Marine Park North 

 

 


Overview of tour / diving spots

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Even experienced “Red Sea Divers” are amazed again and again from this tour.
Three of the most beautiful dive sites in the Red Sea together in one tour.

The “big brother” impresses with its steep faces and two wrecks – the Numidia and the Aida.

The “little brother” stitches with its colorful hard and soft corals in many overhangs and schools of fishes.

Big fishes, such as fox sharks, hammerhead sharks, grey sharks or oceanic white tip sharks promise you on both “brothers” exciting dives.

After the Brothers we continue to Daedalus Reef (order depending on weather conditions).

Also here it is “shark – rich” – Daedalus is famous for its Hammerhead school in the northern part of the island. Even small fish are plentiful, for example in “Anemone City ” – there are hundreds of “Clown fishes” around.

Elphinstone offers frequent interaction with oceanic white tip sharks, sometimes even under the boat. On the plateaus in the north you often find hammerheads.

On Wednesday afternoon, after an impressive tour, the boat moves to the marina.

 

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

Possible stations on this tour

 
  

20 minutes west of Elphinstone Reef, we come across Abu Dabab III – a diving spot well-known because of the 'Heaven One' wreck and not least because of the dolphins which also like to frequently spend their time here. On top of this, there are small caves, wonderful coral gardens, remnants of amphorae and the possibility to experience an amazing night dive.

Details

One single block stands in the southern area of Abu Dabab III. Here we can see bright red lionfish and during a night dive even gorgonians or gorgonocephalidae which feature beguiling branched arms. Whoever wants to see dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles or sharks is well placed in this part of the reef.

The famous 'Heaven One' – a safari boat which sunk on 27 April 2003 after a fire in the engine room – lies in the north. Not far from here, we can find a colony of sea anemones and a cave system.

The west side has some blocks and coral formations as well as sleeping reef sharks that like retreating here to get a little rest. Maybe they aren't even sleeping, but rather meditating – there are supposedly even some vegetarians among the sharks. We can then look along the edge of the reef for the remnants of amphorae.

Hotspots/

Amphorae: Marvellous remnants of amphorae, transporting our thoughts to another time, can be found on the reef's edge.

Blocks: On the blocks of Abu Dabab III, we won't only find fascinating coral formations, but there are also reef sharks which can frequently be spotted taking a power nap here.

Facts

Current: N in the morning, N at midday, N in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35m; M, J, J, A: 30–50m; S, O, N, D: 30–50m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24°C; A, M, J: 26°C; J, A, S: 28°C; O, N, D: 27°C

Depth: 30 m

Tour 1 – the sharks in the southwest

From the boat, we travel west. There's a reef nose at the end of the reef and right next to it there is one single hill of coral. If we want to see young reef sharks or interesting nurse sharks, here's the right spot for us to do so. On the way back, we dive along the reef and keep our eyes open: in the first large depression, there are small pieces of ancient clay drinking vessels.

Tour 2 – wreck and caves at midday

Travelling by Zodiac, we reach the 'Heaven One' wreck in only five minutes. The ship is completely burnt above the waterline, showing that not much remains. You can still clearly see the keel and the engine as well as some parts of the outer ship. From the wreck, the journey continues south, across a coral hill to the entrance of the cave – the play of lights there is indescribable! Afterwards we take a right to the two lagoons with colonies of sea anemones and then go back to the ship, travelling southeast across the coral reefs.

Tour 3 – the southeast at midday

From the ship, it's only a few metres until we reach the block in the middle. More often than not we will find moray eels and lionfish there. The dive continues further east to the next blocks with glassfish and pipefish. Turtles, dragonfish and bluespotted stingrays as well as well-camouflaged carpet flatheads also come around here. Crabs live in the small coral garden and sometimes if we're lucky we might also see dolphins.

Tour 4 – night diving

The block in the heart of the southern area has everything that a night dive should have to offer – from feather stars to gorgonocephalidae and Spanish dancers, calamari, crabs, prawns and clam-diggers on the ground (slipper lobsters). Don't use much light – it's worth it!

 

  

There's ghost pipefish here? Have you gone mad? What do they look like then? A little like ugly seahorses (our apologies to all fans of ghost pipefish) and very, very well-disguised! They can hardly be distinguished from among the coral and make us think that they are coral branches. In addition to these haunting lads and lasses, we'll also find seagrass beds, coral gardens, sea turtles, darkspotted stingrays and ... dugongs in Shaab Shona – the second bay towards the south after Port Ghalib.

Details

Shaab Shona's lagoon originates from a wadi (a dried-out river) and is five to 45 metres deep in some places. We can still recognise the former river in the form of a channel ascending from the north to the south. A high plateau can be made out in the northern area of Shaab Shona.

From glassfish to crocodilefish, from Indian mackerel and ghost pipefish, we will find everything that a diver's heart wants to see in the Red Sea. Many different kinds of coral brimming with life can be found on the reef's edge down to a depth of around 20 metres.

A seagrass bed is located in the inner area and where there's beds of seagrass, then ... that's right ... there's probably dugongs there. With some luck, a few of these fine specimens can be seen here. An eye should be kept out for lionfish and large turtles, too.

Whoever is still not happy and wants to see a few sand eels and different kinds of rays, should make their way over to the southern edge to the sand pile at a depth range of 20 to 40 metres.

Hotspots

Seagrass bed: The dugongs are a definite must-see. There are also large green turtles as well as charming sea horses and cuttlefish to admire.

Facts

Current: S in the morning, S at midday, N in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35m; M, J, J, A: 20–30m; S, O, N, D: 30–40m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–24°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-30°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Depth: 45 m

Tour 1 – the south in the morning

We travel south with the bright-red rubber boat or the Zodiac and dive west across the south-eastern hills at a depth of 25 metres. Here we immediately come to a sandy surface covered with sand eels. Then it's time to go west to the seagrass bed where we will hopefully catch sight of a dugong. We dive here against a light current coming from the lagoon, but shall be rewarded with large groupers and darkspotted stingrays.

Tour 2 – the north at midday

On this dive, we play 'I spy with my little eye, something beginning with' close to the blocks and embark on a search to strike it big and spot ghost pipefish. The Zodiac drops us off 50 metres outside the bay and we dive to the plateau at a depth of 14 metres. On the way south, the current is behind us and we also dive past some cleaning stations.

Tour 3 – seagrass in the afternoon

After having looked for ghost pipefish at midday, the new objects of our desire are now the dugongs. We can discover African lionfish with extremely venomous spines in the west of the seagrass meadow. Former pathfinders will have no difficulties keeping ahead on this dive, where it's all about trying to spot the traces of food that will lead us to the dugongs!

Tour 4 – night diving

Shaab Shona is also perfect for night dives. It's best to explore the coral hill at the back area or the north edge. Octopodes, sea urchins, dragonfish, snails and Spanish dancers can be seen here at peak times.



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.

 

  

Daedalus Reef is located in the midst of the Red Sea – depending on the speed, it's a five- to eight-hour trip east of Marsa Alam. A long journey with a great reward: shoals of hammerhead sharks are frequently spotted here. You can also encounter thresher sharks on the southern plateau and the steep walls and depressions of Daedalus form an extremely diverse reef structure brimming with all kinds of life.

Details

With a length of 600 to 700 metres and a width of 100 to 300 metres (north to south), the Daedalus Reef is a very large reef. In the eastern section and in a depth range of 18 and 40 metres, we'll find a lagoon-like plateau from which, depending on the current, we can usually watch multiple groups of hammerhead sharks swimming at open sea.

There are usually 12 to 25 specimens in a group and it's definitely worth it to wait around at depths of 20 and 25 metres – this is a sight none of us want to miss out on. Almost all boats, which drop anchor at Daedalus, send their Zodiacs to the north in the early morning hours. The best spot to enter the water is namely in the northwest corner. It's best to quickly dive to a depth of four metres, so that you won't be carried too far by the surface current which could possibly occur.

Hammerhead sharks emerge mainly from the deep. When a shark dives past us at some distance and leans to one side, then it's trying to tell us that he rules the sea. Nevertheless, these animals are shy and if we get too close, they'll be gone at a rate of knots. Some lucky divers have even been able to observe groups of hammerhead sharks for up to 20 minutes.

Manta Point is also located nearby and is absolutely enthralling with its colourful reef wall. On the west side, we can see one of the largest colonies of sea anemones in the Red Sea. 200 examples of each species and each colour have firmly anchored themselves to the reef, living in close quarters on a surface measuring just 10 metres in width.

Continuing south our breath is completely taken away: the gigantic hard coral which sits here will make you feel like a hobbit among elves when you gaze eyes upon it. Just like a waterfall, it plunges from a depth of four to 19 metres. Sadly, the first signs of damage can already be seen.

Hotspots

Northern tip: With a little bit of luck, hammerhead sharks can be seen right here – on the northern tip of the Daedalus Reef. And if we are patient enough, we might not only see one shark but a whole group of them instead!

Manta Point: Whilst we keep an eye out for mantas, we can also marvel at the vast number of widely differing sea anemones, which in all sorts of colours, contend for the title of 'the fairest of them all'.

Southern plateau: A plateau with large and small blocks lies in the south of the Daedalus Reef – a good place for the thresher shark. In addition, turtles, grey reef sharks, hunting mackerel and tuna as well as stonefish and snails can be found here.

Facts

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

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35 m; M, J, J, A: 30–40 m; S, O, N, D: 50–80 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–24°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-31°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Depth: 100 m

Tour 1 – the highlight of the morning

Travelling by Zodiac, we head north in the morning – the ride can get a bit choppy depending on the waves. We must not underestimate the current and make sure to quickly dive down. The reef is our point of reference and, if we exercise patience under the water, a 'sharktacular' dive is guaranteed.

Tour 2 – the plateau

Stretching across the entire south side, there is a soft coral-covered riff edge which transitions into a really wide plateau at a depth of 18 and 20 metres. The entire south area is bordered by a drop-off edge which descends to approx. 35 to 40 metres. Again here, it's important to always pay attention to the current!

Tour 3 – sea anemone colony

Sea anemones don't actually build colonies and that's why the west side of the Daedalus Reef is also a real anomaly! To see the 200 specimens of sea anemones living in confined spaces, we have the Zodiac drop us off at the last or second-to-last lagoon and drift to the south. Where the steep face drops 70 metres, there we will find everything that lives and lingers – the field of sea anemones among others.

 

  

Elphinstone was given its name from a Scottish historian who almost perished here, when his ship en route from Egypt to England almost ran aground on the reef on 18 December 1827: Mountstuart Elphinstone. The locals however call it 'Sha'ab Abu Hamra'.

Details

From Marsa Alam, the boat travels north approx. one and a half hours to the Elphinstone Reef – a great excursion! Depending on the water level, the Elphinstone's high plateau lies at a depth between one and three metres. Strong surface currents and lots of boat traffic make it impossible to snorkel here.

Divers however can plunge straight into some challenging fun! The reef is known for its extraordinary biodiversity and, of course, also for sighting large fish. In the north, we dive down a sloping plateau from 18 to 40 metres, and in the south, down the underwater terraces . The west and east wall plunge steeply into the deep. The Elphinstone Reef has a total length of approx. 725 metres and a width of 140 metres.

Hard and soft coral in a myriad of colours make us rejoice under water – if we could, we'd jump for joy. Joining us are also turtles, moray eels, Red Sea percidae, whitetip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks and honestly just about everything the Red Sea has to offer. If we don't see it here, then where?

Hotspots

South plateau: The south plateau lures us in with glorious gorgonian gardens and friendly longnose hawkfish. Techies will be truly mesmerised by the irresistible archway.

North plateau: The beautifully covered reef blows us away here and so does the sight of whitetip reef sharks or hammerhead sharks. Simply brilliant!

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N at midday, N/E in the afternoon, Warning: sometimes from the south!

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 35–40 m; M, J, J, A: 30–60 m; S, O, N, D: 40 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–24°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-28°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Depth: +100 m

Tour 1 – for techies: archway in the morning

From the boat, we dive south along the edge of the plateau – with the current behind us. The archway begins at an approx. depth of 54 metres. Contrary to all rumours, the stone blocks on the seafloor fell from the top of the arch and are not hand-carved sarcophagi, although this legend does certainly have its own charm. If we dive through the arch, we reach a ravine on the left that leads back to the plateau. Behind the arch, we are usually provided protection from the current – should this not be the case, it's better to turn around and take the same way back.

Tour 2 – gorgonian garden in the morning or at midday

From the boat, we reach the east side by travelling across the south plateau and come to a glorious gorgonian garden located at an approx. depth of 25 metres. Here we will probably meet the 'Longnoses' –the longnose hawkfish! The reef edge has lots of soft and hard coral. Always pay attention to the current during the dive so that we can return in good time!

Tour 3 – the north plateau at midday

We dive north along the plateau and enjoy the wonderfully covered reef. With a little luck, we can spot whitetip reef sharks or perhaps hammerhead sharks and maybe even hit the jackpot and capture one of these rare specimens with our underwater camera as they swim by with a shoal of pilot fish. Incredibly beautiful! Warning: Occasionally, there may be undertows on the north plateau.

You will return in the afternoon (about 2 o'clock p.m.) to the harbor one (1) day before departure, and spent the last over night either on your boat or in your 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 under water National Parks (Brother Islands, Daedalus, Rocky Island, and Zabargad).

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

Für die Unterwassernationalparks (Brother Islands, Daedalus, Rocky Island und Zabargad) sind 50 eingetragene Tauchgänge im Logbuch erforderlich.

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