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Log Date: Saturday, Apr 25, 2015
Entry By: Red Sea Aggressor Crew









 



RSA CAPTAINS LOG 25 APRIL - 01 MAY 2015

Southern Route

Water temperature: 73 - 77F / 23 - 25C
Air temperature: 72 - 88F / 22 - 31C. Cosy jumper recommended for post-dive/evenings.
Exposure suit: 5 - 7mm full length. Hood/rash vest underneath recommended.
Visibility: 33 - 98ft / 10 - 30m

Crew

Captain: Abdullah
Cruise Director: Erin
Dive Guides: Erin; Darwish; Ahmed
Chefs: Khaled; Said
Salon Steward: Mido
Seamen/Deckhands: Said; Emad; Ayob; Mostafa
Mechanic: Alla

Guests

Hiro; Dennis; Laura; Bryan; Sara & Alvaro; Ana & Nelson; Wendy & Gary; Mika & Nils

This week we went out on our Southern Itinerary and happily welcomed guests from Japan, USA, Portugal and Sweden. We also had a very special guest with us... VIP, Hiro! Hiro is an Aggressor Addict through and through and this was his 18th Aggressor liveaboard! Hiro - were very happy to have you on board. As everyone had arrived by mid-afternoon, bags were unpacked, BCDs and regs were pulled out and set up, and
cameras were assembled! The sound of the bell indicated that it was time for the Welcome Briefing. We gladly tucked into mini pizzas and the traditional Hibiscus drink of Egypt. Later on, we enjoyed a steak dinner and Khaleds delicious cheesecake. An early night was on the cards for many after a long journey to reach us, so we said our goodnights and looked forward to the day ahead!

DAY 1 - Sunday 26 April

The smell of coffee and a hot breakfast greeted us on Sunday morning. Our permissions were sanctioned nice and early so the engines were started, the lines untied, and we headed for the open sea. Before wed even got out of the marina, we had a visitor... A Dugong was swimming round the boats! Taking this as a good omen for another great week, we carried on to our first dive site, Marsa Shoana. We took a shallow mooring today so we could explore even more of the bay. Mika was starting the last half of her PADI Open Water referral with Dive Instructor, Darwish, so they jumped in for Open Water dive number one. Everyone else descended to the shallow sandy bottom and continued along the reef looking for Bluespotted Rays, Lion Fish, Giant Moray Eels, and Cornet Fish. Hiro, with his sharp eyes, spotted an Octopus and a very very juvenile Scorpion Fish. This tiny critter was pulling itself along the sand and looked ever so cute! The second dive was in the south of Marsa Shoana with Red Sea Aggressor General Manager himself, Ahmed. Our
divers encountered two Green Turtles, more Giant Moray Eels, schools of Goat Fish, and Laura found a Nudibranch! Abu Dabbab 2 and Abu Dabbab 3 were our chosen dive sites for the third dive of the day. We descended at the back of the boat and finned over to the wreck of an old wooden safari boat that lies on the bottom. From there, we wove our way through swim-throughs and caverns admiring the atmosphere created by the light penetrating cracks in the reef that curled over above us. Hundreds and hundreds of Jellyfish had congregated in the first metre of water which looked magical in the late afternoon light. As we continued along over a pretty hard coral garden, Dive Guide, Erin, spotted under a very low-lying Table coral a tiny triangle of grey with a white tip on the end. Surely this was a shark, but how could it get underneath the coral which was only eight inches from the sand?! It was indeed a juvenile Whitetip Reef Shark which then wriggled free and swam so close to us we could have touched! We also swung by a beautiful Red Anemone that sits nestled in a bed of Sea Plumes. From there, we we looped back round to the boat making our safety stops round a giant pinnacle. Our guests opted for a nice glass of wine or a beer with their dinner so we untied the lines after dinner and began the overnight journey south to Sataya.

DAY 2 - Monday 27 April

What a beautiful day we woke up to in Sataya! Our boat was already moored at Shaab Maksour. The north of this very long reef is stunning in the early morning so for a bit of variety, we took the zodiacs up to the north and enjoyed the ride as the warm breeze helped wake us up. A great sighting of what appeared to be two large Grey Reef Sharks or Silky Sharks got everyone excited! Secondly, we dived Shaab Claude. The swim-throughs and caverns are so much fun and a photographers/videographers paradise. The sunlight streams in through cracks in the reef overhead and scatters on the rubbly floor where Bluespotted Rays hang out. Little Wart Slugs cling to rocks, and schools of Cave Sweepers and Goat Fish hide in the shadows. The walls on the inside of the swim-throughs are lined in orange and yellow Hydroids which glow when they catch the light. After an Italian lunch, we moved the boat the short distance to Sataya Reef itself in the hope the Whitestriped Dolphins would be there! We got lucky as not only were they there, but they swam around us for a whole hour in just a couple of metres of water!! Fantastic and such a wonderful feeling to see a juvenile which was not even one metre in length! The south of Sataya reef was the place for our fourth dive. The drop off had schooling Red Sea Banner Fish, Giant Moray Eels and Anthias swimming about. The wall disappeared vertically into the blue. As we swam over the hard coral garden en route back to the boat, large Red Sea Coral Groupers passed us and schools of hundreds of Fusliers looked pretty silhouetted against the fading light. Again, our divers opted for a relaxing glass of wine with dinner so the thrill of the night dive would wait for another day!

DAY 3 - Tuesday 28 April

We arrived in St Johns early in the morning while everyone was still fast asleep. It was noticeably warmer further down south, and the water was so flat, it looked like a mirror. Guests enjoyed two spectacular dives at dive site Gota Kebir. There were two Grey Reef Sharks, a big Napoleon Wrasse and Tuna on the first dive. Everyone also enjoyed swimming through the cave on the east side where a clump of Magnificent Anemone guard the entrance. For the second dive we spread out over the plateau in the south. A Whitetip Reef Shark patrolled this portion of the reef. Looking around, the different shades of colours were
breathtaking. Hard and soft corals of all colours came alive against the still blue water in the background. This also turned into a bit of a spot-the-Wart Slug/Nudibranch dive! They seemed to be everywhere, including Gold-Dotted Flatworms. Inside a cave on the west side, we saw Bluespotted Rays, and a Scorpion Fish. Before the end of the dive, another Whitetip Reef Shark passed by. We cruised to dive site Abu Bassala as everyone tucked into a seafood lunch. Orug Abu Bassala is a stunning dive site with swim-throughs, caverns, and a very good chance to spot lots of macro life - plenty of Nudibranchs. We had a great time looking for little critters, and saw a Porcupine Fish under an overhang. Yellowbar Angel Fish live at this dive site, and theres a gorgeous Anemone atop a coral head that had balled up exposing its crimson red underside. We moved the short distance to the main reef of Abu Bassala. Here divers saw Napoleon Wrasse, Giant Moray Eels, and a very large Gold-Dotted Flatworm. The big mounds of hard coral in shallows were
pretty to swim over in the fading light. We also made our night dive at Abu Bassala and spotted a big Spanish Dancer! A Comet hid under a rock and a large Napoleon Wrasse was spotted sleeping in a small cave with just its tail sticking out! As we turned round the great pinnacle, we saw a Gold-Dotted Flatworm stretched out on a rock, and many Basket Stars swaying in the current as the reef bent round.

DAY 4 - Wednesday 29 April

Our day started at Gota Soraya with a zodiac dive in the east. The current nudged us along in a gentle drift dive meaning we were able to see almost all of this glorious reef. Schools of Black Snapper and Ehrenbergs Snapper moved round us as we swam next to the reef scanning the wall for macro life, of which there was plenty. We encountered a relaxed Hawksbill Turtle on the wall which swam close enough to touch. Soft corals of all different colours hang down from overhangs and are perfect to photograph. The second dive was also at Gota Soraya but this time we explored the west. We almost landed on top of a Turtle
as we backward rolled off the sides of the zodiac and descended down into the blue! While the guests were enjoying their dive, two Longimanus (Oceanic Whitetip Shark) circled the boat! Back in the water, two Whitetip Reef Sharks kept us company on this dive as we enjoyed the reef in even more colourful form due to the sun rising higher in the sky. The famous St Johns Caves waited for us for the third dive of the day. Nudibranchs and Wart Slugs were on the rubbly bottom, Hydroids lined the rocky corridors, and a Porcupine Fish swam around at the entrance. Inside, Bluespotted Rays glided over the bottom. The light streamed through overhead and looked magical as it fell, dappled, onto the bottom. The fourth dive was a zodiac dive along the west side of St Johns. Our divers saw five Napoleon Wrasse, Nudibranchs, Scorpion Fish and a Stone Fish! To end the dive, guests were lead through some more caves back to the boat where they also saw a Ghostpipe Fish! The night dive took place at St Johns Caves, along the outside of the caves. Everyone was very happy to see a Spanish Dancer which was swimming around showing off its frilly edges! They also saw plenty of Shrimps and a Spider Crab.

DAY 5 - Thursday 30 April

After another very smooth overnight journey, we arrived in the area of Wadi Gemal ready to dive Shaab Sharm for our first dive. The plateau was alive with many fish including a Hawksbill Turtle which was having its breakfast! Laura spotted two Giant Moray Eels being very friendly towards each other, and a big Grouper further down wall! For the second dive at Shaab Sharm, we backward rolled off the zodiacs in the south west. The visibility was magnificent and the water so calm. We saw a Brown-Edged Glossodorid, a Wart Slug, Scorpion Fish, a Porcupine Fish, Moray Eels, Lion Fish, a Bluespotted Ray and schools of Snapper. The reef wall is so colourful here with a huge variety of coral species. We unmoored and continued our journey north to the area of Marsa Alam where we dived Habilli Marsa Alam. Hard corals of all different species cascade from the top of the reef which sits a few metres beneath the surface right the way down to the bottom where it meets the sand. No sooner had we descended than we saw a Crocodile Fish sitting on the sand. Turning the corner, we found a Yellowmargin Moray Eel which surprised us with its head poking out from a hole in the rock! There were also many small fish and Bluespotted Rays, and the top of the reef was teeming with all different species of Blennies which amused us as we made our safety stops. Five divers jumped in at Gota Marsa Alam for the night dive. They made their way to the wreck that lies on the shallow sandy bottom. Schools of Goat Fish caught the light of divers torches, and Bluespotted Rays skimmed across the bottom. A Trevally proceeded to follow the divers for the entire dive, much like a remora!

DAY 6 - Friday 01 May

A blustery day greeted us on Friday morning but we geared up eager to jump in at Abu Dabbab 3 after our morning coffee! A Stone Fish was spotted camouflaged in the sand, and a Napoleon Wrasse came to say hello. Many Anemones and Clown Fish were perfect for taking photos. For the last dive, we jumped in at the west of Abu Dabbab 3. There we saw the same friendly Napoleon Wrasse, a Wart Slug and a Bluespotted Ray excavating its meal from the sand!

Its been another fun week on the Red Sea Aggressor, and wed like to congratulate...

OPEN WATER DIVER: Mika
NITROX DIVERS: Ana; Nelson; Sara
VIP: Hiro
IRON DIVER: Bryan

Good effort, everyone!

We hope to see all of you again. In the meantime...

Safe Diving Always

Your Red Sea Aggressor Crew