Red Sea, Hurghada, 13 - 22nd July '17
DATE: 13 - 22nd July '17
PRICE: Starting @ R21 999 per person sharing
INCLUDING: Return international flights, airport taxes, road transfers, 7 nights liveaboard accommodation, 6 diving days, all meals
ADD-ONS: 2 nights Hurghada, Jordan extension, Cairo city tour (including Pyramids, Sphinx, Egyptian & Military Museum)
BOOKINGS: R10 330 deposit to secure booking / R5 600 by 10th January '17 and balance by 1st April '17
Measuring 37m, Emperor Superior offers 9 twin-berths (1 x Upper Deck), 2 bunk style and 1 double cabin and a compact single bed cabin, comfortably accommodating 25 people. All cabins have air-con and ensuite bathrooms (WC/shower) and two towels per guest. The spacious dining and salon areas offer air-con, media player and TV and stereo. She has limited free WiFi (for internet browsing and connecting with communication applications only when in signal). Outstanding menus are offered on board. There are two sundecks and a dive deck with platform. As with all the Emperor Fleet, all safety equipment meets International standards. She is also equipped with NITROX, offers technical diving and carries a minimum of two dive guides.
THE ROUTE OF REEFS & WRECKS (FROM HURGHADA)
* Abu Nuhas / Straits of Gubal / SS Thistlegorm / Ras Mohamed / Ulysses / Rosalie Moller
The famous horseshoe shaped reef of Shaab El Erg is a perfect example of the reefs on offer on this cruise, with its beautiful hard coral garden and the chance to see dolphins.
Abu Nuhas has four well-known wrecks: Giannis D, Carnatic, the lentil wreck and the tile wreck, all offering spectacular dives and plenty of fish life.
Night dives can be superb as Gubal Island offers protected anchoring for the night. A small wreck at 8-10 metres makes for a spectacular night dive with lionfish, scorpion fish and its resident giant moray eel as well as the wreck of the Ulysses and the Rosalie Moller. Next onto the Kingston lying at Shag Rock; the Carina lying close to Sha'ab Ali and the Dunraven at Beacon Rock in Ras Mohamed National Park. And finally the most famous wreck in the Red Sea, the Thistlegorm, at Sha'ab Ali.
The SS Thistlegorm was sunk in 1941 after being bombed by the German Luftwaffe while on a mission to deliver a cargo of ammunition and other war materials to the British troops in North Africa. The Rosalie Moller, carrying a cargo of coal, suffered the same fate just two days later.
Whilst in Ras Mohamed, you may have the chance to do a dive at Shark Reef; a sheer wall falling into the blue. From here the boat heads back towards Hurghada.
In between wreck dives you will also visit the reefs of the Straits of Gubal, Gulf of Suez and those to the north of Hurghada. A variety of deep walls and hard coral gardens with an abundance of reef fish make them well worth a visit.
All wrecks are subject to divers' experience and weather conditions
* Return international flights from Johannesburg to Cairo
* Return domestic airfares from Cairo to Hurghada
* Airport taxes
* Share cabin, 7 nights on board (last night either on board or in a hotel) on a gold class liveaboard
* 6 Days diving (see route description above for number of dives), guide, tanks, weights
* Hire of weights and 12L aluminium tanks
* Breakfast, lunch and dinner
* All tea, coffee, bottled water, snacks & soft drinks
* Environmental tax, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
* Free Nitrox on Platinum and Gold boats
Supplements: €50 per person for any Upper Deck cabin. €50 per person for Double cabin (Superior), €100 per person for Suite (Elite). €140 for Single cabin (Superior). Twin berth cabin for single use = Standard cabin share rate + 50%.
* Add on return flights to Johannesburg if required
* Hurghada & Cairo add-ons
* Hire of dive equipment other than tanks and weights (15L Cylinder – 40 Euros)
* Visa processing cost @ R350 per passport
* Liveaboard service charge (50 Euros – divided amongst crew)
* Personal travel, baggage and diving insurance (Group Policy – R240)
* Lunch dinner & drinks in Hurghada and Cairo
Day 1: Check in at OR Tambo airport for flight to Cairo. Depart Johannesburg @ 21:45pm and arrive Cairo @ 05:35am
Day 2: Arrive in Cairo airport, met and assisted through customs. Transfer to domestic airport to check in for domestic flight from Cairo, departing 07:00am and arriving Hurghada at 08h05am. Met at Hurghada airport on arrival at approximately 10h00 and transferred directly to live-aboard. Once Port clearance has been obtained, live-aboard departs. The luxury live-aboard offers 5* service, exceptional cuisine, a friendly crew and unlimited diving opportunities. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily and tea, coffee, soft drinks and bottled water are freely available on board.
Day 2 - 8: Unlimited diving on only the best dive sites in and around Ras Mohammed National Park, also including the famous Thistlegorm, Sha’ab Abu Nuhas and Gubal wrecks. Night 7 is an overnight in Hurghada Port on liveaboard - group has night free to visit Hurghada. There is a selection of restaurants, shops and bars right on your doorstep.
Day 9: Check out of live-aboard after breakfast and transfer to the airport for short flight departing Hurghada at 19:20pm and arriving Cairo at 20:25pm or go onto the hotel for your Hurghada extension. Departing Cairo @ 23:10pm and arriving Johannesburg 07:10am.
Days 9 & 10 (optional add-on): Spend 2 nights / 2 days at leisure in Hurghada. Overnight on a bed and breakfast basis.
Day 11: Transfer to Hurghada airport in the morning to catch return flight to Cairo. Met and assisted at Cairo airport where you will depart for a guided tour of the Pyramids and Sphinx (if included in your package). Half-day hotel room included. Lunch and dinner are at own cost. Depart for airport in the late evening to check in for return flight to Johannesburg. Departs Cairo at 23h10. Dinner and breakfast are served on the flight.
Day 12: Arrival time in Johannesburg approximately 07h10.
ABOUT THE DIVE SITES
The Sinai Peninsular itself is a mountainous region which often seems mirrored underwater with monumental drop offs’, dramatic vertical walls and canyons. The water around the Sinai is on a major shipping route and is a gateway from Europe to Africa. Over the years the combination of hundreds of reefs and boats has resulted in shipping accidents creating numerous wrecks. The Northern Red Sea boasts some of the most impressive wrecks world wide including the Rosalie Moller and the SS Thistlegorm. In addition to the wrecks the northern Red Sea is home to some spectacular reef dives. The northern route begins from the port of Hurghada.
* Straits of Tiran: Gordon, Thomas, Woodhouse, Jackson
* Ras Mohamed Area: Shark Reef & Yolanda, Jackfish Alley
* Sharm Area: Stingray Station, Ras Katy
* Abu Nuhas: Carnatic, Marcus, Ghiannis D
* Gubal Island: Bluff Point, Barge, Ulysses
* Shag Rock: Kingston and Reef
* Sha'ab Mahmoud: Small Crack, The Alternatives, Dunraven
The Straits of Tiran
There are four main dive sites in Tiran: Gordon; Thomas; Woodhouse; and Jackson. These are named after the English Cartographers who drew the first nautical maps of the region. The straits are formed by the island of Tiran to the east, and the Sinai coastline to the west. The meeting of deep waters, continental plate, and narrow passage creates a bottleneck through which a strong, dense flow of plankton is funneled to the coral reefs. A food chain is set in motion which links the plankton, coral organisms and reef fish to the larger fish – the sharks! At certain times of the year, weather and sea conditions permitting, a dive may be done in the deep blue water to search for a school of hammerheads.
Ras Mohamed National Park
Ras Mohamed peninsula separates the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba. Currents flow out of both gulfs and bathe Ras Mohamed in rich nutrients, which assure both plentiful and varied marine life. Shark Reef and Yolanda wreck is the most impressive dive in the national park. Shark reef has a vertical wall descending to over 800m and although the Yolanda wreck is too deep for recreational dives you can swim amongst her cargo of ideal standard toilets, baths and a BMW car. In the summer months vast numbers of snapper, barracuda and bat fish school in the blue water in front of Shark reef with oceanic black tip sharks moving between them
Reefs are covered in fish life and some reefs are so shallow that these can even be viewed from the surface. The corals come to within 1 meter from the surface and then continue down into the depths. Most of the fish life is the smaller reef dwellers as opposed to the pelagic life, but if you look into the blue the big stuff is there.
One of the real highlights of diving in this region are the well-preserved, accessible shipwrecks that litter the seabed across the entrance to the Gulf of Suez. At least six major wrecks lie in easy reach of Sharm El Sheikh or Hurghada. There are 19th century mail steamers, modern cargo ships and historic spice traders lying on the bottom of this stretch of sea, all waiting to be explored.
It's also worth mentioning that the Red Sea is very salty so expect to carry more weight than you would imagine necessary with your warm water kit.
Tempered by sea breezes from the gulfs of Suez and Aqaba, temperatures are mild in winter and blazing hot in summer, often reaching 40 degrees (104 F) or more. Rainfall is minimal and limited to the winter months. Beware of the danger of fierce sunlight and cover up, using a good sunscreen.
Seasonal temperature variation is quite similar to that found in southern Sinai. Water temperatures range from the upper twenties (80s F) in the summer to winter lows as cold as 19 to 20 degrees (66-68 F). You may be comfortable enough in just a swimskin in summer, particularly if you normally dive in cold water. Conversely, in the wintertime, some locals use drysuits! A 3mm (0.12in) or even a 5mm (0.20) wetsuit would not be out of order for most of the year.
As autumn progresses to winter, the prevailing northerly winds in the area change. Long swells pushed by the south wind have the entire length of the Red Sea to build up, and by the time they reach the Straits of Gubal, they can be pretty powerful. Conditions are rarely so bad that diving is impossible, but the boat ride can get rough, particularly since so many of the sites in the area are on open-sea reefs. If you suffer from seasickness take a good supply of motion-sickness tablets.
LOCAL DIVE ETIGUETTE
It is important that every diver does his or her bit to preserve the reef environment. Please note that the whole area is protected and no touching or breaking of coral, feeding of fish, fishing, wearing of gloves or little rings is allowed; offenders are liable for prosecution.