Egypt and Red Sea

These are a collection of updates from the Dive Utah Facebook group –

After an 8 hour layover in London where we saw the best of the sights from the Big Bus Tour, we landed in Cairo. 2 hours of sleep later we flew south to Abu Simbel to see the temple there and back to Asswan to board our cruise ship down the Nile. We stopped at few temples/ruins along the way and got off this morning in Luxor. ImageIt’s a bit different then the one in Vegas. No big light. We went to the Valley of Kings but couldn’t take any pictures. Queen Hatsheput’s Temple and the Colossi of Memnon rounded out the day. Had some great pizza for dinner. Amazing how a little thing like comfort food can make all the difference. The next morning we saw the huge temple in Luxor and then Karnak before heading back to Cairo.

The traffic in Cairo is as crazy as people said it would be. 2 lanes painted on the road but 3 lanes of traffic!! Add some scooters, motorcycles, bikes and donkey carts and it is amazing that we haven’t seen any accidents. We went out to the pyramids. I was afraid it might be anti-climatic but it was amazing. The only bummer is the way over-aggressive vendors. We rounded out our Cairo stay with the big museum, the Citadel and the Ali mosque then flew out to the Red Sea for the live aboard.

So we fly from Cairo down to the coast and then took a shuttle about 1 hour farther south to Safaga get on the Emperor Elite, our floating home for the next week. After a briefing we had supper and went to bed, ready for the diving to start. We dove the next morning with 2 easy dives around Safaga then headed out to sea for a 10 hour run to the Brothers Islands. We had a ton of wind all week. Luckily going south, the wind was at our backs Imageso the ride wasn’t too rough. We spent 2 days diving Big and Little Brothers Islands. These are tiny specks of rocks, barely big enough to call an island. They are out in the middle of the Red Sea so you really feel isolated. It was an adventure. We had a lot of currents so most dives were drift dives using the zodiacs to take you or pick you or both. With some 5-8′ seas, that was an adventure in itself (see the Discussion about Toughest Dives Ever). The diving was awesome. Mostly walls and a few wrecks. Everything was covered in soft corals. Since we did mostly deep, long dives, we only did 3 a day. The usual profile was a max depth between 100-120 then gradually shallow with a max bottom time of 50-70 minutes. Since most of the bigger 100cf tanks were already taken I was dying trying to stretch longer bottom times from my air, especially considering the depth. They pumped 30% nitrox so you could do the depth and make repetitive deep dives. After 2 days here we took another 6 hour ride south to Daedalus Reef. Not even an island but a reef with a lighthouse on top. We were hoping for hammerheads but instead spent time just staring into the blue. I hate it when nature doesn’t adjust to our schedules! After a day here, we were not looking forward to an 18 hour ride into the wind to get back towards Safaga. Luckily we were able to change plans and head into Port Galeb instead (just a 6 hour ride) and dive closer to shore the last day. We took a 3 hour shuttle ride back to the airport but it sure beat another 12 hours of rough seas!! The best dive was at Big Brother on the wreck of the Numidia. It ran into the island over 100 years ago and is still partially intact. It is COMPLETELY covered in soft corals and schooling fish. The vis was over 100′ and the dive was fantastic, definitely makes my top 5 of all time!!