Log Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Entry By: Ashraf
Water Temperature: 27
Air Temperature: 32
Exposure Suit: 3-5 mm
Visibility: 30 m
Dive Guides: Nasty, Ashraf
Chefs: Khaled, Said
Salon Steward: Mido
Seamen/Deckhands: Said, Emad, Ayob, Mostafa
Luster, Miriam, Wayne, Todd, Edward, Suzzane, George, Elly, Aksel, Byron, Gina, Bernd, Sina
We excitedly welcomed this amazing group of divers and soon got them to feel comfortable aboard the Red Sea Aggressor. Everybody was excited to kick off on our Best of the Red Sea 10 days trip. The action started already when we saw a big hawksbill turtle while picking up Bernd from the Lodge Hotel with the zodiac. After the yummy steak we had on dinner, followed by a nice creamy cheese cake, everybody decided to get the rest they needed for an early start the next morning.
Day 1 – Thursday 18th June
Right after breakfast the Red Sea Aggressor took off and soon we were mooring at Marsa Shona, where we were spending the rest of the day. The first dive everybody adjusted their buoyancy in the rather salty Red Sea, and got all there thingamajigs and cameras fine tuned in the check dive. The second and the third dives we did the northern and southern shoulders of the bay. The divers were very happy to meet turtles in the first day; we saw 5 turtles between the dives. Also we had the cutest octopus as Elly calls it, torpedo ray, lots of sting rays, two big moray eels and also a huge titan trigger fish. The night dive we did at Marsa Shona as well. A couple of really good videos were taken by the divers. In the beginning of the dive we saw a sleeping parrot fish in its shell. Aksel spotted a baby moray in the reef and a little ahead was Byron who spotted a nice yellow head moray swimming. He also he made a video of what he thought was a Spanish dancer, but when we saw the video it turned out to be a slug (Pleurobranchus Grandis). On the way back to the boat we spotted a nice Moses Sole as well as an amazing cuttlefish feeding right under the boat. After dinner everybody was ready to get some rest and our Captain took us on an overnight trip for about 8 hours until we reached to our next destination and dive site.
Day 2 – Friday 19th June
Brothers Island is where we were going to be for the next 2 days. Starting here in the Little Brother, the two morning dives on the plateau and the eastern wall, and the afternoon dives we did the western wall from both directions. In the morning the current was very strong, and we were getting some exercise just be able not drift right away. Immediately after getting dropped on the plateau we met with our first gray reef shark. On the eastern wall we were drifting with the current, next to a very rich and healthy reef on the right, and the blue on the left where we saw huge tunas, jacks, and barracudas. The second dive we visited the plateau and the eastern wall again, but with much weaker current, so we were able to stay longer on the plateau. The first thing we spotted in the blue was a huge Napoleon, and then a white tip reef shark, one hammerhead shark and again the big fat tunas and barracudas. On the reef the sun is a bit shinier and the colors of the soft and hard corals were breathtaking. The beautiful gorgonians starting from as deep as 45 meters all the way to the top of the reef were amusing to look at. After lunch we were ready to dive one of the most beautiful reef walls in the red sea; the western wall of small brother. All divers were amazed with the healthy condition of the reef, the magnificent overhangs of the western wall, and the never ending Anthias that give a great opportunity for great photos and videos. After about 20 minutes in the dive Sina had her first encounter with two Thresher Sharks, when she got back on the boat, she had a grin from ear to ear. Nasty made a fantastic video of the two sharks. When we got back the oceanic whit tip shark was waiting for us under the boat. Aksel made some beautiful videos of it while he was on the zodiac. Wayne jumped right back in the water with his gear and he was able to take some really nice shots. With five different species of sharks on our first day in Small Brother some divers decided to take it easy and get some rest to be ready for the adventures awaiting them the next day in Big Brother Island. With only 8 divers in the last dive we explored again the western wall, but this time we started the dive on the southern tip of the reef and swam all the way to the north. Everybody got their wide angles sharp to take plenty of photos of the beautiful over hangs. Within 15 minutes in the dive a huge but very calm napoleon was swimming under us, but apparently it was quite busy and didnt hang for long. Again, when we made it back to the boat the two oceanic white tips were circling under. At dinner and while all the divers were sitting on the tables we had to call everybody to come out on the dive deck to see a huge school of unicorn fish. At least a couple of hundred of them were swimming right next to our boat. A breath taking view and amazing photos were taken by the divers. It was a fantastic day on the Little Brother, and Captain Abdullah sailed us to meet the Big Brother the following day.
Day 3 – Saturday 20th June
The shamal or the northern wind picked up in the morning and the sea was rough. Thanks to our Captain, he moored us right on top of the south plateau of Big Brother Island and that made entry a lot safer. We did our 15 minutes on the southern plateau of the Big Brother and were rewarded with two Fox sharks and a silver tip shark. We then moved along the eastern wall of the island where there was plenty of jacks and huge barracudas in their cleaning stations. The second dive the zodiac dropped the divers on the north eastern tip of the island and we had a beautiful drift down the wall admiring the amazing colors of the healthy reef. Barracudas and tunas were with us along the way and when we reached near the plateau a graceful Fox shark just swam past us. Towards the end of the dive the huge napoleon came to check us out, and the divers made some amazing videos of it. The next two dives we did on the wreck of Numedia. We explored the wreck admiring all the corals growing and the amazing colors, as well as the abundance glass fish, anthias, and sweepers that made it a great opportunity for some amazing photos. On the way back on the western wall we were met by the beautiful Hawksbill turtle and Gina made a beautiful video of it; and Miriam had a beautiful video of a Red Sea Pipe Fish. Also, we had two big moray eels that Byron got on tape and a gray reef shark that was spotted by Wayne and George. The divers who decided to skip the last dive watched a big school of spinner dolphins swimming close by our boat doing some amazing acrobats jumping up and down just to show off. Our captain followed them with the Aggressor and the divers took a lot of photos and had a lot of fun. The last dive on the western wall Byron said it was his best so far; he shot a beautiful video of two giant morays and he was so happy. That day we celebrated Ellys 100 dive and everyone congratulated her on the big achievement. Over night the captain sailed for about 11 hours to get us to the next stop. We were all excited and looked forward to another amazing day diving.
Day 4 – Sunday 21st June
Arrived at Daedalus and the wind was much calmer than in the Big Brother. Couple of dives we did on the northern plateau and a couple on the western wall. The catch of the day was hammerheads, silvertip, reef shark and huge tunas on the plateau. We also had an amazing dive on the western wall where we visited the anemone city. Beautiful reef and colors, the divers had great opportunity to take a lot of brilliant photos of anemone fish, lots of moray eels, and scorpion fish as well. The first 25 minutes of the dive we had this group of huge tunas munching on the fusiliers in the near blue. Towards the end of the dive there was the big napoleon that joined us and seemed like she enjoyed our company because she stayed around for about 10 minutes. George spotted a beautiful group of rainbow runners, and Gina made a video of one big octopus. After we decided to end the dive and we were at the safety stop about 30 meters away from the reef, and under the zodiac, a group of 5 curious huge Jacks came really close to check us out and figure out where all these bubbles were coming from. Byron took nice videos of the jacks and said that this was his best safety stop so far. After the last dive, Todd, Suzanne, and Byron went to visit the Light House. They did some shopping and got some Daedalus t-shirts. After dinner the captain started sailing the Aggressor on the overnight trip; 10 hours for our next destination and dive site.
Day 5 – Monday 22nd June
The usual early start, dive guides knocking on cabins at 5:30 in the morning. The diver gathered in the saloon for their continental breakfast and looked outside the windows to find the glorious Rocky Island. Immediately the divers started taking photos of the stunning site. The first dive the zodiac dropped us on the eastern tip of the island. We started the dive by swimming a bit in the blue hoping to get a nice view of something big. As soon as we got down Aksel spotted two Reef Sharks, and there were lots of groups of Giant Tunas coming very close to the divers, and of course a lot of photos and videos were taken. After about 15 minutes in the dive and while we started to move towards the southern side of the island we spotted a hammerhead swimming at about 40 meters followed by a white tip reef shark. In a few minutes we started swimming next to the reef admiring the beautiful color and the abundance and variety of soft and hard corals. Byron spotted two moray eels and a few minutes later a napoleon family showed up; the family was obviously used to divers because they swam around the divers all the way back to the boat. After the second dive in Rocky captain Abdullah took the Aggressor and moored in Zabargad. We had a beautiful first dive again diving with napoleon, moray eels and the giant green turtle; but what happened in the second dive was very exciting. George spotted a Tiger shark in the blue that came very close to Elly and Sina. Swimming about 20 meters away, Aksel also spotted the Tiger Shark and he got it on tape. And while George, Sina, and Elly were on their safety stop, a Silky Shark showed up and was swimming around the zodiac. This incident was the main discussion at dinner that night. The divers felt lucky, and they were happy and excited. Now after dinner captain Abdullah is crossing with the Aggressor in a western direction of the Red Sea taking us to our next location and dive site.
Day 6 – 23rd June 2015
Habili means that the reef is about 4 or 5 meters below the surface. In Saeedy (Upper Egypt) language it means not fully grown. There we were in our sixth day at Habili Jaafar doing our early morning dive. There was no strong current so it was easy for the divers to make three easy rounds around the cone shaped reef. Aksel & Todd had two silky sharks swimming very close to them; they got it on tape and made some fantastic videos. In the near blue there were also many huge tunas as well as a big school of barracudas. On the magnificent reef of course there were the never-ending Anthias, glass fish, and the sweepers. A napoleon family of four was swimming between the divers gracefully. After the dive George mentioned that this was his best dive in this trip so far. Fissures of St. Jones would be the appropriate description of the famously know as St. Jones Caves since the light penetrates it from almost everywhere, and that many divers actually find plenty of space to surface if they lost orientation. We did the fissures in two dives covering the big caves as well as the narrow ones enjoying amazing coral formation and the breathtaking colors with the rays of the sun dropping on hard and soft corals making this a dream come true for photographers. We had three major highlights on the night dive; a hilarious sleeping napoleon, the Pleurobranchus Grandis slug, the one we met in our night dive the first day except this one was huge, and a breathtaking Spanish dancer. The divers took a lot of photos and made a lot of videos. Gina after the dive wrapped herself in two red towels and believed she was a Spanish dancer.
Day 7 – 24th June 2015
A couple of hours after midnight we arrived at the Feury Shoal area. We spent the amazing morning in Sataya for a morning dive and snorkeling with a group of about a 100 Bottle Nose Dolphins. Sina, our guest on the Aggressor and marine biologist who has been studying the behavior of the dolphins in the Red Sea gave us a couple of presentations about the behavior of the dolphins, and a presentation about how to behave around them as well. Sina led the snorkelers for an amazing almost one complete hour swimming with the beautiful animals and that made Suzannes dream of snorkeling with the dolphins come true. The second dive we did at the dive site Malahi or the play ground. The divers loved the huge pinnacles and the beautiful reef with the amazing colors of hard corals. The photographers spent over a 70 minutes in the dive and came out of the water with a grin from ear to ear. In this dive Medo, our wonderful steward looked sharp in his dive gear when he joined the divers in the water and had an amazing time and was welcomed by all the divers. The third and the night dives we did at the beautiful reef of Shaab Claudio. Starting by going in the swim-through, the photographers spent a good 20 minutes in there making sure they captured every bit of light and color. Then we continued swimming over the garden of the cone shaped hard coral until we reached the extreme tip of the western side of the reef. There, we visited the anemone city and enjoyed the beautiful view of the many pinnacles and beautiful colors. Lots of black, one dot, and yellow snappers were swimming all over, and the divers didnt waste a chance to get these beautiful fish on their cameras. In the night dive we revisited the entrances of the swim-through and the pinnacles in the southern tip of the reef. Byron spotted a huge Octopus; we also saw a sleeping anemone, lobster, and lots of shrimps. Also important to mention in day 7 that Miriam, Byron, and Ashraf completed a huge puzzle of the Mermaid and they were so proud.
Day 8 – 25th June 2015
As we were coming to the end of our trip our divers were spending more time in the hot tub; trying to relax their muscles a bit so that they could complete the diving that was still left. This morning we were at Shaab Sharm, a beautiful oval shaped reef that offers an amazing drift dive. Because of the weather condition we kind of got stuck on this dive site for the whole day; but we made the best out of it. Drifting on the western and eastern wall we were able to enjoy the beautiful variety of hard and soft corals with all the marine life it represents. In the last dive we were rewarded with a red scorpion sitting in a perfect position in the sunlight allowing the divers to take some really nice shots. Near the drop off and almost at the end of our drift dive Byron was swimming so fast against strong current pointing his camera at something; first we thought maybe its a big barracuda; we followed Byron and it turned out to be a white tip reef shark. Aksel got a nice video of the shark as well, and it was a nice surprise to all the divers. The captain sailed the Aggressor for almost four hours until we arrived at Shaab Marsa Alam where we did our night dive. It was a beautiful relaxed dive. We spotted a nice sea hair, crocodile fish, and a giant moray. We also got in between the small cracks on the top of the reef and checked out the swim-through. Another great day diving. At dinner our fantastic chef prepared a nice big fat turkey. We had a fantastic dinner and everybody were off to bed awaiting our last day and last destination the next morning.
Day 9 – 26th June 2015
Elphinstone was the dive site where we did our last two dives. There was no current on the north plateau of the big reef at 6 oclock in the morning allowing us to a nice and easy drop by the zodiac. Once the divers descended to about 25 meters deep they were met by what appears to be a married couple of napoleons. They were calm and slowly swimming allowing the divers to take all the shots they wished for. Gina had the male napoleon on a fantastic close up video. After waiting on the plateau for about 10 minutes Byron spotted a hammerhead shark, but only at big distance. We decided we are going to get closer to the eastern wall and start drifting back towards the Aggressor. The divers enjoyed an amazing wall with a huge variety of soft and hard corals throughout this dive. The second dive was basically a 60 minutes dive right under the boat and near to the southern plateau. Right under the boat there were 4 silky sharks circling around and it was the time where all the divers got closest to the sharks. The sillies were swimming around the divers like celebrities enjoying the attention they got from cameras pointed at them. Todd said excitedly, while covered in soap taking a shower on the dive deck, this was how you suppose to end a dive trip. Afte arriving at Port Ghalib at about 04:00 pm the crew started preparing for a cocktail party for the divers. Sushi was served and cocktail drinks were made. In the party we awarded some of our divers with certificates. Gina was the VIP guest with 27 trips aboard the Aggressors worldwide. Todd, Byron, and Luster were the Iron divers of our trip. Aksel was rewarded for completing his 50th dive on board as well as Elly who completed her 100th dive.