There are very few places that offer excellent diving all year round, and the Northern Red Sea is one of them. I’ve been diving the area for a long time and worked as a dive guide there for more than 5 years. Last week I went on a Red Sea liveaboard sailing from Sharm El Sheikh.
I’ve just come back from a trip onboard Whirlwind, Scuba Travel’s main boat in the area and had an extraordinary week.
This time we departed from Sharm El Sheikh. It was very interesting flying back to the place where I used to live and work.
Once we landed in Sharm
Once onboard Halmoush, our guide decided to do the check dive in Tiran, so we headed to Gordon reef straight from the marina.
Gordon is a beautiful reef suitable for divers with any level of experience. The shallows offer a very traditional reef, but if you venture down the slope you can see some magnificent sea fans.
Check dive done, we were looking forward to a great week.
In Tiran, there are 4 reefs, Gordon, Thomas, Woodhouse and Jackson. In my opinion one of the most colourful and vibrant dive sites in the Red Sea. Jackson reef. Here the group were treated to schooling reef fish, clouds of anthias and a peaceful Turtle interested only in the corals he was eyeing for breakfast.
From Tiran, we set course to Ras Mohammed and dived Shark and Yolanda, an impressive site that always has something to surprise you. This time, besides the astonishingly soft corals, we were treated to a lovely school of Batfish in the shallows.
Time for some rust
Having spent the first two days of the week concentrating on some impressive reefs it was time to visit some of the wrecks the Northern Red Sea is famous for. The first one was the Dunraven. She lies at 30 meters next to a beautiful reef, her upside-down hull covered in corals is incredibly photogenic and the wreck itself is very easy to penetrate. It took me some time but eventually, on the way back to Whirlwind I managed to find one of the many stonefish that live in the area.
From here we headed straight to the mighty Thistlegorm. Without a doubt one of the most famous wrecks in the world and a stunning dive. We did 4 dives on the wreck including a night dive and were blessed with probably the best visibility I’ve ever seen there and gentle currents.
Getting advantage of the calm weather, we headed to Abu Nuhas to dive two of the 4 wrecks that lie on this reef. We chose the Carnatic with her coral-covered “ribcage” like structure and the iconic Giannis D
It was the first time I’ve dived this wreck since the famous H-frame was broken a few months back. Even though it is sad not being able to see that iconic shape, the dive was fantastic, the broken frame on the seabed offers a dramatic view and it is incredibly photogenic.
The famous Barge was our nightspot and the dive did not disappoint, morays, huge scorpionfish, cuttlefish and for the first time in the Red Sea I found a candy crab.
On our way back we revisited Shark and Yolanda but this time we started at Anemone City and Jackfish alley.
We finished the week with two great dives at Ras Um Sid and Ras Za’Atar in the Ras Mohammed National Park. It was time to get back to the marina in Sharm el-Sheikh
Back to Sharm.
The Wrecks and Reefs itinerary is a great way to dive the Northern Red Sea regardless of the time of the year. While summer brings the big schools of fish to Ras Mohammed, the winter months can offer spectacular visibility. If you are new to liveaboards or a seasoned diver, This itinerary is excellent offering everything you want from a dive holiday. ANd sailing from Sharm makes it even better.
Whirlwind is the perfect platform to dive the northern Red Sea. She is a great liveaboard with loads of space for everyone onboard. A very spacious dive deck and very social saloon and dining areas. She’s been sailing the region for more than 15 years and her crew has been on board for most of that time working together as a brilliant friendly machine, always smiling and willing to help. All under the vigilant eye of Mohammed, one of the most experienced captains in the Red Sea.
As with every other Tornado marine liveaboard, your comfort is the priority. the food is excellent and the chef can normally cater for every requirement.
The accommodation is very spacious with twin rooms for up to 22 divers. 4 cabins on the man deck offer large windows. On the lower deck, there are 7 more cabins, these are a bit larger but only have portholes. On the top deck, there is also a single cabin available for a small supplement.
The dive deck is spacious, whit plenty of room for everyone to kit up. You can even find a camera/kit desk complete with an airgun. The dive platform is huge. One of the biggest I’ve seen and with plenty of room for everyone to stand fully kited while waiting to jump for a drift dive from the main boat.
If you are considering your first liveaboard or if you are a seasoned diver the Wrecks and Reefs tour of the Northern Red Sea is a trip that will never disappoint. The comforts of Whirlwind, as well as her excellent crew, will make your week one you will never forget.