I was very keen to join Shark Quest, Hurricane’s first trip, after the winter in dry dock. Something that turned out to be a very good move. Over the years I have been blessed to be able to travel to a lot of really amazing diving destinations around the world. But somehow, I always keep finding myself dreaming myself back to the Red Sea, especially the southern parts.
Arriving in Marsa Alam
One big benefit of flying direct to Marsa Alam is that the transfer to the marina is faster than anywhere else. Most of the time it’s just your flight arriving at that time. This means that inmigration and bags collection go very fast. Often it does not take longer than 20 minutes from when you land to the transfer bus. Then it’s just a 10 min bus ride and you are onboard.
Hurricane has always been one of my favourite liveaboards. She’s got a steel hull and is well designed. It might sound simple demands but there are not many boats like her out there. As I mentioned, Hurricane is just back from a major refit. Apart from being in tip-top shape, she also went through a lot of small design changes. The steps to the dive deck got widened, the air cons system redesigned and moved to the floor. She also got new carpet, new curtains, new seats and beanbags on the upper deck. All this was done without losing the character of the boat, rather enhance it.
As usual, we spent the first night in the harbour. we got our scuba equipment set up, had the boat briefing, afterwards we had time to potter around Port Ghalib. Especially if you land in the evening it’s very nice to have this time to prepare before heading out to sea.
Early next morning we headed straight out to Ras Torombe to do check-up dive, and explore the reef a little bit. Here there was also time to do night dive for anyone who fancied that. If you have not dived Ras Torombe before it’s a very nice little reef where the dugongs occasionally visit. Worth a dive just to have a chance to see that.
I was a little bit nervous about the crossing from the mainland to Brothers Islands. The last time I did it, it was in a smaller wooden hull liveaboard and I did get quite a sea sick. But this time thanks to Hurricanes steel hull my experience was very different. Basically, a steel hull boat cuts through the water whilst a wooden boat floats on top of it. This makes a massive difference when it comes to stability and if you like me can get a bit seasick, then this is a big deal. Especially in the southern Red Sea where there are a lot of long crossings. If you’re going to the southern Red Sea, make sure it’s in a steel hull Liveaboard.
I was also lucky to get a very stable cabin in the back on the boat on the lower deck closest to the engine room.
This meant it was a bit of noisier but it’s the most stable part of the boat. I had two water bottles on top of my bedside dresser, none of them even moved during the crossing. That is very impressive.
Shark Quest on Little Brother
Day two I woke up early and I could not believe our luck, we were the only boat on the whole of the brother islands. That is very very rare, and it gave it all a more serene feel to it. Both islands were drenched in sunlight surrounded by flat crystal-clear water. Shark Quest was truly started
The morning dive on little brother was a dive I had been looking forward to for many years. Whilst I had dived Big Brother, I had never ever dived its little brother. So it was with great excitement that I got my equipment ready and prepared to jump.
We had moored at the southern tip and the first dive of the day we were dropped just east of the northern tip and then drifted back to the boat. The dive did not disappoint. Apart from the absolutely stunning walls, we had a hammerhead, an Ocean Whitetip, some reef sharks and a few Barracudas. We also saw a big and possibly pregnant dolphin. We wanted great diving and the Red Sea was already delivering big time.
After breakfast it was time to once again be dropped off at the top of little brother but this time to drift on the western side. Whilst we “only” saw a few reef sharks on this dive the wall was absolutely amazing. It was drenched in sunlight bringing colours and life to every little piece of the wall. The hardest part of this dive was to choose whether to look at the amazing wall or to look out into the blue trying to spot the bigger sharks.
Shark Quest on Big Brother
After lunch, we moved to Big brother to dive the southern Plateau. Last time I did this dive we saw a really nice Whitetip that swam around us for ages. It was such a magnificent dive that even now, a few years later, I can still remember it in detail. I was really excited to get the chance to do this dive site again.
Just as we were about to enter the water on the third dive my inflator broke in a bad way. So bad that I was left with no other option than to call the dive off. I spent the next hour watching the other divers bubbles whilst they enjoyed an apparently fantastic shark dive.
Just before sunset, we got permission to go onto big brother island. On my previous trip many years ago, we were not allowed to do this. It’s honestly not much to see but still nice to walk to the top of the lighthouse and speak to the guards. As much as I love these islands I do feel very sorry for the guys stationed here. It must be a very lonely place.
One thing that I really enjoy about the southern itineraries is that they are far away from phone coverage. This does help you being in the moment and enjoy this lovely part of the world for what it really is. Trips to the southern Red sea offered digital detox before the term was even invented. It helps you enjoy what a liveaboard is all about, diving, relaxation and just enjoying a good time together with other divers.
During the night a few more boats had arrived and the currents and waves had also increased. We had the option to dive on either the south plateau or the Numebia wreck.
I choose to go to the Numebia together with our dive guide Yasser and one more diver. It that was a good choice. We dropped along the reef a bit south of the wreck, and this gave us the opportunity to dive one of my favourite walls in the red sea. To my surprise, it was even more stunning than I remembered. In true brothers island style, it was packed with life. Absolutely stunning.
The Numidia is a classic Red Sea wreck and it was unusually not hit by hardly any current, this gave us the opportunity to look around the wreck and to see a few more details. But, we could not stay too long because next on our list was drifting along the outside part of Big brother, to look for sharks. Unfortunately no sharks this time, but having time to give the Numebia an extra-long look was really really nice.
Little brother, take two
Since the itinerary is called shark quest, we decided to leave Big Brother and head back to Little Brother where we had had better luck on the shark front.
Half the dives decided to go to the coral garden on the outside of little brother to look for hammerheads. The other half and I dived under the boat looking for white tips. It was a decision that really paid off. Straight away we saw a big barracuda and a small whitetip under the liveaboard next to us. Just like us, it must have preferred Hurricane because after disappearing for a bit, it then spent the rest of our dive swimming around our boat. Several times it was so close that I could have touched it. That was by far the closes I have ever come to a shark and it was amazing. It is not every day that you can spend over 15 minutes in one place with one shark. I was completely spellbound,
Unfortunately, I had to skip the third dive of the day. It was a shame because on this dive they saw more Hammerheads and more oceanic white tips. After this, we said goodbye to the Brothers for this time and set sail towards Daedalous.
Shark Quest on Daedalus Reef
The next morning when I looked out of my porthole I could see an almost flat sea and the lighthouse of Daedalus Reef. To me, Daedalous had been synonymous with great shark diving but also waves. To dive it with flat seas was a nice treat.
We went out early in hope to see Hammerheads but unfortunately this time they were not around. But we could enjoy the eastern part of the reef perfectly lit by the morning sun. For a wall enthusiast like myself that was a wonderful second part of the dive. Nothing beats a southern red sea reef wall covered in anthias, there is just no tapestry-like it.
The second dive started at the anemone city. Then we slowly drifted towards the southern plateau where Hurricane was moored. We had high hopes of seeing the whitetip that had been lingering around the boat before we set off to dive. But unfortunately, it decided to leave just before we came back. We did, however, have a wonderful time slowly swimming by another wall packed with life.
The third dive we were all desperate to see sharks again, so we headed to the northern plateau. A group from another other boat saw them during midday dive. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be seen this time.
The sharks of Daedalous are wonderful and unpredictable creatures. To compensate for the lack of shark on our last dive, just at the end of dinner, four silkies decided to swim around by the back of the boat. A truly magnificent sight. I have never seen silkies before and it was a true delight. We were all absolutely captivated as we stood on the dive deck looking at these
Shark Quest on Daedalus Day 2
The first thing I noticed then I woke up the next day was that a few more boats had arrived. Luckily for us, all the other divers from the other boats all headed to the northern tip of the reef. Yasser decided that we should dive from the boat and do the southern reef.
When we first jumped in I thought the visibility was a bit low. However, as soon as we came around the corner of the reef the visibility just became absolutely incredible. At 35m I could see the surface very clear. After about half the dive had passed we had seen some pretty big napoleons and two barracudas but no sharks. But suddenly a Hammerhead appeared from nowhere at 15m and started swim along with our group for a bit before disappearing out in the blue again. It later came back and hang out with us for a bit during our safety stop.
The last day of Shark Quest
Suddenly the last day was upon us, and for us, that meant Elphinstone time. Elphinstone is just outside Marsa Alam and is a classic Red sea reef. It’s smaller than Daedalous and Brothers but what it lacks in size it makes up for in biodiversity.
Our first dive was on the northern plateau hoping we would see sharks.
We did not see any but instead, we saw turtle, moray, stonefish and much more. So despite missing out on the sharks we still came up with smiles on our faces.
After this dive second dive, it was time for the boat to head back to port. Our week of marvellous diving had come to an end, but most of us are already looking at coming back.
Looking back I think this was one of my best Red Sea weeks ever. Seeing Hammerheads, Whitetips, Silkies, reef sharks and Dolphins is exactly what Shark Quest is all about.
Add to that one day alone at brothers and one day alone at Daedalous with flat seas and it’s easy to see why I was blown away. This truly was a week that I will remember for a long time, if not forever.
If you at any time whilst reading this text feel that you want to go and experience the Southern Red sea inboard Hurricane, please call our Travel team on 0800 072 8221 or visit Hurricanes page by clicking here. You will not regret it.
Written by Martin Nordin