I have just returned from a 2 week dive holiday with Oonas Dive Club. I had an amazing time and can't give enough praise to the dive team who made my stay special and who took care of me during my stay. I did the EFR and Rescue Course during my second week and was instructed by Jonathan. We had a lot to get through and at the outset I found the prospect of what lay ahead to be a little daunting. Jonathan was brilliant and put me at ease and made quite a serious course into a thoroughly enjoyable, fun and rewarding experience. Thanks Jonathan.
Even before I arrived at Oonas Corrie (Centre Manager) was responsive to my string of email enquiries and her assistance to me continued and was constant throughout my stay until the moment of my departure. Thanks Corrie.
The team at Oonas are professional, helpful and sociable. After each day's diving there is a tradition of meeting in the bar/restaurant adjacent to the dive centre which makes a for great opportunity for completing logbooks, sharing contact details and photographs of the dives and generally debriefing and chilling out after a day on the boats. It's an aspect of Oonas Dive Club that makes this centre stand out from many others as the commitment to their customers extends beyond working hours and gives this dive centre a very personal feel. As a woman travelling alone I was able to dip in and out of the ready made social scene that thrives at Oonas and enjoy a beer/coffee/snack in a friendly and hassle free environment after a good day's diving.
The boats used by Oonas are excellent. They have two boats of their own and if these get full they will charter additional boats. Obi Wan was just out of dry dock during my stay and it is an impressive vessel. Spacious, comfortable, with unlimited tea, coffee and soft drinks available for 25LE (around 2.50GBP) per day or 50LE including lunch. The lunches were delicious and plentiful and freshly prepared on board usually consisting of rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, salads, dips, meat/fish providing a rich buffet between morning and afternoon dives and sometimes there is freshly baked cake or do-nuts on the way back to the jetty at the end of the day. Hooligan is their other boat and that too was a delight with plenty of room to relax between dives and the same arrangements for food and drinks. The crew on the boats were friendly, helpful and great at dolphin spotting!
I spent quite some time on the house reef during my rescue course, snorkelling on gassing off/study days and also for a night dive and was amazed at the variety of life so close to shore. On the house reef alone I saw 2 Eagle Rays (there are often 3 spotted in the sea grass area of the reef), Stonefish, various types of Puffer and Porcupine fish, Needlefish, Cornetfish, different types of Moray (including 'George' the biggest Moray I have ever seen and who put in an appearance out in the open during my night dive), a resident family of Blue Spotted Stingrays, a regular group of juvenile Batfish, Lionfish, Squid, Cuttlefish, Crocodile fish, Clownfish, Network Pipefish, Boxfish, Scribble Filefish, different types of Shrimp as well as the usual suspects - Parrotfish, Surgeon fish, Butterfly fish and Wrasses.
I have to take a moment here to give a mention to Amy - she has the eyes of a Hawk and is an expert creature spotter. Her talent for spotting obscure, minuscule and wonderful things is truly amazing. Her enthusiasm for and knowledge of the the marine environment and its inhabitants are exceptional. I would love to spend a day seeing the underwater world through her eyes, how marvellous that must be!
During my two weeks I had dives led by Jonathan, Warner, Amy, Peter and Alex - all of whom have a wonderfully relaxed pace of diving which was great for me as a novice photographer who likes to bimble along taking photographs of just about everything. All of the instructors would point out interesting marine life during the dive. They are an experienced team and keen on safety, never cutting corners and always abiding by safety standards especially regarding dive limits, buddy pairs and surfacing at the end of a dive etc.
The hotel accommodation may not compare to the big resorts that flourish around Naama Bay but the rooms have the essentials for those of us who go to Sharm to dive, eat, sleep and dive again the day after. I stayed in a twin room and then in a suite for one night (the twin wasn't available for my last night, I had to change rooms). The bedding, linens and bathrooms were clean in both rooms. The second room had accumulated a bit of dust on some of the lesser used furniture but it didn't detract from the general feeling of comfort. All rooms have a good sized balcony, satellite TV, fridge and tea and coffee making facilities. If you need a hairdryer you will need to bring your own.
Wifi is available in the bar/restaurant area and the password changes daily. The hotel rooms though have separate wifi provision. I did not have internet service in my room for the entire time that I was there. This was a disappointment as it would have been nice to catch up with friends and family in the comfort of my room some evenings or to stream a movie on my laptop. I was given various reasons for the internet not being in service and just as many assurances that it would be fixed however it wasn't fixed and I see from other reviews that this appears to be a recurring issue at Oonas albeit not a huge one. I pause here to mention that the hotel is managed separately from the dive centre and so this issue was in the hands of the hotel management to resolve and not in the control of dive centre staff.
What's nearby - Oonas is right on the doorstep of all that Naama Bay has to offer. There are lots of great places nearby that offer good food and entertainment. It really is just a short walk along the beach promenade to take you to the heart of Naama Bay. Very close by there are cash points and a Thomas Cook travel agent for changing money. Some of the big hotels change money too. If you are a fan of the 'Golden Arches" there is a McDonalds just across the road. If you don't want to leave the bosom of Oonas Dive Club then the food in their restaurant & bar is good quality and very reasonably priced.
I fully expect that I shall be a regular visitor to Oonas Dive Club in the future. I am very happy to have discovered this little gem in Naama Bay. Thanks to the dive team for making this a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable trip.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Superbly situated at the beach at the quieter end of Na'ama bay Oonas Dive Club's spacious, air-conditioned, and comfortably furnished accommodation offers a choice of suites, single and double rooms, with some of the most spectacular panoramic views of Na'ama Bay and the back drop of the Sinai Mountains. With bar and restaurant facilities on site, free wifi and only a short walk to the main centre with all its attractions, Oonas is an ideal hotel for those seeking personal service and a relaxed sociable atmosphere. Our PADI Dive Centre provides an extremely popular choice for groups, individuals, children and families who seek a friendly, informal and professional environment in which to experience the best the Red Sea has to offer. Sharm El Sheikh Airport is only a 20 minute drive away and an airport meet and greet transfer service can be provided at a reasonable cost. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Oonas Dive Hotel