- Going ‘against the flow’ to see the best sites in the southern Red Sea at their quietest times.
- Elphinstone, Daedalus and St John’s at their quietest with the rarely-dived sites of Rocky and Zabargad also included.
- This is a 21+ itinerary with all dives made offshore. By staying out of port on the last night there’s potential for up to 22 dives on the trip – the most any of our itineraries offer.
- A diverse range of marine life such as tuna, barracudas, jacks, groupers, Napoleon, bumphead parrotfish and sharks including hammerheads and occasionally silky and oceanic white tips. Dolphins and turtles in the Fury Shoals, while manta, thresher sharks and whalesharks can always surprise.
New for 2023, Emperor Divers are running an itinerary to give experienced divers the chance to go against the flow and dive the best sites of the Red Sea on what should be their quietest days.
By approaching these iconic sites in the opposite direction to most standard itineraries, we hope to offer you the best opportunity to dive with the fewest number of people around you.
Southern Solitude is a dive-focused trip, heading out of Port Ghalib and immediately arriving in the Elphinstone area. This enables us to make a check dive nearby and then get straight to a site which is normally frequented on the final days of trips. With fewer boats around it should give the chance to enjoy the 300-metre-long reef’s colourful pink and red soft coral sheer walls in relative peace and quiet.
We’ll then go to Daedalus, arriving before most others, to take in its deep walls and drop-offs which offer some of the most spectacular diving to be found, before heading down to the exceptionally remote, and usually quiet, Rocky and Zabargad Islands where even many Red Sea veterans cannot boast to have dived.
Over the next couple of days we will move up through St John’s and Fury Shoals where our guides will find the quietest spots in this vast collection of stunning reef system, which offers some of the most picturesque and rewarding diving in the Red Sea. Fury Shoals also boasts an amazing selection of marine life including super-friendly turtles and a resident pod of spinner dolphins.
This will bring us up to day six when, while others cram into local onshore bays, we’ll do a full day and night diving program on some offshore reefs as we travel north.
This trip is one of our 21+ itineraries, and should offer around 22 dives on proper safari sites by spending six full nights out of port, returning on the morning of day seven just before departure time.
And, while there are few certainties in life, we’re pretty sure that by taking a different approach we can give you the best chance of some Southern Solitude.
Click dive site markers for detailed descriptions.
Dive sites & areas that we may visit are subject to weather conditions.
A world famous offshore reef, Elphinstone is the jewel in our crown. Sheer walls and sometimes currents at exhilarating speeds make this one for advanced divers only but it will be one you remember. Dive the east wall in the morning and the west in the afternoon to make the most of the sun, and light up the abundant soft corals. Anthias smother the walls and large gorgonian fans and black corals hide critters such as the infamous longnose hawkfish. Keep an eye out in the blue for resident schools of snapper, large barracuda and enormous Napoleon wrasse.
The north and south plateaus drop to over 40mt in depth but can be a place for very special encounters - manta rays, silvertip, tiger, grey reef and hammerhead sharks have all been seen here and cruising the shallows at the right time of year can be curious silky and oceanic whitetip sharks.
Daedalus Reef is the most distant offshore reef in the Egyptian Red Sea. It is approximately 52 nautical miles east of Marsa Alam and takes about 6 hours to get to.
The island is 450 meter long and 100 meter wide, it is marked by a lighthouse which forms the only break on the horizon for many miles in any direction. It's a huge round reef that provides an excellent opportunity for spotting big pelagics including manta rays and Thresher sharks. All around its steep walls you will see a a large variety of fish and coral. There's a good chance to see schooling hammerheads on the northern point. Strong currents possible and most of the dives on Daedalus Reef are drift dives along amazing deep walls covered by superb coral. In addition to the Sharks, you can also encounter various pelagic fishes such as the Giant Trevally or the Dogtooth Tuna. The Daedalus Reef is located within a Marine Park which combined with its remote location, really is one of the most pristine dive sites in the Red Sea.
The Daedalus Reef is can only be dived from a liveaboard and you need to be an experienced diver as the reef is in open sea.
Tiny rock emerging a few feet out of the water, it offers a true wall diving experience. A sheer reef wall falling vertically beyond recreational limits, cracks and overhangs provide anchor points for soft and hard corals set against a beautiful deep blue backdrop. Feel like a diving pioneer on this immaculate reef buzzing with busy anthias.
An enormous and picturesque mountain rising out of the water and almost entirely surrounded a reef. Large enough to offer a variety of diving, from soft coral smothered walls to protected sandy slopes with scattered pinnacles and swim thrus. Reef fish, macro life and turtles accompany divers on these quiet and beautiful dives.
St. Johns Reef is a chain of reefs with a wealth of dive sites close by; renowned for being as far South as you will get. Because all its dive sites are close to each other, you can easily travel from one place to the next, adding variety and diversity to your dives with drop-offs, tunnels and dramatic hard-coral formations.
The reef formation at St Johns is not the only thing that will leave a lasting impression on you; the marine life and colours of the soft corals are amongst the best in the Red Sea. There's a strong chance that dolphins and pelagics will join your dives, placing St Johns firmly in your treasure trove of memories.
- Gota Kebir -
This is a massive reef, famous for its tunnels and south plateau, where jacks and barracudas can be seen and the occasional manta. The tunnels are ideal for novice cave divers.
- Gota Soraya -
One of the best wall dives in the Red Sea, with overhangs and cracks in the reef wall full of glass fish and sweepers and an abundance of corals, grey reef, silvertips and hammerhead sharks.
- Habili Ali -
This dive offers giant gorgonians and black corals whilst grey reef, silvertip and schools of hammerhead sharks might be found on the west side.
- Habili Gafaar -
A mass of soft corals teeming with shoals of snappers, butterfly fish and barracudas. Mantas, grey reef and silvertip sharks can be seen in the blue.
- St Johns Caves -
St Johns Caves, or Umm Kharalim, makes for a memorable dive. Here shallow cracks in the reef plate open into caverns and overhangs. It's truly unique and a photographer's paradise with silvery slivers of sunlight filtering through into the tunnels.
A network of hard coral formations make up the complex reef system of the Fury Shoals. Inhabited by a variety of pelagic fish, dolphins and several species of shark, Fury Shoals is a diverse coral garden and a spectacular dive site. Aside from the endless colourful sea life, the lagoon also contains the wrecks of a tugboat and a sailing ship for your exploration.
For an easy introduction to cavern diving, there is probably no finer setting than the reefs of the Fury Shoals (and the nearby St Johns). At a few special places, divers can explore capacious swim-throughs, gulleys and canyons, at the same time enjoying some of the most impressive hard coral scenery anywhere in the world.
- Abu Galawa Soraya -
The northern edge of the Fury Shoal group, this reef has a fantastic hard coral garden and the wreck of a private sailing boat on the western side, which is packed with glass fish.
- Shaab Claude -
In the centre of Fury Shoal, famous for its large labyrinths of swim throughs. Huge porite corals and a resident Napoleon. Often white tip reef sharks can be spotted as well as an anemone and clownfish settlement on a small pinnacle a little off the reef to the south.
A collection of 7 reefs. Offers sheltered diving in rough weather conditions. Popular overnight location due to close proximity to the famous Elphinstone reef with a very good chance to see Spanish dancers on the night dive. Many swim throughs and caves. Often sightings of reef sharks on the southern outer reefs.
Check Dive & Depart Port Ghalib
Once onboard there will be a safety briefing, crew introduction, complete and check dive paperwork, cabin allocation and boat orientation. Our boats moor in port on arrival day departing early next morning. The first dive is a check dive at Abu Dabab.
Return to Port Ghalib
On the last diving day, there is the potential to do four dives as the boat stays out all night. We return to Port Ghalib at approximately 7.30am with boat departure to be completed by 9.30am. The earliest flight you should take from RMF is 10.30AM and from HRG 1.30PM, to allow for a stress free departure.
Intermediate, 30 dives
We recommend that you have 30 logged dives to join this trip and you should be comfortable diving in drifts and currents as they can vary from gentle to strong. Many dives are below 18m therefore we recommend having advanced experience or taking your PADI Advanced Open Water course on board. Booking a private guide may help divers unsure of their suitability for the trip to maximise their enjoyment. Divers may find some dives challenging and may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives that are not suitable for their diving experience. Diving is from zodiacs to give precise entry and exit points.