What to expect from an Escorted Get Wrecked trip!

Liveaboards offer the ultimate in holiday diving, everyone knows that, and wreck diving in the Red Sea is just outstanding, but what should you expect on an Escorted Get Wrecked trip ?

We’ll usually be diving from Whirlwind, Typhoon or Cyclone in the north Red Sea, and they’re all based out of the International Marina at Sharm, so once you’ve cleared immigration and collected your baggage at the airport you’ll be directed to the appropriate transport by our ground agents and taken direct to the Marina, where you’ll need to go through an extra passport and security check.  Usually an Egyptian customs official boards the coach and guests are asked to open their passport at the visa stamp for a visual check, then you’ll leave the coach for a check of your hand baggage, re-board the bus and be driven across to your vessel.

Whirlwind What to expect from an Escorted Get Wrecked trip!

Whirlwind at sea in the evening sun

As soon as you board the boat you’ll meet the dive guides and myself, and be asked to remove your shoes (It’s a barefoot environment, so they’ll be put in a bag and stowed away for the week), then make your way up to the saloon where you’ll find a welcome glass of fruit juice.

Once in the saloon you’ll be asked for your passport so they can be sent ashore for the appropriate permissions to be granted for the boat to leave port on her itinerary.  Once the paperwork has been done the passports are brought back aboard to be held by the dive guides in case the boat is checked by the coast guard whilst out at sea during the week.  It’s never happened to me, but it does happen from time to time.

Next will come a short boat briefing from the guides.  This will cover boat safety (Lifejackets, muster stations and so on), guest facilities (Where the tea, coffee and biscuits are, and the safe in your cabin), and personal conduct (Drink lots of water, wet and dry areas, smoking areas and don’t throw paper down the toilets – marine toilets use small bore pipes and blocking a pipe with used toilet tissue will not make you popular with the crew member tasked with sorting it out!).

Dining saloon What to expect from an Escorted Get Wrecked trip!

The dining room aboard Whirlwind, ready for breakfast on the first day

Once the boat briefing is finished cabins will be confirmed, and then the group split into two.  Half the guests will be asked to head to the dive deck to set up their gear, the other half will be asked to show qualification books or cards and logbooks (Or asked for their total number of dives and date of last dive), and confirm each diver or buddy team has a whistle, delayed SMB and torch.  Torches can be rented, whistles and SMBs can be borrowed.  These are essential items of safety equipment and are required of divers in the Red Sea by the Egyptian authorities.

Make sure you set your kit up and everything works, and if you’ve hired kit now’s the time to try it on or make sure it works.  If there are any issues it’s possible to sort them before we leave port, but only if we know about them.  And I apologise for teaching Granny to suck eggs!

The following morning is check dive time.  This is the only dive of the week that is mandatory.

Entering the water What to expect from an Escorted Get Wrecked trip!

Check dive stride-entry, and for me it means the trip has begun!

We’ll do a full diving briefing prior to the dive, and ask you to deploy your dSMB at the end of the dive, but essentially it’ll be a bimble from the back of the boat.  Personally, I love my check dives.  The moment after the giant stride has passed beyond the point of no return is just fantastic, and then I’m submerged in clear blue water and the trip has begun.  This being the Red Sea you never know what you might spot.  I was once engrossed photographing the boat from below, trying to get the bow-rope and underside of the hull silhouetted against the morning sun and a nice blue-water background and surfaced to find everyone else had seen a manta.

Alternative Lionfish small What to expect from an Escorted Get Wrecked trip!

Lionfish at the Alternatives on the check dive. I didn't think you'd be interested in a picture of a rope.

If you’ve travelled out with a group or in a couple you’ll probably buddy with whoever you went with, if you’re on your own you’ll be allocated a buddy.  The check dive is your first chance to see if their style of diving matches yours.  If it doesn’t, have a quick word with the guides and we can switch things around without any bad feelings being generated.

Loading the zodiac What to expect from an Escorted Get Wrecked trip!

Loading the zodiac, which we use for some dive sites. There are two zodiacs on each liveaboard, and you can see from the rebreathers that we offer full tech support as well as air and nitrox.

On my Escorted Get Wrecked trips we sometimes make the check dive at Beacon Rock, offering the option of a dive from the back of the boat or of using the zodiac and dropping onto the wreck of the Dunraven for those happy with their skills and weighting, but this isn’t intended as a wreck dive, we’ll dive Dunraven properly later in the week, it’s a dive to make sure your kit has survived the attentions of the airline baggage handlers and to adjust to Red Sea diving conditions.

Ready to enter water at Ras Mohammed What to expect from an Escorted Get Wrecked trip!

Some entries are from the rear of the dive-deck, such as Ras Mohammed.

Then we’ll head off for the second dive, which will certainly be a wreck, and from then on you’ll get a detailed site brief from me prior to each dive.  The brief will give you an outline of the sinking of the vessel we’re about to dive, followed by a suggested tour of the wreck in pictures, with the main features illustrated so you shouldn’t miss anything important.  If you’ve done a wreck once or twice before, let me know and I’ll try to get you to something new or suggest somewhere different for you to look.

Divers over Thistlegorm What to expect from an Escorted Get Wrecked trip!

Divers heading down to Thistlegorm

Once I’ve briefed the wreck I hand over to the guides who will brief the dive.  That means currents (If any), who goes in which zodiac (If we’re using them), and if you want a guide or would prefer to dive in a buddy pair.  Solo diving isn’t possible.

If you’re interested in something specific, or haven’t ever done a night dive or wreck penetration, for example, take the guided option.  The guides and I are there to make sure you get the very best diving possible, subject only to the requirements of safety and the over-riding authority of the boat skipper.  We’ve also done every site you’ll dive a good number of times and know where to look to spot stuff.

Dependant on our arrival time aboard the boat we’ll make either three or four dives on the first day of the trip, and three on the final day, with four dives a day on other days.  On Rosalie Moller day we suggest guests who have made three dives on her skip the night dive, but dependant on the mooring we’ll offer a night dive to guests who haven’t dived her so intensively.

Watching for divers What to expect from an Escorted Get Wrecked trip!

Topside safety cover is vital, here the crew watch and wait for divers returning from exploring Rosalie Moller

The actual itinerary we follow varies a bit from week to week, and is chosen to make sure we get the best winds at each site.  We try not to make the longer crossing over the Gulf of Suez more than once, so we run the itinerary as a sort of circular tour in one direction or the other.  Either way you dive the same sites and will get the same number of dives in the week.

Either:

Day Dive One Dive Two Dive Three Dive Four
1 Check Dive Carnatic Giannis D Abu Nuhas
2 Kimon M Chrisoula K Barge Barge
3 Rosalie Moller Rosalie Moller Rosalie Moller ???
4 Ulysses Kingston Thistlegorm Thistlegorm
5 Thistlegorm Thistlegorm Dunraven Beacon Rock
6 Ras Mohammed Ras Mohammed Karaba None

Or:

Day Dive One Dive Two Dive Three Dive Four
1 Check Dive Thistlegorm Thistlegorm Thistlegorm
2 Thistlegorm Kingston Barge Barge
3 Rosalie Moller Rosalie Moller Rosalie Moller ???
4 Ulysses Chrisoula K Giannis D Abu Nuha
5 Kimon M Carnatic Dunraven Beacon Roack
6 Ras Mohammed Ras Mohammed Karaba None


Each evening of the trip I make a presentation on some aspect of maritime history linked either to the wrecks we’ve dived that day or will dive on the following day.  Some of the topics I cover are the Desert War and Mediterranean Naval actions during the Second World War, to explain why Thistlegorm and Rosalie Moller came to be there, the development of steamships, to explain why there are so many nineteenth century merchant ships in such a small area, and more.  The presentations last around thirty minutes, and are usually timed to finish as the bell is rung for dinner.  Pre-dive briefs are mandatory if you’re diving, presentations are up to you.  All I ask is that if you’re skipping a dive or a presentation let me, or one of the guides, know so we don’t disturb you or keep everyone else waiting.

The itinerary for the following day will be briefed after dinner each night, but none of it is set in stone.  If the weather changes, the itinerary may have to change, and if the group wants to do something different, no problem, safety permitting.  Very occasionally we may have a couple of options and will ask the group which they would prefer to do.  If you’re outvoted please be prepared to compromise a little!

Between dives, and at any time in the week, I’m also on hand to chat about any aspect of the Red Sea wrecks, or indeed wrecks in general, and as I’m also a professional photographer I’m more than happy to talk cameras and pictures or to give you any help or advice, or even run you a photography course.

In the jacuzzi What to expect from an Escorted Get Wrecked trip!

It's not all hard work, relaxing in the jacuzzi at the end of a day's diving is possible on all the boats, and before you ask, yes, this was after the last dive of the trip!

So, what do you get from an Escorted Get Wrecked?  Wreck diving, and nothing but wreck diving, with detailed briefings and background information, and a group of like-minded enthusiasts.  I’ll look forward to seeing you over there.

The full 2010 Escorted Get Wrecked Schedule can be found here.

My signature for TBS blog What to expect from an Escorted Get Wrecked trip!

www.divewithmike.co.uk

3 Responses to What to expect from an Escorted Get Wrecked trip!

  1. Judy says:

    Sounds a bit fab to me…… Can’t wait ’til March ! More wrecks than you can shake a stick at and none of those pesky reefy thingies !!!!!

  2. truco ruleta says:

    Great idea, thanks for this tip!

  3. Pingback: thistlegorm wreck

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