Brother  Islands

 

 


Overview of tour / diving spots

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The Brothers Tour is the perfect safari for those who do not get enough of sharks and wrecks and want to get only the best of the Brothers “in front of the mask“.

The islands are located about 60 kilometers east of the Egyptian coastal town of El Quseir. They are among the top 10 dive sites around the world. The reasons are the two large cargo ship wrecks, the amazing beautiful coral growth, but also the fact that here thresher sharks live stationary. This is only a few places worldwide the case. Other large fish such as the Longimanus, the grey reef shark and silky sharks come here also, depending on the season.

Both islands are surrounded by a steep reef, which then falls first vertically by 60 to 80 meters depth to a plateau and then in greater depth.

After arrival in Hurghada, transfer to the boat in Hurghada, dinner and departure the next morning.

 

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                     Some impressions of what there is to see on this tour:

Possible stations on this tour:



Finally! We've made it to the 'Aquarium' – that's what the locals lovingly call Gota Abu Ramada, because of its incredibly diverse flora and fauna. It's as if underwater landscape designers secretly helped out here. Starfish, turtles, moray eels, lionfish, eagle rays, leopard sharks ... with everything we see every second, there's no way we can say them all so fast.

Details

Gota Abu Ramada lies approx. 90 minutes south-east of Hurghada and it is an arch-shaped reef surrounded by a sandy bottom at twelve to 15 metres. In the west, it has two ergs and three towers in the east as well as a coral garden. And that pretty much covers all the features of the 'Aquarium' in the Red Sea.

Luckily the current isn't an issue for us here and we can therefore focus our entire attention on the countless fish swimming past our very own eyes: in the east, for example, we find many goatfish in and around the holes and grottos; in the west, there's an incredible variety of different reef fish.

Bannerfish and masked butterflyfish, yellow snappers and painted sweetlips, moray eels and mackerel, flatheads and turtles, eagle rays and leopard sharks – those are just a few of the species to be seen in Gota Abu Ramada. One of them, the titan triggerfish, which is usually very friendly throughout most of the year, turns into a real fighting machine in September when it guards its nest. Should we encounter one, it's best to duck, hide and dive away.

Hotspots

The three towers: Tolkien must have gotten his ideas somewhere! Oh, did Tolkien only have two towers? Well, we've got three here in Gota Abu Ramada – take that! They are located on the east side and bustle with a variety of reef fish. A pity to those who forget their camera here ...

The two ergs: These impressive ergs look like something right out of the second part of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings saga - The Two Towers. Did he maybe have a hand here too? That Tolkien, I say! At any rate, the two large blocks in the west beguile us with countless soft coral and sea fans and then once again with thousands of reef fish.

Tour 1 – the east

We dive from the boat and immediately find ourselves right at the heart of the action. Since the current usually isn't an issue for us here, we dive the three towers and coral garden as we like, of course taking picture upon picture and always remembering to have fun as well! After this astonishing tour in the 'Aquarium' of Hurghada, we return to the boat.

Tour 2 – the west

We dive from the mooring point towards the ergs with the reef on our right shoulder whilst revelling over our encounters with many fish, turtles, rays and possibly leopard sharks, too. We won't only be overwhelmed by the marine life swimming past us but also by the colourful soft coral and sea fans on the large blocks. Whoever has enough air left can dive back to the boat, otherwise we'll have the boat pick us up.


Abu Kafan South

Abu Kafan North

If you love Elphinstone, you will be delighted to hear that there is a diving spot in the Red Sea, which is similar to this reef - Abu Kafan. An elongated outer reef approx. one and a half to two hours away from Safaga, with a plateau to the north and an erg to the south. Roughly translated, Abu Kafan means 'The Deep One'.

Details


As an outer reef, Abu Kafan is of course completely at the mercy of the current, but it is exactly that which makes it so interesting and colourful. It is only because of this that we see a multitude of fish and find a large collection of the most diverse types of coral, topped by the large fish in the open water.

The reef top of Abu Kafan is at a depth of three metres and the actual diving area is between ten and thirty metres. After that, it drops off steeply and one can sometimes feel a little queasy or dizzy here, even though we cannot really fall.

Bigeyes and shoals of barracuda welcome us, as do grey reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks and hammerhead sharks. The last three do not show up here as often as some turtles, but that is what makes it so exciting. Soft corals, gorgonians and black corals complete the picture at Abu Kafan perfectly.

Hotspots


The southern erg: It is particularly colourful, full of life and definitely worth visiting to explore. This erg is at a depth of approx. 18 metres and is connected to the reef.

Tour 1 - drift diving


Conditions permitting, we start at the north plateau and drift dive along the eastern or western wall, depending on what the current and the position of the sun allow. On this dive we have a good chance of seeing some large predatory fish in the open water.

Tour 2 - the south plateau


We start out from the mooring place and dive to the southern erg, which is endlessly colourful and rich in species. We go around it and also inspect the connection to the reef at a depth of 18 metres. The current permitting, we can also make a detour to the eastern or western reef wall. Then back to the boat.



The Panorama Reef offers divers two different dive sites: the north side and the south of the reef.

The north side may only be dived in calm sea, but it is particularly surprising with a lush plateau at 22 m and a subsequent drop off.

Close to caves and overhangs there are wonderful black corals, gorgonians and huge soft corals.

Reef sharks, rays, turtles, Napoleon wrasse and many schools of fish are other highlights.
Even the occasional hammerhead shark was ever spotted.

While looking at the steep wall with their wonderful coral you should not forget to look at the depth gauge, since the wall does not consider your depth and no orientation exists.

At the Panorama Reef one often takes two dives. On the forward run you should look at the deeper part of the reef, on the way back then the shallower area, which is bright and colorful.

The southern tip with its coral blocks and smaller cave columns is quiet, but offers everything the Red Sea flora and fauna has to show. Even at shallower depths it is worth the same to complete several dives. An immense abundance of fish attracts and also in the macro range is a kaleidoscope opened to species, shapes and colors.



Ladies and Gentlemen, may we ask for your attention. A diving spot belonging to the world's top ten (!) will soon be ours to discover. Located 60 kilometres east of the coastal town of El Quesir, the Brother Islands (Big Brother and Little Brother) are home to two large cargo ship wrecks and up to three metre-long large thresher sharks with long, lance-shaped tails which can almost always be found here – a true rarity!

Details

The name Brother Islands comes from the company which did the electrical work for the lighthouse on the larger island. Both islands are of volcanic origin and sit atop a mountain ridge which plunges well over 1,000 metres in depth from the west side to the east side. The volcanic history can still be seen today: namely on the basalt rock, which is significantly darker than the reef structure itself.

Big Brother is 650 metres long and 180 metres wide. With the exception of the eastern plateau, we encounter a steep-faced reef in all directions. There's usually the chance for you to stretch out your legs on the island, smoke a shisha with the lighthouse keepers and purchase small souvenirs or simply to enjoy the view from the lighthouse! Depending on the mood of the military, this can quickly change however.

At the western end of Big Brother, we usually have to take large waves and a stronger current into account. Should the conditions allow us to dive in the afternoon, we may quite possibly have the chance of seeing grey reef sharks and hammerhead sharks swimming between the wrecks.

On the eastern plateau, the thresher shark says 'Good night' to the spotted sea hare and encounters with grey reef sharks also occur here all the time. Beautiful depressions in the reef, which are covered in soft and hard coral, can be identified further down the north side. Mooring points are also located in the east area and around the boots there's a lot to see – from whitetip oceanic sharks to silky sharks.

Just as squirrels in the park learn to trust, so do Napoleon wrasse in famous diving sites – two specimens of this fish already accustomed to divers can be found west at any time of the day. Gigantic shoals of fish can be found in the south, near the jetty, which is used to supply the lighthouse. Mackerel, tuna and barracudas on the hunt usually rush past us in the water. Silky sharks or whitetip oceanic sharks as well as turtles top off this spectacular underwater picture.

Planning the Big Brother route is simple, as the current points us the way. For some, this dive – which must progress very quickly from the Zodiac due to the currents – is anything but a walk in the park. Many tour operators offer the use of SART or other similar devices. Especially at the large outer reef, it makes sense to buddy dive using such an electronic search and rescue system. Should we come across the countercurrent after exiting the Zodiac, it's best for us to resurface and then drive a bit further out and try once again. Safety first!

Hotspots

Numidia: The Numidia lies directly on the reef between a depth range of 18 and 80 metres. After making a navigational error in 1901, the general cargo vessel laden with train rails and railway engine wheels ran aground on the west side. The Numidia is one of the most beautifully covered wrecks around the world; the vegetation however suddenly stops at 40 metres.

Aida: The Aida, which is nestled against the south side of the reef at a depth range of 30 and 65 metres, has been there since 1953 when it hit the fringe reef whilst sailing in rough waters. It was meant to bring personnel to the lighthouse and supplies to the island. The wreck has been slightly damaged by storms which occurred at the beginning of 2010.

Eastern plateau: Big Brother's eastern plateau is the right place for anyone wanting to catch sight of thresher sharks and explore and dive an impressive steep wall. It's worth it to continually hone your own diving skills in order to be ready take on this challenging dive one day.

Facts

Current: N/W in the mornings, N at midday, N/E in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 30–50 m; M, J, J, A: 30–40 m; S, O, N, D: 50–60 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 22–24°C; A, M, J: 23–38°C; J, A, S: 28-30°C; O, N, D: 28-23°C

Depth: 100 m

Tour 1 – thresher sharks in the morning

The best spot in the morning is the eastern plateau with its hills located at a depth range of 36 and 45 metres. Here we will encounter thresher sharks. Should the diver leader allow, we should take advantage of our no-decompression limit, diving in the no current zone, all the way to the small hill on the spur of the reef in the east and then heading west with the current along the beautifully covered steep wall.

Tour 2 – Aida at midday

If the waves allow, we travel there by Zodiac. The Aida starts around a depth of 30 metres. The upper area is brimming with glassfish and the cargo bays are open to explore. Afterwards, we return by diving above the scattered cargo and along the jagged reef wall heading east.

Tour 3 – Numidia in the afternoon

If the waves and current allow, we travel by Zodiac to the Numidia. It has very gorgeous soft and hard coral growing on the north side and it is one of the most beautiful wrecks in the Red Sea. The south side looks as if only two days have passed since the sinking of the ship. Countless colourful fish additionally sweeten our view. In this area, the current varies in strength and it usually flows from the north around the bend to the west.

Tour 4 – thresher sharks in the late afternoon

We take the last dive of the day on the north-east tip again, because when the light of the day fades in the late afternoon, that's when the predatory fish come out to hunt. We can frequently see yellowfin tuna, giant trevally, barracudas as well as thresher sharks at the tip of the reef. Here, it's enough to simply seek a spot to watch; there's no need to swim around much. A feature film starring predatory fish!

 



The smaller of the two 'Brothers' of the famous double reef is located in visible range of Big Brother to the east. The small island measuring 360 metres is uninhabitated. Yet things look very different under the sea: there's gorgonian forests, huge overhangs and the Shark Point – a cleaning station for sharks. It's not so much the sharks we should fear here, but rather the unpredictable current.

Details

The name Little Brother sounds cute, but this dive isn't for rookies. There are mooring points on the reef's south-east side, however, most dives start off from the Zodiac. Little Brother is 360 metres in length and 160 metres in width and it runs north in the shape of a wedge. Bordered by a protective fringe reef, the reef drops steeply down. In the south-east at a depth of 10 metres, there is a small reef spur which ends with an overhang at 37 metres. A lagoon-like wall leads to a large gorgonian garden here.

Boasting massive overhangs and large depressions, the reef extends to the north-west where a small hill has been formed at a depth of 40 metres – the Shark Point. During the morning hours, we often see grey reef sharks who've come to have their teeth brushed after a successful night of hunting. From the south-east to the north, Little Brother is shaped by a steep face, which exists between a depth of 25 and 40 metres.

Hotspots

Shark Point: At a depth of 40 metres, Shark Point is the 'place to be'! Here the TV programme of the National Geographic channel is bigger, better and live!

Gorgonian garden: Little Brother's large gorgonian garden captivates with its huge coral specimens which can be found in a wide range here.

Facts

Current: N (north side) W (south side) in the morning, W & S/E (north side) N/E (south side) at midday, E (north side) E (south side) in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 30–50 m; M, J, J, A: 30–40 m; S, O, N, D: 50–60 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 22–23°C; A, M, J: 23–28°C; J, A, S: 28-30°C; O, N, D: 28-24°C

Depth: 100 m

Tour 1 – the gorgonian garden

We dive from boat to boat and in the process explore the south side. Under the nose of the reef, we may potentially see grey reef sharks and especially charming thresher sharks. Afterwards, we carry on to the gorgonian garden located at a depth range of 18 and 40 metres. Then it's back to the boat by travelling around the eastern tip.

Tour 2 – Shark Point

This tour sets off with the Zodiac on the south-west side. We are dropped off at the last lagoon here and should dive down as quickly as possible due to the crashing waves on the western tip. We descend protected by the current of the reef spur and head directly to Shark Point. When the current is stronger, we won't dive to Shark Point, but rather will stay at the reef. We dive back on the north side, running into a slight countercurrent due to some turbulence, until we reach the next inlet and then basically have the current behind us. The view into the blue is usually worth it!

Tour 3 – steep face

This dive varies: we can embark with the Zodiac towards the north and explore either the reef spur or the south. Another good alternative is to dive the south steep face from the boat and, if necessary, have the Zodiac collect us here. Warning: The spirit of the hunt can be witnessed on the south side when the light gradually fades in the afternoon.



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A relaxing, yet spectacular dive anyone? In "Ras Abu Soma" we enjoy the possibility of large fish sightings because of the drop offs, but we also just enjoy the hovering in the sea. A great spot for diving students who want to see something special and experienced divers who want just fully relax.

Details


"Ras", what means the "head" of Abu Soma, is the drop off that falls in the depth at the northern end of the bay of Safaga. In about 25 meters depth we find a plateau with many corals, especially table and hard corals.

Wind and current are at "Ras Abu Soma" not worth mentioning, so this dive spot is ideal also for rookies who want to see something more than just reef fish. In blue water there is a good chance to see barracuda, mackerel, snapper, tuna and bat and surgeonfish. From time to time even grey reef sharks or white tip reef sharks sighted at "Ras Abu Soma" - in spring as well leopard or hammerhead sharks, stingrays, violin or eagle rays and manta rays.

Should we really be dogged by bad luck, we will see just some boxfish. There are times when the big fish avoid "Ras Abu Soma". Why? This mystery was not yet to be aired.

But at the Plateau we always find interesting reef dwellers such as moray eels, octopus or cuttlefish at the reef slope and Clownfish in their anemone homes. Further south, "Ras Abu Soma Garden", a great coral garden - the turtles and milkfish love is.

Hot spots

Coral garden: It is located in the south and is known for surprising encounters. Make sure to stop by!

Table corals: they are standing powerful and magnificent on the plateau of "Ras Abu Soma" and are quasi the landmark of the dive site.

Cave: It is located at 35 meters in the reef wall near the plateau start and how could it be otherwise, thousands of glass fish make here Cave Party!

Tour 1 - Ras Abu Soma

Anchorages are there another and yet another. Although the current is not very strong, it comes from the north, and we can therefore tackle a drift dive along the reef wall. We start a few hundred meters before the plateau and let us drift towards the south, the reef at our right shoulder. In the depth of 35 meters we find a cave and then dip further upwards to explore the plateau and table corals. We dive to the shallow reef in four to five meters deep and then we find ourselves already back at the boat.

Tour 2 - Ras Abu Soma Garden

We start from the boat and explore the southern area of "Ras Abu Soma", where we find the beautiful coral garden. Some coral blocks and large, ancient table and hard corals can be found here for us to discover. The one or the other turtle can show their faces, and that's not a shark, but a milkfish, even if he is often called "tourist shark". The current makes us the "Ras Abu Soma Garden" from nothing and so we dive crisscross, howsoever we like. The boat is never far away.



This drift dive, one of the most fascinating dives in Hurghada, is especially suited to expert divers.

It begins several meters from the east coast of Giftun el Seghir, the smaller of the two military islands of Giftun, half an hour away from Hurghada.

The sensation of drifting in the blue with the current is marvelous. Even more exciting is the possibility of meeting the big and peaceful Napoleon fish, that approaches the divers with curiosity.

This unforgettable gliding flight leads to the vertical wall of Giftun Island, which drops to 90 meters depth.

Here we can choose to continue our dive at 20 meters depth or to go on to explore the famous tunnel cave at 46 meters depth. This sandy bottomed cave is very rich in gorgonians and has the possibility of quite interesting encounters.

However, the shallower path is very beautiful as well. It is on the eastern side of Giftun and is called "Gorgonia Reef" for its richness in coral life.

This dive ends in the lagoon south of the Giftun el Seghir island where the boat has moored. In this lagoon giant moray eels can be met on the lagoon reef which is rich in stone corals, fire corals and many other kinds of hard corals.

You will return in the afternoon (about 2 o'clock p.m.) to the harbor one day before departure, and spent the last over night either on your boat or in a hotel. The next day you will be transferred either to the airport or your hotel.

 

You must be a certified diver with at least 50 logged dives for the underwater nationalparks (Brother Islands, Daedalus, Rocky Island and Zabargad)

 

Attention: The tour description is merely our suggestion. Which diving places on tours are dived is determined by many factors including the wind and weather.

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