On Thursday, the 17th of March, HEPCA organized a Crown of Thorns survey and cleanup at Carless Reef.
HEPCA scientists and divers along with volunteer divers from Hurghada carried out a survey and collection dive at Carless Reef, north of Hurghada. This mission came about as a result of recent reports of a Crown of Thorns outbreak at the reef. After initial surveys at and around the reef, it was discovered that a spot outbreak (i. e. limited to a specific location) was in-progress at the reef.
A HEPCA statement was sent out and volunteers gathered at HEPCA premises on Wednesday the 16th for a cleanup and collection training session given by HEPCA scientists.
The survey and cleanup discovered that the Crown of Thorns were not actively feeding and had not spread from the North side of Carless Reef. More than one hundred creatures were gathered by the volunteers. It was discovered that they were all close to maturity which means that the outbreak would have spread dramatically in the coming months and years had they not been collected.
HEPCA scientists warned that the situation needs continued monitoring and further cleanup of the reef is required.
Egypt has re-opened many of its museums and historical sites which had been closed since the civil uprising started in January.
Tourists visiting Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, which houses Tutankhamun’s golden death mask, were welcomed by staff with roses.
The museum stands on Tahrir Square, the focus of the unrest, and some artefacts were stolen or damaged.
The upheaval is said to have cost the tourism industry $800m (£500m).
The usually busy galleries of the Egyptian Museum were virtually deserted when doors opened on Sunday, Reuters news agency reports.
“It was very important for us to open the museum to stop the rumours like ‘the mask of King Tutankhamun was stolen’ or there had been an orgy of looting,” said museum director Tarek El Awady.
“This is a chance for visitors to see for themselves.”
One tourist, Dutch supermarket worker Sandra de Rooij, said she and others had ventured out after assurances from tour operators.
“We gambled, we didn’t know the museum would be open,” she added.
Canadian tourist Barbara Bonkowsky said she had been “determined to come and see the museum in a new Egypt”, after the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak.
Source: BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12521034)
Egypt really is a amazing country steeped in history and culture. You’ll find it contains the longest river on earth, the Nile. If you are considering going on Nile cruise holidays, here are some suggestions that ought to help you plan your trip thoroughly.
The time of year can be really crucial. This can both be important due to the actual weather and climate as well as the amount of money that you have to shell out on the trip that you embark on. In the course of the high season rates are a lot higher, but you also need to take into consideration the climate and temperature.
The duration of the trip is one more critical element for you to take into account too. If you’re only going to Egypt for the purpose of taking a Nile cruise then something up to between 7 to 10 days might be appropriate. If, however, the cruise is going to be part of a general vacation then a longer trip may be a better plan.
Consider how much you are happy to spend on the entire trip. Needless to say this will vary according to the time of year, the length of the getaway, and the star quality of the cruise that you embark upon. If you’re travelling from a Western nation, however, 5 star Nile cruises are certainly affordable. Take some time checking prices and you should manage to find a few good choices.
Whenever you visit a place like Egypt it is very important to get yourself adequate travel insurance. There are various risks that you might encounter including the threat of terrorism or medical issues. A full travel insurance policy, therefore, will be vital. You’ll find a selection of crucial things that you need to remember when you are packing as well. There can be particular medications you’ll want to bring along with, and suntan cream will certainly be a necessity. All through your journey also ensure that you drink water frequently so that you remain hydrated.
British nationals in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez are being told to leave if it is safe for them to do so, following days of violent protests across Egypt.
But despite upgrading its advice, the Foreign Office (FCO) is not currently organising a formal evacuation.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was concerned by the number of Britons trying to leave at Cairo airport.
While flights were coming in and out, a lack of staff meant it was not functioning properly, he said.
Meanwhile PM David Cameron and US President Barack Obama called for an “orderly transition” of government.
After discussing the crisis on Sunday, the two leaders said the north African country needed a comprehensive process of political reform, a Downing Street spokeswoman said.
They urged the Egyptian government to respond peacefully to protests and condemned the violence of recent days.
Mr Cameron also spoke to King Abdullah of Jordan about the ongoing violence, amid fears that extremists could try to exploit the situation.
The British Ambassador to Egypt, Dominic Asquith, said there were “lots of challenges” at Cairo airport.
020 7008 0000 in the UK
(02) 2791 6000 in Egypt
Holidaymakers are also advised to keep in touch with their airline or tour operator
“That’s why we’ve got the team up there trying to help,” he sad. “There are flights going in and out but it is not orderly.”
Several flights to Britain have been cancelled, people are unable to use the internet to book, and schedules have been affected by the curfew imposed in the city.
The curfew in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez was extended by an hour on Sunday night to run from 1500 to 0800 local time rather than 1600 to 0800, Egyptian state television reported.
Most of the 20,000 UK tourists in Egypt are in Red Sea resorts, which the FCO considers to be safe.
The UK Foreign Office is warning against all non-essential travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Luxor, and say that anyone “without a pressing need” to be the first three of those cities should leave if it wass safe for them to do so.
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt told the BBC: “We do want people to take the opportunity if they are able to leave… but as yet the situation has not reached the stage where we would necessarily be considering chartering planes and getting larger numbers out.”
Passengers arriving at Heathrow from Cairo speak of “frightening” experiences in Egypt
The FO says arrangements are being made for the spouses and children of British embassy staff in Cairo to leave the country on ordinary commercial flights.
Mr Hague said the welfare of British nationals was his top priority and he had sent extra consular staff to Cairo airport.
The foreign secretary also warned that Egypt could fall into the hands of extremists unless there were peaceful reforms.
He told the BBC: “It’s to avert those risks and meet the legitimate grievances and aspirations of the Egyptian people that we are urging the Egyptian authorities… to create a more broadly-based government.”
He said reforms should be “real and visible” and elections “free and fair”.
The US embassy in Cairo is telling Americans to consider leaving the country as soon as possible and will begin evacuation flights on Monday.
In Cairo, demonstrators are back on the streets for a sixth day, demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
Alex Belfield, a presenter with BBC Leeds who is on holiday in Sharm El Sheikh, said tourists at his hotel had been told they could not leave the building for at least 24 hours.
Angry protesters gathered at Tahrir Square in Cairo amid increasing lawlessness
“This whole thing seemed a million miles away yesterday, but last night… when we got back [from dinner] the whole atmosphere had changed.
“The barricades had gone up at the front of the hotel… and there are 14 security guards in total, making it very clear we were not able to leave.”
Sean Tipton, from travel body Abta, said UK tourists required to travel to Luxor, which is a popular start and end point for Nile cruises, were “being taken to the cruise very quickly and got out of the place very quickly”.
The FO says it has had no reports of any trouble in Sharm El Sheikh.
In other travel news:
- British Midland International (BMI) said it would operate flights between Heathrow and Cairo on Monday but would change the times to operate outside the curfew. Its flights to Cairo were cancelled on Sunday
- Easyjet said it was operating a normal schedule to Egypt but offering passengers the chance to either rebook, or cancel and receive a voucher valid for future travel for up to a year
- Tui, the parent company of Thompson and First Choice, cancelled a flight to Aswan on Monday and one to Luxor on Tuesday. All excursions to Cairo and Luxor were also scrapped, but flights to Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam were not affected.
- Other travel companies have cancelled excursions from Red Sea resorts to Cairo and ancient Egyptian sites in Giza and Luxor
- British Airways and Egyptair have altered their schedules
- The Independent’s travel editor, Simon Calder, said package holidays from the UK to Red Sea resorts were going ahead as normal, and tour operators had no liability to anybody who decided not to go.
Source: BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12318528)
For a few days in late 2010, the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh was in the spotlight as a number of shark attacks between Middle Gardens and Ras Nasrani struck horror into travellers. 4 people were injured and a 5th died. This was the 1st fatal shark attack in Egypt for a year and the 1st in Sharm for 6 years.
As with every shark attack anywhere worldwide, there is mass hysteria. The government bodies sealed seashores and diving operations although a number of people still ventured into the sea. It was not very long before two sharks were caught and shown the globe as the ones at fault. However, the Oceanic White Tip to blame for one attack was photographed by scuba divers and had different markings compared to the one which was captured.
Just as suddenly as the attacks started, they stopped. Shark gurus had travelled to Sharm from just about all over the entire world in an attempt to clarify what happened. The behaviour certainly wasn’t normal which means the only real explanation was that some type of man-made intervention were to blame.
In more remote parts of the Southern Red Sea, shark feeding will occur although it is against the law. A much more probable conclusion was that the vessel taking live sheep to Saudi Arabia threw dead livestock into the water. The busy shipping channels near the Straits of Tiran aren’t far from the spot in which the shark attacks occurred.
In reality, the reasons may never be known but things must be kept in perspective. Even though shark attacks are shocking, they’re astonishingly infrequent. In contrast, 3 tourist coach accidents in October, November and December claimed an overall total of 22 lives yet was given very little publicity. Happily, tourism in Egypt is rather tough and it has bounced back powerfully in the aftermath of a number of tragedies. Sharm is Egypt’s most well liked holiday location and will definitely be going strong in 2011.