It's long...but it's worth it!
Elite 04 - 13 May. 10 days south from Hamata. Report from dive guide, Sonia Göggel
DAY DIVING ONE:
Dive one: Serenaka Island, check dive, very good visibility, nice pinnacles with swim throughs, lots of anthias and nice hard corals, free swimming moray and napoleonfish.
Dive two: Paradise, beautiful pinnacles covered in anthias, free swimming moray, friendly napoleon, nice swim thrus with lots of anemones.
Dusk dive: Dangerous Reef south west area, nice reef, lots of fish as sunset time is excellent for this, especially fusiliers, and also one silky shark made a quick visit, and one Oceanic white tip shark stayed a long time circling around the guests. Also gigantic moray eel and even larger great barracuda under the boat, everybody loved it
Wind strength and direction: 10 knots from North, small swells
Water Temperature and Visibility: 25 C and 30 m
DAY DIVING TWO:
Dive one: Elba III Tahtani north plateau and east side, again.... Dives like this make sure I remember why I dive.... Absolutely breath-taking soft corals and fans, huge schools of surgeonfish and fusiliers, small school of barracuda, and.... Two hammerheads, fantastic again! Elba is without a doubt the best soft coral diving in the Red Sea.... Lots of plankton in the water and lots of jellyfish, but did not bother us....
Dive two: Elba III Tahtani south plateau, the huge resident great barracuda has taken again possession of its place under the boat, and watches everybody who approaches the ladder with a very suspicious glance...The pinnacles under the boat and the western slope covered in puffed up soft corals of all colors and a thick blanket of anthias and fusiliers, completely awesome as well! Everybody is coming out of the dives speechless.... Hannu wants to stay forever... I don't blame him... me, too...
Dive three: Elba III Tahtani north plateau and west wall, with no current at all, had another excursion amongst the gorgeous fans and soft corals of the plateau, with schooling surgeonfish and fusiliers all around and above it, then the west wall was completely gorgeous as well, with lots of soft corals and black coral bushes and some large fans. Lots of anthias and many fusiliers streaming in. Also sightings of white tip reef sharks, and very spectacular and very large black spotted stingray floating past at our level, close to the reef, with an extremely long tail of at least 3 meters, really amazing! Also large free-swimming moray eel.
Night dive: Elba I, reef by the side of the Levanzo wreck, large grouper and squids and moray eel, and very beautiful coral garden.
Wind force and direction: no wind in the morning and very little wind from the north in the afternoon
Water Temperature and Visibility: 26 C and 30 m
DAY DIVING THREE:
Dive one: Wreck of Levanzo on Elba I reef, beautiful wreck with lots of unicorn fish on it and surgeonfish, awesome hard coral garden with some soft corals in between, lots of very blue staghorn coral, very amazing topography.
Dive two: Elba I, SW corner, beautiful soft corals on the pinnacles and also on the reef wall, nice caverns with light shafts coming in. On the very corner big schools of unicornfish, surgeonfish, very large giant jacks, big-eye jacks and pompano, also some tuna, awesome!! Also the best soft coral on pinnacles by the SW corner, awesome. We also saw a bunch of 3 Chelidonura livida sea slug mating, as well as a few more single ones and two Risbecia pulchella nudis one stuck on the tail of the other one, really nice, also a small turtle and large moray eels.
Dive three: Abu Hassan Aruk south, gentle current, just enough to bring the fusiliers and tuna in, we also saw a large Spanish mackerel, very majestic, as well as so many anthias and beautiful lush soft corals of all colors on all the ergs, amazing! On the main reef wall a Leopard blenny and a gorgeous Flabellina rubrolineata nudibranch.
Night dive: Shallal southern main reef, Tonna perdix shell walking about, red coral crab, large Spanish dancer, banded shrimps, Pijama nudis, one WT reef shark swimming about.
Wind strength and direction: no wind at all
Water Temperature and Visibility: more than 30 m visibility and 26 C water
DAY DIVING FOUR:
Dive One: Habili Shellal, with very little current, just enough to bring the large schools of big-eye jacks, black and red snappers, rainbow runners and surgeonfish in, as well as fusiliers and lots of sergeant majors on the top, and anthias, of course. The little habilis around the main large one covered densely with soft corals in all colors and also schools of sweetlips, bannerfish, blue-lined yellow snappers, and squirrelfish, absolutely awesome dive! The big-eye jacks circled all around us while descending and 4 large tuna kept passing by as well, and two batfish followed us around. Some anemones in the shallows.... Amazing way to start the day!
Dive Two: Ohrob, 7 habili gezir, with almost no current, one pinnacle coming up to 8 m, one to 16m and the rest from 18 to 30 m and the bottom at 40+. All habilis covered in soft corals of all colors and especially the tops covered in anthias and fusiliers, unicornfish and surgeonfish. Also a few very large fans on the bottom, and many whip corals. A large school of about 35 dogtooth tuna kept patrolling the habilis coming really close, spectacular to watch.
Dive Three: Ohrob, 7 habili ari, again only the slightest current coming from the East. About 6 pinnacles coming all the way up to 3-4 m, and the rest down at 15 to 20 m, with the bottom at 30. A large white tip kept going about the bottom, so everybody saw it, and also 5 dogtooth tuna were going about. The east side of all the pinnacles covered in lush soft corals, purple and pink, and one area full with black snappers, surgeonfish and yellow blue-striped snappers, very beautiful. Also quite a few windows filled with soft corals. A school of about 100 chevron barracuda came by very close, amazing, and then was sitting a bit off the south side of the pinnacles, just in range of visibility. The reef tops are gorgeous, covered in yellow soft coral and leather coral, and also carpeted in anthias, sergeant majors, fusiliers, surgeonfish and unicornfish, absolutely stunning safety stop!
Night dive: Abu Fandera main reef night dive, cuttlefish, synapta sea cucumber, red coral crab, arrowhead crab.
Wind strength and direction: still no wind and flat seas (sooo lucky!!!!)
Water Temperature and Visibility: 26 C and 30-40 meters
DAY DIVING FIVE:
Dive One: Abu Fandera Habili 2, with quite some current but amazing dive, one habili covered in soft corals, and as the current was running we had so many surgeonfish, red-tooth triggerfish, fusiliers, snappers, dogtooth tuna, damsels and anthias in the current, really awesome!!
Dive Two: Abu Fandera East Fasma, always a very gorgeous passage, and today with an outgoing current we had the best dive, as this is the nicest way to do this dive, visiting the beautiful soft coral covered pinnacles at the beginning and then meandering throughout the hard coral garden with pillars covered in soft corals as well and many snappers, fusiliers, pompanos, tuna, one white tip reef shark, an EAGLE RAY, and a school of about 10 bumphead parrotfish. At the end saw some Pteraeolidia ianthina nudibranchs, so gorgeous!
Dive Three: Habili Albi, with strong current coming from the south, lots of fish off the little pinnacle in the current, fusiliers and surgeonfish, also a school of about 20 dogtooth tuna, lots of pink faced triggerfish making nests but not attacking yet, a large hawksbill turtle lying on the bottom and then swimming off slowly. Beautiful reef top full with soft corals and anthias, a scorpionfish and heaps of Pteraeolidia ianthina nudibranchs crawling about in the shallows on the sheltered side of the pinnacle.
Night Dive: St Johns, Dangerous reef, cute yellow and white cuttlefish, lots of moray eels, crabs and shrimps and sleeping fish.
Wind strength and direction: no wind at all and flat calm, still soooooooooooooo lucky!
Water Temperature and Visibility: back to 26C and 40m
DAY DIVING SIX:
Dive One: Habili Ali West side from south to north, St Johns, with current coming from SW, lots of dogtooth tuna, fusiliers, black snappers and surgeonfish sitting in the current breaking point, also 2 gray reef sharks and 1 white tip reef shark circling again and again under us. Nice wall, soft corals, gorgonian fans and black coral bushes, as well as many lionfish, pajama nudibranchs and a scorpionfish.
Dive Two: Habili Ali East side from south to north, St Johns, with current still coming from SW, drifted along the south side from west to east and saw a grey reef shark and a white tip reef shark, then drifted around the East point and saw another grey reef shark cruising by. Also napoleonfish, lionfish and a Leopard blenny, beautiful reef.
Dive Three: Habili Gafaar, St Johns, still with quite strong current coming from south, sat on the south corner for most of the dive, enjoying the sight of the many schooling fish: barracuda, black snappers, clouds of black damsels, red bigeyes, jacks, fusiliers, and lots of tuna chasing small fish around in waves, as well as 1 gray reef shark quite deep, on the way looking for the 3 stonefish, we saw the purple one, not the other two, but it was a very beautiful sight!
Night Dive: Um Harerim, St Johns, with strong wind and waves coming from the south, so swell on the dive site, but still good dive, dusk dive, had a large white tip reef shark, lots of hermit crabs and everybody liked the caves, tomorrow again...
Wind strength and direction: flat seas in morning and then strong south wind started up to 10-12 knots and quite large swell coming from south as well.
Water Temperature and Visibility: back to 26 C and 40m visibility on the walls.
DAY DIVING SEVEN:
Dive One: Um Harerim, one guest request we did this dive again in morning, gentle current coming from the south, puffing up all the soft corals in the swim thrus, the weather has calmed down a lot and no big waves are breaking on the dive site anymore. Schooling black and yellow with blue lines snappers, gorgeous swim about the passages and inner coral garden.
Dive Two: Wreck of the Turbo, Ras Banas, fairly good visibility, lots of Pixie hawkfish, golden spotted black flatworm, many Red Sea soapfish, very nice, also many lionfish, many lyretail hogfish juveniles, 3 large Napoleonfish, many pipefish (network and Schultz's). In the shallows many Trapeze crabs and Coral scorpionfish in the pocilopora hardcorals on the shallow side of the wreck, as well as a highfin sabretooth blenny on the mooring line and a SLENDER GHOST PIPEFISH, WOW WOW WOW, absolute highlight of the dive, they are sooooooooooo rare....
Dive Three: Malahi, with slight current from NE, saw a Torpedo Ray, also visited the resident adhesive anemone with 2 popcorn shrimp and thor shrimp around it. Lots of schooling snappers, surgeonfish, emperorfish and bannerfish on the East side, awesome, and the passages of course gorgeous every time.
Night dive: Gota Abu Galawa Kebira, Tienstin Wreck, gorgeous dive, Spanish dancer made it even better, also lots of shrimps and crabs, nudibranchs and flatworms.
Weather: misty and overcast with high clouds
Wind strength and direction: wind from north again, gently, so no large swells, fairly flat seas
Water Temperature and Visibility: 25 C and 30-40 meters
DAY DIVING EIGHT:
Dive One: Shirinat, gentle current from south, so many little fish hovering in the current, really nice, also 2 hawksbill turtles, one octopus, one devilhead scorpionfish and many nice shrimps.
Dive Two: Shaab Sharm East, gray reef shark, school of barracuda, black snappers and jackfish, 4 dogtooth tuna, one giant jackfish, and lots of fusiliers streaming into the reef, awesome, also one SILKY SHARK under the boat coming close to all guests, nice, with one small pilotfish. Also stonefish at dropoff and adhesive anemone with 2 popcorn shrimps, lovely!
Dive Three: Shaab Sharm West, slight current from east along south side, swam against it first along south side from west and saw some amazing things.... A very rare cometfish, small adhesive anemone with many Thor shrimps, devilhead scorpionfish, 2 bearded scorpionfish, very young juvenile yellowtail coris, dogtooth tuna, schools of black snappers, very lovely wall with lots of soft corals and the very highlight was a Glossodoris hikuerensis nudibranch, gorgeous!
Night Dive: Gota Marsa Alam, several octopus, maybe 5 different ones, feeding and changing color and moving about, really amazing photos and footage, excellent!
Wind strength and direction: 10 knots from north, moderate seas, nice weather
Water Temperature and Visibility: 24 C and 30-40 meters
DAY DIVING NINE:
Dive One: Elphinstone, north plateau and east side, no current, very relaxed bimble along the plateau and along east side, some tuna and lots of anthias, and highlight... a perfect Chromodoris geminus nudibranch, awesome, as well as flatworm.
Dive Two: Elphinstone, south plateau and west side, highlight was a TRESHER SHARK... .and also SILKY shark circling under the boat, perfect last dive.
Wind strength and direction: 10 knots from North, moderate seas
Water Temperature and Visibility: 24 C and 30-40 meters
1x oceanic white tip and 1x silky shark at Dandgerous reef
2x hammerheads at Elba III north plateau, awesome
1x large black spotted stingray about 2 m wide and 3m long tail.... awesome sight
Various white tip reef sharks all over the place
1x eagle ray at Abu FAndera and many bumphead parrotfish
School of about 35 dogtooth tuna at Ohrob habilis and also school of about 100 chevron barracuda
5x grey reef sharks at St Johns
1x silky shark at Gota Sharm and 1x Gray reef shark
1x thresher at elphinstone south plateau, 1x silky at same place, awesome!!