FAMILY DIVING TOURS ARE THE HIT OF THE SUMMER! READ ON TO FIND OUT WHY!

Most of us started diving in our 20s, and we were mesmerised by the sea. We were voracious students, taking in all the sites, and we could hardly wait for the next time we would go diving. And once we were there again, we just wanted to get as many dives in as humanly possible. We were looking for challenges, and we were up to even more complex dives, in the hope of encounters with larger fish.

Since then, 10, 20, 30 years have passed, and most of us now have families. Spouses, partners, children. And this has changed the dynamics of the good old diving blowouts, which we began to seek out less and less frequently. Either because our partners were not divers, or because now we had families, and smaller children.

So, we have come up with a different concept – a diving liveaboard tour for families. If Mom does not dive, Dad can still dive and enjoy his time under the water, while Mom can enjoy herself along with the children. The twist is that the boat does not sail on after each dive, as she usually does on a regular diving tour, but stays put for a couple of days at various sites. This way there is hardly any sailing time during the week-long holiday. No need to worry about the children bouncing and falling all over the place because of the waves because well, there will be hardly any. And another positive thing – no seasickness.

The boat is moored next to an island or in a protected bay, and the fun can begin. Jumping into the water, snorkelling, racing to the shore with zodiacs. The uninhabited islands boast beautiful white sandy beaches with plenty of room to run around in nature at its most pristine. No crowded beaches, just serene, natural surroundings, and of course, the turquoise sea to play in.

Experience shows that this form of contact and time spent together is very beneficial to parent-child relationships. It is useful, meaningful, enjoyable, healthy, and not boring in the least. It is quite a rush for parents to watch their children become one with nature.

And while all this bonding with nature is going on, Dad (or Mom) can go diving, even up to 3-4 times a day. Since the boat will be staying at one place for a day or two, the dive sites may not be as varied as on a regular diving trip but we are talking about the Red Sea here, and everybody who is familiar with Gubal Island and the Strait of Gubal in Egypt, for example, knows that it is entirely possible to do even 5-6 different dives at the same site, in the interior and exterior areas. But it is conceivable that after a couple of dives, Dad would also like to join the fun, and go snorkelling with the children, talking to them about the corals and fish, in their natural habitat – the sea.

We have been organising these summer trips for years now, and the demand keeps increasing, since our family lives and relationships are also changing. We have reached a point in our lives when we do not want to go diving on our own anymore, we would like our families to become part of this pastime of ours. It feels good to watch our partners being active and not feeling bored for once, and that the little ones are also enjoying themselves so much, it takes a prayer or two to get them out of the water at the end of the day.

Tour dates in 2019 (Sunday-Sunday):

  • June 16 – 23
  • July 7 – 14
  • July 21 – 28
  • August 4 – 11 FULL
  • August 11 – 18 FULL

 

Rates per person:

  • Adult: EUR590 (liveaboard) + EUR50 (port fee)
  • Child younger than 12 years old: EUR295 (liveaboard) + EUR50 (port fee)
  • Child younger than 2 years old: EUR195 (liveaboard) + EUR50 (port fee)

Rates include:

  • Transfers between Hurghada airport and the boat
  • Full-board accommodations onboard
  • 3 main meals a day (buffet style service), snacks, fruits
  • Unlimited mineral water, soft drinks, tea, coffee
  • One 12l aluminum tank / person (DIN connection recommended)
  • Weights
  • Diving
  • 2 dive guides
  • Bed linens and towel use
  • Free Wifi where coverage is available
  • Shisha (water pipe) in the Arabian café onboard

 

Additional expenses:

  • Egyptian entry visa (USD25 / person, at Hurghada airport)
  • Travel and diving insurance
  • Tip to the guides and crew if you are satisfied with the service (EUR30 / person recommended)

 

Rates do not include:

  • All other items not mentioned above
  • Flights
  • Nitrox (for divers)
  • 15l or double tank rental (for divers)
  • Alcoholic beverages (may be purchased at the Duty-Free shops before the tour)
  • Diving equipment rental (for divers)
  • Satellite phone use
  • Beach towels
  • Touristic programs
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance for all guests, plus diving insurance for divers are mandatory for being able to participate in the tours.

Our boat – M/Y Andromeda motor yacht

You can choose between comfortable, air-conditioned twin- and queen-bed cabins equipped with private bathrooms. The bathrooms have warm-water showers, toilets, and a sink. We provide bed linens and towels for cabin use for each guest.

The boat boasts 2 sun decks and a covered deck. The dive deck is at the back of the boat along with a spacious platform from where you can enter the water.

Meal service is in the dining room. The European salon is perfect for playing and for watching films. And shisha is available in the Arabian café onboard.

The detailed program

Sunday

  • Arrival in Hurghada
  • Transfer from the airport to the boat
  • Getting settled in the cabins
  • Group briefing in the salon, welcome drinks
  • Individual programs for the rest of the day in the harbour or in town
  • Dinner onboard
  • Shisha in the Arabian café or in the harbour

Monday

  • Sailing out in the morning, heading for Shaab El Erg (about 1 hour ride)
  • Breakfast at 08:00
  • Morning coffee and tea in the salon
  • Snorkelling with dolphins in the morning
  • Diving at Shaab El Erg for certified divers
  • Lunch at 13:00
  • Sailing to Gubal Island, arriving at 15:00-16:00
  • Afternoon snacks, fruits are served
  • Programs until 19:00
  • Snorkelling at the house reef
  • Riding with zodiacs in the Strait of Gubal
  • Relaxing on the inflatable donuts/islands in the water
  • Riding with zodiacs to the white sandy beaches of the islands for some snorkelling, swimming
  • Diving at Gubal for certified divers
  • Introduction dives in full gear for those who are not certified divers
  • Dinner at 19:00
  • After dinner, shisha in the Arabian café, or watching films in the salon
  • Night diving at the wreck in the strait for certified divers

Tuesday, Wednesday

  • Staying at Gubal Island
  • Breakfast at 08:00
  • Morning coffee, tea in the salon
  • Snorkelling at the house reef in the morning
  • Riding with zodiacs in the Strait of Gubal
  • Relaxing on the inflatable donuts/islands in the water
  • Riding with zodiacs to the white sandy beaches of the islands for some snorkelling, swimming
  • Diving at Gubal for certified divers
  • Introduction dives in full gear for those who are not certified divers
  • Lunch at 13:00
  • Siesta
  • Afternoon snacks, fruits are served
  • Afternoon programs until 19:00
  • Snorkelling at the house reef
  • Riding with zodiacs in the strait
  • Relaxing on the inflatable donuts/islands in the water
  • Riding with zodiacs to the white sandy beaches of the islands for some snorkelling, swimming
  • Diving at Gubal for certified divers
  • Introduction dives in full gear for those who are not certified divers
  • Dinner at 19:00 (on days with no wind, BBQ dinner on the island)
  • After dinner, shisha in the Arabian café, or watching films in the salon
  • Night diving at the wreck in the strait for certified divers

Thursday

  • Sailing to Siyul Island
  • Breakfast at 08:00
  • Lunch at 13:00
  • Afternoon snacks, fruits
  • Dinner at 19:00
  • In between meals:
  • Snorkelling, riding with zodiacs
  • Relaxing on the inflatable donuts/islands in the water
  • Riding with zodiacs to the white sandy beaches of the islands for some snorkelling, swimming
  • Diving for certified divers
  • Introduction dives in full gear for those who are not certified divers

Friday

  • Sailing to Tual Island
  • Breakfast at 08:00
  • Lunch at 13:00
  • Afternoon snacks, fruits
  • Dinner at 19:00
  • In between meals:
  • Riding with zodiacs to the white sandy beaches of the islands for some snorkelling, swimming
  • Relaxing, playing on the beach
  • Riding with zodiacs
  • Relaxing on the inflatable donuts/islands in the water

Saturday

  • Sailing out in the morning, heading for Shaab el Erg dolphin reef (about 2 hours ride)
  • Breakfast at 08:00
  • Morning coffee and tea in the salon
  • Snorkelling with dolphins in the morning
  • Diving at Shaab El Erg for certified divers
  • Lunch at 13:00
  • Snorkelling with dolphins after lunch
  • Diving at Shaab El Erg for certified divers
  • Heading for Hurghada at 14:00 (about 1 hour ride)
  • Afternoon snacks and fruits served
  • Individual programs in the harbour or in town until 19:00
  • Good-bye dinner at the back of the boat under the stars
  • After dinner, shisha in the Arabian café, or watching films in the salon

Sunday

  • Breakfast at around 07:00-08:00
  • Transfer to the airport
  • Departure for home
For booking, payment, and cancellation terms, write to us at info@cassiopeiasafari.com .

Cousteau’s favourite dive sites

Many dive sites close to Cousteau’s own heart had since become world-renowned. But which were the great explorer’s top 10 favourites?

  1. Shaab Rumi, Sudan
  2. Sipadan, Malaysia
  3. Cocos Island, Costa Rica
  4. Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand
  5. Aliwal Shoal, South Africa
  6. Vancouver Island, Canada
  7. Blue Hole, Belize
  8. Cozumel, Mexico
  9. Heron Island, Australia
  10. Richelieu Rock, Thailand

It is no surprise that Sudan’s Shaab Rumi made the list, after all, great experiences, and exciting work and discoveries connect him to this site. Marvellous diving and an Academy Award. Jacques Cousteau, also known as the father of scuba diving, not only loved diving in this region of the Red Sea, but he had made several discoveries as well.

Jacques Cousteau, or Captain Cousteau to many, was a world-famous marine explorer who dedicated his entire life to marine discoveries. His main fields of interest bore not only great significance to science, but they also raised the curiosity of the general public. He garnered absolute fame with his underwater experiments he conducted in the beginning of the 1960s. Can man live underwater for a prolonged period of time? As part of his Precontinent II experiment, he spent a month living underwater, which they documented in a film. The film, titled “World Without Sun”, was awarded the Oscar in the category of Best Documentary Feature. It says a lot that of all the seas in the world, he chose the Sudanese Red Sea for his experiment. Though to those who had been to Sudan before, this is a no-brainer. One thing is for certain – Captain Cousteau had definitely managed to place Sudan into the psyche of divers.

Anybody who had dived in Egypt before knows that the Red Sea is an amazing and excellent place for scuba diving. Yet, one cannot simply think that if they had dived in Egypt, they saw everything the Red Sea has to offer. Far from the truth, since the Sudanese Red Sea is exceptional and incomparable. While you dive in the same Red Sea in both countries, the two experiences could not be any different. In Egypt hundreds of liveaboards sail the waters, but in Sudan this number barely reaches ten. The result of which may be that during a liveaboard trip, you see no other boat in sight. Sudan hides the most gorgeous and most pristine coral reefs in the Red Sea that shelter an feed its entire marine life.

This is where you will find the Red Sea’s marine life at its most abundant. Sudan’s warm and crystal clear waters support over 400 species of corals, and over 1,500 species of fish, turtles, and sharks. Large fish live here in large numbers, many of which are rare and even endangered. Here you will always see barracudas, spotted rays, morays, and giant parrotfish, to name a few. The coastal waters of Sudan are also ranked among the top sites for shark lovers. You will encounter grey reef, silky, hammerhead, white-tip, and whale sharks in this region.

If you had a diving bucket list, what would you include? If Sudan is up there, then…

… you should know that the most ideal time for diving in Sudan is between February and May. During these months water temperatures are around 25-28C, and this is when the marine life is at its best and richest. Dive with us on one of our trips:

And now would be a good time to mention that you can visit more of Cousteau’s favourite sites with us, like Mexico (Socorro and Guadalupe).

We are happy to send you further details. Send your inquiries to: info@cassiopeiasafari.com

LAST MINUTE SOCORRO!

Visit Mexico’s world-famous Revillagigedo islands in 2019! Spend a week onboard M/Y Cassiopeia and dive the awesome sites of Socorro, Roca Partida and San Benedicto!

Tour date: January 15-22, 2019

Original Price: 3 400 USD

Last Minute Offer: 2 990 USD / person + Free Nitrox 

Socorro Island is well-known for its manta rays and hammerhead sharks. It is also one of the most famous places in the world to swim with humpback whales. Socorro is the largest of the four volcanic islands in the vast Pacific that form the Revillagigedo Archipelago.

The Revillagigedo Islands are four volcanic islands that form an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, which are under Mexican federal jurisdiction and are part of the Mexican state of Colima. San Benedicto Island, the island closest to mainland shores, lies about 550km from the Mexican state of Jalisco, and about 400km from the tip of the Baja California Peninsula.

Most of the islands’ surface is of volcanic origins with some sandy shores, with no source of fresh water (except for Socorro where a smaller reservoir can be found). Climate is very hot but not arid. On lower-lying areas of Socorro Island, for instance, the average annual precipitation is about 600mm, and on higher grounds it can reach up to 1,200mm as well. Most precipitation falls in the summer months, and the rest of the year (from February until May) is very dry. Water temperatures in this part of the ocean are around 25°C, and the salt content of the water is the lowest in the world here, at 28‰. Prevailing wind direction is from the Northeast.

The four islands were discovered on four different dates. First, Socorro Island was spotted on December 19, 1533 by Spanish sailors led by Hernando de Grijalva. A few days later, on December 28, 1533 they officially recorded the sighting of another island, San Benedicto Island. The first sighting of Roca Partida was recorded by the Spanish expedition of Ruy Lopez de Villalobis in November, 1542, and later that year, Clarion Island also came out of anonymity thanks to the same expedition.

 

10-day diving program:

Dive sites

1.) Roca Partida Island

The smallest of the four islands, Roca Partida (“Split Rock”) is essentially two barren peaks that rise out of the ocean and are split by a low-lying rock area, hence the name. The island is about 91m long and 45m wide, and its taller peak ends at 34m. Of the four islands, this one lies in the middle. Clarion is 290km south-southwest, Socorro is 110km east-southeast, and San Benedicto is 135km east-northeast.

Beneath it, the sea teems with rich marine life. Divers have branded this spot one of the most magnificent diving experiences in the world, and no wonder. The rich eco system is home to large schools of jackfish and tuna, and  schools of hammerhead, white-tip, whale and Galapagos sharks that patrol the area. Playful dolphins and majestic mantas dance in the great blue while some silver-tip sharks take refuge in the caves.

 

2.) San Benedicto Island

This is the easternmost island of the group and closest to the mainland. It is 4.4km long and its widest part runs 2.3km. Its surface area is less than 10km2. It boasts two prominent peaks, the taller one (about 300m), on the southwestern part of the island, actually forming a volcanic crater. The smaller one lies on the northeastern part of the island. On the eastern side there is a spot for mooring.

The secret of the island is The Boiler, home to giant Pacific manta rays, some with a wingspan of up to 8m. These gentle creatures meet and greet divers, curiously playing and dancing around them. The encounters with such magnificent giants leave divers with ever-lasting memories. The Canyon surprises with large schools of hammerhead, Galapagos, silky, dusky, and white-tip sharks appearing out of the deep blue.

 

3.) Socorro Island

With an area of 132km2Socorro is the largest island in the archipelago. Originally Santo Tomas, it is named after Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Virgen del Perpetuo Socorro). The island is a volcano (Mount Evermann) that rises out of the ocean to a height of 1,050m above the surface, making it the tallest of the four islands. There is a small naval station on the western side of the island and a small village where the staff and their families are stationed. The village is served by a dock, a medical centre, a school, a church, and a canteen. There is a small fresh-water spring and also a distillation system for producing drinking water. The steep western shore walls hide numerous caves that had been carved out by the force of the ocean.

The island serves up delightful dive spots for adventure seekers like Cabo Pearce with its playful dolphins. The show of black and chevron mantas, silky sharks, and humpback whales whizzing by in the strong currents can be enjoyed from the protection of the boulders. Punta Costa’s medley of corals and gorgeous tropical fish shine in brilliant colours. The mysterious tiger shark makes its presence known while dolphins and torpedo rays provide lively entertainment. Roca O’Neil is home to a large school of scalloped hammerhead sharks. Silk, silver-tip, Galapagos, and grey reef sharks round out the eclectic mix with various species of tropical fish hovering over the reef. Diamond sting rays majestically fly in the blue, always ready for a chance encounter.

Cultural Programs in Mexico:

While in Mexico, expand your cultural experience and stop in Mexico City! Enjoy an additional day or two in Mexico and visit some grand sights, for example:

The ancient city of ruins Teotihuacan, lies in the northeastern part of the Valley of Mexico in the state of Mexico (about 40km from Mexico City). Its Mesoamerican pyramids are not the only attractions. The expansive residential quarters, the Avenue of the Dead, and the well-preserved colourful murals all bear anthropological significance.

The mere size of this ancient city makes it an impressive sight. Its name roughly means “The place of those who have the road of the Gods” (Thelma D. Sullivan). The history of the city is not clear but one thing is for sure—the Aztecs “inherited” this magical place way after it had already been completed (but already in some ruins). The two prominent features of the city are the Pyramid of the Sun, and the Pyramid of the Moon. The ancient city’s original area covered about 20km2. The section of the Avenue of the Dead (starting from the Pyramid of the Moon), that had been uncovered to this date, is also kilometres long. While the buildings in Teotihuacan are not very decorated, it is these dark and blackish colours and the echo reverberating among the buildings that make it so eerie. And when standing at the foot of the Pyramid of the Sun, you have the same feeling, and with reason, just like the Aztecs did, that this structure was not created by man. It is the third largest known pyramid in the world. According to archaeologists’ measurements and calculations, the base area of the Pyramid of the Sun is believed to be the exact size of the Great Pyramid of Giza’s base area. The top of this pyramid provides the best view onto the entire city.

In the north of Mexico City is where you will find the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the most important pilgrimage site in North America for Christians. It is also called La Villa or La Villa de Guadalupe as it has several other buildings and three magnificent churches.

 

For more information, write to us: info@cassiopeiasafari.com

We look forward to welcoming you onboard M/Y Cassiopeia in Mexico too!