For me, the idea of going on a diving cruise was just ment to offer me a few days as a bubble maker , absolutely everything must be ready for my favorite activity.
To test this very special aspect of the diving holidays, it was the Red Sea that had my preference: clear and warm water, rich and varied fauna and flora, sun guaranteed … what nice stay in perspective.
Of course, some people told me: “The Red Sea, but you’re crazy, it’s dangerous there!”.
Yet I must confess that since the airport and the Brussels subway exploded under the mad impulse of soulless individuals, I stopped thinking in terms of insecurity and continues to live happily in Belgium and to travel the world where my desires lead me.
So it was full of dreams of great dives that I made my bags and left to Egypt.
When landing in Hurghada, the specific light of Egypt seizes me completely and I feel surrounded in this cocoon of heat that radiates from everywhere. The light is so white, so clear, so peculiar that it seems to dazzle the country !
While waiting to be able to step into the diving cruise liveaboard, we spend two nights in a hotel close to the dock of which I prefer to silent the name and where the time seems so long before diving, then, I imagine …
On Saturday, we finally arrive on the wharf where I expect to see the most beautiful boat in the Red Sea. In the books, it is beautiful. In reality, it surprises me and I must admit that I am immediately seduced by its comfort, by the ultra-practical side of purely “diving” facilities and by the all dives are NITROX, just what I like.
There are certainly other boats that would have satisfied me, but it is by chance, that I will spend a dream week on the Nautile Evo of Anthias Diving.
Just the time to settle down and get to know the other passengers and we left the next morning for a Brothers, Deadalus and Elphinston diving cruise (BDE for the initiates).
For the first stop, we make two “refresher” dives on easy spots, which is funny for divers who dive all year round under much less favorable conditions.
But obviously, you also have to re-adapt to the warm water, to perfect visibility, to light equipment and to the comfort of a small floating palace 🙂
Nino and Alaa, the instructors of the Nautile Evo introduce us to their perfect briefings illustrated on a wide flat screen where the diagrams of the diving path and the pictures of the marine animals that we will meet.
On the deck reserved for relaxation, Isa, the boss (and yes, diving is also a women’s story) discusses with the participants eager to know the details of the adventure that awaits them. The atmosphere is serious for serious divers 🙂
Ras Abu Soma and then Panorama Reef Nord (diving spot that I particularly like) are the first diving spots chosen for this BDE cruise where we can dive in the richness of the blue waters of this beautiful Red Sea. Moray eel, jacks, Napoleon fish, clownfish, turtles, … they all made an appointment to offer us a first magical overview of their incredible living environment.
In the evening, we set out for a few hours’ sailing, surrounded by a dolphin school, who certainly wished us a nice journey and accompany us somewhat towards the open sea.
Even though I am aware that dolphins around a boat is so commonplace to some, I can not help but wonder at these friendly animals playing at the bow of the boat. The other divers are just as happy as I am and we can hear them as they bend over to see them better.
In fact, almost every night, we will have the chance to see these marvelous marine mammals for our greatest pleasure.
After a night of sailing, at dawn, we awake in the very special setting of the Brothers, the first real meeting of our BDE cruise.
From my bed, I hear the sailors starting to work and I decide to get up to see them evolve, as I will almost every morning. With a broad smile, they greet me before going to moor a boat where the divers are still asleep.
Alone on the bridge, I let my gaze get lost in the magnificent immensity of this sunrise at the end of the world. Is this the magic of a cruise ?
Soon, an instructor will knock on your door to wake you up. Dives start early on a liveaboard. The Nautilus Evo is moored near Big Brother while we can see the small Brother Island very close. The objective of the dives on these sites is obviously to meet sharks but above all to have the chance to cross the marvelous and discreet fox shark also named thresher shark.
We will not be disappointed … either by the magnificent walls, or by the fox sharks who will honor us with their passages evolving with grace near our group of divers.
It is for me a total wonder to have the opportunity to observe furtively this beautiful animal more beautiful in reality than on my photos. This may be my best discovery during this cruise.
After two days of captivating diving, one of which is superb on the Numidia wreck (with a lot of current), the Nautile Evo starts a long 10-hour sailing to the mythical site of Deadalus, the second stop of our BDE diving cruise.
Deadalus is lost in the middle of the Red Sea. Sheltering an isolated lighthouse that you can visit. Deadalus offers the particularity of hosting pods of hammerhead sharks. It is therefore with a certain precipitation and a lot of emotion that we equip ourselves to meet these wonderful marine animals.
We feel that morning that the divers are very excited to go to meet hammerhead sharks.
For this first dive in Deadalus, we are faster “awake”, faster ready and the enthusiasm is great even at this early hour.
And the Zodiacmen brings us directly to the spot. As you can see we are really “in line” in the boat 😉
Nino and Alaa know where to take us to give us every chance to experience the magical encounter that we all expect. With a lot of humor and professionalism, they lead us to the spot of this unforgettable experience at 35 m depth.
We start by moving away from the reef and we are about to wait when suddenly it pops up.
What an indescribable impression of seeing the first hammerhead shark, the scout, come in and sneak at us before we can see a group of hammerhead sharks beneath us, From all sides and gracefully sneaking among the divers.
I can feel my heart beating in my chest. I’am really speechless (which is normal underwater), the silence is total, my eyes are fixed on these magnificent creatures and I have to concentrate to make sure I breathe correctly ! A moment of grace, out of time, out of the world … I am in underwater and for a moment I feel like being part of the ocean to the point of forgetting my camera.
Around me, the cameras heat up and the images are numerous to immortalize this meeting because, fortunately, the hammerhead sharks are present in number.
Is it the emotion of the encounter, the magnificence of the places or the show of hammerhead sharks evolving so close to us that makes this dive one of my most beautiful diving memories? I do not know, but the sensation and the memory remain well engraved.
Two dives later (where we still see one or the other specimens including a silky shark), we head to Elphinstone.
Elphinston, the third and final stop of our diving cruise BDE, is a reef located about ten kilometers off Marsa Alam in southern Egypt. The reef of Elphinston, which is some 400 meters long and 30 meters wide, offers two deep ends of +/- 40 meters and drop-off of several hundred meters. Divers used to Egyptian dives know that this spot is the kingdom of longiman sharks, sometimes called longimanus or longi (their nick name ;-)).
There is a certain crowd on this spot because it is very closed to the coast and it gives the possibility of diving there on a day trip.
Divers are so numerous that it is not always easy, especially in high season, to find a free space where one can feel in osmosis with nature. It feels like being in a huge jacuzzi in the middle of all these bubbles that could spoil the dive. But I’d rather focus on the light that makes them shine and glitter in a fascinating show.
All the divers go to the Elphinston reef in the hope of seeing a shark and we are lucky to see two very curious longimanes coming to observe us.
It would be a pity, however, to ignore the richness of the fauna and flora present on the site of Elphinston and which can offer wonderful images. It is on this site that I realized my favorite photo of this diving cruise BDE, what do you think, do you like it ? 😉
Leaving Elphinston has a taste of end of holidays even if they are not finished. The Nautilus Evo is on its way to Hurghada, with its delighted passengers on board, who carry with them so many colorful and sumptuous memories. In order to keep the party going, the whole crew took the time to make a special effort for us to make us a super last evening at sea in a torrid heat and moist without the slightest breath of wind.
The next day we can see that the journey is not over because the Police Station and Erg Somaya spots off Hurghada will allow us to fill up with images of this surprising Red Sea life.
Friday night, the Nautile Evo goes back to the marina of Hurghada and it is time to exchange e-mail addresses, spend a last evening together and, for me, take stock of this new experience.
Very clearly a diving cruise in the Red Sea gives the possibility of being present on sites mostly inaccessible to day trip boats. Chances of crossing “big fish” are high. It is also the chance to live in community with a group of divers and dive enthusiasts ready to share on all their experiences of diving while having fun together.
It is finally a cut with our day life for a whole week, without internet or mobile network, we just take the time to discover the ocean which makes the cruise a diving experience to live at least once in a diver’s life.
It is therefore with a rather heavy heart that we leave the boat, our boat for a whole week, and the small community of people who work there.
But who knows, maybe we will come back ?
The cruise experience on the Nautilus Evo in the Red Sea is probably similar to many other diving cruise experiences around the world. As on other liveaboard, life on the Nautile Evo is punctuated by the sound of the bell announcing in turn early wake up for diving, breakfast, rest, diving, lunch , rest, diving, dinner (just after the aperitif :-)) and it is already night time. Divers alternate their time between meals, immersions and relaxation around, for example chat about diving, reading or endless card playing 😉
Of course, the Nautilus Evo looks more like a beautiful hotel than a boat. One could say that we are already on the high-end liveaboard and that the impression is perhaps distorted. Yet I am convinced that the very essence of a diving cruise is present: this feeling of being cut off from everything, from being only in symbiosis with the ocean and turned entirely towards the extraordinary universe of diving and underwater world. These moments spent exchanging with other enthusiasts who become your friends on a cruise and may remain after … all these features that make a diving cruise a unique and unforgettable moment … and hope to go back on another cruise very quickly.
Finally, I really want to put forward the whole adorable crew of the Nautilus Evo: the captain who comes every time to call us when dolphins or sharks are close to the boat, the cook who make us wonderful meals, the barman always ready to test a new drink, the 2 great instructors, the always smiling and available Zodiacmen, the sailors who help us to equip us and to get rid of our equipment, … All these kind and nice people who contribute with an large smile to make our stay an immortal memory.
Would I recomend you to go for a diving cruise ? YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!
You may also have already done a diving cruise in the Red Sea or elsewhere? If so, do not hesitate to share your experience by leaving a message below so that it does not get lost on social networks and that every visitor can read and enjoy…and It’s so nice to share my feelings with you directly on the blog 😉
Good bubbles and do not forget to be happy 🙂
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This article is totally independent of the company Anthias. I received no compensation in return for this article. I test for pleasure to discover new places and new dive experiences. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have possibilities for diving experiments to test. I will be happy to come and discover them as far as I can.