PADI shares landmark year with Camel Dive Club
2006 was the year of celebrations for the diving industry as PADI celebrated its 40th aniversary and Camel Dive Club celebrated its 20th anniversary. To celebrate the last 40 years, PADI International Ltd and the PADI Diving Society organized a visit to Camel Dive Club called the "Egyptian Immersion Event" during the 9th-16th December 2006 for their society members.
Camel Dive Club and the Crest Dive Centre in Limassol, Cyprus, joined forces to provide a special programme for the PADI Society members during this week. Camel Dive Club offered hotel accommodation, 4 days diving, free nitrox for qualified divers and training courses.
As a token of recognition and appreciation for their years of service and support to the diving community, PADI awarded Camel Dive Club a Happy 20Years banner, signed by Vice President of PADI International Ltd, Douglas Nash and the rest of the staff at PADI International head office.
BBC visits Camel Dive Club
BBC Security Correspondent and disabled diver Frank Gardner visited Camel Dive Club in November 2006 to make a documentary film about diving in Sharm El Sheikh. Frank and his film crew reported on how events like the 2005 Sharm El Sheikh terrorist attacks and the incident that led to Frank Gardner's disability changed lives, but also provided an inner strength and determination to strive towards new challenges.
Frank Gardner has worked for the BBC since 1995. During filming in Saudi Arabia, he was shot by al Qaeda sympathizers. Miraculously he survived the shooting but his injuries left him a permanent wheelchair user. What is so remarkable is his sheer determination to achieve his goals, not allowing his disability to prevent him from participating in activities, like scuba diving. Frank has always had a passion for the sport and keen to return to the sea but has not dived since his accident. However, with the assistance of his film crew, Camel's dive guides and the facilities at Camel Dive Club, he spent 5 days diving in the Red Sea exploring local sites, the Straits of Tiran, the Ras Mohammed National Park and SS Thistlegorm. One of Camel's highly experienced instructors', Luke Williamson, provided a refresher course on the first day and built up his confidence and skills for the more challenging dive sites.
After the terrorist attacks on Sharm El Sheikh in July 2005, the tourism and diving industry recovered as communities in Sharm with the help of international support rallied together. Frank Gardner's visit to Camel Dive Club was an opportunity for him to report on disabled diving in places like Sharm and how it's possible to achieve your dreams even after tragic events. Camel Dive Club's facilities accommodate wheelchair users with unlimited access to all areas of the Dive Club and Hotel, including restaurants, bars and a swimming pool. It has developed excellent relationships with groups such as Scuba Trust in the UK and Handicapped Scuba Association. Frank Gardner's documentary called "The Dive of My Life" was broadcast in December on BBC World and News 24 and will be repeated on Christmas Day.
Camel Dive Club celebrates 20 years
Thursday 7th December 2006 was a night for celebrations at Camel Dive Club & Hotel, Na'ama Bay, Sharm El Sheikh. Camel Dive Club celebrated its 20th anniversary and to mark the occasion organized one of their biggest and most memorable parties ever to have rocked the Roof and Camel Bar. Nearly 500 guests traveled from various continents to join the party celebrations with Chairman and founder of Camel Dive Club, Hesham Gabr.
Realising the potential the South Sinai region had in terms of diving and tourism since the 1980s, Hesham's vision was to create a fully operational dive centre and holiday facilities, a "one stop shop" for his divers. Established in Sharm El Sheikh in 1986, Camel Dive Club consisted of only a one-storey stone building, some straw huts, water tank and a compressor. During the last 20 years, the Camel concept has developed into a 4 star hotel including restaurants, bars, a café, a specially designed diver training pool and a 5 Star PADI Instructor Development Centre. Camel Dive Club is now the longest surviving diving brand in Sharm El Sheikh.
The 20th anniversary party took place at Camel on The Roof and downstairs in the Camel Bar. The theme was the colour red and guests either dressed or accessorized in red. Draping red and silver fabric with red lighting added a touch of elegance and style. There were mosaic mirror designs, dramatic flower arrangements and even a life sized foam camel on top of the Roof bar itself which is visible for miles!
Guests were greeted with champagne and canapés were served during the evening. A live band played till the early hours of the morning creating the perfect party atmosphere.
For Hesham, the 20th Birthday party was a joyous and overwhelming occasion. "Camel could not have achieved in 20 years what it has without the support and dedication from everyone involved. We will continue to maintain Camel's philosophy of providing what divers want - top quality facilities, friendly dive guides and fantastic diving."
With the development of tourism in Sharm El Sheikh and Camel's ability to adapt to changing environments, meeting the needs of this highly competitive industry, the next 20 years looks very promising for one of the oldest and most reputable dive centres in Sharm El Sheikh.