Reporting from Sudan

This season we are keeping a safari log about every diving safari onboard M/Y Andromeda in Sudan. We will tell you what we saw, where we went and all kids of interesting information to get your Mondays started and to give you a chance to read our stories and to marvel in the gorgeous underwater photos.

Here is our first week’s report:

M/Y Andromeda arrived in Port Sudan in the beginning of March. She did not have to wait too long in the harbour as within three days the first diving group arrived from Cairo and the boat had been filled with life again. And a few hours later, she departed for her first voyage towards Shaab Suedi, the usual spot for our check dives.

There were a couple more dives in the afternoon and at night at Gurna Reef which is a quiet, quaint reef, a perfect start to the promisingly exciting Shaab Rumi where the group descended the following morning.

Shaab Rumi did not disappoint, as usual. Sizeable grey reef sharks added to the excitement of every dive and in the early mornings the hammerheads also showed up. The only thing missing was the humphead parrotfish but the “big fish” made of for it. The afternoon and night dives were at the Precontinent – Cousteau’s famous underwater headquarters.

On the third day we headed for Sanganeb – which now we can say – was the most beautiful dive of the first safari tour!

The Sanganeb South plateau is a completely healthy and splendidly colourful reef. The dives were made unforgettable by schools of jackfish, barracudas and reef sharks. Seeing them 1-2 metre close was an amazing sight! Right after the dive the boat continued South in the direction of Shaab Anbar. The night was spent in the lagoon and a dive at dusk was the warm-up for the adventure-filled day that followed. Dives were at the north-eastern side of the reef and in the end, divers were even witnesses to a turtle couple fighting which was so engaging that they even forgot to take pictures of the whole event. J

After sunrise it was time for the Jumna reef, two dives, both with hammerheads. On the first dive there were only a few of them but on the second dive – everybody was blown away! An actual hammerhead curtain with at least 50 sharks passed right before the divers…

Too quickly but the week was coming to an end the direction was the harbour. The last night dive and the last two daily dives were at Umbria. Luckily Andromeda was the only boat at the wreck, so divers were able to discover her every corner undisturbed.

This is it for now from the first week. To be continued…

Zsolt Sasdi – underwater cameraman

I was born in Szombathely in March 1976 as the youngest son of a simple but all the more loving family. My father taught me to swim when I was very young, but in spite of the fact that I already felt completely safe in the water at that time, my interest in underwater life only extended as far as fishing and keenly awaited new editions of a TV nature program called Delta. I was a 15 year old teenager when I first saw the sea during an outing to Italy. This story would be a beautiful one, if I could say here that there was love at first sight between the sea and the boy from Szombathely.

However, since what I am trying to write now should be a real biography, I must confess that there were no blue waves and no colourful fish shoals at all. Around that particular area the sea looked more like Shrek’s swamp than anything else.

It wasn’t until the long awaited big encounter during a weekend in Croatia in 2003 that I finally fell into eternal love with the underwater world. For four days, from dawn to dusk, I did nothing else but lie on the water and gaze at the fish through some goggles. I only found out later that what I was doing was actually snorkelling, and that even in Hungary it was possible to complete a diving course. I knew then that I wanted to be a diver, and since then I have been devoting every free moment I have to this sport. I am a qualified NAUI instructor now.

Just like diving, film-making was completely unfamiliar territory for me at first. However, I quickly decided that I would not be satisfied if it was only me who saw the wonders of the undersea world. I want to share with the whole word what we experience down in the depths. After some nights spent at home looking at photos with the family, this approach seemed inadequate and I soon exchanged my camera for a camcorder. It quickly became clear that working with motion pictures is more my scene. At first I simply filmed everything that moved, but later I started to be able to find and develop a theme, and capture it properly as a moving image. My first camcorder was followed by a better one, later by a much better one, and then by the best. Of course, film-making is much rather a profession than a hobby, and I have always wanted to get as much training as possible so that I can make better and better films. In 2008 I graduated to HD filming and obtained a Sony PMW-EX3 XDcam, which is currently one of the highest quality professional video cameras that can be taken underwater. Since then I have made recordings and films for several TV channels and I have filmed above and below water in more than 40 countries. I have shot scenes and actions in oceans, seas, caves and wrecks, and have received prizes in many international film festivals as a fruit of my work. I hope many more follow these, as diving and my camera have grown together.

Zsolt Sasdi website

Have you seen it yet?

Our latest promotional film has been completed, courtesy of Zsolt Sasdi. It has only been circulating on the Net for a short while but thanks to Facebook events, appearing on the home page and all of you sharing it with others, it has been seen and commented on by many. We like it a lot! What do you think?

Tibor Fazekas

Fazekas TiborHe took his first breath underwater in 1991. In 1996 he turned his passion into a way of living and became a diving professional. He worked in Turkey, Croatia, Bali, the Red Sea and Austria, among others.

His new love underwater, beside technical diving, is underwater video, though he is still a newbie.

He made his first attempts with different cameras and housings, from homemade to Nimar.

Now, for practical reasons, he chooses a small one-hand setup, Sanyo HD2000 in a Patima Housing. It is not the most professional but it is enough for the usual stuff.

Tibor Fazekas website and Facebook page

St. Johns Safari 2009 may – underwater