Egypt Livaboard September 2018
What a holiday, what a great time.
We all met at Gatwick South terminal, Sam, Nic, Kev, Cheryl, Keith, Dean and Loraine, starting with a breakfast/brunch to get into the mood.
Arrived at Hurghada, and the rep (Blue0two) said it would be a ten minute journey to the boat. Ten minutes later we were unloading from the bus and carrying our bags to the boat. Who would have guess it was so close.
Day one - Local Reef, Gota Abu Ramada,
3 dives including a check dive, and an incredible night dive one of those scenes you see on tele that takes months to film. The deck had plenty of room to get ready and the staff couldn’t have been more helpful, ensuring you were untied from the rack when you stood up when all kitted up. The dives were on a pinnacle with a few smaller pinnacles nearby. The first two dives were limited to 60 minutes and the night dive to 45 minutes. The first check dive included practice deploying a DSMB which everyone needed to carry.
So a few fish names, Red Sea Anemonefish aka clown fish. One of my favourites, Blue spotted Ray, Masked Porcupinefish, Red Sea Walkman, what a strange one that is.
The night dive was something else, this had loads of small fry that were just everywhere, so many it looked like you were in fog, they were followed by what looked like fusilier fish, and finally Giant Trevally. Rushing everywhere with the small fry dispersing as the Giant Trevally dashed through them the reformed.
Day two - Small Brother, 3 dives
Another great dive from the boat heading anticlockwise to the Giant Gorgonian sea fan then back to the boat with a sighting of an oceanic whitetip shark off in the blue. The second dive was from the rib negative entry to the cleaning station and then heading anticlockwise back to the boat. The third and final dive of the day was a fairly relaxing dive until coming back the boat with oceanic whitetip sharks under the boat just waiting to play, or at least allow us to take a few photos.
Day three - Big Brother, 3 dives
First dive was from the boat anticlockwise until 100bar then levelling up and returning to the boat, missed it on the way back due to the vis then found the jetty, knew we had missed the boat so headed back and further away from the reef until we were under the boat, hey, more oceanic whitetip sharks, and more photos, getting to be a habit, anyone would think they lived there. Second dive was uneventful, had a Thresher shark pointed out to me, out in the blue and fairly deep, impressive looking shark. The third and final dive was a rib dive directly above the Numidia and Aida wrecks, a couple of the divers undertook a penetration dive, the headed back to the boat coming up to 20m, 10m then 5m to manage the air, phew that was a long way.
Day four - Thistlegorm, Dunraven and The Alternative reef, 4 dives
We arrived early in the morning not stopping on the way for other wrecks due to the weather, guess a few others had the same thought as there were already 6 or so boats already there. If you count 20 people to a boat then there will 120 or more divers on the wreck. We took a Zodiac to one of the mooring lines down we went, made a note of the line as we would come back up the same line. As I had been to the wreck before, I fancied see the Locomotive first sitting off to one side of the wreck. Had a great big moray eel in it. Back to the main wreck, a swim around then back to the line, which was just being untied as this boat was leaving, so up another line to the safety stop, together with 20 other divers, not much room, eventually up to the surface to the expected chaos. Only got bumped between a zodiac and boat several times before getting back to our own boat. Not sure I will go back, too crowded. Second dive was Dunraven, nice easy penetration dive from the stern. The third and fourth dives were on the Alternatives, day and night dive. Pleasant enough reef dive.
Day five - Shark and Yolanda, Shag Rock, Siyul Is and Dolphin House reef, 4 dives
Not feeling too hot first thing in the morning, I decided to give the first dive a miss, one I love, but had done it several times before out of Sharm on a day boat. Once the divers were back, they gave me tails of very strong currents. Glad I gave it a miss. Shag rock was next, full of live, Giant Clams, Blue spotted Rays, Crocodile fish, Red Sea Anemone fish, and all the usual. Finally Siyul Is and Dolphin House for the night dive
Day six - Dolphin House and El Miniya
Having dived this on a night dive, turned out to be an leisurely dive of just over 60 minutes, even managed to spot a nudibranch, not seen a lot of these during the dives. After begin asked what we would like for our last dive we said a wreck. So off we went to El Miniya, a Russian-built Soviet T-43 minesweeper sunk during the Israel/Egypt war, just outside of the port of Hurghada. Lots of life as well, two types of nudibranch and a pipefish.
So finally laying out all the kit on the deck to dry then packing and home, via laying around the pool of the Marriot for the day until the flight home.
Thanks Keith for the lift home.
Sunday June 24th 2018
This dive was so different to the earlier dive on this site, great visibility, what on earth is going on.
08:45 we met at the marina with a 09:45 ropes off. The Waldrons a reef system south of Bognor.
Beth and Keith went in first for their 45 minute drift. On the surface we drifted at 1.2 knots and expected their dive to be pleasant.
The plankton bloom was missing, fantastic. No buddy line.
A nice little bimble along the bottom over the rocks, lots of crabs, a cuckoo wrasse who followed us the whole dive, several shannies and blennies, a shark (aka dog fish) and a ray, the first I have seen, should have taken the camera.
That was it, 35 minutes and up we went, 3 minute safety stop and back on board the RIB. Quick ride back to the river entrance and just in time to get over the sand bar before low tide, up the river, left the team behind to refuel, clean the RIB and have a pint and chat about the dive. I was off home to get some brownie points as we were due to have visitors in the evening, so had to be home early.
June 10th 2018
This is what sunny Sundays are for, diving.
08:30 we met at the marina with a 09:30 ropes off. We had a choice, get back before the low tide or wait until after, myself I voted for returning before low tide, so we had to be back before 1pm.
The site chosen was one of our usual, The Waldrons a reef system south of Bognor.
Keith and Beth went in first for their 40 minute drift. On the surface we drifted at 1.5 knots so on the bottom I expect they had lots of fun. Brian and I were in second, with the current slowing. So had the better drift.
The plankton bloom is in full swing so we had a buddy line between us, this definitely made this difficult drift easy. The best part for me was the nudibranchs I found near the end of the dive. Saw a couple of them. White with yellow tips.
That was it, 30 minutes and up we went, 3 minute safety stop and back on board the RIB, quick ride back to the river entrance and just in time to get over the sand bar before low tide, up the river, refuel clean the RIB and off to the pub for a quick pint and chat about the dive.
Fancy Dress Party March /April 2018
Not quite the fancy dress party that you’d expect.
It was the annual painting and decorating and servicing of the RIB Party.
The party consisted of scraping, sanding and painting the hull with antifoul paint. Together with servicing the twin engines. Thanks to all who helped.
One item from last year was the starboard engine whose hydraulics failed to work. This was found to be the electric pump motor on the lift mechanism which had corroded and failed, this was changed and all seemed ok until we tested it, the motor worked but the engine failed to lift. This was investigated on YouTube and identified as possibly something as simple as low hydraulic fluid. Having some donated by Simon we filled the reservoir two weeks later, and low and behold, the hydraulics worked. We promptly checked the port side and filled that one as well.
Next step, launching the RIB at Littlehampton Marina.
Now, let’s go diving.
March 2018 Fuerteventura
It’s that time of year, arranging the boat party to get the RIB ready for the new diving season.
And my first holiday of the year, off to the canaries with the boss and managed to grab a few days diving.
Diving in the Canaries is usually pretty good, this year they have had poor weather the same as us and unusually cooler. Relatively clear water, apart from one dive which reminded me of diving in the UK, but wet suit diving 17 to 18 degrees.
Anyway, during my three days diving I managed to see, shoals of Atlantic Damselfish and Zebrafish, white bream which followed us during the dive, also parrotfish, pufferfish, scorpionfish, Bluefin damselfish, Moray eels, Learned rockfish, a lone Trumpet fish, Porcupine fish, Eagle Ray, Stingrays and Angel shark, a few Arrowhead Crabs loads of Sea Urchins, a lone Starfish, and Nudibranch.
All in all, a lovely few days diving,
Wishing you safe diving,
What a lovely day for a training dive. I kid you. Is was cold and with the water tempwas 11 degrees.
Went through the kit and sorted a few bits that needed a few adjustments.
Nic was shore side, Keith was the trainer and me the buddy for Sam.
The plan was followed, first on standing depth platform, then on to the 2m container and then on to the 6m platform.
Mask clearing, 11 degrees? Tell me who wants to volunteer for this, oh yes, that would be me and no matter how you mentally prepare, it is still a shock to the system.
Good on you Sam, you did this a few time, got used to the ‘very’ cold water on your face and off we went to the container. With a successful Mask Clear at 2m.
Next was 6m, we had a break to get warm during the surface interval and completed a successful Mask clear then AS as donor and recipient.
Well done Sam, and now a qualified Ocean Diver.
It was that time of year again when the boat comes out of the water.
We met at the farm to pick the trailer up and head off to the Marina to pick the boat up. Got delayed a bit sorting the lights out on the trailer.
Picked the boat up and gave it a bit of a clean before we headed back.
During the last few dives one of the tilt motors decided to give up the ghost. So not so much as a bit of a clean as a lot of a clean.
Anyway, the boat is safely back at the farm where it will stay until the diving season starts again.
Come February and March we will service the engines and give the hull a coat of antifoul paint.
All volunteers welcome. And of course conscripts.
Littlehampton 09/07/2017 Ore Wreck
9:45 Ropes off
Here we go. Off to the Ore Wreck with Brian as buddy and Keith as Cox, soon Keith’s arm will be better and able to dive, with luck.
Even got the chance to drive the RIB and give Keith a rest.
Found the wreck easily enough with landing the shot next to the boiler so not far to go once on the bottom to tie the line off and send the shot back to the surface, Thanks Brian for your help.
Had to fight our way through a shoal of bib and avoided a conger once we made the bottom, there were a few others hiding in their hidey holes, just managed to miss getting bit while Brian was pointing out a rather large blue lobster with a conger just near my hand and eyeing up one of my fingers.
Pretty good vis for the Ore Wreck only nearly lost Brian once or twice while we were diving. Turned around and there he was.
This has also got to be Blenny heaven, lots of the guys around along with a few crabs of a decent size.
Finally back to the shot and a gentle ascent to the surface.
Can’t wait to dive it again.
Littlehampton 02/07/2017 Shirala
Here we go. Off to the Shirala with Kev as buddy and Keith as Cox, thanks Keith, hope your arm gets better.
Found the wreck after a few goes and was joined by a second Rib with about a dozen divers. Beginning to look like Red Sea diving. Once on the bottom Kev tied off the shot line and sent the shot back to the surface. You haven’t forgotten how to do it. With this your first dive since September.
Fairly sandy bottom and one of the largest Turbot I had seen, very well hidden blending in to the speckled sea bed.
The vis was pretty good and diving on slack made it a nice easy dive. Saw a few Crabs and lots of bib.
Up went the DSMB and ascent to the surface, picked up the shot line and off we went to a second dive, a drift on a new reef we spotted on the echo sounder, lots of rocks and hidey holes to explore further. Good for a second dive. Thanks to the fishing boat we spotted on it the previous week.
Littlehampton 25/06/2017 Bognor Rocks
First Dive of the season for Brian, I’d managed to dive in Lanzarote in May, Brian was buddy and we had the RIB in good condition with the electrics sorted at last.
Keith was our Cox having done his arm in throwing a welly in a local Fete. Hope your arm gets better, and soon.
The sea was flat calm and we were off to an easy drift for early in the season.
Once on the bottom we didn’t move very far as lots to explore. Saw my first UK cuttlefish. Seen lots abroad but not in the UK.
Saw a couple of one armed crabs, and a spider crab who was well camouflaged. Cuckoo wrasse were in abundance and also a few Gold shinnies and Leopard spotted Gobies.
Up went the DSMB part way through the dive having let go of the SMB while sorting the torch out. I’m sure I will get the St Ethelberga award once on the surface.
Once up hang around for a second dive, spotted a fishing boat nearby, looked like an interesting site for a dive.