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Red Sea - April 2017

Discussion in 'Member Trip Reports' started by Seaagg05, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. Seaagg05

    Seaagg05 Vice President Staff Member

    I'll give a go at my first trip report. I flew through Frankfurt (where they lost my luggage) onwards to Cairo(about 4 hours from Frankfurt). I spent a few days in Cairo seeing the obligatory sights before my luggage arrived 7 hours before departure, very lucky because it would have been a cold trip without the wetsuit. The next leg of the journey was to Hurghada, a 1 hour flight from Cairo, followed by a "2 hour" transfer to to Port Ghalib that was more like 4 hours.

    Port Ghalib was full of dive vessels and very nice accommodations, don't hesitate to stay there - good food, plenty of shopping and lots of sand. There is an airport very near to there, but they only seem to fly there twice a week, and only then to Cairo.

    Dive boat (Red Sea Aggressor) departed on a Sunday morning, even though we boarded Saturday afternoon. First dive site was only and hour away. The first couple days were near to shore since it was quite breezy and choppy. Water was around 72-73 degrees with 100 foot visibility. I wore a 5mm with a lavacore shirt underneath, and a hood at times. Depths were generally around 60 foot. Some of the reefs reminded me a lot of Palancar Caves. Lots of big coral formations, swim through an a generally pretty healthy ocean. 4 Dives the first day, 5 the second, both with night dives. Lots of turtles, green mostly, a crocodile fish and no shortage of cardinal fish which look a lot like goldfish but are interesting to watch swim back and forth.

    It calmed down a bit so we left for Brothers Islands. Just a small set of islands big enough for a lighthouse, with shear walls going down several hundred meters. Depths were mostly around a hundred feet maybe more. The boat mix was EAN31 so it was a tight margin on some of the wreck dives with entries well below 100 feet and pushing NDLs as well since these were dives 3 and 4. Only 4 dives a day from here on out since night diving is not allowed out here due to dangerous conditions. Currents can be strong in places, along with large waves and down currents. Nothing too special here as far as fish, but very pretty none the less. Temperature was maybe a degree warmer here.

    After Brothers we went to Daedalus, a beautiful lighthouse we got to climb as well. Diving was beautiful, with visibility remaining around 100 feet. We did 4 dives here, each time we saw either a hammerhead or manta ray; it was the first hammerheads of the season they said. The manta rays must have played a siren song as one of the divers followed it out into the blue; took a while to find and recover him, but all is well. Dives here were generally deep as well. We went down as deep as we could and went out into the blue a bit to wait for some of the large pelagics to show up. We kept hoping for a Thresher, but one never showed up.

    On the way back we hit Elphinstone for a couple of very very very crowded dives. It is near to the port so everybody and their dog goes there on day trips. Not much different to see there but pretty, I could stand to pass that one next time, especially with a hundred divers on a plateau about the size of a football field.

    Back to port. Overall, 23 dives including 2 night dives. The boat was beautiful and the staff was very helpful. I will say we only had 6 passengers that week; the boat holds 20 I believe so it was really nice to spread out. There was about 10 crew members onboard. I hear it is probably the nicest boat in the aggressor fleet. Food was delicious as well. And the dive deck is very nice. Dives were split, about half from the deck and the other half off a tender. There were some other nice dive boats in the harbor too, and some that probably took nice pictures 40 years ago..., so do a bit of research.

    I departed from there for a 6 hour transfer to Luxor, where I spent 3 days touring the sites. I definitely underestimated Luxor. There is so much to see there as far as ruins go. Of course that's the point they started blowing up churches, but it didn't seem to make much impact where I was, just a bit more security. Then back to Cairo and Frankfurt for my return trip home. I booked all the air, but all the land and sea stuff was booked through Aggressor. They pick you up at the gate, walk you through customs, take care of all the transfers, supply guides for visiting the ruins, etc. I thought it was a nice way to see Egypt.

    Overall the trip was a huge success. I really enjoyed the diving and the country was so interesting. I never felt unsafe there and everyone is pretty friendly. I would recommend it and I may have to go back again and look at doing some of the more southern sites, with the dolphins. I couldn't find a place to get local money before hand, but the hotels do it for a good rate. Get lots of small bills, it is definitely a tipping economy. Dollars work fine for this as well since they view them as more valuable, same as you would expect in Mexico or the like.

    Pictures:
    https://www.chumclub.org/forums/media/albums/red-sea-2017.248/
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  2. Hawkeye Mark

    Hawkeye Mark Iowa Hawkeye Fan

    Wish I could have gone there a few years ago. My coworker who worked for Hess at the time was financial manager in Cairo. We were going to go visit them and head down to the Red Sea. He called me one day and asked me if I had bought tickets. Said no and he said hold off there is going to be trouble. Sure enough two weeks later the revolution broke out. Police stations burned to ground. They were evacuated along with their daughter who was in 7th grade. Very scary. He cant get her to go to Mexico anymore let alone anyplace in the Middle East. They are going to Spain this summer however as their daughter is now at A+M and has a class in Spain this summer.
     
  3. Seaagg05

    Seaagg05 Vice President Staff Member

    Thats too bad, it seems to have stabilized quite a bit since then.
     
  4. Hawkeye Mark

    Hawkeye Mark Iowa Hawkeye Fan

    Was at a happy hour after work with coworker and a couple of other guys. Now he can barely get his wife to Europe. Certainly no place near the ME
     
    Seaagg05 likes this.
  5. McLOT

    McLOT Tiger Shark

    Good trip report, thanks.
    There's a lot to see in the Red Sea, with a lot of color. Also plenty of interest onshore at Luxor/Cairo/Alex/Aswan. Hope you got in a few good beers in the dust.
    cheers, McLot.
     
    Seaagg05 likes this.

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