Sharm el Sheikh 1982. Warm memories come up just thinking of the wonderful time I had in this stunning part of the world. And why start a website about my time in the Sinai Desert with MFO after 40 years? Perhaps it’s nostalgia, something you seem to get more of when you’re getting older. But probably it’s just the fond memories and warm feelings I still have of one of the most amazing times in my life.
A Fabulous Time
This week an article about Sharm el Sheikh triggered me to go over my old Sinai photographs again and I enjoyed my recently digitised slides which I took during my 6 months tour in the Sinai Desert. I remember having a fabulous time there and being away from home for 6 months was a great experience for me, coming from a tiny village in the west of the Netherlands. I’ve forgotten a lot of things over the years, especially as I never went to reunions afterwards. I also never went to one of the Veterans Days, I’m just not that kind of guy. Shortly after my return from the Sinai,in the summer of 1982, I left the Navy and never saw any of the people I served with again. I never really looked back, until now.
The unique First Rotation in Sharm el Sheikh
After going over my old photos I searched for MFO related websites and came across a site with a list of names from people who served with me in the South Camp at Sharm el Sheikh in that same period. After doing some more research I also found a few closed Facebook Groups and posted a few of my photos there but it just so happens I’m not such a great fan of Facebook. I rather share my experience on a website where everyone can read my story and see my photos. Not that I think my story or photos are more special than anyone else’s. Many of you who served in the Sinai have similar stories and perhaps far better photos. It’s just that this first rotation was unique. Everything had to be started up, taken care off, there was no regularity, no normality, no defined tasks and the Israeli’s had only left a couple of days before we arrived. I remember Naama Bay in Sharm el Sheikh was deserted back then, there was nothing there!
MFO South Camp
I was based in the South Camp in Sharm el Sheikh and was one of the so called quartermasters of our small Dutch delegation who arrived in the Sinai in March 1982. Our job was communications which, for me at least, turned out to be one of the best jobs available. Shortly after my arrival in South Camp I worked for American contractors who were installing the telephone system in the buildings on the base. I had no 24 hour shifts like the others and had an unusual amount of spare time as I only worked a few hours in the morning and a few late in the afternoon. It was just too hot to work during the daytime when temperatures often reached 40 Celsius and sometimes more.
So much for my wee introduction, there is more on the other pages. The site has a lot of photos and various sections where I wrote more about the beginning of it all, about life in the MFO South Camp, our trips in the area and further afield and our time in the SCC’s 5 and 6. Let’s hope my memory serves me well and please correct me when I’m wrong ok? I love to hear from you!
Sharm el Sheikh and Naama Bay
Before you head over to the other pages I’d like to tell you a bit more about Sharm el Sheikh and Naama Bay. When we arrived in 1982 Naama Bay was practically deserted. There was a small restaurant at the south-end of Naama Bay and some research centre on the north end, and that was it. Also Sharm el Sheikh was deserted. Most buildings were derelict. It was a bit of a ghost town.
As development of this area started from 1982 onwards, we’ve seen the Sharm el Sheikh and Naama Bay area as they no longer exist. Those of you who arrive on this page and have spent a Holiday in Sharm el Sheikh recently will be stunned by the incredible changes which took place over the last 4 decades in this area.
This is also the case with the Nuweiba Area where SCC5 is located. In 1982 there were a few beduin settlements, nothing more. Now there are tourist resorts, hotels and other amenities. But for us back then Nuweiba was pure paradise as you can read and see on the other pages.