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Dive Review of Blue o Two/M/Y Blue Melody in
Red Sea/Northern Wrecks/Brothers

August, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Carol Marzuola, Gloucestershire, UK (1 report)
Report Number 6648
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, Northern California, Great Barrier Reef, Gulf of California,
some freshwater
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
calm, choppy  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
50 minimum dives, No Deco, 120ft max  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
2 stars   
3 stars    
My husband and I decided on this trip, as wed been to the Red Sea once
before and like the challenge and beauty of the dives. We settled on the
Wrecks tour, mainly because the dates were available and felt we should see
the historical Thistlegorm at least once in our lifetimes.

We were slightly disappointed, as our previous experience on the M/Y Blue
Seas (Blue Planet) in October 2008 was excellent, and we expected similar
quality. To begin with, our first day of diving at Dunraven wreck was
thwarted when we had to return to Hurghada due to compressor problems. Some
of the divers had complained of smelly air and headaches after our first
shallow checkout dive. Then the problem really became noticeable after the
second tank fillings, with many divers flat out refusing to dive unless
Blue o Two made sure our air was safe (which they agreed to, after some
discussion!). We crossed a rough sea back to Hurghada, where engineers
checked the problem with an apparently newly installed compressor. (Turns
out, they didnt detect any threatening gas with their instruments in the
tanks, which they emptied and refilled, along with flushing the compressor.
 However, something was definitely wrong with the smell. One former
commercial diver with experience in these matters believes that perhaps
they had not properly purged the air lines after installing the new
compressor, and instead pumped chemical vapor from the glues used into our
tanks. He shuddered to think what would have happened to us on our next
deeper dives...  We will never know.)

We did set sail for the Thistlegorm that same night, but not without
further irritation. Crossing rough seas again, we woke to sea water running
through the light fixtures and raining on top of us in our beds. The crew,
which seemed genuinely concerned, relocated us to the salon upstairs for a
restless nights sleep. Other cabins had been affected as well, so we
werent alone. The next morning, I expected other important members of Blue
o Twos staff to approach us about it and perhaps offer their apology, but
they didnt. Rather, I was surprised that we had to tell them about it, and
they brushed it off by saying, "This happens sometimes." Really?

So... after a rough start, we did get some good dives in the next day on
the Thistlegorm, which we had all to ourselves, followed by the Rosalie
Moller (less visited, deeper) and Abu Nuhas wrecks over the next two days.
We were disappointed to arrive at Abu Nuhas on Monday afternoon, only to be
told we couldnt dive the outer reef wrecks because of wind. However, we
watched at least 2 other dive operators send their zodiacs out and wondered
why we couldnt join them. The next morning, we took in the Carnatic,
Chrisoula K and Ghiannis D, all interesting from the wreck perspective,
especially the Carnatic.

Midweek, the wind finally died down for a smooth 11-hour sail to Brother
Islands, which were fantastically calm. (So unlike our previous visit there
with the wild surf and currents.) We actually could hover around and take
our time looking at stuff instead of being ripped off the reefs by howling
currents.  All thats great fun for drift diving, but the conditions on
this trip to Brothers provided an invaluable opportunity to explore the
wrecks, shark cleaning station and shallower reef plateaus.

Our dives included the Numidia and Aida wrecks at Big Brother, and the
reefs and shark cleaning station at Little Brother. The Numidia was a
different perspective on wrecks, as she lies nearly vertical on the reef,
and plunges to +200ft depth. At Little Brother, we enjoyed a 15 minute
seated viewing of a gray reef shark getting groomed.  The last couple of
dives ended with a pleasant safety stop on the reef plateaus, normally
awash with surf. The hard corals there are healthy and surprisingly
inhabited by giant morays poking their heads out like garden eels. 

After 4 dives on the Brothers, we headed back towards the north and
Hurghada that same night. The next day, which was our last, was a complete
waste of time. With all the Red Sea has to offer, we didnt understand why
we were visiting mediocre sites as well as sharing them with day boats. On
our second dive at the Miniya wreck in Hurghada Harbor, we pulled up behind
a party boat and rolled off the zodiac on top of a dozen other divers
ascending the line. (I thought of recent stories of bottlenecked trails on
Mt Everest.) We decided to forego the very last dive of the trip, as it was
a popular reef also choked with divers, and snorkel instead. We dont know
why we couldnt have stayed at Brothers for a couple more dives or returned
straight back to Dunraven (the wreck we missed the first day) or some other
more attractive site away from the crowds. They had their reasons  low
fuel (due to the compressor problem), guests leaving early on Friday, not
in the plans, blah blah blah. It just seemed a waste of a precious day with
so many interesting sites out there.

On our next trip to the Red Sea  hopefully the deep south - we wont dive
with Blue o Two again, as we felt short-changed on the wasted days (2 out
of 6 days essentially gone). We thought the crew was excellent, but found
the guides approach to the diving a little slack and disorganized for our
taste. Although they offered to guide each trip, they werent always in the
water, and many divers missed key opportunities on wrecks, or missed them
altogether, as they werent sure where to go. Blue o Two say thats their
policy, but we question the wisdom of throwing even experienced divers into
unfamiliar deep water and suggesting they penetrate unknown wrecks like the
Thistlegorm and Rosalie Moller, all unguided, as they were doing. 

We finally started raising our hands when they asked if we wanted guides,
as all the wrecks were new to us, and they were fine. We just got the
overall sense they were a little comfortable with not diving, not sending
out the zodiacs, and worse yet, one of them didnt even like the sites. He
repeated no less than four times how much he disliked piles of metal, on a
Red Seas Wrecks tour! Maybe its just me, but I like my guides happy pappy
about every dive theyre guiding or briefing, and I expect them to show me
the best of what their area has to offer. (On our previous trip in 2008,
with equally experienced divers, our guides were in the water with us on
most excursions, which resulted in great team spirit and dives.)

Also, sometimes the information they provided in the briefs  direction of
current, map depiction of a reef, line to follow  was just plain wrong. 
We had enough experience to compensate for these little errors, but when
one of the guides would quip to us about safety, we were, well, humored.

Food on board was ok, but they cater to a British clientele, which might
explain the bland palate. Several guests got ill halfway through the trip
and at first we suspected food poisoning. However, people didnt get better
right away, and we now suspect it might have more to do with bilge waters
(shit) being pumped around the dive sites. At the end of one of our dives,
our boat was emptying bilge as we ascended! We would have liked a little
more warning (and disinfectant) onboard.

In summary, we expected better value for the money. Blue o Two had a
Hurghada representative who greeted us and listened to all our above
complaints, so maybe some of our concerns will filter through to
management. (On a plus side for Blue o Two, they do cater to
English-speaking clients, important for liveaboard harmony and
communication.) I was still surprised that she didnt know about the
leaking cabins, but she did rush to the boat to check and later informed me
that a contractor was on the way to fix the problem with sealant on the
cabin floor above.  

We found out later that another policy of Blue o Twos is to rotate their
guides on different boats. That, along with hands-off guide policy, may not
be the best practice for a liveaboard fleet in what could be sometimes
tough diving conditions requiring team camaraderie. Now we know.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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