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Hurghada

Hurghada, Egypt, provides air and sea logistics support to ships in the north Red Sea for the NAVCENT AOR. It functions as an LOGAIR head for PAX/Mail/Cargo for ships transiting Suez enroute to/from the Arabian Gulf. Airlift to/from Hurghada is scheduled as needed from Sigonella. Material is transhipped to forces at sea via CLF (T-AO) shuttle if available or barges. Facilities are austere and only limited berthing in hotels is available. The det is manned by an OIC and one enlisted cargo handler assigned from NAVCENT/CLFNC.

Sixth Fleet ports of call are also located throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Ship visits ensure continued access to essential bases and infrastructure. Engagement capitalizes on naval strengths of mobility and sustainability, using the inherent prestige of U.S. flagged warships. Formative engagement is further enhanced by incorporating the full range of naval assets -- including Seabees, the chaplaincy, the Judge Advocate General corps, and civil affairs units -- during port visits.

During a 226 day deployment in support of Operation Desert Storm, USS JOHN F. KENNEDY was underway for 196 days, travelled 50,000 miles, and made the first-ever aircraft carrier Red Sea port visits to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Hurghada, Egypt.

Hurghada has little historical significance in Egypt, but is the capital and most important city of the Red Sea Governate of Egypt. The main reason for its existence today ought to make you happy if you're into water sports: it's home to some of the finest beaches, coral reefs and tropical fish in the Middle East. This place is very spread out. The quickest and cheapest way around is by taxi. Cabs are not metered, so barter with the driver. Fares are by car, not by individual.

Hurghada and the surrounding area are jammed with diving shops and beach resorts. Check the Body and Soul" section of this guide to learn about day trips to the best snorkeling and scuba diving locations. Make sure you check out the plastic cards that list the more dangerous things you may encounter underwater. Pretty, and seemingly harmless, creatures can cause you a great deal of pain. If you're simply content to relax on the beach, remember a couple of things: the sun burns very hot indeed on Hurghada's beaches. The second thing is: most of the better beaches will charge an admission fee.

The port is actually a couple of kilometers south of Hurghada proper. Hurghada lies on the northwestern Red Sea Coast some 375km south of Port Suez. The main tourist excursions from here are to Luxor, site of the Pharaonic tombs-that's a three-hour drive west and south; and Cairo and the Pyramids, six hours one-way west and north.

The United States does not have a Status of Forces Agreement with the country of Egypt. Therefore, American military are forbidden from traveling outside the immediate Hurghada area unless part of an organized, ship-sponsored tour coordinated through USDAO Cairo, and unless you are in possession of both a valid US Passport and a current visa for Egypt

Hurghada offers a wide range of accommodations, ranging from luxury five-star resorts and villages on the beach to the more-modest two and three-star hotels in and around town. Unlike Alexandria, where the summer is the high season, the winter months (October through April) are the busiest in Hurghada, and hotel availability and rates will change quickly depending upon the flow of visitors.

Shopping in Hurghada generally can be found in two very rent environments: the traditional Egyptian bazaar in the area known collectively as El Dahar (Hurghada proper), and all the shops at the resort villages. As a rule, prices are better downtown, primarily because most of the resort shops won't barter. Hours and days of operation aren't consistent at all but, as a general rule of thumb, shop owners open late in the morning, close early in the afternoon for a long lunch, then return for a few hours around 1800.

There are free beaches here but it is better to pay a small fee and take your sun in a nicer place with better surroundings. The best-kept beaches are located at or near Hurghada's most-popular resort complexes, which dot the coast north and south of town. All of these hotels and resort villages offer their facilities to non-guests, usually for a daily fee, which sometimes varies depending upon the time of year. Grass huts are usually offered on these semi-private beaches so visitors can take a break from the sun, or get out of the path of blowing sand (the sand here is not just "the beach," it's the Arabian Desert). Beer, wine, mixed drinks and soft drinks are moderately priced and served on the hotel/resort beaches.

There are many exotic varieties of finned and shellfish, and brilliantly shifting colors, not one of which is oil-stain brown. This is one of the few spots in this comer of the world where they're not drilling for oil (and thereby leaking it into the water). Some reefs can be reached without a boat, but be careful! In addition to that plastic card listing all the underwater hazards, visitors should be aware that wading around the coral reefs will slice bare feet to ribbons. One of the best trips is to Geftun Island, which includes 2 one-hour snorkeling jaunts and a meal aboard the boat.



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