An action packed, fun-filled week diving the breathtaking wrecks and beautiful reefs in the clear blue water of the Northern Red Sea as well as the desolate Brothers Islands further South.
After an 8 hour flight from JBG to Cairo and then flying over the turquoise and indigo Red Sea with its reefs and islands, we arrived at Hurghada airport. We were hit full on by the hot, dry desert air that we have grown to know so well over the past 9 years of diving in the Red Sea. It was good to be back in Egypt!
As we loaded our luggage into the bus – through the back window, which is perfectly normal in Egypt, we were driven through the bustling streets of Hurghada to the New Marina, where our boat was docked and waiting for us.
It was with trepidation that some of us walked down the bouncy gangplank onto the boat – would we make it to the boat or fall off halfway? Slowly, slowly, we all made it – safe and sound on board where we were immediately asked to remove our shoes and put them in a crate – where they remained all week. No shoes on a liveaboard!
We were then ushered into the cool, air conditioned saloon where we were welcomed by the owner of the boat, Faisal.
By the time we had unpacked and familiarised ourselves with the dive deck, the boat had left port and were motoring our way to our first dive site for our checkout dive where we were to check weighting and display our ability to deploy our SMBs (a very important piece of equipment for the Red Sea!).
Our checkout dive was at one of our favourite reefs – Sha’Ab El Erg (or Dolphin House), because of the number of inquisitive bottlenose dolphins that can be found there. Sure enough, halfway through our dive, we could hear the excited squeaks and squeals of dolphins close by. Shortly after that we encountered the most amazing sight – Faisal freediving with the dolphins. But this was no normal freediving – he was using a scooter, which he was holding and controlling with his feet. What an amazing sight – he was twisting and twirling up and down and amongst the dolphins. They were so excited, squealed with excitement and twisted and turned and played right along with him. Wow! And this set the stage for what was in store for us the rest of our trip – Red Sea Diving with a difference (and lots of fun!).
After our checkout dive and excitement of having spent about 15 minutes on scuba with the dolphins, we spent the rest of the afternoon on the comfortable deck, as the boat made its way across the Suez Canal towards Sha’Ab Mahmoudad and Beacon Rock where we would be diving the following morning.
Our daily routine was set out for us by Kimo and everything went like clockwork. We were woken every morning at either 06:00 or 06:30, had a cup of coffee and a biscuit, piece of cake or Nutella pastry with our dive briefing for our first dive which was usually at about 07:00.
After our first dive, we would be treated to a fantastic cooked breakfast, followed by a rest before our second dive after which we had a cooked buffet lunch. After lunch most of us had a snooze before our third dive of the day which was followed by snacks and more rest and relaxation before those of us who wanted to, did a night dive. After our night dive, it was a three course supper after which we sat around on the decks, watched a movie, edited photos, whilst the more tired of us just went to bed…
A lot of thought went into where we dived and when. We had most of the wrecks and reefs to ourselves and we only saw other divers on 2 of our dives . We even had the Thistlegorm to ourselves on both dives we did there.
A summary of our dives:
- Dolphin House
- Monkey Diving at Beacon Rock
- Night Dive at Beacon Rock
- Jackfish Alley
- Shark & Yolanda Reef
- Night Dive at Abu Nuhas
- Scooter Dive at Abu Nuhas (3 wrecks in one dive!)
- Small Giftun – Police Station
- Big Brother Numidia and Aida
- Big Brother Eastern Side
- Big Brother Scooter dive
- Small Brother Scooter Dive
- Small Brother
- Night Dive at Poseidon Reef
- Salem Express
- Sha’ab Abu Ramada
There were so many highlights of this amazing dive trip. Here are some of the things that particularly stood out for us:
- Clear, blue water with temperatures of 28C
- A wide variety of different types of dives – wrecks, reefs, coral gardens, walls…
- The fun and laughter – we just did not stop laughing the entire time
- Skinny Sumos and Camel Diving (insider joke which shall stay that way!)
- The funny things some divers did – like trying to climb onto the zodiac with fins on..
- The Wall of Shame!
- The glassfish inside the Dunraven
- Watching the dolphins having fun with Faisal at Dolphin House
- Swimming through the “ tunnel” and the endless visibility at Jackfish Alley
- Having great visibility and no current on the Thistlegorm where we had the wreck all to ourselves
- The sharks – especially the thresher – at the Brothers Islands (and the Manta, although not all of us saw it!)
- The desolation of the Brothers Islands and the excitement of waking up at 01:15 just as we arrived, to see the lighthouse at Big Brother lit up in the dark.
- Diving the Salem Express where we paid our respects to the many people who lost their lives during the tragic sinking of this wreck
- The non-stop laughter and fun
- The smiling, friendly and helpful staff. We miss them all!
- Diving in board shorts and a rash vest 😀
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end…
After our last dive of the trip, we headed back to the new marina in Hurghada where we spent the afternoon and evening shopping and visiting the local pubs and clubs. It was Ramadan, which meant that there was a lot of festivity in the streets of Hurghada and everyone was in good spirits. We really had a lot of fun. The next day was spent packing and lazing around the boat and buying a few more gifts to take home with us before we were whisked off to Hurghada airport for our homeward trip.
Here’s a video we made of our fun time learning how to Monkey Dive 😀
And here are some of our favourites of the many, many photos taken on this year’s Red Sea Liveaboard Safari: