Diving the Red Sea - a diversion from sailing to celebrate a birthday 

1st September - 9th September

Onboard Red Sea Adventurer Andrew Lee Di and Martin

170901 1 Arriving Hurghada170908 4 Red Sea Adventurer a great dive home for a week

Diving in the Red Sea had not been on our list of must do until we were invited to attend a diving holiday to celebrate our friend, Martin Koerner’s 60th birthday. Having checked out the Australian website Smarttraveller.gov.au that recommended reconsidering all travel to Egypt we were (well Lee was) a little dubious about the sensibility of undertaking such a trip. But it was Martins birthday and we did trust that he had done his research.
So to minimise the stress of the journey we chose to fly from Rome back to England rather than fly via Cairo and having to wait several hours for a connection to Hurghada from where the dive boat would leave. By flying back to England we were able to join the remainder of the party and fly together on Thomas Cook. Martin and DI did a great job of herding us through the airport, all they needed was to hold a fin up and we would have diligently followed, dive bags in tow. 

170905 Who needs a tv when you have an artist on board.

The dive trip was organised through the Dive Tour Company Blu-O-Two whom we have to commend for their organisation both in transferals between the boat and airport, the hotel access for our lay day before flying and the boat operation. Our home for six nights was onboard Sea Adventurer and although a little tired it was a very comfortable, clean and a well run dive boat. Meals were plentiful and served with much enthusiasm by the staff, the dive guides knowledgeable, enthusiastic and adaptable. Even when the tv broke down not a problem Ahmed stepped up with his very detailed drawings, a new artistic career discovered. The coral was on many sites superb, the sealife plentiful, the wrecks diversified and the landscape unique. 

170902-05 Red Sea  63 Blue Spotted Ray - Wrasse Red Breasted Splendour

Blue Spotted Ray feeding with a Red Breasted Splendid Wrasse hanging over his shoulder

170906-Red Sea Dive 3 3

For Andrew it was an opportunity to capture some of his best photographs underwater to date. For Lee a chance to be challenged with wreck diving, a little navigation, deploying that cantankerous Surface Marker Buoy and definitely sharpening the spotting skills. The favourite spot being a bright purple stonefish hiding amongst equally colourful coral. Not sure how he thought he was going to blend in looking light a bright pink balloon.

170902-05 Red Sea  65 Divers

Over the six days we managed 18 dives to a maximum depth of 33 meters, ranging from wrecks, reefs, drift to night dives. We entered from Zodiacs, jumped off the back of the boat or dragged ourselves along lines. There were chilled entries with time to hang on the surface before sinking to the depths below,  then entries where it was imperative to get down as fast as possible due to the current. There really is nothing like a dive boat trip where you immerse yourself in diving to develop your skills.
Throw into the mix being onboard with 20 other people, friends of Di and Martin and it was a great way to meet new people all with the common interest of celebrating a friends 60th birthday in a diving environment. There was a lot of laughter, banter, shared knowledge and simple fun. Feel very grateful that we were invited to attend.

170902-05 Red Sea  5

The wreck dives included:

Wreck - MV Salem Express

170902-05 Red Sea  6 Lee - Wreck Chrisola K

A Roll on Roll off car ferry that sank on December 17 1991 with large loss of life. A sad wreck to dive still strewn with personal belongings and merchant wares. Wheel barrows laden with carpet, shoes and the odd portable cassette player. 

Wreck - The tile wreck - Chrisoula K Abu Nuhas. 

170902-05 Red Sea  52 Giant Moray George

This boat broken into three sections, full of tiles it sank in 1981. 

170902-05 Red Sea  75 Motorcycle

The Zodiac boat ride back became rather interesting when the volume of sea water in the zodiac was beginning to align with the sea water outside the zodiac. 

Wreck - Carnatic - A British Steam Ship built in 1862 and ran aground in 1869

Wreck - The Barge - a work barge from 1800s

Introduced to George and Georgina the most massive moray eels seen to date diving. The sealife around the barge was bountiful. A really special dive site both during the day and at night.  

Wreck Dive - Dunraven

wind vessel around 80m in length and launched in 1872 she sank on the 25th April 1876 after hitting the reef. 

Wreck - The Thistlegorm

The SS Thistlegorm was a British armed Merchant Navy ship built in 1940 that was sunk on the 6th October 1941.

170908 2 Just a little bit of luggage

The Bow and stern are still intact but the rear quarter had been blasted. Inside remain the cargo of trucks, motorbikes, lamp vehicles and amazingly wellington boots. 

The Red Sea proved to be a very rewarding diving area and there is still so much of it to see. However returning to land and having to be scanned into the hotel, then at the airport pass through five serious security checks before you get to your gate you are reminded of the safety situation in Eqypt and it does tend to dampen the idea of returning. 

Returning once more via England we arrived back onboard Katherine in Rome with barely hours to spare before the important arrival of honeymooners. Lee’s nephew Ben and new bride Renee. 

A first for Katherine hosting a Honeymoon

For more photos click here. 

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain