Diving Marsa Alam, Egypt

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

BoundForElsewhere

Divemaster
Messages
2,474
Reaction score
2,664
Location
NYC
# of dives
200 - 499
If I could just jump in here and give my 2 cents worth on my recent trip to KSA....

Saudi Arabia has now started issuing tourist visas and there are many dive operations in Jeddah and north that might / maybe be doing liveaboards in the somewhat near future. Yes, I realize that is about as vague as it gets but the kingdom is a rapidly changing place and they are quickly developing their tourist industries, particularly scuba.

I did strictly shore dives from the Sheraton Beach Resort and studied under Jason Sikat, one of their in-house instructors as well as being a freelance military and cave instructor. I could not imagine having had a better instructor and experience for my rescue diver certification. MY impression was that all the DM's and Instructors, for the most part, at the Sheraton were of a high caliber. The reef was in excellent condition, the atmosphere at the club was chill and peaceful, and very professional all around.

There are boats that leave locally but most of the big dive trips leave out of Yanbu, about 2 hours to the north of Jeddah. I think anyone who makes the trip to Saudi Arabia in the next couple of years are going to be amazed by the impression this country makes on you. Now granted, as a Muslim who went primarily to offer my Umrah my experience may have been different but I must also frame this as a nordic-blood American covered in tattoos. At no time was I made to feel uncomfortable even in short sleeves while holding hands with my wife either in the streets of Jeddah or in the Al Haram mosque. Yes, women should wear abiyah but it is no longer mandatory and people generally won't give you any hastle if you are not. Personally, I would welcome the opportunity to wear a full length robe in public only so I could go commando underneath.

Yes, as an American our politics may be different and it may be hard to digest the concept of an authoritarian and autocratic ruler but on a day to day basis it just doesn't make a difference on how I go about living my life, just like in Saudi Arabia.
 

Adr1an

Contributor
Messages
200
Reaction score
58
Location
Romania
Well, the OP asked about Marsa Alam, and getting from Eilat to Marsa Alam is not the easieast and fastest. That there is no issue if you stay on the Sinai is another topic.

Sharm to Hurghada ferry just resumed operation but I didn't even got that far with the discussion. OP was considering Marsa Alam as it has been recommended to them as a top diving destination in Egypt, but if you're coming from Israel for diving it makes no sense whatsoever to go all the way to Marsa when you have Dahab just around the corner (so to speak).
What struck me about your message was the fact that you were presenting traveling from Israel to Egypt as a logistical nightmare when it can be quite the opposite if you choose your itinerary in a reasonable way.
 

Adr1an

Contributor
Messages
200
Reaction score
58
Location
Romania
Now granted, as a Muslim who went primarily to offer my Umrah my experience may have been different but I must also frame this as a nordic-blood American covered in tattoos. At no time was I made to feel uncomfortable even in short sleeves while holding hands with my wife either in the streets of Jeddah or in the Al Haram mosque. Yes, women should wear abiyah but it is no longer mandatory and people generally won't give you any hastle if you are not.

After I read about the new tourist visas I was wondering whether is it feasible to travel on land from Eilat (Israel)->Aqaba (Jordan)->Jeddah (KSA)? That would be an interesting trip. (I mean for tourists, as for Muslim pilgrims I suppose it wasn't a problem to cross from Aqaba into KSA)
 

Mod63

Contributor
Scuba Instructor
Divemaster
Messages
433
Reaction score
298
Location
Home of the largest gathering of drunkards
# of dives
1000 - 2499
What struck me about your message was the fact that you were presenting traveling from Israel to Egypt as a logistical nightmare when it can be quite the opposite if you choose your itinerary in a reasonable way.
I was only refering to Israel-> African Side of Red Sea. At that is a nightmare with either flying round in cirlces or switching mode of transportation multiple times. No matter how, it will cost you at least a day. Staying on the Sinai is simple (well, if you have the right passport and have not travelled to the wrong countries).

As for travelling overland to Jeddah, it would be quite interessting (around 12h by car). Also, it is not clear yet if you can enter RSA under the new rules at a land based crossing and even worse, if they let you in with an Israeli visa in your passport or if you need to travel on seperate ones.
 

BoundForElsewhere

Divemaster
Messages
2,474
Reaction score
2,664
Location
NYC
# of dives
200 - 499
Israel no longer stamps your passport but rather uses a separate sheet that is removable.
 

BoundForElsewhere

Divemaster
Messages
2,474
Reaction score
2,664
Location
NYC
# of dives
200 - 499
After I read about the new tourist visas I was wondering whether is it feasible to travel on land from Eilat (Israel)->Aqaba (Jordan)->Jeddah (KSA)? That would be an interesting trip. (I mean for tourists, as for Muslim pilgrims I suppose it wasn't a problem to cross from Aqaba into KSA)

Yeah, not so sure an overland passage would be graciously welcomed by the kingdom. But hey, how long can they jail you? I'm sure eventually our consulate would bail you out.
 

Adr1an

Contributor
Messages
200
Reaction score
58
Location
Romania
re#24: If you qualify for visa on arrival (pretty much all European countries do, not sure about the rest of the World) Israel won't put the faintest stamp on your passport, they give you a separate piece of paper. There are however some Arabic countries (not sure if KSA is one of them) that would look even for stamps like Taba land border or Aqaba land border which will give you away as having visited Israel. (keep this in mind to avoid ruining your trip, Lebanon for example will deny entry if you have the Egyptian Taba stamp in your passport)

About Israel -> African side of Egypt please read my above message about the Sharm to Hurghada ferry which has just resumed operation. That's for people who feel uncomfortably flying companies like Egypt Air or Air Arabia, because those fly Sharm to Hurghada several times a week. Please don't post information that is false/inaccurate/incomplete if you haven't visited the region in recent years.
 

Adr1an

Contributor
Messages
200
Reaction score
58
Location
Romania
Yeah, not so sure an overland passage would be graciously welcomed by the kingdom. But hey, how long can they jail you? I'm sure eventually our consulate would bail you out.

It's not as much a matter of being detained but they may deny entry even if you present the proper tourist visa. However this could be a very interesting trip as there are long strips of KSA coast that should have pristine reefs. The small city of Duba is quite close to Aqaba.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/peregrine/

Top Bottom