out of the frame. As I’m sure you can imagine, not seeing Jim is a bad, bad thing. I stopped, helicoptered around, but saw nothing. I even looked over my shoulder to check for the evil Brit, but no sign.

Moments later I glanced to the starboard side to see him innocently finning along, but I knew something had gone down.

Needless to say I was absolutely correct; he got to 'scooter me' one last time. *sigh*

The dive plan, as usual, got a little skewed, and the decompression obligation was rather long; but we didn't care. The entire group seemed to end the dive in unison, a clatter of twinsets buzzed around the mast, and we gently ascending up the shot line.

the mast

Kerri and Jim

me blinding Jim with my light

Jim's "anti-Andy's-light" mask

It was the most relaxing deco ever; the lack of currents made it a joy. I kept Kerri in view as she slept on the shot line, and I finned about, snapping a few pics of her and there, and even managed a game of naughts and crosses with Ben on my wetnotes.

It was just loads of fun, and that’s what diving is about.

Jim with sight regained

deep diver Andy on deco

As my deco came to a conclusion, I noticed Mr. Paul Vincent Toomer himself, slightly off the shot line, somewhat on this own. It seemed appropriate that I thanked him 'in-water' for a bloody amazing week of diving; so I did just that.

I swam over, stuck my hand out, and barked through my regulator:

"Tank. Oou. Or. A. Underhul. Eek. Oou. Ock."
[Translate: Thank you for a wonderful week. You rock.]

A hearty laugh bellowed through the loop of the JJ, and I left him to it as he threw me the horns.

Paul Toomer doing what he does


Back on the ship, we enjoyed another fantastic lunch, and then it was back to business.

The stupidly high temperatures, and the windy journey back to port, made drying the dive kit a piece of piss.

The upper sun deck was scattered with dead pieces of gear; the blazing sunshine did the rest.


We arrived back in port late afternoon and, to be honest, we were all at a bit of a loss. The only real option was drink; so the Sakkara was fridge was promptly annihilated.

Big Pat and Paul

Jolly Roger

more BEER!
Laura and her sexy Hollis spool

Most of us decided to remain on board for the "last supper" which was a phenomenally good idea, as the final feast was amazing. The divers were asked to remain seated, and the chef wheeled out a huge roast turkey!

It was remarkable. How the chef managed to make a full roast turkey dinner in the tiny wee galley was staggering, but he did it nonetheless; and it was exquisite.


After dinner, the group disembarked from The Blue Voyager and wandered a short distance into Hurghada. Basically we walked to a cash machine, and then continued walking until we found a bar.

It didn't take long.

Tables were moved, chairs reallocated, pints and shisha followed. It was brilliant craic. Dive stories, tall tales, ambitions and dreams were shared long into the wee hours.

I even ended up with some Egytian pussy…

… what?

Unfortunately my inner workings, weren't ... eh, great; so after not enough pints I had to call it a night.

time to call it quits!


The morning knock on the door brought tea and a radiant, yet sympathetic, smile from Samir. Kerri and I gloomily made our way for the last breakfast on The Blue Voyager.

The vibe over the table was a hung-over one, and it was noted that Paul hadn't even made it to the table.

Laura was also sporting a knee injury, and Ben looked moments from passing out; to the point were he was totally at ease sending wee Kerri to get his drysuit from the sundeck.

It appeared we missed a good night out!


A wonderful arrangement with the hotel around the corner meant that all the residents of the ship got to spend all day in the lap of luxury, awaiting the coaches to ferry us to the airport.

Confirming that tech divers are true gadget freaks, the highlight was the free w-fi in the cafe. As soon as the i-things connected, the room was filled with silence.

A few beeps and buzzes ensued as everyone's Facebook accounts indicated abundant friend requests, as our intrepid troops linked up on the information highway.

It was very cool; after only one week together, a new group of technical divers had found kindred spirits.


The buses arrived; hugs and handshakes were made in turn. I think even Jim shed a tear as he clung to my leg, begging me not to leave, and show him the path to awesomeness; next time mate.

At the airport, the usual nonsense check-in procedures were alleviated, as we reflected and chatted about the RedTec experience. We were all on the same flight back to the UK, so it was cool to be able to chat some more to Paul before take off.

I also enjoyed Dan explain he wasn’t bringing his kids back an unconvincing, stupid, overpriced, poorly manufactured, stuffed camel.


Before we knew it, we were back in the UK and another set of hugs and handshakes took place as the remainder of the group split; and everyone went their separate ways.

We thanked Paul for the best week's diving we've ever experienced, and watched the big South African dander into the swarm of Gatwick's human traffic.

It was all a little surreal as I grabbed the handles of another uncontrollable trolley, loaded with The Monolith, and attempted to find our way to the bus stop.

"That's that then." I observed.

"Yup." Kerri confirmed, and we began the final leg of the trip back to Belfast.


RedTec in The Red Sea with Paul Toomer was fucking awesome. I clocked up 772 minutes of technical diving over 5 days, and enjoyed every single second of it. The ship was fantastic, the crew was flawless, the food divine, the diving excellent, and we had no problems what so ever. 

Above all the company made it. 

Paul was great fun, as expected, and having Jim Dowling on aboard was just an added bonus. I found all the other divers exceedingly good fun, and a healthy sense of humor of all involved really made the trip for me.

The diving suited our level splendidly, and the trimix certification (thanks to Paul and Jim) was an added bonus that I get to enjoy from now on.


I would like to offer a sincere thanks to: the (amazing) crew, (Big) Pat, (deep diver) Andy, (GUE to be) Ben, (Hollis spool lover) Laura, (the ever laid back) Geoff, (the very sun burned) Karl, (the man with all the spares) Aiden, (you owe me your life) Dave, Keith (teach your girlfriend to dive ffs!), Ellen (learn to dive ffs!), Phil (the man with the red wine), Morty (you shouldn't sleep in airports), (The Greek) Dimitris, Henry (Call me Roger), Dan (burgundy - nice, slick), John and Val (the nicest couple ever), Alister and Nancy (and their big box of bits), Kerri (the vomiting Wifebuddy), Jim (how red can a face get?) Downling-Dowling; and finally Paul (Tall Poomer) Toomer.

Oh, and on a final, final, final note; I found out it was the combination of Jason Brown and Jim Dowling who placed the "Considerably Better Than Andy" slates the week before we arrived.

Jim & Jason planting the slates

Stealthy Bastard.

See you on the next RedTec folks!

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7


  1. Busted!!!!!!! lol

    Seriously - great write up, Andy. I've enjoyed reading every word :-)

  2. Thanks mate; and cheers for the slates!

    ... I think ...


  3. yeap!
    pretty awesome week :)

    and yes you did miss a great night out
    hopefully we will arrange to go diving
    and make up for that lost drinking session :)

    The Greek

  4. I'll definitely be up to power for the next drinking session. I just need to bring more hydration powders in future! ;)

  5. :)

    Nothing like trying not to laugh reading this when I'm in the office supposedly working.

    Rock On.

    Just Sonic (no longer Sidemount)

  6. Thanks, not so sideways, Sonic! :D


Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it!

Safe diving buddy.