Archive for Liveaboard Diving Holidays
At approximately 16:30 hrs on 16th December Red Sea liveaboard, Emperor Fraser, was moored at Dunraven near Sharm el Sheikh. While the 11 guests on board, from the UK, Australia, Finland and Holland, were doing their second dive of the day the wind direction changed suddenly causing the rear mooring lines to break free. With divers underwater the captain was unable to start the engines in order to prevent the boat from colliding with the reef, causing a breach in the hull.
The crew immediately recalled the divers and attempted to plug the rupture. However, this proved impossible and the captain took the decision to abandon ship onto the zodiacs.
Emperor Fleet headquarters helped coordinated the rescue, which included the Egyptian Navy and other dive boats. All guests, guides and crew were picked up by the Egyptian Navy and taken to the nearest port, Sharm el Sheikh, where they were met by Emperor staff, provided with new clothes and taken to the Hilton Dreams Hotel.
Emperor Divers would like to express their thanks to the Egyptian Navy and CDWS for their assistance.
Emperor Divers is deeply regretful that this unfortunate accident has affected our guests’ holiday and is doing everything possible to provide them with diving in the Sharm and Hurghada areas before they fly home. Sadly the Emperor Fraser, a favoured boat for many divers over the past few years, is unsalvageable. Guests with a forward booking on Fraser will be contacted by Emperor Reservations to discuss alternatives.
Source: Emperor Divers (http://www.emperordivers.com/blog/2009/12/red-sea-liveaboard-emperor-fraser-sinks.html)
Dates of safari:
20-27 Nov 2009
Sonia and Marc
Spanish, UK, Austrian
DAY DIVING ONE:
Dive one: Check dive at Poseidon Gardens, Shaab El Erg. Excellent schools of banner fish, masked butterfly fish, really nice, and large crocodile fish great!
Dive two: Carnatic at Abu Nuhas, not too much light on it, because late, but very beautiful soft corals and everybody happy. Very large moray eel at stern.
Night dive: Abu Nuhas ergs, very large Spanish dancer, everybody happy with it.
Wind: Indicate force and direction: 15 knots from north
Water Temperature and Visibility: 20-30m and 26C
DAY DIVING TWO:
Dive one: Chrisoula K with excellent visibility; really beautiful dive; all the garden eels far out, lots of Nemos and free-swimming lionfish, three large tuna, awesome.
Dive two: Giannis D, many batfish, Napoleon fish, beautiful light inside going through engine room and adjacent rooms up to bridge. Many glassfish and copper sweepers in the engine room; beautiful. The bow mast and ropes covered in soft corals, very large moray eel.
Dive three: Dunraven with gorgeous visibility; school of 20 batfish by wreck, large Napoleon fish, hugest and very old moray eel, schooling goatfish, schooling sweetlips, cruising schools of jackfish, anthias mating by the reef, large barracuda getting cleaned by the reef and turtle cruising by, absolutely awesome dive and everybody loved it!
Night dive: Beacon rock with Spanish Dancer and moray eels
Wind: Indicate force and direction: 10-15 knots from north, good weather
Water Temperature and Visibility: 20-30m and 16C
DAY DIVING THREE:
Dive one: Shark Reef and Yolanda with very gentle current, which made for a stunning dive, with all the soft corals puffed up and clouds of anthias. Especially Yolanda was gorgeous, with schools of batfish, trumpet fish and Emperor fish, and tons of anthias as well as a huge amount of blue spotted stingrays and several monster moray eels. We toured around shark reef and around the whole of Yolanda, and had a turtle at the end, beautiful!
Dive two: Another stunning dive was on Anemone City as we slowly made our way around the pillars covered in soft corals, the huge table corals and admired the huge amount of baby black damselfish who inhabit the anemones with the anemone fish. We also visited the deep pinnacle, which is covered in glassfish chased around by a resident school of jackfish. Superb dive!
Dive three: Thistlegorm with no current again made for a very leisurely visit of the forward holds with all the goodies. The highlight was a large school of about 100 batfish hovering above the wreck, fantastic!
Night dive: Thistlegorm with large turtle, lots of lionfish, scorpionfish
Wind: Indicate force and direction: 10 knots from north, flat calm seas
Water Temperature and Visibility: 26C and 30m
DAY DIVING FOUR:
Dive one: Thistlegorm, school of batfish still hovering above the wreck, lots of other divers unfortunately but still nice as no current and good visibility, did stern this time.
Dive two: Kingston wreck at Shag Rock, good visibility and no current, really nice dive and lots of anthias and some goat fish, no yellow snapper schools. A turtle with us for the whole dive from the wreck and along the reef.
Dive three: Bluff Point, absolutely fantastic dive with 15 bottlenose dolphins coming in and playing with us for at least 5 minutes, including mothers and calves, awesome. Also spotted multibar pipefish and a comet fish, as well as scorpion fish and many lionfish.
Night dive: Barge with torpedo ray, crocodile fish, monster scorpionfish, giant moray eels and clouds of sergeant majors and rabbit fish.
Wind: Indicate force and direction: North 15 knots
Water Temperature and Visibility: 26C and 20-30m
DAY DIVING FIVE:
Dive one: Rosalie Moller
Dive two: Rosalie Moller with good visibility and lots of fish and predators chasing the little ones around. Many groupers and lionfish, and lots of cleaning action by cleaner shrimps in the anemones and in the vents around the ship, also small peppered and marble moray eels, plenty pajama nudibranchs and yellow striped dottybacks, beautiful dives!
Dive three: Siyul Kebir, WOW, the famous pinnacle was even better than normal today… as beside the usual fantastic inhabitants (yellowmouth morays, broad-banded and multibar pipefish, many different cleaner shrimp, anemones, clouds of glassfish, blennies, scorpionfish and pepper moray eel) we saw a giant painted frogfish…fantastic! What a dive…
Night dive: Um Qammar and everybody loved it. Saw red stonefish, moray eel eating a fish, lionfish eating fish, a cuttlefish, a crocodile fish, and 2 Spanish dancers and, of course, tons of shrimps and crabs…awesome!
Wind: Indicate force and direction: 15-20 knots from North
Water Temperature and Visibility: 23 — 26C and 20 to 30m
DAY DIVING SIX:
Dive one: Um Qammar Island, beautiful pinnacle with lots of soft corals and gorgonians fans, many fish, beautiful dive.
Dive two: Wreck of Belinda, many schooling fish, lots of nudibranchs, ideal for guests as flying next morning.
European Shark Week, 10-18 October, is a unique opportunity for European Union citizens around the world to demonstrate their support for shark conservation and effect change.
This year, Project AWARE Foundation and Shark Alliance Partners are going back to governments for follow-up action under the EU Shark Plan seeking stricter fishing quotas (and zero quotas for the most vulnerable species) and a stronger finning ban.
Although it is very rare these days for someone to go missing at sea, unfortunately it can happen.
Emperor Divers has always been at the forefront of safety in the Red Sea and, at the time of going to press, is the only British-owned liveaboard company now offering a Missing Diver Location System currently operating on Emperor Superior and Emperor Elite and to be installed on all its liveaboards by the end of the year.
The system by Seasafe has been developed over a period of five years in response to a growing international demand for a personal ‘self-contained’ and ‘stand-alone’ tracking and location system whereby the diver wears a small compact unit on either their arm or BCD. With just the touch of a button a missing diver at the surface with a problem can alert boats in the area that are equipped with Seasafe. This alarm triggers a series of steps to co-ordinate a search using a powerful directional antenna to pinpoint the missing diver. During an Emperor training and demo session recently the system tested accurately up to 18km away.
It’s hoped that other operators will also install this in order to help Emperor give search cover for much of the Red Sea’s famous dive sites. The Chamber of Diving and Watersports (CDWS) will also now be testing the system.
Mike Braun, Emperor Divers’ General Manager explains, “The valuable benefit of Seasafe is the ability to respond immediately to distress signals that aren’t directly critical but can be dealt with at local level without involving Search & Rescue resources.”
Seasafe is a ‘personal’ system whereby each individual carries their own tracking device comprising a personal transmitter, a receiver and an antenna. The transmitter can be manually triggered and can continue to transmit for up to seven days after activation.
You can book your liveaboard or shore diving with Emperor Divers through Explorer Travel (http://www.redsea.explorertravel.co.uk/RedSeaLiveaboards.htm)
Images (C) Emperor Divers
This was only our second live aboard so our experience is limited but it was much better than the first one to the Great Barrier Reef so it receives high marks. We paid extra for the largest suite in the bow of the boat and the accommodations were excellent, we discovered however this was not the best choice for my wife who is subject to mal-de-mer.
The dive itinerary (Simply the Best) was chosen for being well offshore beyond the reach of the many day boats operating from Port Ghalib and Marsa Alam; large pelagics are the primary featured attraction. Dive locations included the Brothers Islands and Daedalus Reef in the south central Red Sea. The typical strong currents at these locations require that divers who book this itinerary be AOW certified with a minimum of 50 logged dives.
Strong winds, rough conditions, and long travel distances made several days uncomfortable for my wife Karen, accentuated by our location in the bow of the boat, live and learn as the saying goes.
Visibility was good but not excellent, due in part to the rough seas, aside from one close encounter with a huge Manta we were somewhat disappointed by the lack of photo opportunities with the shark species encountered which are advertised as the primary attraction. While we could see and identify Gray Reef, Great Hammerhead, and Oceanic White tip sharks, visibility prevented good photos, other divers identified Thresher sharks as well but no one had much success photographing them, no fault of Emperor Divers of course.
On the flip side we were pleasantly surprised at the huge variety of small fish, and brilliant corals. Friendly Napoleon Wrasse nearly the size of Goliath Grouper and many tropical species not seen previously took the sting out of poor photo opportunities for pelagic species.
Food was plentiful and very good quality. The entire staff was cheerful and attentive, dive guides were available for those who wanted them, but divers were permitted to dive their own profiles within the guide lines described.
Much of the diving was done by drops from Zodiac tenders, the mother ship remained fixed to mooring balls located in the calmest spot at the offshore locations. In the rough conditions during our trip boarding the Zodiacs in full dive gear was a challenge at times, the ride to the drop zone could also be very uncomfortable depending on the travel distance necessary. Depending on location and current some dives were permitted directly from the dive deck for those who disliked the Zodiac ride.
Many of our live aboard companions hailed from Europe, Americans were in the minority no doubt due to the travel required, for Europeans the Red Sea is a common dive travel destination much as the Caribbean is for North American divers.
Emperor Divers also operates the Marina Lodge Hotel in Port Ghalib, home port for several live aboard boats including Elite. We spent one night in the hotel following our Red Sea dive safari, accommodations were comfortable and good food is available in the hotel restaurant. We were a little disappointed at the lack of location specific dive souvenirs in Emperor’s dive shop also on the premises. Emperor day boat trips can also be booked from this location.
We picked the summer months for our Red Sea trip since it normally offers optimum dive conditions, but Mother Nature did not read the same brochure for this excursion. Something travelers to Egypt should understand is that the summer months are the off season for land based tourism, consequently Egyptian domestic airline schedules are reduced during the period, and this required us to make a long trip by car from Hurghada to Port Ghalib near Marsa Alam that would not be required in the winter months. No one goes to Egypt without a visit to the Pyramids and ancient temples and we were no exception. There is a reason non diver types consider winter to be the travel season in this part of the world, all land based activities were planned for early morning and it was still hotter than you know where!
You can book your Red Sea Liveaboard cruise with Explorer Travel (http://www.redsea.explorertravel.co.uk) by calling 0208 816 8789.