Trip Report Emperor Divers and Marina Lodge Hotel April 2016

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scubadada

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Due to flight availability, I arrived in Port Ghalib 2 days before my two
weeks on the Red Sea Aggressor (see separate review). I chose to do a 3 tank boat trip with
Emperor Divers, the on site operator at the Marina Lodge Hotel. I made my
arrangements online and it worked flawlessly. I completed the paperwork on
my arrival and was ready to dive the next day.

Emperor Divers has 3 large boats moored at the marina in front of the
hotel. Two of 3 boats were operating during my visit. My 12 liter DIN
aluminum nitrox tanks were ready for me. They had an analyzer available and
I analyzed all 3 of my tanks up front. One and 2 kg lead weights were
available in more than sufficient quantity. The boat could take somewhere
in excess of 20 divers, there were only about a dozen on my trip and about
the same number on the other boat. The trip to the dive site was relatively
short, less than 45 minutes. Dive briefings were good. There was a DM/guide
in the water but one was not obliged to stay with them and one could dive
with their buddy. We did 2 dives at Marsa Shouna. The first went West and
was very shallow with relatively poor visibility (max depth 52 feet). The
second went East and was deeper, with significantly better visibility (max
depth 67 feet). The 3rd dive was in a different area, Marsa Mubarak, at a
site called Farsha Sahab. On my first visit to the Red Sea, there was
plenty to see. Highlights included a pair of pipefish, a reef octopus, a
great and a peppered moray, anemonefish, bluespotted stingrays and many
versions of common reef fish I was not familiar with. All 3 dives ended up
being an hour or slightly more. A very good buffet lunch was served on the
boat between dives 2 and 3 for a very reasonable extra price.

Though I did not know it when I booked, the operator also does some special
dive trips for an additional cost and early departure. They go to at least
2 world class sites we visited later in the week when I was on the
Aggressor, Elphinstone and Abu Dabab. I would do either of the dives, given
the opportunity.

The Marina Lodge is a very comfortable mid-level hotel with nice rooms and
good on site food service. The employees were friendly and customer
centric. They have a couple of nice pools if you have the time to relax and
enjoy them.

Emperor Divers is a well run, smooth dive operator that offers a variety of
land based dive opportunities in this region of the Red Sea. I had a very
good day diving with them and would gladly do so again.
 

drrich2

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Any thoughts on what the comfort level would be for solely English-speaking customers?

Any idea if yoke tanks were available?

Did the 'neighborhood' around the Marina Lodge look varied and interesting for walking around shopping and taking photos, or was it the sort of place where people 'stay on the reservation,' rent a car or pay for an organized tour?

Thanks.
 
OP
scubadada

scubadada

Diver
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Location
Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
# of dives
1000 - 2499
Any thoughts on what the comfort level would be for solely English-speaking customers?

Any idea if yoke tanks were available?

Did the 'neighborhood' around the Marina Lodge look varied and interesting for walking around shopping and taking photos, or was it the sort of place where people 'stay on the reservation,' rent a car or pay for an organized tour?

Thanks.

Hi again Richard,

I'm not sure what you mean by solely English speaking. I don't speak Arabic, my Spanish and little bit of German would not do me much good. Most of the folks at the hotel and everyone I met at the dive operation spoke some English. There were not many tourists there, most seemed to be from the UK, Italy, Germany, Egypt. I was perfectly comfortable there.

Yes, yoke tanks are readily available.

There is no neighborhood around the Marina Lodge, there is nothing. The main part of Port Ghalib is across the marina, that's where the shops and restaurants are located and where the RSA leaves from. Apparently, there is a hotel shuttle, I did not use it. I was picked up by a RSA zodiac from the hotel and taken to the boat. The hotel has it's own restaurant, breakfast and dinner were included with my room, they were more than adequate. Port Ghalib appears to have been a grandiose delusion, very nice, but never quite came to fruition with the revolution, the overthrow of Morsi, other adverse events... Tourism in Egypt is not doing well at all. I have no idea what's in or around Marsa Alam to do, I went there to dive. Our vacation in February was to see Egypt.

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Best, Craig
 

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