Red Sea Liveaboard – November 2016
by Jen Elfverson
“DON’T go to Egypt!” they said… “It’s Scary over there!” They said….
Well, I don’t know who “They” are, but “They” are wrong.
Hurghada, November 5th My Blue Horizon: Lets go DIVING!!!!
What a trip. We arrived all bright eyed and bushy tailed (well some more bushier than others!) to the beautiful Blue O2 boat My Blue Horizon. Welcomed on board with a lovely juice and the friendly faces of the Crew who could not do enough for us all week. Luke and Hanna our fantastic guides gave us the rundown and safety briefing, got us all excited for what lay ahead and introduced us to crew.
Once all the kit was together and all the paperwork signed sealed and sorted we were off! We motored north to our first dive site Poseidon’s reef for our check dive. Warm clear water, about 26 degrees a lovely easy one to get us started and get a few new divers wet!
As this was the first trip to Egypt for a few of us there were huge smile and eyes the size of dinner plates. Us old timers laughed knowing that this was just the tip of the iceberg compared to what was yet to come.
The next site was Emperor Frazer which was a beautiful reef with loads of life, stunning coral gardens and of course huge moray eels.
Day 2 brought us to the national park Ras Mohammed and Shaab Mammoud which was a spectacully colourful dive. Everyone was up Bright and early for a 6:20 am dive where we saw our first Turtle! John Ashton’s smile getting bigger by the second. Then we were on to Jackfish alley, a very popular breading ground full of fish and anthiaers. Mr Dave Brown, surrounded by a harem of pink fins (Lauren, his daughter and Annette) chose to do twin set for the trip and seemed to lose the ability to tell the time…. Dive time that is.
By midway through day 2 Jim Mckenna began his “no Current – Drift Diver Specialty” and went off in the zodiac to “check the conditions at Shark and Yolanda. A notoriously strong current site between 2 pinnacles … and a flag… which was no longer a flag but a pole!
Status report back – Conditions “Great! Current :….Zero”( Oh well Jim , next time) Off we all jumped again for huge fan coral, beautiful fish species and hundreds of Toilets… the SS Yolanda went down carrying bathroom supplies in 1985 scattering sinks, baths and toilets across the sea bed.
Mike and Linda Witchell joining us for their first Ocean View trip along with Gus, Jim, Sten and Mare-Ann who all seemed to melt into the group as though they had always been with us!
Linda being the only Non-Diver (but avid snorkeler) of the group decided to get herself a job and become the surface cover paper work checker. Counting us divers in and out, checking our times and depths and making sure all were on board before she would let the crew leave… Thanks Linda!
Before Lunch we crossed to arguably the most famous site of the red sea the “SS Thistlegorm” where we were to stay for the next three dives and Gareth Walsh to mark his 100th dive mile stone (and yes- he got the t-shirt)!
Bikes, boots and bombs this wreck has it all. Carrying vital supplies to the troops during the war it was bombed by the Third Reich bombers on October 6th, 1941 and she now lays in her watery grave on the sea bed full of places to explore. This use to be the busiest dive site as well but it was a fantastic surprise to only have 3 other boats on the site which made it much easier to get “that shot” without someone else in it!!! (Possibly the most noticeable change occurring from the recent political issues).
Continuing the Wreck theme we headed to Abu Nuhas an area of treachery where 4 ships all were lost (accidently? On purpose? It’s anyone’s guess). Our captain managed to get us right on the door step of both the Carnatic and the Ghiannis D (Yay no Zodiacs). 1, just a skeleton, the other modern and hugely intact both these dives were beautiful in their contrast and offerings.
The Carnatic sank more than 150 years ago (one of the oldest wrecks of the area) also known as the “Wreck of wine” for its cargo of hundreds of bottles of port wine. In contrast to the modern wreck of the Ghiannis D which hit the reef April 19th 1983 and went down within just 15 minutes. Its huge engine room and shards of light penetrating throughout this spectacular site gave us all a chance to take some amazing classic photos while exploring the various decks.
With all that rusty metal out of our systems it was time for a long crossing and to head south to the Brothers. Diving the Big brother, Aida and Numidia first.
SHARKS!!! Sharks and Sharks!!! We had a little wait, and then there they were, hanging around under the boat along with many divers just waiting and watching. I did the 20 minute swim against the current to get to the other boats anchor line to get a better view, only for Lynzi to point out we were still under our boat!!… We found your current, Jim!!!
Small Brother wasn’t a disappointment either, so much colour and fish in abundance, nice to see that the reef is getting the chance to regenerate.
Our trip wasn’t over yet, our crossing back towards Hurghada was met with a full on Roast Turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Question is who had the Turkey in their cabin then?!! And how did it fit in that tiny oven? It still amazes me how the Chef and his team turn out the most incredible food all week.
Our final dives were some of the prettiest wall and reefs I’ve ever been to. Small Giffun and Gota abu romada the wall which were AWESOME …and definitely not the Mine sweeper!!!
All in all an amazing trip, with a great bunch divers and some new friends made. Thanks everyone.