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ISSUE 12 ARCHIVE - SHARM DOS AND DON'TS - ANIMAL WELFARE

Traveller

Animal Dos

Do Check your Linnaean definitions regularly. Fish ARE animals. Now you wouldn't kick your dog and you wouldn't microwave your chinchilla. They have feelings. And so do fishies. So, the next Brummie I see on a dive who sticks his snorkel into an eel's den to make it come out for a shit photo, I am going to remind him of that. Treat these scaly, gilled lovable creatures as you would your girlfriend. So, no stuffing remoras down your buddy's wetsuit. And that bearded Yank on YouTube who gets 'attacked' by a giant octopus... that was a put up job. We all know it – as do your two dive buddies seen in the last shot. Go find that feisty eight-legger who you have humiliated and give it half your royalties. I hear you made a mill from dragging it onto your face. Shame on you. I only got fifty quid from Harry Hill after I'd taped the sausage to my tank before being attacked by the pike at Stoney.
The Underwater Channel
Do Take triggerfish seriously. Very seriously. Man, those dudes are hard mo'fo's. They will bite yo' ass hard with those horny gums of theirs. A bit like Rooney felt on a night out with an old slapper in Manchester. If you come across one, thank the marine biologists for their research. They have a cone-like area of 'turf' which is theirs. Smaller at the bottom and wide at the top. Now, like above, if you are trying to get attacked for a few quid you'd get from the telly, stay there and say goodbye to your fingers or inflator hose. If you want to avoid the blood-wagon just go sideways and out of the zone. What worries me though, is that we think their turf-cone stops at the surface. Oh no it doesn't! Current reports from Indonesia are that it includes a high level of air-space above the water. A Titan was seen harassing a Qantas jet after take-off and took a chunk off its tail-fin. They don't tell you that on the safety brief.

Do Learn to love the lizards and geckos that inhabit your hotel room. I love these little fellas. The cheaper the hotel, the more you get. Hence my yearly booking at 'Abdul's 1 Star Dive Shed' in Sharm Old Town. Not only do they eat the roaches and spiders but there's great sport you can have with them. 'Lizardarts'. Game on. You need three each. Use a thick marker pen to make a huge dartboard on the hotel room wall. Blame the previous occupants if there's a problem later. Best to go for a 301 down as they die if you go for 501 as it takes too long. Simply throw them at the marked out dartboard and where they stick, that's your score. I prefer a twenty gramme gecko to the heavier forty gramme lizard, though I think the Power Taylor uses poisonarrow frogs. That's style! A quick tip – dip them in a vodka and lime between throws as it makes them stickier and easier to get off the wall after your round. They can't take alcohol.
Do Go and see Dr Adel up the chamber if you happen across an angry camel and get spat on. There are a few medical research papers doing the rounds that show the flob contains a potent neurotoxin. It won't get you straight away – nature leaves that for snakes – but a few years later there are cerebellar and wider cognitive defects akin to a dementia where you actually believe you are a technical diver. Linger's Syndrome is the name. Morning shakes like after your JD supper, and a strange confusion similar to that of someone at two hundred metres trying to figure out a VR3 and which end of a wreck is pointy. The only cure is to shell out a grand to Toomer so everyone believes you are a tekkie and not just mental.

Do Freak. Run. Scream. If you have a spider in your room. Man I hate that. Now don't be all όber-tough and think I am being over the top. In Sharm, the common species is the 'egg-laying eye spider'. And they do. When you are asleep, bigger men than me have awoken with a thousand of the b*****ds coming out of the lacrimal gland. Where you cry from. So, if you find one in the corner behind the lamp, here's what you do: Rush out to Pasha; Pull a Russian girl/bloke; Bring them back to your room; Ask to borrow their perfume which will be more flammable than your own; Get a Bounty from the minibar; Mash the scent with the coconut interior; Then NAPALM the f****r. Or get the Russian to do it – especially if they were Spetznaz in Chechnya.

Do Send your non-diving fella/missus out horse-riding. Because of Sharm's old Italian and French dominated tourism, this does exist out there. There's a big old sandy horsedome where you can ride in circles until the nag quits. And if she does – tell her to get back on and ride some more. (Sorry. Northern sexist humour alert.) Here's the sad part. If you don't go riding, you know where the horses end up? That's right, in the beef sausages you get for breakfast. So, I see it as a moral obligation for all of us British animal lovers to keep on those steeds for as long as it is humanely possible to keep them out of the silver tureens and for where they truly belong. Glue for Post-it notes. Allegedly.

Do You ever wonder what happens to all those bits of turkey left over at Christmas or Thanksgiving? No, not from home – that's in the bin. But the neck, eyes and wattle. The claws, gizzard and thyroid. You buy a stuffed breast from your middle-class high street supermarket. Where's the rest gone? Sharm hotel turkey sausage – that's where. Last year at Abdul's 1 star I bit through one and there it was – looking at me. The factory mincer must have widened it's mesh. I now smuggle my own franks into the country for brekker. As a Western diver I prefer snout, testicle and ear for that pre-Ras Mohammed energy boost.

Do Check your shoes for scorpions. They love leather and pedic sweat. Moistness, warmth and a wonderful fungal odour are like a Malibu beach house for our sting-ass foes. Once a housekeeper who loved the girlfriend's boots tried them on when we were out. We found her dead in the wardrobe, right next to the towel boy who had had a go with my Nike Airs. My trick to avoid this? I only wear Reef sandals and enclose them in a chicken wire frame with an alarmed UV perimeter. That keeps them out of your footwear. And into the end of your bed.
London School Of Diving
Animal Don'ts

Don't Ever go Camel-Jacking! It's not funny, despite being all the rage amongst Czech tourists. If you do happen to drag a local off his humpy transport and ride it into the desert, there are big penalties to pay. You will be subject to Bedou Law. It makes Sharia Law seem like our own (where there's only a slap on the wrist for rape and life means a five year stretch at Ford with as much booze as you can smuggle in). Sentencing is typically Arab. An eye for an eye sort of thing. You rode my camel, now he gets to ride you. If you get so Saqqared up that crime is your only option for a good time, then just get a taxi to the Hyatt reception, run off after refusing to pay and walk the three clicks back to where you are probably staying. If you have to jack a camel – never leave prints and if caught – phone a good proctologist back home to meet you off the flight.

Don't Diss the cats. They're sacred you know. The reason why is little known, but here's the current theory. After the ancient Egyptian power Gods of Ra, Thoth and Horus come the lesser known ones. Dufus, Homer and MrsSlocombe. From the religious creed of 'AreYouBeingServed', she was obsessed about her Pussy, which used to raise a lot of humour and respect in 4000 B.C. Since then all cats were revered and are still. Never kick one or refuse it milk if meowed. Best to ingratiate yourself to the locals and stroke their pussies. And if it rains in Sharm and the pussies get wet – then stroke them even more. "I'm free". [It was OK in the seventies at 8pm so don't complain now. Ed.]

Don't Forget who will inherit the Earth. The meek? No. Your great-great grandchildren? No. It will be the cockroaches. After bombing the shit out of Muroroa Atoll, French scientists found the only thing that survived were the roaches. The same in Nevada and Hiroshima. These bugs have a survival gene way beyond anything we have. Global warming? They'll exude Factor 50. Climate change? They will grow woolly hats if it's cold. So when in Sharm, I entertain myself with quiet observation of the hundreds in my room as to how we as a species could survive. My conclusions are that in the event of Apocalypse go hide under the chest of drawers or the crack behind the toilet. And learn to eat each other.

Don't Ever use the word 'Nemo'? Fish have an innate sense of clichι, as well as a well developed love of irony. To call what probably is an anemone fish 'Nemo', is like calling a magazine a 'book'. He may well still be cryogenically on hold, won more Oscars than anyone else with an alleged love of a swastika but can Walt D stop ruling our lives. An average toon, not as good as Pixar do and every single child now calls an orange and white striped fish 'Nemo'. I am so fed up of it, that I slapped my kid when he said it and made him call it 'Eric'. Which we would have done if there was a better cartoon industry here after they finished with Roobarb and Custard. It's a bloody clown fish. It's got a big red nose, long shoes, a car that falls apart and a squirty daffodil. 'Nemo' – how inappropriate.

Don't Ever worry about a stroll in the desert? We know how safe it is. For centuries nomads have wandered across it in bare feet with no problems. Now you can go quadbiking or see the stars at night on your day off diving. Wonderful views of the mountains and that fresh crisp dry air. What's not to like? Well, the cobras and the asps for starters. Closely followed by a few kraits and probably brown snakes. Yes, the area is full of them. By my reckoning unless you have thigh length leather boots and cover the rest of yourself in vulcanised rubber, in case you fall onto one, then you'll be dead in twenty minutes out there. You might be arrested for looking like a pervert but at least you won't die with frothy blood coming out of your mouth. Insallah.
London School Of Diving
Don't Make any 'ass' jokes. The humble donkey/mule/burl in Sharm is still a fundamental for their economy. Pulling the trash carts, getting through the bomb security or even keeping the streets smelling of something more than the kebabs. Sharm is ass-based still. So, the puerile fact that ass = bottom in English* should be beneath our sophisticated diver humour.

* In American ass = fanny, which is not amusing at all. So, please leave, "She's got a big ass"; "Can I ride your", etc... to 'Carry on at the Seaside II'.

Don't Eat the fish in Sharm. For God's sake, the point is to go there and see those buggers underwater. So why then stroll past one of the strip restaurants with it's freezer display and choose a coral grouper, snapper or chunk of moray. It's a simple equation. The more you eat there, the less you will see on the next dive. It will be your fault. Just eat chicken. No rainforests are cut down so they can graze, no oceans raped to catch them. Eco-meat. And they are incredibly dim.

Don't Put 'camel + spider' into Google Images. No don't. Seriously. There has never been such a freakish looking animal in creation. I cannot believe Noah put two of these things on his ark. Pure evil. What is worse is that they hate the heat and run after fleeing humans to catch their shade and end up biting them. There is one picture of two attached together, a sixteen-legged image of Hades itself. Egypt is full of them but their numbers may soon be reducing. It seems the best thing off-duty troops do out there is stick one in a bucket with a scorpion. And guess who wins? Every time, Lord Vader of the spider world. The prize is then being sent to Guantanamo to help extract confessions.
Catfish Dive & Safari

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