August 2011 Archives

UPDATE on our move to Moreen Beach, Marsa Alam

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Divers to the Housereef sm.jpgWe've moved but it's the same reliable Emperor service from Port Ghalib.

Our 'control centre' is now at the Moreen Beach, situated 20km south of Marsa Alam airport and Port Ghalib, but for guests who want to stay in the hotels around Port Ghalib, we still offer the same, easy 'zero transfer' diving that we always have done; here's how:

  • Our classic dayboats will still be moored in Port Ghalib and will run the same trips to the same dive sites you know and love.
  • Through our easy to use booking system, you can book as many days on Port Ghalib classic dayboats as you want - starting from the first day of your trip!
  • We'll bring the dive centre to you! Equipment, tanks, weight - whatever you need - and we'll check you in on the boat.

Walk onto our boats from the Marina Lodge hotel or take a short boat trip across the Marina from Crowne Plaza or Intercontinental Palace.

DC Reception Area sm.jpg FREE transfers are provided from the following hotels: Triton Beach Three Corners, Iberotel Coraya, Solaya, Lamaya, Samaya, Sol y Mar Dar El Medina, Resta Reef, Resta Grand, Crowne Plaza Sahara, Oasis/Sahara Sands, Intercontinental Palace, Marina Lodge, El Fayrouz Three Corners, Tulip, Shoni Bay, Nada, Badawia, Equinox El Naba, Moreen Beach, Hilton Nubian Resort, Sol y Mar Abu Dabab, Abu Dabab Diving Lodge, Solitaire, The Oasis, Calimara Habiba, Blue Reef, Kharamana, Abo Nuwas, Brayka Bay.

Moreen Seaview Room Balcony View sm.jpg With our new dive centre located further south and on the beach, we can offer so much more:

  • Unlimited housereef diving - pick up your tanks and off you go!
  • Shaab Abu Dabab on our doorstep - a set of six offshore reefs with stunning visibility, corals and marine life. Now just a short RIB trip departing direct from the new centre.
  • Regular trips to Elphinstone by fast RIB - smaller groups, shorter sailing times, more flexibility on dive choice, varied departure times and quicker pickups. Dive the jewel in our crown in style!
  • Guided shore diving to help your diving budget go further.

If you would like more information, email and they will be very happy to help.


What?      SAVE up to 28% with our low season savings

When?      Now until 30 Sep 2011

Where?     Hurghada, Nuweiba, Sharm el Sheikh

Hurghada DC boat sm.jpgOffer applies to:

  • Daily Dive Packages
  • Dive Courses:
    PADI Open Water
    PADI Scuba Diver
    PADI Fastrack
    PADI Referral Course
    PADI Advanced Open Water
    eLearning Open Water Dives
    Scuba Reviews
    Discover Scuba Diver Programmes

Book online, it's so easy:

Simply select the Diving Package or Course you require and your 28% discount has already been automatically deducted.

For more details contact

Terms & Conditions:
Saving of 28% applies to Emperor Dive Centres in Hurghada, Nuweiba  & Sharm el Sheikh
Offer is for diving services taken within dates shown and valid on bookings paid prior to arrival only.
Course materials and certification are additional, paid locally.
Diving includes 2 dives per day with tanks & weights.
Extras in resort (special trips, third dives, night dives etc), equipment, fees & taxes are additional, paid locally.



Report and photos by Georgina Cole

CIMG4925.JPGFor a few years the daily dive boats from El Gouna and Hurghada have not been allowed to visit the 130m long British armed Merchant Navy ship SS Thistlegorm so the only way to dive this wreck from this side of the Red Sea is to book a liveaboard trip.

Occasionally we hear of day trips using safari licenses and on Saturday, whilst disappointed that a planned day trip had been cancelled, I was told by Mat Cotton at Emperor Divers in El Gouna of an overnight trip departing on Sunday. It sounded perfect so I took my kit over to Emperor at the Moevenpick Hotel and booked myself on. My fellow club members interested in the Thistlegorm had already rebooked a dive to the Rosalie Moller, which is a regular trip for us, so it was just going to be me departing on Sunday from our club.

On Sunday morning I was picked up and driven over to Abydos Marina, where most of the dive boats CIMG4940.JPGdepart in El Gouna, and boarded the boat 'Sea Dream'. Whilst I was not expecting the usual luxurious Emperor safari boats just for an overnighter I was pleased to find out that myself and the other divers had ensuite cabins. Once the formalities of passport copies was sorted we were on our way around 9.30am. So just six divers in total, the crew and two guides.

It took around three hours to cross the bumpy Straits of Gobal to reach the mooring for the Thistlegorm off the Sinai Coast. When we arrived there was just one other boat moored there with another approaching from the distance. My buddies were Joel aged 15, a PADI AOW with 22 logged dives and his father Ned, both divers at home in Northern Ireland. They were on holiday in Makadi Bay and the non-diving wife had remained at the hotel to relax. Our guide was Mohamed and there were also three Russians diving with the other guide Tarek.

The first dive I was escorted down by two large bat fish probably hoping to find something good to eat in my mass of floating hair. We landed over the bomb damaged section where the ship was hit from the air by the squadron of Heinkels searching for a large troop ship. The two 450kg bombs struck her mid section detonating much ammunition and killing four crew members and nine sailors. With the Egyptian night sky lit up by the blazing ship she sank immediately on 6th October 1940. Hold 4 had been full of armoured vehicles, aerial bombs, cases of anti tank mines, ammunition, hand grenades. I remember when I last dived the wreck a few years ago seeing all the long black rubber Wellington boots which the troops would have used to cross the muddy terrain. All I saw now were the thick soles with the rubber eroded away. We dropped down to the seabed and the steeply listing stern to view the armed freighter's heavy fixed position machine gun and a 120mm anti-aircraft gun silhouetted against the surface. Rounding the stern to the massive propeller and then following the steep sides of the ship along to the bow we were joined by an enormous Napoleon Wrasse. We finished the 41 minute dive on the deck by the crumpled railway wagons with a large turtle resting nearby that we often spotted on the surface later as it came up regularly for air.

After lunch we began the second dive dropping down into hold no.2. This was also my 600th dive! The hold is full of rusting Bedford trucks and rows of BSA and Norton motor bikes. We swam through a hole into hold no. 1 full which was loaded with Lee Enfield Rifles, spare parts, camp beds, tires, more rubber boots, Morris cars and BSA bikes. We only saw our six divers and two guides on both dives CIMG4974.JPGunlike before when the holds have been full of divers torch beams and camera flashes. Sorry no underwater photos as no-one on our trip took a camera.

Our surface interval back on deck was spent watching the sunset and preparing for the night dive. Six dive boats were now moored up for the night around us.

This was my first night dive on the Thistlegorm and the plan was to explore the holds again. I was a little apprehensive thinking we wouldn't be able to see the light of the exits out of the holds in the dark but the bright lights of the dive boats on the surface shed a dull glow over the decks. We saw a huge scorpion fish and giant moray and lots of lion fish hunting in the torch light. Really enjoyed the night dive in the eery darkness. 20 meters max depth and 45 minutes dive time and back onboard for dinner.

Moored next to us overnight was a very nice liveaboard full of Italians called Desmondo. After dinner most of us retired to bed around 11pm as we would be briefed at 6am for the next dive. I went down to my cabin and discovered the windows had leaked during the rough crossing and my bed was rather damp at one end! Never mind and very nearly drifting off to sleep but the horrendous roar of the generator from Desmondo kept interrupting my approaching dreams. The boats bright lights were also filtering through my porthole windows and together with the heat of the still, windless night and with our generator switched off and therefore air conditioning and lights not working I decided around 1.30am that I would have to move and find somewhere cooler, quieter and less bright.

I went up to the sun deck but all the benches on the side away from Desmondo were occupied by the other five divers. The upper sun deck was completely soaking wet with condensation due to the high temperature and no wind. I went into the dark lounge and lay on the first seat not wishing to disturb the gentle snoring I could hear further in. Thought I would be fine here until Desmondo drifted round a little closer so now their strong deck lights were bobbing up and down like search lights right onto my face.

CIMG4992.JPGIt was now around 2.30am and I was tempted to dive down to get some ammunition to sink Desmondo but decided instead to grab a small plastic mattress from a bench and took it down to the also soaking wet dive platform next to the rhib. Perfect as long as I stayed on my small plastic island and didn't let the blanket slip. I lay back and searched for shooting stars just a few feet from the water and then realised just how noisy the sea is at night. The fish were constantly jumping out of the water and splash landing. At least it was more pleasant than the relentless roar of the generator which was inescapable. It was beautifully cool outside and very humid so it wasn't long before my blanket and pillow were damp. Still wide awake at 4.20am it was worth a restless night to see the sky slowly turning pink and the red sun rising from behind the mountains just after 5am. The divers on Des had probably slept very well as they were all kitted up and jumping in the water at 5.40am.

Just two of our group kitted up at 6am for our fourth dive on the Thistlegorm and dropped down to the sea bed at 30 meters and swam about 20m away to one of the locomotives that was blown off the wreck during the forceful explosion. It was nice to have the time to explore the sea bed a little before moving round the outside of the ship and then up to visit the Captain's bathroom. I always think of my father when diving this wreck as the supplies were heading for the British 8th army in North Africa where he was an Officer.

After breakfast we crossed back over to Abu Nuhas to dive the wreck of the Ghiannis D and exploredCIMG4948.JPG inside the engine room. The Ghiannis D is such a pretty and photographic wreck covered in colourful corals and beautifully lit in the morning sunshine and a regular excursion for our club from El Gouna. The sixth and final dive was at El Gilwa around 11am where we were joined by Emperor's day boat from El Gouna keen to hear the news of our expedition.

We were back early afternoon to a stifling 40 degrees on land but everyone had thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I have to say a big thank you to Emperor Divers and especially to Mat for letting me know about the trip and for the excellent service received from their staff, boat crew and guides.

I really enjoyed just doing a one night trip and will definitely organise another trip after Ramadan for our other dive club members and, of course, me to enjoy again.

If you would like to know more about this overnight trip, please email


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Emperor Marsa Alam expands to new resort

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Moreen DC Frontal Sml.jpgOn 01 October 2011, we will open our new dive centre in the Marsa Alam area. Situated in a brand new seafront hotel, Moreen Beach, the centre is 20 km south of the airport, giving the same Emperor Divers' experience that guests have come to know and love in Port Ghalib. 

The added bonus is that there is now a great housereef and the Centre is closer to the Marsa Alam jetty saving time when visiting southern sites.

Built to a customised design giving spacious facilities and all the necessary amenities expected from a world class dive operator, including a rooftop bar for that all-important post-dive socialising, the location adds to the variety of dives on offer.

Just 20 km south of Port Ghalib marina, our classic hardboat trips will operate as usual with more diving options to include the unspoilt and uncrowded Abu Dabab offshore reef system, now just 15 minutes away by speedboat.

The housereef is literally on the doorstep and ideal for more experienced divers offering plenty of guided or unguided options, day and night, as well as regular morning and afternoon trips to Elphinstone for those 'big' encounters. With the Centre being closer than ever to the Marsa Alam marina, we continue to offer Dolphin House trips to divers and snorkellers and with shorter transfer times, guests can dive even more southern sites such as Shaab Marsa Alam whilst still enjoying the famous 'Overnight Elphinstone' trips.

Moreen DC Rooftop Sml.jpgMoreen Beach is a 4 star hotel operated by Concord Hotels and is the ideal venue for divers and non-divers alike.

For divers with family and friends who simply want to relax, then this is the place to do more half-day trips and lazy starts while everyone can enjoy the sandy beach and fabulous facilities.

We still offer free transfers from other hotels; however, for those staying in Port Ghalib, the same renowned Emperor service is on-hand where you wake up and walk to your dive boat or have a short zodiac transfer.

Luke Atkinson, Emperor Marsa Alam's Manager explains, "Our operation in Port Ghalib will remain virtually the same with the addition of a super housereef at the Moreen Beach and easier access to Shaab Abu Dabab and Marsa Alam's sites. We look forward to giving our guests more choice, memorable diving and the same customer-focused service".

It's business as usual at the current Marsa Alam centre in Port Ghalib. The move will be seamless so guests won't feel a thing...except a better location and more choice of dive sites!

For more information, please email

We will have more information on our Marsa Alam web page by September.




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This page is an archive of entries from August 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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