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

August, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Delia Milliron, CA, United States
Report Number 1993
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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

sunny, windy  
Water Temp
80   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 200    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dives within your certification, but tech diving available to any depth!  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
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):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
5 stars    
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 (  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

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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