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morc66 Marsa al `Alam - A travel report by Maurice
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Marsa al `Alam,  Egypt - flag Egypt -  Al Ba±r al A±mar
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morc66's travel reports

The Egyptian Liveaboards: around Marsa Alam

  16 votes
Only for real divers, they say. (Or is this just not recommended for your standard tourist?) try a liveaboard safari on the Red Sea.

My boat: The Starlight One
My dive crew: 6 Dutch, 1 Egyptian
The trip: Deep South

Marsa al `Alam travelogue picture
Hi all, I returned from Egypt where I spent a bit more than a week on diving, enjoying the sun, and generally being lazy. (which off course is a natural thing for me.) I have had a real good time!

This year's dive holiday was a bit more hardcore than the normal trips I take for diving. After diving in Holland, France, Turkey and several places in Egypt, I found it was time to actually do something different and go on a liveaboard, or as the Egyptians call it, a Safari.

The trip I booked planned to go from Marsa Alam to several good locations. To get started I booked 2 days in advance to do some shore diving. Also very good… but at a fixed location.

The liveaboard is different, quite a bit. For starters you do 4 dives a day with ease, starting as soon as you get out of your bunk, after diving some breakfast and preparation for the next dive and so on. Besides that, you get to the locations where there are no daytrips planned. We often were just the only boat around for miles.

Organisation was typical Egyptian. In stead of starting in Marsa Alam, the boat was in Hurgharda, 3 hours drive from where I was.

We left port around 5:00 in the morning, as soon as it was light enough to do so. First dive of this liveaboard was to the Salem express, a ferry that sank some 17 years ago, after hitting a reef. Quite a ghostly, eerie location to be diving, if you know this wreck still contains human remains and personal belongings... some 600 people never got out of this ship alive. Still, the wreck looks nice and is a challenging dive. When we surfaced again, we had some other boats next to us, one of which had divers bringing flowers to the wreck. This is still a grave.

Next dives: at Abu el Kifhen, joined up with my buddy Tamer to do an easy dive with the reef on our left, 100 bar turn around, 60 minutes dive time. We had a good dive, spotted a resting turtle, posed for the camera with it and moved on... returned with a good story and had a good dive.

Favourite spots:
traveling to the next divelocation
traveling to the next divelocation
yes,... still the Salem, as a first dive of the live aboard... but actually all locations we visited were worth going to. I would advise not to go to the most crowded ones, like Elphinstone etc... they are great but not good any more.

(No pics from the Salem Express... first of all, many still consider this a grave, and secondly, this was my first dive with the new underwater housing.)

What's really great:
Marsa al `Alam travelogue picture
eh.. the great dives, off course, and being able to dive whenever the boat was not sailing.

Hamerhead and other sharks,
lots of other small life.

Most memorable would be the dive on the Salem, I would say.

(light waves...)
(light waves...)
I traveled on the Starlight One, a smaller boat, just doing it's first tour with us as the testers. THEY PASSED Cum Laude.

The boat had just 14 bunks for guests, with just seven of us on board... that was great... everyone had his own hut, with aircon, shower, toilet etc.

Food was tops, mix of western and Egyptian food... and remarkably, no-one got sick.

Beverages were all inclusive, but we had to bring our own beer, off course.

The generator was on 24-7 ... which was not all that great, but at least we had enough opportunities to reload batteries etc.

Marsa al `Alam travelogue picture
Beautiful .. if you like nightdives. Go in at around 18:30, you will have some light left and see the dayshift being replaced by the nightshift...

There was not much more nightlife after the last dive of the day. Usually we had dinner, had some drinks on the sundeck and then tried to find the bunk.

Marsa al `Alam travelogue picture
Best outdoors eating would have been the BBQ on the divedeck. This boat had a very good cook, anyway.

Big problem for us was that we had to attend the Barbi, even though we had just finished our nightdive.

Published on Wednesday July 2th, 2008

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Thu, Jul 01 2010 - 11:55 AM rating by shervin19

i enjoyed reading this report!thank you!

Fri, Jul 11 2008 - 12:02 PM rating by marianne

great photos. you must have had a whale of a time

Tue, Jul 08 2008 - 01:34 AM rating by confusemuse

Very cool report, and how I wish I could dive now :p

Mon, Jul 07 2008 - 04:08 PM rating by mistybleu

I'm so envious, this sounds like the perfect way to spend a week. Good for you

Thu, Jul 03 2008 - 05:33 PM rating by eirekay

Worth **** for the pictures alone! What a great experience! I just finished my first red Sea dives and it is amazing!

Wed, Jul 02 2008 - 04:50 PM rating by krisek

Very nice report with personal touch! Real fascinating adventure. Unusual report for us land rats :) Thank you so much for sharing. It would be super if you elaborated a little about the underwater travels, particularly night dives and the coral reefs, any interesting encounters with the sharks and their reaction to divers... 3.75*

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