Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
Join Undercurrent on Facebook
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes

Dive Review of MV Tala Red Sea Explorers in
Red Sea/Marsa Alam - Deep South

December, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Sandra Tullis, ca, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 2224
Subscribers: Submit Your Reader Report Here
Subscribe Now Questions?
Subscribers can send this reviewer an email directly from here.
Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Bonaire, Belize, Hawaii, Northern and Southern California
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
Water Temp
71   to 73    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
no solo diving, no deep air, must attend the dive briefings, must show
technical certification to go past 120ft.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
The salon has 4 wide shelves for charging lights and camera batteries at
either 110 or 220 voltage. Call ahead to make sure there are enough 110V
charger adapters. The DM will download digital pictures from your camera
and burn a CD for you. There is no E6 processing. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
5 stars    
The Boat: 
Launched in July 2005, the MV Tala is 120ft long and can handle up to 22
divers. The salon where meals are served is a huge wood paneled room with
comfortable couches and a full bar. Coffee and tea are available 24 hours a
day.  The cabins are about the size of those on the Nekton Pilot (ie above
average size) with 2 outside suites that are even larger. Each cabin has
its own A/C and bathroom including shower and is cleaned daily. The
bathrooms are small. On the dive deck, there is a water cooler, a head with
heated shower, 2 freshwater showers for rinsing gear and 2 freshwater dunk
tanks for cameras and masks. There are also bins under the wide benches to
store fins and other wet things, as well as wall shelves for sunglasses and
other small items you want to keep dry. The top sundeck has another water
cooler, a bar and several padded loungers for those between dive naps. The
separate TV room doubles as a classroom. The captain has many years of
experience in the area, which is important as you will see there are
several live aboard wrecks in the area as a result of less experienced

The Diving and Dive Sites (Southern Marsa Alam Itenerary):
Mooring ropes, not anchors, are used by all boats. There is no fishing
allowed on the reefs. Some areas are still recovering from crown of thorns
damage but most reefs look healthy.  used a drysuit with a light
undergarment since we were doing several long dives a day. My understanding
is that in the summer, a 5m wetsuit is fine. Reefs usually start at 10 or
20 feet and go to 200+ so there is plenty of dramatic diving in all depth
ranges. Currents can vary but you can usually find a sheltered side of the
reef. We dove from a zodiac about 50% of the time and just jumped off the
back of the boat for the rest. We chose to do all of the diving with a DM.
Dive briefings were very detailed. Some of the more exciting sea life we
saw is as follows:
lionfish, octopus and cuttlefish (particularly on night dives), giant
loggerhead turtles (bigger than Kona HI turtles!), giant moray eels,
oceanic white tip sharks (that like to follow divers), white and black tip
reef sharks, 4ft long napoleon wrasses, eagle rays, blue spotted rays,
large pufferfish, crocodilefish, barracuda and guitarfish.
Our favorite dive site was Elphinstone where we got to swim with Oceanic
whitetip sharks.

The Gear (including gas)
I addition to air, Nitrox 32% is blended continuously. They also do custom
helium mixes at an additional cost. Wetsuits, drysuits, regulators and BCs
are available for rent. Just let them know what you need in advance. Rental
regs are in DIR configuration. You can also rent scooters, which we did for
one dive and had a great time buzzing around coral configurations once we
had a quick tutorial on scooter use. Single tanks have thermo valves that
can be Yoke or DIN and doubles tank setups are available. All tanks are AL
80s. Weights and belts are included. 

The Food
The chef has 27 years experience. Note I said chef, not cook. As a
vegetarian I am usually stuck with condiments and side dishes. The meals
were the best I have had on a boat and much better than anything we ate
while we were in Cairo sightseeing. Produce from the Nile delta and
homemade falafel is not to be missed. The carnivores told me that the fish
dishes were excellent. Additionally, fresh juice is brought to you when you
surface from a dive.

Getting There (setting up the trip)
The best way to communicate with the Tala is through the two email
addresses, and
Copy both on all communications including booking. If the boat is far from
port it will be a few days before you get a response, so give yourself
plenty of time. If you want to come straight to Marsa Alam (deep south)
where the Tala is docked most of the time, Red Sea Explorers (RSE) can set
up a flight from Frankfurt Germany directly to Marsa Alam. 
We chose to go to Cairo to sight see for a couple of days, so RSE set up a
flight from Cairo to Hurghada and then a 3.5 hour car ride from Hurghada to
Marsa Alam. They reserved our Cairo hotels and setup the transfers and
tours and can do a 3 or 5 day itinerary. The knowledgeable young lady who
let our tours of Giza, Memphis, Saqqara, Museum and old Cairo was Islamic
but did not wear the traditional head covering. I would highly recommend
Lady Egypt tours. On the other hand, we had several problems with the land
transfers (airport etc) through another agency. This was the only source of
stress on the trip and I would make sure RSE is not using the same transfer
agent before making final commitments. Although the website shows credit
cards accepted on the booking page, they prefer cash due to high card fees
in Egypt. We brought travelers checks and cashed them in Egyptian pounds at
the Hurghada Marriot.

2006 upgrades to the boat
I had a discussion with the business partners about upgrades to the boat
and the following improvements are coming in the 2006 season:
New boarding ladder with parallel steps rather than staggered
Additional tank racks to create more room to gear up when the boat is full
New ventilation for the 2 outside cabins to keep out smoke from crew
New metal doors for the 2 outside cabins so they close properly
Non-skid material on all bathroom floors and deck by outside cabins
Expansion of the sun deck 
Improvements to the ladder to the sundeck to make it more user-friendly
Leave a comment (Subscribers only -- 200 words max)

Subscribe Now
Subscribers can post comments, ask the reviewer questions, as well as getting immediate and complete access to ALL 62 dive reviews of Red Sea and all other dive destinations. Complete access to all issues and Chapbooks is also included.

Bookmark and Share

All Red Sea Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Red Sea
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

Featured Links from Our Sponsors
Interested in becoming a sponsor?
Reef & Rainforest, Let our experience be your guide -- Reef and Rainforest
Reef & Rainforest, Dive & Adventure Travel
A full service dive travel agency that specializes in Africa. We know Africa. Red Sea Diving, Antiquities, Safari, Wildlife.

Want to assemble your own collection of Red Sea reports in one place?
Use the Mini Chapbook Facility to create your personalized collection.

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.

Want to get more articles like these and
other important scuba updates sent monthly to your email?
And a FREE Recent Issue of Undercurrent

Free Undercurrent Issue
Get our free monthly Online Update, and a sample issue!

NEW! Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account |
| Travel Index | Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Forums | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues | Login | Join | Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2016 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.