Boat : Mistral
Itinerary : Wrecks & Reefs
Date of departure : 14th July 2011

Day 1

Stingray Station… Carnatic… Chrisoula K… {Abu Nuhas Reef}.
by – Leroy (with Henry!)
Day 1 and the adventure begins, at Stingray station performed a check dive. Trying out a new rash wetsuit for me and Henry a new regulator and lightweight BCD, both sets seem to work well, except I used the same weights, 5Kg and sank! Maybe I should have thought ahead and used fewer weights with a next to nothing rash suit on! Never mind.
Once everyone had entered the water it was time to sink and swim, with a kick of a fin and lungs full of air away we went to seek new sites. Tropical fish were swimming around us, black and white humbugs, emperor angel fishes all amongst an array of soft and hard corals. A rash suit alone can get a bit cold around the gills at times. Good first dive, otherwise.
Next, off to Carnatic wreck dive where bat fishes, Damsel fish, sea stars and Trevallies were making their homes. Hard and soft corals seem to pitch up and grow everywhere, I wonder if I sat on the sea bed too long they’d find a home on me too!
Chrisoula K, after rolling backwards off the zodiac and free descending to the wreck of the tiles, it was a nice wreck to swim through. Shame the intended destination wasn’t reached as these ‘made in Italy’ tiles seem to be of good quality, well, not right now they’re not, but you can see they were back then. It was a good site to see some good marine life, lion fish, Banner fish, Sea Anemone and its associated Clown fish (Nemo is a much better name, don’t you think!?), Emperor and Royal Angel fish amongst an array of soft and hard corals. I had to put on another rash top to keep warm; a single rash is too cold for me.
Last dive of the day – Abu Nuhas reef a night dive, first of this adventure. Moray eels came out to play had to be careful to miss the fire corals, it may have been slightly cold, but no need to warm up on the fire corals! Parrot, Bat and puffer fishes swam around, ducking in and out of corals and rocks to avoid being detected, but my light could light up the world, so all could be seen and none to be missed, gotcha! Henry took his time observing the natural beauty of the reef and the Red Sea, me? I shot off and missed the beauty, but kept my buddy in plain view. Next night dive note to self; take my time to appreciate the natural beauty of the underworld at night and not to observe how fast I can swim underwater!
Good end to a great first day, great boat, great food, great guides, great dive sites and a welcoming Captain & Crew.

Day 2

Ghiannis D… Ulysses… The Barge… {The Barge}.
By- Paula and Steve
After the antics of day one-Paula’s near death experience under water after panic attack and Steve’s confetti style vomit welcoming the divers back to the boat- Day 2 could SURELY only get better…..well so we thought until we were faced with our first neg dive entry- tear!!!
Entry: a D level pass and the dive began- things were FINALY looking up but Stevie- (My Buddy) was nowhere to be seen- sigh!! Dive 1 of the day successful none the less.
After lunch we anchored above the barge- taking in the most amazing scenery and snorkel site.
The barge offered many exciting surprises- one being our run in with the infamous George- wow- what a beast!! Some of the divers saw two Octopi having some sexy time? On completion of our dive, more excitement was to follow…….. 2 min into our safety stop somebody moved the boat, nowhere to be seen!

Night dive- to do or not to do that is the question……. 1st one for us both- super exciting- saw George out and about, octopus hunting, stone fish, scorpion fish, star fish and some tasty looking bat fish!! Made it back to the boat safe and sound to end a great day- 4 successful dives by Paula and Scuba Steve and still here to tell the tale- YAY!!!
Needles to say we slept well ?

Day 3

Rosalie Muller… Kingston… Thistlegorm… {Thistlegorm}.
by – Anna, Claire & Nathan
Doing the Rosalie Muller yeah, Claire decided not to do it so Nathan and I got up to do this fantastic wreck. It’s a deep dive, deck is at 35+ metres – was taken to the front of the other boat by the zodiac and dropped off as a negative entry. Descended down the rope to the stern, and vis was poor but expected, went through the workshop, galley with the kitchen with the cooker and pots still on it, though a walkway with doors and a bath on the right. Very atmospheric.
Claire dived the next dive with us and we did the Kingston, this is a lovely wreck covered in soft and hard corals. The surge around the wreck was really strong, and we only went round the outside, gave up going over the inside and went along the reef, where the current was reasonably strong and carried us back to the boat.
On to the Thistlegorm for an afternoon and night dive. This is one of the
best wrecks in the red sea!! We were the only boat on the wreck for the first dive and were moored right above it. On the first dive we all (Nancy, Claire, Nathan, Chris and me) went as a large group, and went round the outside, over to the train, and then back to the boat, and back up to the line at the back of the boat, as usual it was awesome ! The resident turtle decided to pay us a visit as well!
Night dive was fantastic, all over the top looking in the nooks and crannies.
A fantastic day and three fantastic wrecks.

Day 4

Thistlegorm… Small Crack… Dunraven… {Beacon Rock}.
by – Andrea & Jacqui.
More Thistlegorm this morning! Nice easy entry as we were moored on the wreck. Reda gave us a fab tour through the several holds of the wreck. We saw trucks, jeeps, big piles of tyres, motorbikes, & some very sexy thigh high Willie boots. (As per briefing!) Awesome dive!
Second dive of the day was Small Crack @ Sha-ab Mahmoud. Zodiac took us to the opposite side of the reef & we travelled with the current until we came to a small bay & then through the gully & back to the boat. Very strange, lots of empty Conch shells under the boat. Where could they have gone? On their hols?
And now for the Dunraven. The wreck sank in 1876 & is upside down. When we first got to the wreck family Napoleon were waiting to greet us. Swam from the stern, over the boilers & out onto the reef. Not enough time spent on the wreck. Came out of the wreck & drifted onto the coral.
Anyway – another cracking day Grommet. So long & thanks for all the fish!

Day 5

Shark & Yolanda Reef… Ras Ghozlani… Jackson Reef… {South Laguna}.
Ray & Karen
Started the day by being told to jump off the back of the boat as adrift dive. Dropped down to the Yolanda site and saw several toilets, baths but no toilet roll in sight!! Saw crocodile fish, morays and a lovely coral garden! The trigger fish were a bit fruity and chased one of us for a while…to the great amusement of everyone!!!! Plenty of large shoals of unicorn, jack and batfish! Shark Reef was impressive although viz was not great and sharks were all on holiday! Not a bad dive overall!!
A great long drift dive around some stunning coral was the next setting at Ras Ghozlani…..gentle with a few few and some great sights!
Jackson Reef was the dive into the blue searching for hammerheads that were not there! 30 minutes of staring at each other with open arms saying ‘why are we still here?’ The nearest we got to a hammerhead was the impressions by the mob who were with us….but the fifteen minutes spent on the coral reef was fantastic!
That was it really…a good day and the guides were great!!

Day 6

Jackson Reef… Thomas Reef… Gordon Reef.
by – Nancy and Chris (Oglet and Crips)

Started the day very excited about the possibility of seeing big scary Hammerheads…………………………Reda and Sameh took us out into the blue and tried their hardest to find us some of the big fins, FAILED!! Such a shame, they tried so hard. Had a nice shallow finish to the dive above the reef. Fun was had anyway as it is rare that you can fly through the blue and enjoy the “flying” experience of diving.

The night dive was slightly disappointing, nothing to see at all, infact, tell a lie, maybe 4 fish, but it was a good Nav practise dive!! :0)

Second dive at Jackson on the last morning, we had two options. Our group, of course, decided to go Hammerhead hunting in the “Man Ring” once again!! Some of the others decided to do the South Side of the reef (they have no minerals!!!). So off we went in the zodiac again to see what we could find. Reda tried hard again to find us something to look at, but forgot his telescope, so was unsuccessful! Again, was lovely to fly through the blue, it’s something you don’t get to do very often.

Last dive of the trip was on Thomas – really lovely wall dive with a massive canyon. Heard dolphins – got V EXCITED – but didn’t see them :0( Really nice drift in places and some massive tuna swimming alongside us made it a really enjoyable dive.

What did you think of the boat?
Paula and Steve:
Well maintained, comfortable and homely.
Leroy and Henry:
The best dive boat we’ve been on so far. Good facilities.

Becky: Comfortable, spacious and clean. Great all round.

Nancy & Chris: The boat is the best we have had on a Red Sea live aboard, very comfortable and the crew were great and professional.

What did you think of the crew?
Paula and Steve:
A special thanks Reda and Sammy for their expertise and calm nature while starting, we always felt safe and in good hands with you in the water.

Becky: Very helpful, always at hand. Polite and very friendly. Abdu always ready to entertain at meal times.

Leroy and Henry:
I think the above covers it all! Fantastic! The dive briefing is absolutely the best briefings I have ever listened to. Very informative, clear precise diagrams and actual photos, by the time we got to do the dive we knew exactly what we were diving!

Anna & Claire,
Crew are amazing, really friendly and helpful and the above is so true.

Nancy & Chris: The crew were great, really lovely and more professional than others we have experienced. Special thanks to Abdul, who made the end of every dive brilliant with his dancing, singing, hot chocolate and tray on head balancing!!!

What did you think of the food?

Paula and Steve:
Jamie Oliver doesn’t have a patch on the Mistral’s chief.
Every meal extremely tasty and cooked to perfection. The crew never let you leave the dining area hungry.

Leroy and Henry:
Best food I’ve had on a live aboard, each meal tastier than the last

Anna & Claire,
Food is great, all the meals are excellent, and Claire is getting her own special veggie food as well. So good, worried that my clothes won’t fit when we get home!

Nancy & Chris – Brilliant, every day has been fantastic, with the chef even making special dishes for one of our group who is a vegetarian.