When the Red Sea Wants to Say 'Thanks!'

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First-hand report by Gabriel and Maria - Emperor Dive Guides on liveaboard, Elite

Jacques Cousteau called the Red Sea "the corridor of marvels" and it is in this corridor where the Red Sea keeps its most precious treasures; Brother Islands, Daedalus, Elphinstone Reef, off shore reefs made up of stunning walls, smothered with a variety of soft and hard corals, surrounded by thousands of colorful reef fishes. And then there's the 'big stuff' patrolling the area; sharks, mantas, tuna, giant barracudas and Napoleon wrasse.

The Red Sea often wants to show off 'simply the best' of what is has to offer, and we found these conditions on an Elite liveaboard safari recently.
The trip started from Port Ghalib. Captain Mohamed Hassan, dive guides Gabriel and Maria and the crew of Emperor Elite welcomed a group of 20 Norwegians. They had been diving many times before in the Red Sea with most of them having been back once a year, for the last 10 years, with Emperor Divers.

Of course, the Emperor team wanted to give them an unforgettable trip but the question was what we can do to meet or better, exceed, their expectations? We found an important partner this week - the Red Sea. It was as though it wanted to say thank you to its loyal supporters, and it played a major part by showing us its precious treasures. The weather was unbelievable; sunny days without a breath of wind, the sea was completely flat, like a lagoon, no waves at all! Not only did this weather hold for the whole trip but also the marine life was the friendliest we'd ever seen; they came close and stayed around the divers until the non-deco limits forced us to leave them - this kind of behaviour is extremely rare.

On the first day of diving we went to Elphinstone. After a quiet and relaxing dive on the beautiful west wall, the divers reached the South plateau and an oceanic white tip shark was swimming around to welcome to the divers. Afterward, we sailed for seven hours to Daedalus reef.

On the second day, we went to the northern side of Daedalus for the first dive, looking for the school of hammerheads. This has the potential to be an unforgettable dive and this was one of those occasions. The first zodiac reached the drop point and after two minutes of diving, a group of seven hammerhead sharks came to the divers and started to surround them. These sharks are normally shy but this time they stayed for a long time and came closer than normal amongst the divers. After 15 minutes we had to leave them because some of the dive computers started to beep, warning us that they had reached the no deco time. Also grey reef sharks, oceanic white tip and the resident green turtle showed up during this day of diving. Spectacular!

For the third day, the weather was still quiet - the famous waves and currents of the Brother Islands were on vacation themselves that week. We thought that it would be difficult to beat the awesome day that we had had in Daedalus. But Brothers Island also has precious things to show and for the first dive it gave us a wonderful and close encounter with a thresher shark, which was visiting the cleaning station on the south plateau of Big Brother. During the afternoon, the weather enabled the Captain to moor the boat on the north of the island to make our third dive on the famous wreck of the Numidia. This wreck is lying almost vertical from 7 m to 94m. It is completely covered with soft corals that have been growing there for the last 100 years. It is frequently difficult to dive this wreck because it very exposed to the waves and strong current but that day was a wonderful exception.

For the next two days, Small Brother took over the star role and it has lots to show! Cleaning station for sharks on the north plateau, the gorgonian garden on the southeast side and the most beautiful coral reef of all the Red Sea on the west wall. We sighted grey reef sharks, oceanic white tips, hammerheads and thresher sharks and even two devil mantas showed up both days and spent their time dancing around the coral walls of the island.

The last day the weather was still incredible; we did our first dive on one of the most famous Red Sea wrecks - the Salem Express - in the area of Safaga and afterward we continued our way to Hurghada. This was our final destination and the end of a massively enjoyable week with a wonderful group of Norwegian people. We all have fantastic memories of this week and lots of pictures and a great video made by Lars Moller who very kindly made a copy of it to share with our guests.

The Red Sea said thank you to us this week and we would like to offer our thanks to our guests and to the Red Sea for this truly unforgettable week.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Bryony published on December 15, 2009 4:44 PM.

New 'Simply the Best' video was the previous entry in this blog.

Safari Report - Emperor Fraser - 4/11 December is the next entry in this blog.

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