Red Sea 2019 with GirlsThatScuba
Once again we teamed up with our friends from GirlsThatScuba to organize a special scuba group trip to the Egyptian Red Sea. The itinerary would take us through some of the healthiest reefs and face to face with turtles, huge wrasses, sharks and dolphins.
Check out this video by our expert videographer Nico Deutsch.
GTS founder Sarah Richard spent part of her formative dive years in the Red Sea and is an Insider when it comes to Red Sea diving. Together with Simon she crafted an itinerary aboard the magnificent Blue Horizon, Blue o Twos flagship Red Sea dive vessel. But to warm up we started with Egypt’s most iconic landmarks - the Pyramids.
PRE-TOUR IN CAIRO
After having met up in our lovely hotel with pyramid view we headed off to see the biggest pyramids, proud leftovers from a highly developed civilization that flourished a staggering 4500 years ago. The most famous Pyramids are in Giza right next Cairo. Not only were we able to marvel at their grandure we also took photos in the world famous nose-less Sphinx. From there we headed out to the first pyramids to ever have been built - the Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid of Darfour.
Here those not prone to claustrophobia clambered to the burial chambers of the Red Pyramid - down a one-meter high tunnel. Deep inside the chambers are empty but in erosion free conditions showing the amazing building quality of the ancient Egyptians.
After a stop at Memphis and meeting some of the giant statues of Ramses II we headed back into Cairo for a sunset Nile cruise on a traditional Egyptian felucca sailing boat. The day ended with a high-end Lebanese meal with a view over the Nile.
After a short flight to Marsa Alam we assembled the final group and embarked on our deluxe vessel. The Blue Horizon sleeps 26 people and is so large that yet this boat is not crowded with its various outdoor and indoor areas.
The first few days saw us heading South all the way to the St John’s platform. The solitary desert coast of Egypt is dotted with many reef structures that are bursting with reef life. On all of our stops we are the only boat and could explore the colorful reefs and caves at our freedom.
All of these reefs have bizarre underwater structures including pinnacles, giant corals, caves, tunnels and swim throughs.
At one reef we encountered a super friendly Napoleon Wrasse that let me take photos with literally everyone in the group.
The group turned out to be again an interesting mix of divers from all over the world. During dive, meals and free time we mixed freely and enjoyed each others company.
Simon and Sarah provided several talks on underwater photography and social media while Elke Bojanowski, cruise director and marine scientist gave two talks about sharks and dolphins.
We had a ton of fun above and below the water. Superhero costumers, female tank condoms, many different color Oceanic masks, group photos, group selfies, the list go on. There was not a dull moment on this trip.
Not forgotten also the saving, feeding and releasing of "Bobo" by Aquaman David. You are.... amazing.
After some days of reef diving we took a break to snorkel with Spinner Dolphins in the reef atoll of Sataya. We started early looking in the azure waters for signs of these beautiful marine mammals that spend the days relaxing or sleep-swimming in the calm and safe waters of this bay. But despite being sleeping or napping they still swim extremely fast requiring us to swim at full speed to get proper interactions. At times we swam with groups of 50 of these social animals which included families and baby dolphins. Seeing these amazing creatures swimming close by is an experience that every marine lover should experience some time.
While waiting for our next snorkel with the Dolphins we had a surprise visit by two Sailfish. Amazing what can happen in this beautiful ocean.
From here we headed offshore to the Daedalus Reef - a mini-atoll that lies far away from the next land is surrounded by extremely deep water. Here we were on the look out for the elusive hammerhead sharks. Despite low expectations due to the very warm water we had a few close passes by several Scallopped Hammerhead sharks - the second biggest species of hammerhead.
So now we only had one shark left to find - the Oceanic White Tip shark. A big dream for Sarah as this species had so far eluded her. The offshore reefs of the Red Sea are one of the few places where they can be encountered with some predictability, regardless she had yet to meet one. We got lucky at Elphinstone Reef where a single shark stayed with our group for the entire dive swimming past most of us very close.