South Sudan – Black-Belt Diver Paradise!

Just like Christopher Columbus, we have also taken to seeing the world and our destination was the deep southern region of the Red Sea. We had heard lots of tales about this place and we wanted to see for ourselves if the amazing stories of the untouched water world were really true.

“Tales are true and truth is only a tale.” (Master Hoppan)

Due to a substantial sand storm, we started our discovery Deep South tour in the North at none other than Shaab Rumi which turned out to be a good thing as our curious hammerhead friends surrounded us once again. Leaving the hammerheads behind, we were able to leave for the South, hoping for the best. The winds subsided somewhat but not entirely but this did not hinder our proceedings toward our destination. And in the end, we were able to fulfill the entire planned itinerary!

sudan_diving_liveaboards_red_sea_cruise_dive_site

Our second (2-week) Deep South there went without a hitch. We found marine life and untouched coral reefs unparallel to anything we had seen before. We often stopped at turquoise spots, our curiosity was driving us and we just had to jump and see what was down there! There were times that we spotted a no-name place and we happened to find ourselves in the middle of a school of hammerheads, counting up to 30. It was a big surprise for both of us; they were swimming about half a metre from us and they have surely not seen divers before.

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Dahrat Abid, Darraka, Miyum… wonderful untouched reefs, pulsing marine life and plenty to see! There were grey reef sharks, silky sharks, white-tip sharks, barracudas, hammerheads, dolphins, turtles… Every dive was an awesome experience! Our dive suits were left on the boat and we wore only our shorties in the 30-degree water. Aside from Andromeda, no other boats were to be seen during our second (2-week) tour.

andromeda, sudan, red sea, liveaboard, reef sharks, silky sharks, white-tip sharks, barracudas, hammerheads, dolphins, turtles
reef sharks, silky sharks, white-tip sharks, barracudas, hammerheads, dolphins, turtles

Warrior fish and the offspring

What an excellent week this has been! Our guides have gotten so used to the constant presence of large marine life that they have almost “forgotten” about all the other creatures beneath the sea.  So, this week we asked them especially about these other creatures and it turned out, marine life here does not teem only with hammerheads and grey reef sharks!

scuba, diving, sudanese, red sea, liveaboard, dive, shark, diving safariFor one, we learnt that the scalloped-edged fins are in this season among the guides. Why? Because triggerfish are spawning these days and they are very protective of their offspring. So, any time the guides swim over their nests, the furious mothers attack the fins, leaving behind their pretty bite marks.

Tour date: April 26 – May 06, 2013
Itinerary: Sudan-Ultimate
Air temperatures: 35C
Water temperatures: 27-28C
Visibility: 30m

Also spawning are the groupers, one of the most colourful characters of the seas, despite their frightening appearance. They are built stubby and look like a spud 🙂 They can be photographed easily, they are quite photogenic as they are calm and allow divers close to them. These days they are cruising in spectacular 50-member schools, specimens weighing up to 30-40kg.

diving, sudan, safari, cruise, liveaboard, red sea, scooter, shark, scuba diverWe were getting ready for hammerheads at Logan Reef and we spotted two larger females. At Keary Reef, we already counted ten. And for a change of pace, we met up with grey reef sharks at the southern part of Shaab Ambar. Then came Sanganeb, and a serious size of school as well – thirty sharks swam by us. Shaab Rumi ruled where hammerheads and grey reef sharks greatly outnumbered us.

Andromeda, Cassiopeia, scuba diver, onboard, diving safari, liveaboard, red seaOur chef, Mustafa, got a helping hand in the kitchen this week! Three guests joined him and together they created mouth-watering feasts. On the menu this week – Far-Eastern delights prepared with Sudanese and Egyptian ingredients and spices! Now this is personalised service! 🙂

A new week, new hopes. We will be back next week again and let you know what we will have seen. In case you have missed out on our previous reports, you can catch up by following these links:
In focus – the grey shark
Caught between dolphins and sharks
Scooters in action!
Sudan, the Jolly, under and above water
An Eiffel Tower in Sudan
Manta, hammerhead, barracuda!
The sharks winked back!
Angarosh, the “Mother of Sharks”
A perfect start in Sudan!
Fish parade in the month of the Pisces!

In focus – the grey reef shark

This week the hammerhead sharks took backstage to the grey reef sharks. And did they ever perform – they were seen at almost all reefs. The first two days were a bit windy then the seas calmed down.

Tour date: April 22-29, 2013
Itinerary: Sudan-Ultimate
Air temperatures: 35C
Water temperatures: 27C
Visibility: 30m

port sudan, harbor, sudan, liveabaords, diving, safari, cruise, boat, red seaBecause of the winds, we had to start the tour in the north where this time there were no currents, so there were no hammerheads either. BUT there were plenty of grey reef sharks and very up close. As the other boats had arrived at Shaab Rumi, we moved on to Sanganeb. There were hammerheads at Logan Reef but it was impossible to stay on the plateau for longer than 30 seconds because of the strong currents. We were hoping that we might be able to catch some at Jibna but there were no currents there either, so after one dive, we continued on to the North side of Sanganeb. Here, we got lucky. Both our groups had the chance to meet up with a school of 20 hammerheads.

scuba diving, dive, sudan, Andromeda, red sea, liveaboard, shark, CousteauBesides the usual shark dives, we must also mention that Cousteau’s Precontinent is getting more and more colourful by the year! It is amazing how the seas had accepted and made their own the used-to-be underwater research base. If you decide to take part in a Sudan safari, we strongly recommend watching Cousteau’s movie “Precontinent 2”. This way it will be even more exciting to dive at this site in person.

sudan, liveaboard, red sea, cruise, diving, safari, boat Day 1: Precontinent, Shaab Rumi, Precontinent
Day 2: Shaab Rumi, Shaab Rumi, Sanganeb South, Sanganeb South
Day 3: Sanganeb South, Shaab Jibna, Shaab Anbar North, Shaab Anbar Lagoon
Day 4: Logan Reef, Logan Reef, Shaab Anbar South, Shaab Anbar Lagoon
Day 5: Shaab Jibna, Sanganeb North, Sanganeb North, Umbria
Day 6: Umbria, Umbria

A new week, new hopes. We will be back next week again and let you know what we will have seen.

In case you have missed out on our previous reports, you can catch up by following these links:

Caught between dolphins and sharks
Scooters in action!
Sudan, the Jolly, under and above water
An Eiffel Tower in Sudan
Manta, hammerhead, barracuda!
The sharks winked back!
Angarosh, the “Mother of Sharks”
A perfect start in Sudan!
Fish parade in the month of the Pisces!

Caught between dolphins and sharks

We found ourselves caught between dolphins and sharks during our dives last week in Sudan. One excitement after the other, one dolphin after the other! If we were not diving, we were snorkelling or “scootering” among the dolphins in the turquoise waters of the lagoon at Shaab Rumi.

Tour date: April 13-20, 2013
Itinerary: Sudan-North
Air temperatures: 35C
Water temperatures: 27C
Visibility: 30m

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The weather was perfect, we were able to dive at all the sites in our North itinerary. We ran into hammerheads at Angarosh, Qita El Banna and Shaab Rumi too, where, not surprisingly, we met up with a school of 30 hammerhead sharks. To top it off, 4-5 bottlenose dolphins followed the zodiac and swam to us, while on out safety stop. It seems this was the week for dolphins and sharks because after the shark dives, we were able to snorkel with dolphins by the boat in the lagoon, not once but twice.

Our weekly video is full of action too. Click the picture to watch! With scooters among dolphins.

Day 1: Sanganeb West, Sangabeb West, Sanganeb West
Day 2: Angarosh, Angarosh, Merlo, Gota Shambaia
Day 3: Qita el Banna, Blue Belt, Precontinent, Precontinent
Day 4: Shaab Rumi, Shaab Rumi, Shaab Rumi észak, Shaab Rumi lagoon
Day 5: Shaab Rumi, Sanganeb South, Sanganeb South, Umbria
Day 6: Umbria, Umbria

A new week, new hopes. We will be back next week again and let you know what we will have seen.

In case you have missed out on our previous reports, you can catch up by following these links:

Scooters in action!
Sudan, the Jolly, under and above water
An Eiffel Tower in Sudan
Manta, hammerhead, barracuda!
The sharks winked back!
Angarosh, the “Mother of Sharks”
A perfect start in Sudan!
Fish parade in the month of the Pisces!