Whaling around in Sudan

This is not the first time we have seen pilot whales in Sudan this year but this time around we were actually able to snap a few photos of them. Whale or dolphin? One thing is for sure – the pilot whale is one of nature’s loveable peculiar creatures, the interesting cross between a whale and a dolphin.

At first glance we might think we are seeing a dolphin but as soon as its head or tail fin appears from the water, we are in doubt. Usually they swim in pods of 10-15 and they are very active and playful.
Whaling around in Sudan
Air temperature: 22-30C
Water temperature: 24-25C
Wind: moderate winds throughout the week
Visibility: 30m

The first grey reef sharks appeared at Shaab Rumi and there was no lacking in hammerheads either, although the super-large 50-member schools did not show up this week. There were about 15 of them at Angarosh but truth be told, we had been very spoiled in the past few years when it comes to hammerheads. As we were sailing in the open sea toward Sanganeb, its famous lighthouse appeared, an atoll which lies on the outer edge of the coral reefs. Divers enjoy climbing to the top of the lighthouse after their dives to take spectacular pictures. You cannot go wrong with a photo from here.

Lighthouse at Sanganeb in SudanTurquoise blue sea as far as the eye can see where coral reefs can be easily spotted in the crystal clear waters. The atoll itself is unbelievably exciting where dozens of hammerheads and grey reef sharks live. This is one of the surest shark spots in the area!

Tip of the week:
Most common credit cards like American Express, Visa and Masterard are commonly accepted in Sudan but you must check beforehand where. On our boats we only accept cash payments.

This is where we were this week:

Divesites in SudanOUR LAST-MINUTE OFFER:
March 31-April 7, 2014, Cassiopeia, Sudan-North tour
Book by March 26, 2014 over the phone or in e-mail!

If you wish to know more about how to dive in Sudan, click here!

Playing with wild dolphins

Let’s face it, Shaab El Erg is not the most beautiful or the most famous diving spot in the Red Sea. It is only one of the hundreds of reefs alike. This week we have had a few beginner divers in our group, so we had decided on this protected bay to be the site of the first dive. The 8-10m depth is perfect for a check dive.

Playing with wild dolphins in the egyptian Red Sea
After jumping into the water, the usual Red Sea marine life was waiting for us – tiny red fish near the reef, black and yellow angelfish in pairs and on the sea bottom, barbels were digging for food in the sand. Blue-spotted ray – check. Murena underneath the reef – check. We were about halfway into our dive when dolphins showed up unexpectedly. Their familiar whistles and the gentle easy with which they glided through the water took our breath away. They circled us a few times, took a closer look at us and then as quickly as they came, they disappeared. Once onboard, we were all excited to share our experiences with the dolphins. Can you imagine what an unforgettable joy it is for someone to meet with dolphins on their first ever dive in the sea!

On the following dive, two of the more advanced divers decided to explore the rest of the reef with underwater scooters. But they had to can the idea because as soon as they entered the water, the dolphins showed up again. They were behaving a bit odd, moving their heads up and down, swimming on their backs and taking a closer look at us but they were even more interested in the scooters. Once the divers had realised this, a happy game began to play out between them and the dolphins but let the video say it all:

I have been diving for more than 10 years and have almost 600 dives but I have never experienced anything this exciting! Don’t miss this place when you are in Egypt!

Text and video: Istvan Sulyok
Photo: Daniel Selmeczi

Sattayah – Dolphin House

Location: Marsa Alam / Fury Shoals / Red Sea / Egypt
Description: Reef / Drop off / Coral garden / Lagoon
Depths: 12 – 40 meters

Dolphin Reef is one of the most famous divesite because of it’s dolphins and walls. This is a horseshoe-shaped reef found in the Red Sea. It lies in open water to the northeast of Ras Banas. The eastern side has a steeply sloping wall profile, giving way to a sandy slope. Many species of fish can be found in the area. Angelfish, Butterflyfish, Cuttlefish, bluespotted and blackspotted stingrays are common. Several types of sharks are also frequently spotted, and there are regular reports of dolphins along the reef or inside the lagoon.

Red Sea Sattayah dolphin house

Napoleon fish, waiting for morsels of food, are parked under the boats anchored on the left side of the reef. They are used to the presence of divers and boldly swim among them.

In the mornings we can see schools of dolphins inside the lagoon. Getting closer to them can be a bit tricky and since they are resting this time of the day, we usually just watch them from the boat, but sometimes you can scuba dive with the dolphins.