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Advice

Discussion in 'Red Sea' started by gypsyjim, Aug 26, 2019.

  1. gypsyjim

    gypsyjim I have an alibi ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I realize this has been asked before in various ways, but sometimes reading through many threads, trying to find useful and current information can get frustrating.

    We are thinking of doing a Red Sea trip, and wondering if anyone has any recommendations or advice.

    We are considering around March.

    We are not tech divers, and other than maby seeing the Thistlegorm, we have more interest in reefs, walls and creatures.
    We may also have one non diver, and one or more interested in visiting a archeological site, or 2.

    Any wisdom that any you with experience in diving here might be willing to share will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. rongoodman

    rongoodman ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I was on the Red Sea Aggressor this last March and found it to be cold with no big fish to speak of. The coral, OTOH, was beautiful. Watching the captain's logs for the following weeks showed conditions improving by mid-May.
     
    gypsyjim likes this.
  3. Buttha Ghamila

    Buttha Ghamila Angel Fish

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    Don't go in March! It's too cold. If it has to be March at least do the southern St. John's route
     
    gypsyjim and Ministryofgiraffes like this.
  4. Christian

    Christian Manta Ray

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    Egyptian Red Sea, June-July for off shore islands (hammerheads), fall for oceanic whitetip sharks and july-august for Sinai (lots of barracuda/jacks/snapper off Shark/Yolanda).
    In winter/spring ... cold and no big fish.
    For March — the Sudanese Red Sea.
     
    gypsyjim likes this.
  5. Darnold9999

    Darnold9999 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
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    Did the Red Sea in March 2 years ago Aggressor out of Marsa Alam and then another boat - which was supposed to be St Johns but ended up being almost the same trip as Aggressor.

    Good coral, almost no sharks and was glad I had my dry suit. Not necessary but made the diving more comfortable. Would wait a month if possible.

    Regretted not taking the time to go to Luxor.
     
    gypsyjim likes this.
  6. Christian

    Christian Manta Ray

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    Re: areas in the Egyptian Red Sea, the so called off shore islands (Brother Islands, Deadalus Reef, Rocky Island/Zabargad and Elphinstone) are the ones offering the best chances for big fish. Brother Islands has a couple of wrecks and the nicest soft coral of the "lot". It varies from week to week which is the best concerning sitings, but normally Brothers and Deadalus are the best. Elphinstone is reachable by dayboat from dc:s nearby Marsa Ghalib. All places have become a lot more crowded in the two last seasons with sometimes 15 boats moored eg. Brothers. There is a new directive re Brothers due to a few shark incidents in fall 2018 that prohibits overnighting at Brothers. This complicates the itinerary as it is the place where you'd normally want to spend a couple of days. Summer is the best time for a variety of sharks, especially hammerheads. According to my very anecdotal evidence and personal experience they seem to wander north into Egyptian waters from the south (Sudan) as spring become summer. Current will bring them up in the water column to shallower depths. Sometimes they go deep. This was shot in 20 meters off Deadalus North (5-6 of them circling us) in summer (early July a few years ago).

    Visa bild - "Swinging by" - Fotosidan

    Threshers, Silkys, Grey, whitetip and blacktip reef sharks normally seen in summer too (Brothers). Oceanic whitetips (Brothers/Deadalus/Elphinstone) ocasionally year round but much more in October/November when they mate.

    Sinai (Ras Mohamed+Ras Nasrani, Tiran Strait and the wreck of Thistlegorm). Sometimes called a classic northern itinerary. Nowadays most liveaboards depart Hurghada instead of Sharm el Sheikh, because there are very few direct flights into Sharm from Europe since the russian charter plane was downed in 2015. Inmo the past years have provided a golden opportunity to dive this area like it was 30+ years ago. No bubble parties. Being the only boat on Thistlegorm for a whole day or being the only boat moored at Shark/Yolanda was unthinkable five years ago. Even more so ten years ago (prior to the sharm shark summer). This area should be dived in high summer. That's when you can see big schools of jacks, snappers, barracuda, batfish ... The reefs in Tiran Strait is also beatiful and all the animals that want to go in or out of the Gulf of Aquba have to pass here. Keep an eye out in the blue. Not as good outside prime time.

    Fury Shoal is a group of reefs to the south of Elphinstone, just north of Ras Banas, with a few nice reefs. Sha ab Mansur is a personal favorite there which is also a classic deep water reef. There are two "dolphin reefs" as well, Dolphin House and Sataya (dolphin reef). Need some luck with those. A few other nice reefs there too.

    St Johns is a reef group south of Ras Banas, towards the Sudanese border. Nice diving but not as interesting inmo. Most of these reefs sits in comparatively shallow water, as the the African trench runs farther out in the middel of the Red Sea here, and doesn't come close to shore again until you are well within Sudanese waters (somewhere around Sha'ab Abu Fendera) and the diving becomes interesting again.
     
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  7. gypsyjim

    gypsyjim I have an alibi ScubaBoard Supporter

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    It sounds from all of your posts above like I need to dig in my heals, and try to resist the gf's push for doing this trip March.

    Thank you everyone for your observations and advice.
     
  8. a_lamonta

    a_lamonta Angel Fish

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    Location: Montreal, Canada
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    From your post, it seems like Sharm area hotel diving is more suited to a group with a non-diver and visiting archealogical sites etc.
    For diving, as others have mentioned, March is not ideal. Water is around 21 degrees c, so far from freezing, but not the 27-28 in the summer. The main issue is no big stuff in march. But it's still the red sea, so it's still 1000% nicer than mexico, even in March. just no sharks or rays etc. That doesn't make it a bad trip, just not the ideal time if you're going to fly that far...
    But no matter what time of year you go, Sharm area is awesome for wall diving, book with a local dive shop and they do daily trips in rotation covering local, ras mohammed and tiran; 90% of the sites are walls.
    Thistlegorm trips are generally 90Euros extra vs normal boat days, pick-up is 4:30-5am

    Saint-Catherine's monastery is a gorgeous land day-trip, not exactly archeological, but still worth it. Truly archeological trips would be more in the luxor/aswan area, and the pyramids in cairo, but not realistically combined unless you are planning a few days there specifically for that.
     
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  9. gypsyjim

    gypsyjim I have an alibi ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Location: capital region of New York
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    Thanks!
     
  10. Adr1an

    Adr1an Photographer

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    A few things worth mentioning: St Catherine's monastery is at 1586m (5203ft) altitude so you need to keep that in mind when planning. It was built in the 6th century AD and never destroyed/burned/abandoned so it has a huge wealth of ancient artwork in it's small museum (including encaustic icons from 6th century, parts of the famed Codex Sinaiticus, Muhammad's charter to the monks and so on). For anyone even remotely interested in ancient history and art the monastery museum alone is well worth the trip.
    Then, of course, you have the nearby Mt Sinai. Essentially this is a (very) full day trip from Sharm.
     
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