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

Sudan Liveaboard Scuba Diving Safaris

Suddenly feeling the urge to get away from it all? Get away to Sudan for some winter holiday and some of the best scuba diving to be found in the World.

Scuba diving holidayGet far enough south in the Red Sea and you won’t see other safari boats, liveaboards, or overdived reefs – just marine life, and lots of it! Sudan is known as the gem of the Red Sea and with reason! Untouched reefs, a splendour of corals in thousands of amazing colours, huge schools of fish and of course, sharks in abundance can be found here. And no wonder that Captain Cousteau built his underwater observatory here the parts of which can still be explored by scuba divers.

Shark in the sudanese Red SeaAfter visiting Angarosh, one of the most famous shark sites in the world, a really exciting wreck awaits us – the Umbria. Besides the beauties of the sea, we must also mention Suakin, the ghost town, which once was the main port in the Red Sea.

The wreck of UmbriaAs we did this year, we are returning to Sudan – with M/Y Cassiopeia and M/Y Andromeda – again in February, 2014 until June, so we look forward to seeing you and your guests again onboard for another amazing season in Sudan and we hope to see some new faces as well for an unforgettable experience.

We offer a collection of unbeatable, special offers to Sudan from February 2014 until the end of June.

Got a question or want to check availability? Please send us an enquiry!

Get more info about scuba diving liveaboard in Sudan here…

Shaab Rumi

This reef lies 48km from Port Sudan and surrounds a gorgeous lagoon which can be accessed through a narrow strait having been blasted by Cousteau himself. Outside of the lagoon, just 100m from its entrance is where in 1963, Cousteau built Precontinent II – his futuristic world. Here he conducted his underwater experiments and today the Precontinent provides an insight into the lives of those who had lived under the water in futuristic looking buildings and conducted research on marine life. The cages used for shark feedings still lie where they used to in Cousteau’s time. Sharks still come here as they did decades ago.

Precontinent II (Shaab Rumi)

THE STORY OF THE SINKING:

precontinent3The site chosen for the underwater village was at Shaab Rumi in the Sudanese Red Sea, about 35km from Port Sudan. The reef was the perfect choice for several reasons. Its marine life is one of the richest in the world.

The reef is long and narrow and there is a beautiful lagoon where the supply ships were able to remain anchored. Cousteau’s Calypso and the Italian Rosaldo were the floating base for the experiment. They had huge compressors, generators and many other equipment necessary for the project.

The location for the Precontinent II village was chosen to be close to the entrance to the lagoon, beside the external wall of the reef. The flat plateau provided the ideal place for the various structures which were built and assembled in Europe then transported to Sudan. The structures were fixed to the bottom by steel cables and 200 tons of lead.

DIVING AT THE WRECK:


precontinent8The Starfish House was where the 8-member team lived. It was equipped with crew quarters with bunk beds and general areas with a bathroom, tables, chairs, technical equipment and instruments.

The Sea Urchin (shaped as its namesake) was the hangar for the small submersible used to descend to 300m deep. The large dome was full of air and the submersible was able to slide in and out through the bottom opening.

The Shed was a long and narrow structure where tools, underwater scooters and all equipment were housed necessary for the divers on a daily basis.

The Submersible Cabin was where 2 divers at a time spent an entire week. On the lower level the divers got out of the water and their scuba gear and showered. On the upper level were their accommodations but with a lot less frills than in their home base, the Starfish. Even deeper, at around 50m shark cages were placed.

The Fish Coral housed an additional 25 other divers who performed various duties necessary for the upkeep of the structures and for the lives of the other 8 divers. They cooked, cleaned the outside of the structures from the fast-growing algae and seaweed and so on.

After the experiment the two ”houses” (the Starfish House and the Submersible Cabin) were dismantled along with the expensive equipment however the other structures still remain. The hangar, the Sea Urchin, dotted with round portholes, is overgrown by amazing coral formations. It stands on its legs and underneath is an access into the inside. Colonies of glassfish make their home here, attracted by the dark and shady insides. Once inside the air bubble, you can breathe on your own. The sounds echo inside the lunar-looking structure.

precontinent5The Fish Coral is richly covered by sponges and soft corals that take one’s breath away. Lionfish can be spotted here and on occasion, blue-spotted stingrays.

The tool shed is also covered with thick coral growth and around the structures are still visible the coral-encrusted steel cables that held them in place.

The shark cages are a bit deeper, at 30 and 50m. They are also coated with corals and crustacean. Although fish life is not as rich as in the 1960s, there is still plenty to see and even sharks can be spotted near the cages.