Diving the North Red Sea in Egypt
Well my dive trip started the day before! I had to catch a plane from Gibraltar to London Gatwick to then get a connecting flight the following morning to Hurghada, Egypt! A bit of a challenge when you are travelling alone carrying 4 cases!
It wasn’t my first time to Hurghada. I had visited just over a year ago whilst on my historical land tour of Egypt, and had managed to fit in a few dives on some of the reefs in Hurghada, but this was my first dive trip to Egypt, and also my first Liveaboard experience.
After landing at Hurghada airport, I was met by a representative of the dive centre, which sorted out my tourist visa, and then went on to collect my luggage. I must have been the last person out of the luggage collection area, 4 cases and no trolley around! Eventually I was able to find one after waiting for at least 20 minutes. Outside I met more people from the dive centre and other divers also going on the same liveaboard. We got on a mini-bus and off we went to the Marina to board our boat.
Our first day consisted of three dives. One check dive at a reef in Hurghada called Ras Disha, and then we headed south to do the wreck of the Salem Express. I must say, that out of all the wrecks and dives we did in Egypt (and all the wrecks I’ve done anywhere else), this was the most impressive. It is an eerie wreck, which sunk after hitting a reef in December 1991. The official death toll was 460, although un-official reports suggest it was much higher. Bodies still lie trapped deep inside the wreck, including passenger’s cars and belongings. With crystal clear waters and all the debris scattered around in almost perfect condition, you get the sense that this happened just yesterday. We ended the day with a night dive on this very same wreck.
We travelled throughout the whole night, so we could reach the north red sea. We were aiming to reach and dive Ras Mohamed National Park, but instead we dived the wreck of the Dunraven for the first 6AM morning dive! This wreck lies in close proximity to the national park. After this dive we headed to Ras Mohamed, in which we dived Shark and Yolanda reef. On Yolanda reef lies the cargo of a wreck named Jolanda. Her cargo consists of toilets, bath tubs, a BMW car and other general cargo. The actual wreck slipped down the steep reef, and now lies in 200 meters of water. After this dive, we headed to the most famous wreck of the Red Sea, and the world … the Thistlegorm! The dive guides briefed us on diving the outside of the wreck today and then the inside the next morning. My dive buddy and I decided to reverse this, the inside first and the outside the next morning. By doing this we had the whole wreck to ourselves, great for some photo opportunities. This afternoon’s dive was my 300th dive, and what better place to do it than on the wreck I have always dreamed of diving, the Thisltegorm. The night dive was also on the Thistlegorm.
The 6AM morning dive went as planned, on the outside of the Thistlegorm. We then had a very rough ride traveling through the straights of Gubal, high waves made the boat rock aggressively. The captain found a nice sheltered area, away from the wind, on Gubal Island. Here we dived the barge wreck for the mid-morning dive and night dive. The afternoon dive was just round the corner of the island, a dive site called bluff point.
Day 3; we planned on diving the Rosalie Moller, but the wind was still not in our favour, causing choppy seas. We instead did the 6AM dive at Siyul Kebira Island. The rest of the day, we did our 3 dives in Abu Nuhas. One on the wreck of Giannis D, the other on the wreck of Chrisoula K, and finally the night dive on Abu Nuhas reef itself.
On the fourth day, our first dive was also on Abu Nuhas reef, on the wreck of the Carnatic. This reef, which is only just submerged under the waves, has been the cause of five ship wrecks. For the mid-morning dive, we found that the wind had suddenly disappeared! So we headed back north, to the wreck of the Rosalie Moller, and we were able to dive it this time. The two final dives for today was at Shab el Erg reef, were we were joint by Dolphins on the afternoon dive, and then dived the reef at night again.
The next day, our last day of diving, we did our two morning dives on two reefs. First on Umm Gamar Island, and next on El Fanadir reef. Finally our last dive was just outside Hurghada Marina, on the wreck of El Mina. A minesweeper which was bombed by the Israelis during the 6 day war in the 60s.
My diving had now come to an end.