Green with envy over my niece's upcoming dive trip to the Red Sea, I facetiously said to my sister, "Well, if they need a rescue diver, I'm available!" to which she replied, "Funnily enough, they are short of child supervision." And so I found myself supervising a party of 13-16 year olds on a school trip to Dahab. Me: a child-minder! Go ahead, laugh! As it turned out the 'kids' weren't really kids at all, but a really fun bunch of young adults who needed very little supervision (apart from the life-jacket-wearing incident or 'the event of which we dare not speak').
Dahab is a small, desolate town on the south east coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt which, in spite of its rustic nature, you cannot help but love. The community relies heavily on income from divers and they do all they can to ensure the town is crime-free and welcoming. I always felt safe wandering solo at night (although you do get a lot of attention from the local men, but that is true of every Middle Eastern city I have visited). There are quaint shops and restaurants along the beach to keep you entertained once you're out of the water, but don't expect a bustling nightlife. But hey, you aren't there for the scenery, you're there to SCUBA and the diving is fantastic.
We stayed at the '4s' 3 star hotel. It's not exactly Le Meridien, but given how little time you spend there, it's probably worth saving the beans. It has a good sized pool, it's clean, comfortable and you are well taken care of by the staff. The hotel is 'dry' though, so expect to bring your own beers in from the local town. Fortunately the rooms have fridges!
We dived with Poseidon Diving Centre and I can't recommend them highly enough. They took wonderful care of the kids and catered easily for differences in skill. The diving is fabulous: untouched fields of coral that stretch for miles and teem with life. Great sites to check out are the Eel Garden, Canyons, Bells & Blue Hole (awesome dive), Gabr Bint and especially my 100th dive (which I found out afterwards I was supposed to have done naked - not really appropriate among school kids) at Shaab Saeed which was just incredible. I have never seen coral like that - not even on the GBR - towering up in columns and through inlets like an underwater secret garden. Photos cannot capture the magnitude or beauty of this place.
All in all, I would highly recommend Dahab. A quiet cousin of Sharm, but I think that's a good thing.