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 .

Thistlegorm

THE STORY OF THE SINKING:


thistlegorm2_HRIn May, 1941 the Thistlegorm was being loaded with war supplies in her home port of Glasgow. She was to carry huge amounts and a wide array of military cargo including land mines, shells, ammunition, weapons, trucks, armoured cars, motorcycles, trailers, vehicle and aircraft spare parts, radios, rubber boots and a whole lot more. There were also a couple of railway engines, tenders and water carriers for the Egyptian Railways. She joined a large convoy and headed for Alexandria.

The Axis Forces having occupied almost all of the northern Mediterranean coastline, the convoy followed the safer route to Alexandria which was via South Africa. After sailing north along Africa’s eastern coasts, the convoy arrived in the Red Sea.

When arriving at the entrance to the Gulf of Suez, Thistlegorm was assigned “safe anchorage” and was to wait for further information. They settled in to wait for clearance to proceed through the channel to Alexandria.

The length of wait was dependent on several factors such as aircraft activity, cargo priority and the time the vessels had been waiting already. Thanks to two vessels colliding in the gulf and virtually blocking the way through, Thistlegorm was forced to wait two weeks, standing idle.

German night-flying aircrafts were alerted to possible large-sized vessels in the Red Sea. On October 5, 1941 at about 11pm two aircrafts left their base in Crete and headed for the Egyptian coast. Their mission was to seek and destroy.

Just as their fuel levels were getting to a critical low and they thought their mission was fruitless, the Germans noticed a ship at anchor. One of the pilots dipped his plane low and approached the Thistlegorm, dropping his bombs right over the bridge. The bombs detonated the ammunition cargo and the explosion ripped the ship open.

The vessel began to sink quickly and the crew speedily abandoned the ship. The Thistlegorm sank at 1:30am on October 6, 1941. In all, 9 people lost their lives.

DIVING AT THE WRECK:

thistlegorm3The Thislegorm was initially discovered by the legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1956.  She sits on the seabed at 28m in an upright sailing position. The very top of the structure is only 12m from the water surface. She is one of the most sought-out wrecks in the world and with reason.

The holds are still laden with cargo. Divers can discover the tons of equipment such as jeeps, trucks, tires, motorcycles and alike and easily imagine the life onboard this awesome vessel. Around the vessel there also items that were ejected from the cargo hull following the tremendous explosion. There are tanks, towing equipment, boxed ammunition and weapons.

Access is easy through the blasted-out bridge area. The crumpled decking folding out as an open tin can is still as it had been after the explosion. The image tells of a devastating event. Vehicles are parked in the hold as if waiting to be unloaded. On the starboard side besides the vehicles, other items can be found like small arms and weapons. On the stern two deck-mounted guns are still in place and are best viewed from below.

Usually there is a current but it can get quite strong coming in from the north. Groupers, jackfish, tuna and the occasional black-tip shark are just a few of the larger marine life visiting this place. The usual reef fish and creatures are also present and provide a nice distraction from the wreck.