South Sudan – Black-Belt Diver Paradise!

Just like Christopher Columbus, we have also taken to seeing the world and our destination was the deep southern region of the Red Sea. We had heard lots of tales about this place and we wanted to see for ourselves if the amazing stories of the untouched water world were really true.

“Tales are true and truth is only a tale.” (Master Hoppan)

To read more about scuba diving holiday in South Sudan click here…

To read more about Sudan scuba diving holidays click here…

South Sudan - Red Sea

Reporting from Sudan 4.

Last week Andromeda took course from Port Sudan towards the Southern dive sites. These sites have earned their international popularity due to the untouched and pristine marine life and the often unforgettable experiences they offer divers. With this is mind, the tour got off with great expectations.

Tour date: March 31 – April 7, 2012
Itinerary: Sudan – South safari
Air temperature: 26 – 28 °C
Water temperature: 24 °C
Visibility: 20 – 30m

The guests boarded Andromeda at 3:30 in the morning and at 6:30 in the morning we were off to Sanganeb West for the first check dive. Taking advantage of the great weather, we headed South. The second dive was at Hindi Gidir and the third at Protector Reef. There was no night diving here because of the unusually strong currents towards the open sea. Instead the boat and the shisha room have become alive and a nice lively buzz filled the air.

Monday morning started at Protector Reef then Burkut Island for the second dive. We had to wait for the first big meet with hammerheads and grey reef sharks until our dive at the Southern plateau of Shaab Anbar. But there, during just one dive, three special species marched before us – white-tip, grey reef and hammerhead sharks. We had our night dive in the lagoon of Shaab Anbar, protected from the wind and currents, at an especially beautiful coral block pulsing with thousands of tiny fish.

Andromeda dropped anchor at Pinnacolo Reef Tuesday morning for the next 2 dives. Some hammerheads and grey reef sharks showed up although not in such big numbers as before. Our third dive was at the Southern plateau of Shaab Ambar where white-tips and grey reef sharks were swimming by. Night dive was by the coral wall next to the boat in the lagoon of Shaan Ambar.

By Wednesday the winds picked up and the itinerary had to be modified, unfortunately leaving out the Reefs of Logan and Keary. Everybody who has sailed at sea before knows that we must always be prepared for such things to happen. In the face of strong waves and bad weather even the toughest steel vessels and the best captains cannot win. But on the third dive at Jumna Reef it was all made up by the 50-100 hammerheads that marched right in front of us. It was an amazing dive! At night we found shelter again from the strong currents in the lagoon of Shaab Ambar.

During the early morning dive at Jumna, we were witnesses once again to a 50-member school of hammerheads swimming by. Our next dive was at the South plateau of Sanganeb as we could only leave the lagoon in daylight. Our night dive was at the wreck of Umbria.

On Friday, during the last 2 magical dives, everybody was able to discover the Umbria in beautiful sunny conditions before returning to Port Sudan harbour. You can see the highlights of this week in the video. Despite not so perfect visibility at the Southern dive site, the video speaks for itself.

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Dangerous Reef

Location: Red Sea / Egypt / St. John’s
Description: Reef / Coral Garden
Depth: 8 – 26 m

Dangerous reef is the most southerly of the St. John’s reefs dived from Egypt. This is one of the few dive sites in the Southern Red Sea that offer a reasonably shallow flat bottom. This makes it good for an overnight anchorage and night diving. This is a medium sized, diamond shape reef. The hard coral wall drops down to around 18 meters where there is a gently sloping sandy bottom with small coral heads. A family of napoleon wrasse and free-swimming morays are common in this area. The topography here makes for great swim-throughs. There are many breaks in the reef shallows that allow easy and safe penetration.

Abu Fendera: Virgin reefs in Egypt

A long chain of reefs, about 6 km long, with a diversity of bays, wonderful canyons and labyrinth of underwater reefs. Marvelous big and undamaged corals with fantastic colors.

Heading further south to the Sudanese border is an unexplored region which has a few surprises in store for divers. This is the true deep south and this is virgin territory. The charts are fairly inaccurate and many non-marked reefs suddenly appear out of nowhere, making navigation particularly hazardous.

The first immediately noticeable fish are the huge humphead parrotfish.

Among the hard corals are a profusion of brightly coloured chromis and damselfish. Every now and then a huge expanse of hard coral is broken by clumps of red-footed anemones and the attendant clownfish. In deeper water there is the usual Red Sea life, with nothing particularly different. A noticeable exception, however, is the sea bed, where cone shells appear to be thriving.

The main dive sites are about a day’s steam away from St John’s Reef with the season virtually all year round, but the challenge lies in persuading a like-minded group to join you on a trip with so few certainties.

The presence of sharks in this region is unique with encounters of some species not usually seen in the Red Sea such as the Mako. It shows that this unexplored region still has a few surprises in store for divers.

Diving Safari in the Red Sea

A week at sea, gently rocking with the boat, sailing among small islands. Skyblue sea as far as the eye can see, sunrays caress your skin, you read a book, listen to your iPod, lay back comfortably in your sunchair and relax until your next dive. Your thoughts are still around the fish from your previous dive but you already look forward to the next one.

A week of worryfree holiday when your shisha is prepared for you by the crew every evening after the delicious dinner and while you take puffs from the apple flavoured tobacco, your only thought is you wish this week would never end! To READ MORE about diving safari in the red sea click here…

 

Shaab Maksour

This horseshoe-shaped reef lies in open water to the northeast of Ras Banas. The eastern side of the reef has a steeply sloping wall profile, giving way to a sandy slope scattered with coral heads and pinnacles toward the reef’s southeast corner. To READ MORE about diving at Shaab Maksour click here…

 

Diving at Abu Galawa

Location: Egypt / South
Description: Reef / Coral garden / Wreck
Depths: 18 meters

Abu Galawa Shiwayya is a crescent shaped reef with a turquoise blue lagoon or pool enclosed within the reef towards its leeward side. Galawa is the name which refers to this turquoise colour of the blue pool. To READ MORE about scuba diving at Abu Galawa click the link…