Brothers (Marsa Alam): All the Brothers and Elphinstone (departure from Marsa Alam)
This cruise focuses on the magnificent marine Park the Brothers (with Big Brothers and Small Brothers) which is laying at the borders of the deep waters of the Red Sea, more or less at the same latitude of El Queseir.
The Brother Islands are the pinnacles of two undersea mountains rising from the depths of the abyss 300m deep and are located about 60 miles offshore. Big Brother, which is easily identified with it's lighthouse, is about 100 metres across and 400 metres in length, with two extremities to the east and west. Little Brother lies about 800 metres east of Big Brother.
As part of the Marine Park Islands National Park, these islands offer stunning wall diving and a breath-taking display of colour with their rich variety of soft corals and gorgonians which cover the walls. You will find large and small fish here in abundance; tuna, barracuda, shoals of snappers and jack fish, as well a hammerheads, silky and oceanic white tip sharks, even the occasional thresher shark and manta ray. Sightings of the Grey Reef Shark are almost guaranteed on the North and South Plateaux of Small Brother.
The first day of this cruise, except for security check dives, is used to sail from Port Ghaleb to the marine park (it is recommend to leave on Saturday evening to use the night to sail). We will stay at least four days in the marine park to explore Big and Little Brother as it should be done. The last one or two days, by coming back to Marsa Alam, dives are planned in the also beautiful Elphinstone and Abu Dahab.
Note: Egyptian Law request a minimum of 50 logged dives and night dives are not permitted in the Marine Park area. All dive sites are subject to weather conditions.
Dive sites Brothers (Marsa Alam) tour
Big Brother, the northerly of the two island has a small lighthouse. It has two wrecks laying on its walls. The Aida II an Italian ship which was carrying troops one night in 1957 when it hit Big Brother. A large wreck with much intact superstructure, its shallowest point is at 15 m and ends below 45m. There are other older wrecks scattered at depths between 9 and 40 meters The famous Numidia is to find in the Northern tip of the Island. Often there is a strong current running straight onto the wreck. The wreck starts at a depth of 8m, she lies on the steep drop-off at an almost vertical angle and the soft coral covers it nicely until 55m. The stern is raised and provides a nice rounded poop deck below which the large propeller is found at a depth of about 80m.
There is of course also excellent wall diving all along the southern side of the reef with strong currents promoting the growth of a spectacular forest of soft corals. Frequent sightings of big pelagic and an astonishing variety of marine life.
This island is the smaller of the two as the name implies. At the north end is a long tongue of reef that extends seaward and in good weather it is possible to drop in here and drift. The current runs east west and here sharks may be seen cruising. On the south east side is a superb fan coral forest but it is deep and starts at 35m, there are also plenty of caves, overhangs, black coral, and lots of pelagics including sharks, tuna, barracuda, turtles and schools of reef fish. As you round the southern corner the slope gives way to a vertical wall where you can catch a glimpse of a silver tip shark. In summer thresher sharks are seen here, in October grey reef sharks gather to mate and divers have also reported schooling hammerheads and groups of sailfish in this area. Before you know it your computer will tell you it time to head back to the boat having had the most spectacular diving.
Abu Dahab is a collection of 7 reefs offering sheltered diving, suitable for night dives (to see sleeping turtles and Spanish dancers). It gives you the opportunity to explore a wreck of a boat which sank in July 2003 together with large mounds of boulder and mountain corals, rose and salad corals with different fish species hiding in and underneath its midst and giant clams. You will also have a good chance of seeing white tip reef shark together with nice swim-throughs and caves. However, the major attraction is ‘Dennis’ Dugong, with a bit of luck, hanging around in the sea-grass area.
Elphinstone Reef, with its sheer walls plunging into the blue, is one of the most beautiful reefs in the Red Sea. It is richly decorated with soft and black corals, sponges, gorgonians and fans. Sharks often swim over the plateaus at the North and south of the reef. The east and west walls offer an excellent drift dive. Frequent sightings of Hammerheads and Oceanic White Tip sharks.