Log Date: Saturday, Jul 18, 2015
Entry By: Red Sea Aggressor Crew
Red Sea Aggressor Captains Log for July 18 - 25, 2015.
Air Temp: 29C min – 36C max
Water Temp: 28C – 31C
Visibility: 25 to 40m
Weather: Clear skies, cool breezes of wind with occasional periods of humidity
Itinerary: St.John’s (Deep south)
1st Officer: Sayed
Instructors/Guides: Nasty & Peter
Chef(s): Khaled & Abdo
Steward(s): Mido & Zizo
Seamen: Emad & Ayoub
GUESTS: Jari, Meri, David, Alisa, Stephanie, Philip, Tadd, Juliano, Gilvania
Sunday – Marsa Shuna, Shaab Abu Dabab 1&2
Monday – Shaab Maksour, Malahi, Satayah (Dolphin house), Claudia
Tuesday – Habili Gaafar, Small Gottaa, El Hemera
Wednesday – El Hemra, Habili Ali, Umm Kharariim, Paradise
Thursday – Shaab Sharm,Habili Ghadir, Shaab Marsa Alam
Friday – Elphinstone
Upon boarding Red Sea Aggressor our lovely guests this week were welcomed with our crew’s smiling faces and a welcome drink. After showing each one to his/her cabin we then all met in the dining room to introduce each member of our crew and the guests to each other. We then had our boat and safety briefing while our new family members for the week snacked on our chef’s exquisite mini pizzas. It was then time to assist our new friends in setting up their tanks & dive gear. They were then free to explore the magic that Port Ghalib congers up at sunset until it was time for dinner. The Pepper sauce steak and fries with a side of fresh veggies followed up by an apple tart really hit the spot as our jet-lagged friends headed to bed excited about what the Red Sea had in store for them.
Sunday July 19 (Day 1)
The smell of freshly brewed coffee crept through our boat and on to the marina the first morning as our guests woke up to a beautiful early morning sky over the Red Sea. Tantalizing smells and sizzling sounds greeted everyone as they walked into the dining area to have breakfast. We got clearance from the coast guard right away and off we were to start our one-week journey. Some tacking was required by our great Captain to get to our first dive spot for the check dive as we had some wavy conditions, but nothing severe, more exciting than anything else. Our first destination was Marsa Shuna where we would be doing our check dive. Once everyone made sure they were weighted properly we descended and began our first dive. Not even two minutes into the dive we spotted a scorpion fish. It was a nice easy dive with the morning sunlight beaming through the surface of the water lighting up the pretty reef. A nudi-branch was also spotted, and of course the usual suspects like the red sea banner fish, butterfly fish and blue spotted stingray were all there to welcome our new friends to the red sea. Classic! Dives two and three were done at our famous Shaab Abu Dabab (2 & 3). There we encountered some Canyons, small caves, schools of goatfish, jack-fish, and snappers. Juvenile yellow-fined barracuda were also on the move as we visited the infamous Heaven1 wreckage in-between the two reef tables. We came across a shy baby white-tip reef shark as we came out of the last swim-thru, and ended by taking some “selfies” with everyone’s favorite clown fish “Nemo” and his gorgeous red anenomy. The speedboat ride back to the mother ship was really the icing on the cake as the sun was setting behind the mountain landscape over the sea. Great first day guys, woohoo!
Monday July 20 (Day 2)
We started our second day at Shaab Maksour. Now keep in mind folks that anytime you see the name of a dive spot out here that starts with the word “shaab” this means “Off shore Reef”. The current was coming from the northwest, but was mild. A shy scalloped hammerhead was seen along with an eagle ray. Schools of barracuda, and banner fish drifted along the plateau, so all in all it was a great way to start the day. Our next dive site would then be Malahi, or in translation “The Playground”! This dive was full of twists, turns, canyons, and swim thrus. It truly is an extraordinary dive site just because the reef formation is so original in its own way; there really is nothing else like it. We ended this dive with a frisky little hawksbill sea turtle during our safety stop that just couldn’t get enough of us. Everyone really had fun including myself. It was now time to go to Satayah or “Dolphin house” for some fun in the sun with our local spinner dolphins. We swam with a pod of about 15 to 20 dolphins, and there were three calfs with them. One calf could not have been more than a week to two weeks old. It was amazing! When we came back to the boat we had our afternoon snack and a siesta. We then came up with a great idea with our great Captain to head to Claudia reef for our afternoon and night dive since it was such a great day. Once we got to Claudia reef we gave a briefing of course, but probably in more detail than usual as this gorgeous reefs main attractions are its two cave systems. More canyons & small tunnels than caves though as there a lot of openings and cracks on the top, but that’s why this dive site is so beautiful. It’s underwater chambers let the sunshine thru just at the right angles, which makes for great pictures and just a mystical sensation with all the pretty colors that glow when the sunlight hits it. We spotted lots of Gold glassfish inside the caves, and then once we made it out to the gorgeous coral garden antheas were out and about as usual, glassfish swarmed the tops of the reef. Clown fish were seen, a few jacks & tuna passed by in the blue as we made our way back to the boat. It was incredible! David, one of our more experienced divers on board called it our “meditation dive”. A perfect choice of words if you ask me. Once we were back on RSA another live aboard crept in directly behind our dive deck and moored for their night dive. Next thing we know Frisbees and footballs were being passed back and forth between the two boats. Music sounded out onto the open sea, and people from both ships staff and guests alike were all over as the sun was melting into the sea. When it was our dinnertime we rang the bell and everyone clapped and cheered in recognition to the great time and bond we shared together. We all said by & out of great professionalism we had a quick word with the other guides from the other boat to make sure that we all didn’t jump into the water all at the same time so that our guests would get the most out of this amazing dive site at night as well. We had dinner while they went in for their night dive. As we geared a bit after dinner they were coming out of the water, so it was a perfect plan. When we jumped in Claudia did not disappoint at night either. We did a small part of the canyon then stuck to the coral garden where we spotted an Eel that I have never seen out here before. It was Short but think in size, greyish in color with cool grey patterns on its body and its cheeks were green. We came by a clear finned lionfish hunting, and a cute little starfish. It was red in color with tiny white spots. Lovely day!
Tuesday July 21st (Day 3)
Day three started at on of our favorites here in the red sea, Habili Gaafar. Surface conditions were pretty calm, but there was a bit of current underneath. Mostly around the corners or split-point. This dive just says classic Red Sea. Vibrant colors, antheas everywhere and fire coral. We saw a pretty good-sized stonefish that was purple in color. Tuna, Trevally, and one Grey reef shark in the blue. Our next dive site was one of the more special ones this week and in our opinion one of the best sites to dive while doing this St. John’s route. The reason being is that not many boats go there anymore so the reef is healthy and full of life. The afternoon dive consisted of some heavy current at the beginning of the dive but we kept sheltered close by the main reef and we did some hiding behind the big beautiful pentacles. We smoothly drifted back to the boat where a big napoleon was waiting for us as we finished our safety stop and came out of the water. Our surface interval was just perfect with some nice tunes and the sunset and the mountains in the backdrop. Everyone was on the dive deck just watching almost in meditation. We saw that the current really picked up, so during our night dive briefing we mentioned the current conditions and what to expect and how to react while down there. It was great going in. We spotted a Spanish dancer, and the reef was just flooded with sleeping parrotfish, trevallies, unicorn fish, snappers, and glassfish. The current got real tricky and strong on the way back and we had to come up on our stern line, but just to be safe our great seamen on the deck already had a surface line ready and it did help get us back to the boat safely. All in all though it was a great night dive.
Wednesday July 22nd (Day 4)
The early morning dive was in El Hemera as the guests really enjoyed it & we would have an opportunity to do a different profile because now the current had died down. We were really excited to see another part of this amazing reef. Loads of marine life and beautiful colors all along the reef, and for the first time in a long time here in the Red Sea we saw and captured footage of a huge bump-head parrotfish! He was really shy, but it was amazing to see. For our second dive we headed to Habili Ali. Another classic Deep South dive location. There we saw two Grey reef sharks pass by below us in cooler waters. Some big Tuna also swam by, lots of snappers, and a beautiful school of barracuda. We did our safety stop over the reef top and it was magnificent. A juvenile napoleon kept us company until we each were back on the rib and headed back to the mother ship. The weather was incredible. Our next destination was Umm Kharariim. Now the translation for this is “ The mother of the holes “. As funny as that sounds the reason being is that as you can probably guess it’s full of tunnels, canyons, and caves. We jumped from the boat and immediately there was our resident napoleon-waiting there to greet us. So after some “selfies” with him we headed for the caves. They start out pretty large and open and take you to a beautiful hard coral garden. Then the fun really begins once we start going into the smaller chambers. It’s just full of gorgeous colors from the sunlight shining through the cracks in the reef. There is really no other site like it, from coral bottoms to sandy bottoms it’s just a special place to be. So after navigating our way through we finally made it back out and just like that we were under the boat again. The last dive site of the day would be Paradise reef. An underwater jungle as I like to say because the topography of the reef is just so crazy and rich it just reminds me of the jungle. So the very first things we spot are three nudi braches. The rest of the dive really just felt like you were floating thru paradise. As we were all meditating under the absolute beauty of the waves and sunlight a very large sized white tip reef shark glided down from the main reef, down the sandy slope, and into the depths. On the way back a napoleon kept us company for a few minutes, and then shortly after we were back under the boat. The perfect end to a perfect day.
Thursday July 23rd (day 5)
We woke up on day number five and found ourselves at Shaab Sharm after about ten hours of sailing north. A pod of young spinner dolphins swam by the boat to say good morning. We began the dive with the current coming from the southwest over the plateau. We saw a turtle at the beginning of the dive munching on some soft coral, and one at the end off in the blue. Perfect early morning dive! The second dive was also at Shaab Sharm, but we did a different profile to keep things interesting and keep from going against the current. This dive was full of excitement as there was a big napoleon kept us company for half the dive, and our guests encountered a juvenile Tiger Shark! And he was a big boy! Below there was a grey reef trying to keep cool in deeper, colder waters. The dolphins were also still playing around overhead on the surface; it was just fantastic! Our next destination was Habili Ghadir. A very different and original type of dive to do, but full of marine life, hard coral, and soft coral. Tunas were out hunting along with some Fusiliers, and just the overall topography of the reef is amazing. Next we headed for Shaab Marsa Alam for our sunset/night dive. We jumped into the water and it was probably the most serene night dive of the week. Two Spanish dancers and two free-swimming moray eels were spotted, and seeing the wreck right after coming out of the cave was just the icing on the cake. Great last night dive guys!
Friday July 24th (Day 6)
Our last day we were at one of the top dive sites in the Red Sea, and one of our personal favorites Elphinstone. We decided to give our friends a little bit of a sleep in, because Elphinstone is usually full of boats and everyone thinks if they can be the early bird then they will beat the rest into the water. So it ends up being a circus of divers and bubbles all at the same time. By the time we woke up and had our briefing, geared up and then jumped in the water we had the reef to our selves. We dropped down over the north plateau and it was magical as always! Tuna, Sardines, Trevallies, and a big Grey reef shark were all seen. Our second dive all the boats had left and we changed things up by jumping on the south plateau and drifting with the current down the east wall for great sunlight. It was beautiful with all the soft coral and schools of banner fish, snappers, jacks, squirrelfish, nudi branches, and barracuda! We really didn’t have to fin either since we had a nice south to north current. It was an amazing last dive for this great adventure of a trip with our amazing guests.