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Any suggestions for Red Sea live-aboards?


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#1 NWDiver

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 04:07 PM

Anyone have suggestions for Red Sea live-aboards, or agents that handle this region? Not big wreck fanatics, thinking more the southern section and if lucky oceanic whitetips. Any direction would be welcome.

Thanks!

#2 PRC

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 01:22 AM

Try and get on a boat when Pia is a guide. Believe she is still on the Blue O2 boats. One of the best guides in the area and a photographer herself so is very understanding.

Take her some bassets licorice all-sorts and then you can do no wrong (hard to obtain out there it would seem).

The Brothers itinerary is excellent but much more difficult to take pictures due to current.

The wrecks itinerary are pretty solid wrecks and IMO can get somewhat "Oh hell not another wreck day" - but some like that.

South offers some great picture taking possibilities or try and get on a specific picture taking trip ( Alex had a couple of openings a week or two back ).

Oceanics are again about after a lull at the beginning of the year good encounters at Elphinstone Daedalus and the Brothers.

If you are a bit more brave and want adventure then the Sudan - it was a bit wild west when I first went but could be good now, there can be good hammerhead activity if the Yemen fisherman havn't finned them all.
When I was there a few years back the reef was spectacular.

US customs did not like my passport much after the Sudan trip - never had refused entry but got a lot of questions - to be fair the Sudanese managed a good double page spread of stamps and holographic stickers - had to 'launder' the offending passport in the end and get a new one.



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Edited by PRC, 27 November 2010 - 01:32 AM.

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#3 Timmoranuk

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 03:25 AM

Try and get on a boat when Pia is a guide. Believe she is still on the Blue O2 boats. One of the best guides in the area and a photographer herself so is very understanding.

Take her some bassets licorice all-sorts and then you can do no wrong (hard to obtain out there it would seem).

The Brothers itinerary is excellent but much more difficult to take pictures due to current.

The wrecks itinerary are pretty solid wrecks and IMO can get somewhat "Oh hell not another wreck day" - but some like that.

South offers some great picture taking possibilities or try and get on a specific picture taking trip ( Alex had a couple of openings a week or two back ).

Oceanics are again about after a lull at the beginning of the year good encounters at Elphinstone Daedalus and the Brothers.

If you are a bit more brave and want adventure then the Sudan - it was a bit wild west when I first went but could be good now, there can be good hammerhead activity if the Yemen fisherman havn't finned them all.
When I was there a few years back the reef was spectacular.

US customs did not like my passport much after the Sudan trip - never had refused entry but got a lot of questions - to be fair the Sudanese managed a good double page spread of stamps and holographic stickers - had to 'launder' the offending passport in the end and get a new one.

Paul C


Paul, if I may correct you please? (but I do know that you know :) ) Pia is dive guide on the Blue Pearl, one of the Blue Planet fleet. I caught up with her again this August when the Blue Seas and the Blue Pearl where moored on The Brothers. She's the top dive guide for southern itineraries and, as a bonus, is _very_ accomodating of all my many diving foibles and indiscresions... ;) You can get a booking on the 'Pearl though Oonas Divers. Ask for Lydia there, tell her Tim sent you and she'll put the phone down :) :)

That said, I also enjoy safaris with Nina on the Blue Seas ( I did a BDE and DRZ with her this summer) and Ashraf on the Blue Planet 1. For a photog looking for a northern safari, I recommend the MY Juliet out of Sharm. Wael, the Juliet's guide, and I have been great friends for years. I don't suppose many guests have been the only diver on the Thistlegorm... ;)

Enjoy! HTH, Tim
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#4 PRC

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 03:53 AM

Ah heck you are quite correct Tim. ( Knew it was Blue somthing........).

Pia is just about the best that there is - the _ONLY_ guide that I have met that can predict the current in the Brothers.

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#5 stewsmith

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 05:56 AM

I second the Blue Pearl, a great comfortable boat. Although Pia was not on board when I was on the boat we did have a great time and were pretty much left to our own devices once the guide knew we could be trusted. We done Brothers and Elphinstone itinerary which I always enjoy at this time of year. Plenty of Oceanics at both locations, hammerheads, grey reef sharks and a black tip.

If you do fancy going up north then give DuncanS of RedSeaSnapper a shout as I have dived with him on many occasions and enjoyed every dive. He can arrange liveaboards as well.

A friend of mine has just returned from a liveaboard in Djibouti and had an amzing experience with whalesharks every day and amazing schools of fish.

Where ever you decide to go just spend the extra few $'s and get on one of the more luxurious boats and you will have a great time and not be able to wait to go back. The Red Sea is an amazing place with such a variety of dives. Do your homework and enjoy.

Stew

Edited by stewsmith, 27 November 2010 - 10:10 AM.

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#6 tdpriest

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 06:43 AM

I was on "Blue Seas" three weeks ago, and impressed with the guides. It was tragic that my buddy died, but the operation, booked through Oonasdivers, was first-rate.

Red Sea Marine Parks 2010 on Flickr

Blue-O-Two has just binned its new Sudan trips, but other boats are still operating and I'm joining Royal Evolution (I think) in the spring after originally booking with Blue-O-Two. I've been to the USA several times since I last went to Sudan, but I do have to admit to now having a new passport...

... and the Sudanese reefs were certainly spectacular a few years ago.

Tim

:D

Edited by tdpriest, 27 November 2010 - 06:49 AM.


#7 NWDiver

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 09:42 AM

Do homework???? I expect you all to plan the perfect Red Sea vacation for me, lol. We do always appreciate the input we get here, especially for destinations we are not familiar with. We went to Blue Planets site but looks to be down right now. Given it is a year away we just need to block out the time.

Edited by NWDiver, 27 November 2010 - 09:45 AM.


#8 stewsmith

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 10:12 AM

Do homework???? I expect you all to plan the perfect Red Sea vacation for me, lol. We do always appreciate the input we get here, especially for destinations we are not familiar with. We went to Blue Planets site but looks to be down right now. Given it is a year away we just need to block out the time.



What month are you planning to go there?
How long are you planning on being there?
Do you have a budget?
What are you hoping to see on your trip?

Stew

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#9 NWDiver

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 01:56 PM

What month are you planning to go there?
How long are you planning on being there?
Do you have a budget?
What are you hoping to see on your trip?

Stew


Hi Steve,

We are planning on March of 2011. Just works out that is when we could go.
We plan on two weeks, one of diving one of dry. But are so dive happy might do 10 of diving and 5 of dry.
Budget, is medium to high. Aggressor/Dancer fleet quality or better. We accept you get what you pay for.
What to see??? Hmmmm for diving we would love to see an oceanic whitetip! Love sharks in general. Very happy at 60fsw on a brightly lit reef. Not big wreck folks. Currents are fine. For dry land all the typical tourist sites in Giza and Cairo.

Hope that helps

#10 tdpriest

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 01:40 AM

A Blue Planet boat on one of the "Marine Parks" trips that includes Daedalus reef has a reasonable chance of encountering Oceanic Whitetip sharks. If you sail from Port Ghalib (Marsa Alam) you can go cross-country to the Nile, but it's a longish trip: the Red Sea is some way away from the historical sites.

March is good as most Red Sea sharks go deep in late spring as the water warms up, so early spring is often thought of as the best time for shark hunting. Sudanese waters are generally "sharkier" than Egyptian sites. The sharks start to migrate to shallower water (ie above 100') in November at sites such as The Brothers. The Marine Parks are basically wall dives and, although you can pick your depth, the guides will often go to 120' looking for sharks.

Apart from OonasDivers, Tony Backhurst Scuba has some nice boats on his itineraries. The larger boats, although wooden-built, are very comparable to Aggressors, but hot tubs are rare!

Tim

:D

Edited by tdpriest, 29 November 2010 - 01:47 AM.


#11 Damo

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 01:21 PM

was on blue planet (booked thro lydia c/o oonasdivers) going to st. johns reefs/south in july-out of marsa alam.
absolutely loved it, but did not see sharks- didnt care tho'- the boat, the crew, the dive sites were all brill.

was on sea serpent (with tony backhurst) doing brothers, daedelus, elphinstone in 2006- again in july -out of marsa alam-loved this boat too but think the blue planet was a nicer boat. crews again excellent-dive sites super!!.
saw oceanic white tips, a large silky, and a thresher.

eitherway- you will love it!
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#12 Misa

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 02:19 PM

my last safari in red sea was on Andromeda. It was 100 Euro more expansive then other safaries i`ve did in the red sea and for that difference i`ve got a luxury package. the crew, the food, the cameras were amazing. We will return with that company for sure on Red Sea or Sudan next year.

#13 Timmoranuk

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 06:59 AM

my last safari in red sea was on Andromeda. It was 100 Euro more expansive then other safaries i`ve did in the red sea and for that difference i`ve got a luxury package. the crew, the food, the cameras were amazing. We will return with that company for sure on Red Sea or Sudan next year.


The Andromeda and Casiopeia are off my Christmas list because of mooring habits like this...

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#14 splashdoc

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 08:06 AM

If you're seriously interested in sharks I'd recommend you try a Project Shark trip on a blueOtwo boat (www.blueotwo.com). The guide for these trips is Elke Bowjanowski who is an shark expert, particularly interested in oceanic whitetips. The last time I was on one of these we saw hammerheads, grey reefs and threshers as well as the oceanics. The boats are also very nice and well organised.
Enjoy.

#15 Timmoranuk

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 08:14 AM

If you're seriously interested in sharks I'd recommend you try a Project Shark trip on a blueOtwo boat (www.blueotwo.com). The guide for these trips is Elke Bowjanowski who is an shark expert, particularly interested in oceanic whitetips. The last time I was on one of these we saw hammerheads, grey reefs and threshers as well as the oceanics. The boats are also very nice and well organised.
Enjoy.


I agree that a safari with Elke would be an excellent opportunity. Its been on my to do list for a while though I understand that she is an infrequent dive guide these days. Check out her www site: www.longimanus.info

Edited by Timmoranuk, 30 November 2010 - 08:48 AM.

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#16 tdpriest

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:39 AM

The Andromeda and Casiopeia are off my Christmas list because of mooring habits like this...


That's dreadful.

Tim

:D

#17 DeanB

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 11:07 AM

If you're seriously interested in sharks I'd recommend you try a Project Shark trip on a blueOtwo boat (www.blueotwo.com). The guide for these trips is Elke Bowjanowski who is an shark expert, particularly interested in oceanic whitetips. The last time I was on one of these we saw hammerheads, grey reefs and threshers as well as the oceanics. The boats are also very nice and well organised.
Enjoy.


Agreed ... Went a couple of years ago and saw exactly the same sharks as mentioned above ;) On our trip the Jacuzzi was not working :D and Elke sadly had a family bereavement as we were leaving port so she obviously had to leave so we didn't have her expertise on the sharks... However Dray (the guide, stills shooter) was awesome and the Blue Horizon itself was an excellent liveaboard that I'd highly recommend ...

Dive safe

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#18 DuncanS

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 01:45 PM

The Andromeda and Casiopeia are off my Christmas list because of mooring habits like this...

Outrageous!!!!!!
Duncan

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#19 Christian K

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 10:32 AM

Hi Steve,

We are planning on March of 2011. Just works out that is when we could go.
We plan on two weeks, one of diving one of dry. But are so dive happy might do 10 of diving and 5 of dry.
Budget, is medium to high. Aggressor/Dancer fleet quality or better. We accept you get what you pay for.
What to see??? Hmmmm for diving we would love to see an oceanic whitetip! Love sharks in general. Very happy at 60fsw on a brightly lit reef. Not big wreck folks. Currents are fine. For dry land all the typical tourist sites in Giza and Cairo.

Hope that helps


March is spot on for Sudanese shark action, but you will need two weeks. The Royal Evolution (excellent high end boat) do 14-day cruises departing from Egyptian Marsa Alam. You actually never set foot on the Sudanese mainland, but you do go into Port Sudan for paper work. It was a few years since my last trip, but the Sudanese reefs are the best that the Red Sea has to offer inmo. There's a one week alternative flying into Port Sudan from Cairo on Sudan Air, but it's a helluva ordeal for what's in practice 5.5 days of diving.

I always do the Egyptian Red Sea in the summer months when the sea is calmer and warm. Water temperatures in Egypt in March can be fairly chilly (22-24C / 70-75ish F). Marine life tend to "come alive" in the summer months when the water rise to 27-28C. More sharks as well, especially hammerheads, which might sound strange to all conventional wisdom, but I believe that (speculation) they migrate from the south as the water warms up and then return south in the winter. Oceanic white tips more common in fall and winter.

good luck

Edited by Christian K, 05 January 2011 - 01:20 PM.


#20 Mclovin

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 02:53 AM

Hi Steve,

We are planning on March of 2011. Just works out that is when we could go.
We plan on two weeks, one of diving one of dry. But are so dive happy might do 10 of diving and 5 of dry.
Budget, is medium to high. Aggressor/Dancer fleet quality or better. We accept you get what you pay for.
What to see??? Hmmmm for diving we would love to see an oceanic whitetip! Love sharks in general. Very happy at 60fsw on a brightly lit reef. Not big wreck folks. Currents are fine. For dry land all the typical tourist sites in Giza and Cairo.

Hope that helps



G'day NWDiver,

Did you end up going on your trip? If not, I worked in the Red Sea for 2 years on liveaboards so I can give you some insight.. If you did, where did you end up and how was it?

Cheers mate