27/12/2004 Issue 101 Past Issues

Red Sea Newsletter

Packed full of information, articles, advertisements, jobs and tips for easy living in The Red Sea!
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Feature Article

Whales 'Suffer From the Bends'

A swift ascent from deep water may be just as dangerous for whales as it is for humans. Damage consistent with the bends has been found in the bones of sperm whales and an acute form of the illness was also suspected in beak whales, which were beached after a naval sonar exercise. This has led researchers to speculate that sonar may distress whales into rising too quickly, resulting in potentially lethal cases of the bends.

It has long been assumed that marine mammals are immune to the illness. Since whales have evolved in the sea for millions of years, it is reasonable to suspect that natural selection would have "found" a physiological solution to decompression sickness. But there is accumulating evidence to suggest this is not the case.

A collection of sperm whales have been inspected and it has been noticed many of the bones contained lesions and pits, indicating the whales may have suffered mild decompression sickness over the course of their lives, the result of living in a pressure gradient environment. It has also been found that older whales exhibited greater damage and it seems that chronic decompression sickness is not a recent phenomenon in whales - the oldest bones examined were over 100 years old.

It is believed the whales avoid a more acute form of the illness by making sure they ascend gradually, pausing frequently. Previous research shows that whales display mid-water stops. At the time it wasn't apparent to anybody why they were stopping - but it fits with this hypothesis.

Acute forms of the bends have been observed in beak whales, which beached themselves in the Canary Islands in 2002, following a military sonar exercise. It was found that they had bubbles in their tissues, which were consistent with severe decompression sickness. It is not certain how they got into this state, but it seems likely sonar was to blame. One theory suggests that the noxious boom of sonar causes the terrified animals to flee to the surface, triggering an acute form of the bends.

Before scientists can be sure, more research needs to be carried out.

Mall 8 -
Sharm El Sheikh


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Around the Red Sea and surrounding areas

The Association of International Marathons and Road Races (AIMS) is organising the St. Catherine's International Marathon, to take place on 31st December 2005.

The start and finish line are located within a tourist accommodation complex near to St Catherine's Monastery. There will be a half marathon, which comprises a lap of the village (5km), followed by another lap extended to outlying Bedouin settlements, including 3.4km on a dirt hill track. The Marathon covers the same course, ran twice.

AIMS was established in May 1982 with the original intention of providing a forum for the exchange of ideas that would help to improve each attending race director's event. The objectives of the Association are:

  • to foster and promote road running throughout the world;

  • to work with the International Amateur Athletic Federation on all matters relating to international road races, and;

  • to exchange information, knowledge and expertise among the members of the Association.

All amateur athletes are welcome to run this outstanding terrain.

Fraport AG Wins Management Contract for Cairo Airport

Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide has won the international bid for a contract to manage Cairo Airport.

Fraport received the maximum evaluation points in its bidding process for the Cairo contract as well as for a simultaneous bid for managing five Egyptian regional airports. Under the bidding rules, a company may only be awarded one of the two projects. From the outset, Fraport had indicated its preference for managing the Egyptian capital's international gateway. Fraport's management contract will run for eight years. Under the terms of the contract, Fraport is not required to invest in either the Egyptian airport company or Cairo's airport infrastructure.

"Having won against renowned competitors from France and Spain is a tremendous achievement for us," said Fraport's executive board chairman Dr. Wilhelm Bender. "In Cairo, our team of experts will be successfully implementing Fraport's world-famous know-how gained from decades of managing Europe's leading air transport hub," Bender emphasized.


What's on in El Gouna

Live Traditional Irish Music with a Twist
Monday, December 27 starting 20:00

Visiting Irish band SIOG (pronounced shee-ohg)

The 5-piece band perform a repertoire of modern Irish folk, or
"a unique blend of trad and funk", as they describe it.
The multi-talented artists add Irish hardshoe dance and
contemporary movement to their unique sound.

You can't miss this one!

The Club House. Down Town, El Gouna.

What's on in Hurghada

Spiderman 2

Available to rent from

The Sekalla Video Shop


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NEW Laptop for Sale Ashraf 13 Dec 25 th , 2004, 12:12pm
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