North – Wrecks & Brother Islands

 

Overview of tour / diving spots

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This tour starts in Hurghada, and leads you first to the Brother Islands, and then to the famous wrecks in the Northern Red Sea (the order depends on the weather).

The fans of old sunken ships will get one’s money worth on this live aboard. 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.

Then we continue to the North. In addition to the wrecks of Abu Nuhas (Carnatic, Chrisoula K, Ghiannis D.) of course the Thistlegorm is on the program. A relaxed last dive day you can spend for example at Shaab el Erg between the dolphins.

On Wednesday afternoon the boat returns to our marina in Hurghada.

 

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

Possible dive sites on this tour:



After 90 minutes drive from Hurghada, you can reach Shaab el Erg, the first dive site on the Safari. Shaab el Erg is an extensive reef, in the shape of a horseshoe. This formation is open to the south with a shallow lagoon, which is full of ergs. The whole lagoon can be dived.

Very popular are the northern tip, the eastern wall or the southwestern tip - Gota Shaab el Erg.

Between Gota and the main reef is a small canal; on the south and west side is a large sandy plateau with innumerable towers and coral heads. The domiciled dolphins pass several times a day this channel. They can be seen all year round here.

Mantas can be observed from January to March on the northern tip.

On the plateau that surrounds Gota, you can find scorpion fish, groupers, snowflake moray, blue spotted stingrays and many triggerfish. .

Under the table corals you can see from time to time white tip reef sharks.
In the sand you find cone snails, shells and sole. Along the shallow reef you find frolicking nose unicorn fish, angelfish, bream, snapper and turtles.

The diving on Gota Shaab el Erg is dreamlike.
For photographers especially the coral heads are likely to be interesting. They are not part of illustration and are in a southerly direction at 16m depth.



The reef extends around the Island Siyoul (Big Siyoul) and is very different.

Sometimes sandy valleys (wadis) interrupt the reef, or you can explore overhangs and clefts.  An excessively rich coral growth and countless fish put the diver in amazement.

The dives with an almost rapid current is leading you to the northern tip.  Here you can find a gentle  slope to around  10 - 30 m.

In the depth you often see sharks and large stingrays, in the shallow water schools of grunts and Bluecheek Butterflyfishes.

 



This wonderful dive site offers a variety of hard corals and soft corals.
It's a fantastic, colorful dive, where you can discover all kind of reef fishes of the Red Sea.

If you are blessed with very good eyes, you can discover stone and scorpion fishes. In the sand there are lying often well camouflaged crocodile fishes, besides you can be lucky to spot Napoleons, giant groupers and turtles.

 

  

The reef Abu Nuhas is famous for its wrecks and is also called "ship graveyard".
At this reef 4 ships have declined, which are an attraction for divers from all over the world.

Who has not heard of the 4 wrecks lying on the north side of Abu Nuhas on sandy seabed?

 

 

  

The Thistlegorm is probably the most famous wreck in the Red Sea.

The British ship was on its way to Egypt, to supply the English Africa Corps with reinforcements, when she was attacked on 06/10/1941 by a German bomber and sank.

The wreck lies at a depth of 30 m upright on the seabed.
Especially interesting is the cargo: Tanks, trucks, guns, motorcycles, railway carriages and a locomotive.

The SS Thistlegorm is a must for every Red Sea diver. It is a pleasure for wreck friends, not least because of its spectacular charge.

And also offers a variety of fish, schools of barracudas or big tunas and snapper are not uncommon here. As an artificial reef, it also attracts countless coral fishes.

Worth seeing are the stern with its cannons, the midship and fore ship, the bug and the charge, as well as the vehicles, the two locomotives, the tender and the water truck.

The current on the wreck is moderate, sometimes strongly. Visibility is generally moderate and often are a lot of boats on site.



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.

 

  

A brain coral garden, a few caves, overhangs and grottos, shoals of fish - this is Shaab Sheer, an immensely exciting reef at Safaga. Shaab Sheer is over one kilometre long and offers three different diving tours from the perfectly situated mooring point.

Details

The north side of Shaab Sheer is a little less quiet, but the south side in right there like a lagoon and is usually very well protected. We can expect a strong current on the west side, which faces the 'South Safaga Channel'. Most divers appreciate the area between three and 15 metres because the brain coral garden looks almost like the landscape of the moon; despite this we find a wide variety of reef inhabitants.

Picasso triggerfish, orange-striped and yellowmargin triggerfish, parrotfish, scrawled filefish and sling-jaw wrasse are to be found here in large numbers. In the area of the north plateau and at the steep wall we can also see bream, humpnose big-eye bream, mackerels, red and black snapper as well as shoals of tuna and barracuda.

Hotspots

Brain coral garden: A bizarre moon landscape awaits us at the brain coral garden, which is particularly popular with our divers and is definitely worth seeing.

Grottos and channels: They are found at the erg and provide shelter for the most interesting reef inhabitants.

Tour 1 – the northerly plateau

Friends of big fish should choose this route. We get in at the mooring point and work our way north. Here we can keep an eye on the open waters, and that is exactly why we are here. Along the steep drop-off we can still find some reef inhabitants and explore small grooves and crevices. At the end of our drift dive we set the buoy and are collected.

Tour 2 - the west side

This is where the current is usually strongest and, conditions permitting, this diving location is definitely worth diving. With the reef to our right shoulder, we explore the coral blocks and towers and dive through the channel. After countless encounters with diverse reef inhabitants and possibly even some large fish we set the buoy.

Tour 3 - the east side

We start out from the mooring point and dive through the channel to a depth of 12 metres, which brings us to the brain coral garden. We keep to the right and explore the caves and grottos in the erg, until we arrive back at the boat at the end of the erg.



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Welcome to Panorama Reef, the most famous reef in Safaga; a steep face in the open sea with a plateau to the north and to the south respectively. The current here is usually very strong. What does that tell us? We have a good chance of seeing large fish here! In addition to this, a turtle called Quasimodo has been living here for years - but to be honest, she cannot help the shape of her shell!

 

Details


In 60 to 90 minutes we will have reached Panorama Reef by boat. The east and west sides drop steeply; to the north and south, however, we find very interesting plateaus with a whole lot of life and, what else, but a spectacular panorama. We can see unicornfish, barracudas and giant trevally. The west side is where we are most likely to see whitetip reef sharks and, particularly in the afternoon, grey reef sharks, moray eels every now and then, flatheads, eagle rays, dolphins, silvertip sharks, humphead wrasses and the famous turtle with the deformed shell.

Wonderful hill-forming corals, large table corals and thousands of anthiinae are to be found on the northern plateau at Panorama Reef. The current comes from the north to 95 percent, which means it is often quite ‘stormy’ here. The south plateau is more protected; it begins at a depth of 18 metres and falls slowly to a depth of 30 metres. Giant gorgonians grow up the chimney. The large field of sea anemones is also part of it, as are the almost obligatory sightings of stonefish.

Hotspots

Sea anemone field: On the south plateau we are spoiled with a field of sea anemones, where a multitude of clownfish and Red Sea dascyllus feel at home.

Turtle: As everybody is talking about her, of course we want to see Quasimodo too on our dive at Panorama Reef. The turtle with the deformed shell has been living here for years and will hopefully continue to live a long and happy life.

Tour 1 - drift diving


We start out with the Zodiac at the northern plateau and explore this first. There are always surprises hiding under the table corals and we might even see our first shark. On we go then either to the east or west side in a southerly direction; it does not matter where. Perhaps we will just play “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” or dive along the side that feels right. There should be enough current, otherwise the route may be too long for us under certain conditions. When we have reached the southern plateau, we will search for another stonefish and visit the anemone field. We surface at the boat feeling happy and satisfied.

Tour 2 –the south


We dive from the boat and find ourselves at the southern plateau almost immediately, which is protected by the current. Here we explore the giant gorgonians on the chimney at a depth of 30 metres on the east side and will probably find some longnose hawkfish in there. The splendour of the corals will astound us; we keep glancing into the open waters in the hope of seeing larger fish and will definitely pass by the anemone field before we surface again. Marlin and Nemo are waiting there for us!



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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