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Dive Review of Red Sea Explorers, M/V Tala in
Red Sea/Deep South

Red Sea Explorers, M/V Tala, Aug, 2005,

by Delia Milliron, CA, United States . Report 1993.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving California, Belize, Cozumel, Florida Caves, Kona coast, Kauai
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas
Water Temp 80 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 200 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dives within your certification, but tech diving available to any depth!
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments No end of fabulous subjects and opportunities for photo (my gig) and video. Specially set up charging stations for strobe batteries, TV room/class room for reviewing the day's shots, very accomodating in terms of getting cameras in and out of the water.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I organized this trip for myself (instructor and tech diver) and my family (not as experienced, recreational divers) on the brand new M/V Tala, operated by Red Sea Explorers (www.redseaexplorers.com). The boat and crew were fabulous and everyone was able to do spectacular diving within their safe comfort level.

Red Sea Explorers has a land base at Deep South with eco lodge style lodging and easy access to the excellent house reef (our first dive) for shore diving and many of the sites we visited on the Tala for day boat diving. The rooms looked very nice, and the accomodations on the Tala (where we stayed) were also excellent. The upper deck is a spatious shady area for enjoying the breeze, and a decadent classroom/TV room stocked with DVDs. The dining room was my favorite place, though, with the EXCELLENT, veggie friendly (more so upon request) food.

But the real prize was the diving! Starting from Tondoba, south of Marsa Alam, the Tala has easy access to the Red Sea's best diving. For the first dive, we jumped in at the house reef for a mellow shake out dive to get the cobwebs out and make sure the gear was set up ok. But this was no throw away dive! First thing I saw was a lion fish, then it kept coming - rays, toadfish, softcorals, hardcorals all in 20-30 feet of water.

It only got better from there. The operation by the RSE team is so smooth you just enjoy dive after dive. They blend nitrox continuous at no extra charge so you've always got the right gas without hassle. There is a zodiac on board they use to drop you in the perfect spot - often its a one way trip back to the Tala, sometimes the zode picks you up at the other end.

When there was a tech dive really worth seeing, RSE owner, Faisal, dove with me and had all that I needed (doubles, stages, extra regs, helium, SCOOTERS) on board. Otherwise, I dove with my family just using a set of doubles with 32% nitrox or oxygen enriched trimix. My sister in law got to try out a set of jetfins with spring straps, my husband got to try a cannister light and do a couple of scooter dives. It was a great way to play with new gear without all the complication of cold water drysuit diving, like at home in California. The sights were also incredible as I have never seen such healthy reefs - and they usually come within a few feet of the surface so the dive doesn't end at "thumbs" - you get to see corals, lion fish, clown fish, etc, etc, etc all the way to the surface.

One highlight was a recently wrecked livaboard lying at around 285ft. (Glad we had a top notch captain so we could be confident some other divers would not be diving the Tala on their next trip!) We took the scooters (of course) and ran along a spectacular wall of sea fans and corals down to the ship. As a brand new wreck, its quite intact with all kinds of fun places to scooter through and around (no drinks available at the bar, however). Working our way back up the slope, Faisal brought me to a large cavern whose entrance spans 130' to 160' deep, and it is almost as wide. We stuck our noses in and found it was quite large inside, bending around a corner before closing down - not much chance it went much further since we were in a pinnacle after all! We continued scootering around the walls all the way through deco. It was like 4 dives in one - just awesome!

The next morning we were at the famous Elphinstone - an impressive, slightly crescent shaped pinnacle that comes up to a few feet deep in the middle, with sloping plateaus around 80-110 ft deep on each end (north and south). From there, it drops off with the next shoulder being around 200' deep, then dropping again into the blue from there. The boat was moored near the South plateau below which sits a tremendous arch. The base was at around 200' and the top maybe 130'. Faisal and I headed for the arch straight away and scootered through and around it a few times including a fun little swim through between the boulders piled inside. We ran along the West wall passing 6 foot diameter sea fans, giant fish and even a hammerhead shark all the way to the North end where a second, much lower archway sits below the northern plateau. I really wish I had video for this one - shoot through a canyon then down under a giant boulder - just too much fun. Deco took us around the plateau then for a mellow drift along the reef wall. The life at this sight is so spectacular we insisted on staying for three dives here before moving on. The last one was more than an hour at 60ft max, but no less amazing!

I could go on and on about the diving, but suffice to say it was spectacular. The crew was also great - really good, healthy food always with excellent veggie options, clean comfortable accommodations and a great place to watch movies. Don't miss it!
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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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