Excuse the cliché but this morning I was sure I’d died and gone to heaven (or hell, depending on your philosophical outlook). I’d been craving a dip in the beautiful deep-blue waters of the Red Sea since our arrival, so I rushed through a scrumptious buffet breakfast and then hot-footed it down to the water’s edge.
I couldn’t believe my luck – there wasn’t a soul in sight so I didn’t have to worry about blinding anyone with my luminous winter skin. And I wasn’t disappointed when I waded in. The water was purrfect: not too hot like lukewarm Durban’s sea and not Camps Bay-freezing either. The sand is soft, the waves almost non-existent and the salt content high enough, allowing you to easily bob on the surface. Which is what I did for half an hour, letting the long trip ease out of my bones.
I then strolled over to the hotel’s jetty, which stretches almost 200m into the sea. Peering over the edge, I was completely blown away by the clarity and depth of the deep-blue water. The shelf drops off 17m and you can almost see all the way to the bottom of the ocean. Colourful angelfish and parrotfish circle the reef and you don’t even need a snorkel and mask to spot them.
Barracuda, the jetty’s lifesaver, somehow managed to coax me into jumping off the 2m-high jetty into the stunning sea below. I’m normally a complete wuss when it comes to flinging myself off heights, but today felt like one of those days where anything is possible, thanks to the staggering beauty that surrounded me. I’ve swum in Zanzibar and Thailand’s seas but I can honestly say the Red Sea completely blows these two out of the water. I guess Belinda Carlisle was right when she rocked the ’80s with her hit song, ‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’.
I did have to tether myself to earth again though, as today was our first shoot – and it was a tough one. COSMO SUMMER’s photographer, Anthony Friend, and special projects fashion director Robynne Kahn decided to start shooting at 4pm, but the sun was so blisteringly hot that makeup artist Huey Tilley had to continually reapply makeup and hair products that almost slid off the (melting) models.
There was the added challenge of working with a grumpy Arabian mare for the Davidoff Cool Water’s Coolest Couple shoot – she’d just had a foal and was detesting being parted from it, and wasn’t scared to show it. Poor Davidoff winner Lera had told us she was scared of horses and now she had to stand next to one and still look superhot and unflustered. Fun, fearless female indeed!
But these little obstacles didn’t deter Anthony’s uncanny eye, Robynne’s innate sense of super-sexy COSMO-styling and Huey’s inspired makeup – the COSMO SUMMER team still managed to pull off the most incredible shots.
Of course, we all collapsed exhausted again later with only the silence of the desert and the hum of our air conditioners to accompany our sweet dreams. And I’m certain I grinned the whole night through…