This is the fourth Shark Safari that 'elite diving' has undertaken. This time it was on The Diamond Explorer. The last three had produced the results. There can't be a Shark Safari without Sharks! It was the first Shark Safari for most of the divers, with a few in the group that had done one previously. All the divers eagerly awaited with anticipation the prospect of seeing some big creatures on the dives ahead.
Most of the divers arrived in Egypt on Saturday and got ferried to the boat in Port Ghalib. After a short briefing on boat procedures, everyone turned in for the night to rest up for the
weeks diving ahead.
The first day diving was on Abu Dabab Two. This was for all the divers to re-familiarise themselves with their equipment and weighting.
The Second dive was on Abu Daba Three, where a few of the old favourites were seen.
The long awaited dive on Daedalus was upon us. A 6.00 am wake up call with just about time to come around for the briefing. It was Shark Spotting Time. Once again Daedalus didn't disappoint.
Over a period of three dives, there were Hammerhead Sharks, a Thresher shark and a silky shark. Some of our divers ticked a few boxes for the first time.
On the third dive, one of our groups were treated to a show by three manta's. The water was like a soup of microscopic life, the three mantas kept barrel rolling, feeding on the plankton in the water as they glided so gracefully in the warm thermals that contained their food.
The boat Arrived at Elphinstone approximately 4.30 am after sailing through the night from Daedalus.
Again an early morning call at 6.00 am to muster the divers for the treat in store for them today, and wow, what a treat. It's not often you get close up and personal to a "Longymanus" or as we call it Oceanic White Tip. This was the first of many encounters with many Oceanic's on this trip.
After a couple of dives on Elphinstone with these magnificent creatures, the boat sailed North, heading for The Brother Islands, stopping off at Ras Torombi for a 3rd dive before the final push for The Brothers.
The Sunset over The desert mountains as the boat sailed away was absolutely breathtaking.
First dive on Big Brother after another early morning call. Another Thresher Shark was seen and a few more encounters with Oceanics at the end of the dive.
The second dive from the Zodiac which dropped the divers on the Wreck of Aida before drifting back to the moored boat. Soft corals cover it in abundance, creating habitat for small marine life while the Grey Reef Sharks swim in the blue occasionally coming in closer to the cleaning stations.
The third dive started from the Zodiac again and this time started on the wreck of Numidia which is fairly close to the Aida, and again the divers drifted back to the moored boat but this time they came in across a big Whale Shark. This was turning out to be yet another epic day.
A few more encounters with more sharks on Little Brother which kept all the divers happy. They had come to see sharks and sharks they saw. Another Whale Shark although smaller hung around the divers for ten minutes before heading off into the blue. Although not many of the divers had Underwater Camera's the ones who had cameras, exchanged details and shared what they had. There were some new friends forged again.
'The smaller of the two Whale Sharks that was seen'
'Yet another Oceanic White Tip being very inquisitive'
It was time to start heading back nearer shore. The divers complained that it was the last day of diving and that the week had gone far too quickly. There were two more dives left
to do. One on Shab Sheer and another on Tobia Arba which was a very pretty dive and some of our divers said it reminded them of Temple Dive site in Sharm.
As all good safari's, a last get together was had after returning to dock. As the boat docked in Safaga, which is not a tourist destination, even so, G managed to seek our a bar for most of the group to join in for a beer or two.
On the next day, everyone was transported back to Hurghada for their onward journey among shouts of "We'll see you next year" and "Lets meet up with Elite Diving in Sharm before then" Well everyone is welcome. If you are interested in joining next year's Shark Safari, get your name down early as it's first come first served.
A big thanks to everyone who made this week yet another epic, and to Tony Madelin for the use of most of the photos in this post.
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Owner of Elite Diving and Divers United and has been diving since 1984.