Breathtaking images from Sudan!

This week we have received not only good news and breathtaking images from Sudan but a fresh, hot-of-the-press video surprise … off the back of a bird. Yes, you heard it right!

We had a “helicopter” with us for a couple of weeks that had already taken gorgeous aerial photos of Shaab Jumna and Umbria. You can watch one of the videos here.

The spawning season of the brown-marbled groupers has begun at Shaab Rumi and Sanganeb and as a result, the plateau is swarming with 50-80 groupers all about 50-80cm long.

spawning season of the brown-marbled groupersWe ran into an old buddy at Shaab Rumi again we have been seeing every year for the past 3 years – an enormous weatherworn barracuda. He is especially friendly this year and lets himself to be photographed even from a few centimetres. Voila!

barracuda in SudanAbout 10 grey reef sharks monitor Shaab Rumi, we saw 5 hammerheads in the deep blue and the plateau is truly alive. We have managed to run into a 20-member hammerhead school at Sanganeb and on the south plateau into 2-3 grey reefs and a quite lively marine life, all this matched by excellent visibility.

Sanganeb reef in Sudan
Tip of the week:
What kind of wet suit to bring to Sudan?
In May and June most divers can do with a shorty. Between February and April you are normally good with a 3 or 5mm long suit.

This is where we were this week:

Dive sites in Sudan
OUR LAST-MINUTE OFFER
May 5-12, 2014 *** M/Y Andromeda ***
Book by April 30, 2014 over the phone or in e-mail!

If you wish to know more about how to dive in Sudan, click here!
Magyar nyelven: www.redseaboats.hu/szudan/
In English: www.sudan-diving.com
По-русски: www.sudan-diving.ru

Manta, hammerhead, barracuda!

We have had beautiful sunny weather all week long. It was pretty windy the first three days and because of this, we had change the order of the diving plan. We started diving at the southern sites in the itinerary and we were able to follow the entire North itinerary this week too. The water temperatures are rising week by week and visibility is also improving.

Tour date: March 9-16, 2013
Itinerary: Sudan North
Air temperature: 30-35C
Water temperature: 26C
Visibility: 30m

Not having such strong currents this time around, we did not expect to see that much but it seems the constant inhabitants of the hunting grounds just keep on cruising in the direct vicinity of their areas as there was no shortage of sharks this week either and as a bonus, thanks to the calmer waters, we even saw a manta!

Day 1: Sanganeb West; Sanganeb South Plateau; Sanganeb jetty (night dive)
Day 2: Sanganeb South Plateau; Shaab Rumi South Plateau; Precontinent; Precontinent
Day 3: Shaab Rumi South Plateau, Shaab Rumi South Plateau; Shaab Rumi West wall; sailing to Gota Shambaia during the night
Day 4: Abington; Angarosh; Merlo South; Gota Shambaia
Day 5: Qita el Banna; Shaab Suedi Blue Belt; Umbria; night dive in the lagoon
Day 6: Umbira; Umbria

Barracudas and grey reef sharks at Sanganeb – check. Grey reef and hammerhead sharks at Shaab Rumi – check. At Abington 2-3 hammerheads cruised by us in the blue. And at Angarosh we marvelled at the colour grandeur of the pristine coral reefs, nowhere else to be seen in the world. From tiny clown fish to butterfly fish, we were greeted by fish of all possible colour and size. On our way back at Quita El Banna, one of our groups spotted a group of hammerheads and even a manta.

The wreck of Umbria is still ranked among the most beautiful wrecks in the world. Protected by the Wingate Reef, she lies not far from Port Sudan, free of currents, in calm waters. This time around visibility was perfect and thanks to the sun rays shining into the wreck, she was even more mysterious and more beautiful than ever before. We were able to explore the wreck inside and out.

A new week, new hopes. We will be back next week again and report to you.

If you have missed the events of the past weeks, you can catch up here:

“The Sharks Winked Back”
Angarosh, the “Mother of Sharks”
A Perfect Start in Sudan!
Fish parade in the month of Pisces!

The Red Sea in summer

I am surrounded by sparkling sky-blue sea, softly caressing breeze, infinite tranquility and serene silence as I am sitting in front of the captain’s bridge. Meanwhile the large boat glides from one coral reef to another and I can hardly wait to dive! Until now I have been travelling to the Red Sea for safaris only in the spring and late fall when you could already use a sweater between dives and sometimes a hat too to warm your ears. But to enjoy the richest spectacle, I used to prefer these two periods.

Now, that I have also experienced a summer diving safari, I know this season cannot be missed either in Egypt! The sea is transparent and visibility can be well over 40-50m! From the bow I am gazing at the corals on the sea bottom and schools of fish startled by the noise of the engines. We arrive to the next dive site. We anchor and start getting ready for the dive. I can see the velvet blue rippling beneath me from the boat and the nearby reef glistening in emerald green and dark brown colours.

This time I leave my dive suit on the boat as only a pair of shorts will do in the 28-30-degree water. I cannot see any other boats in the area. And this continues on at almost every site during the week. We are in the Ras Mohamed National Park and getting ready to jump in at the Shark-Yolanda reef. In August at full moon red snapperfish, barracudas and batfish gather here into schools by the hundreds, getting ready to spawn. These gatherings provide an impressive sight!

Finally I am in the water and I can give myself over to weightlessness. Black pilotfish flash by me. I turn onto my back to see the sun rays breaking the water surface and as I begin to laugh, the bubbles escape from my regulator scaring away a small fish swimming above me. I turn towards the reef and suddenly an underwater fairy garden unfolds, made of shells and lacy corals in the shape of an “S”. I watch as a snail wearily begins its long journey on a rock and next to it a clownfish is playing among the purple-tipped tentacles of a poisonous anemone. It is just like a kid – I figure.

I notice a barracuda not far from the reef. Motionless it opens its teeth-filled mouth and moves as I move by it, frozen as a majestic statue. At the end of the dive I approach the boat and see a turtle rushing to the surface for air. I watch it holding back my breath.

As I reach the back of the boat, helping hands reach for me and the ever-ready crew take my fins. Summer is not only great because you can survive a holiday with one T-shirt a day but also because the days are a lot longer than in spring and fall. In the evenings, when the group gathers on the covered upper deck, the sea stands still in ink-blue silence, only a couple of strayed waves splash against the side of the boat and rock you gently like a cradle. The week seems to be passing a lot faster this time around. I ponder the idea of being able to spend a whole month at sea. And I will – at least another week. Next summer!

Text: Livia (Völgyesi) Hertelendy
Photos: Daniel Selmeczi