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Dive Review of Royal Evolution in
Red Sea/Egypt & Sudan

September, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Carol Cox, AE, AE
Contributor   (14 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 4453
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Palau, Truk, Guam, Turks & Caicos, Caymans, Cozumel, Roatan, Florida,
Cyprus, Turkey
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
calm, choppy, no currents  
Water Temp
89   to 92    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
40 meters, dive with buddy, back on boat with 450 PSI (30 bar), usually 60
minutes if RIB diving  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Two rinse tanks on stern, but they were not filled to capacity, which would
have been better.  Camera table with air hose, but top was cluttered with
tools, analyzers, snacks, drinks; i.e. it wasn't reserved for cameras.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
2 stars   
5 stars    
We spent 2 weeks on the Royal Evolution liveaboard on a Sudanese Expedition
trip.   We booked through Tony Backhurst in London and flew a charter
flight from London to Marsa Alam.   Our departure went OK except for a bad
conveyor system that slowed down check-in.  However, on return our carryon
bags were weighed in addition to our checked bags.  We were 8 pounds
overweight and had to pay $60.
A bus picked up several Backhurst groups at the Marsa Alam airport.  Our
group spent the first night in a hotel.  It was bedlam getting the correct
bags off the bus and check-in was slow, but everyone eventually got rooms
despite some missing reservations.  Guests were confused on what hotel they
were in, and what arrangements were for the next day.  It would have helped
if a crewmember had met us at the airport. The hotel had a pool,
restaurants, and small shops, but not much to do while waiting until 17:00
for the short RIB ride to the boat.  We found later we could have boarded
the boat sooner, but they thought some of the group went diving with the
hotel outfit.  We paid $30 for late checkout--the alternative was to hang
out in the lobby.
Upon boarding, we were given the evenings itinerary--Customs, dinner, and
safety briefing.  23 divers were on board, Brits, Germans, two Swiss and
us.  We reserved a deluxe cabin on the deck with the dining room, lounge
and dive deckgreat to minimize using stairs.  The cabin was roomy with a
queen bed (with room to walk around), storage and two picture windows.  The
bath had a spacious counter and another picture window.  We had
individual A/C and I could sit at the desk to use my laptop.   Engine noise
was minimal.   Cabins below were reached by stairs, not a ladder, and were
roomy but with no windows.  One passenger complained about a smell of
fumes.  Issues with cabins were attended to promptly by staff.  Guests were
given deck towels. 
After clearing Customs, the boat got underway as we ate dinner, and we
motored over smooth seas to our first site all night.  
In the morning we were briefed on dive safety and the dive site.  After a
check-out dive, guests could follow a guide or wander off to investigate
coral heads.  We moved onto another reef and did afternoon and night dives.
 We saw lots of blue-spotted rays, groupers, anemones with clownfish,
butterfly and angelfish, and bumphead wrasses.  On the night dive we saw
moray eels and large lionfish followed us to gobble up small fish blinded
by our lights.
After our first day, the boat motored all night and the next day with one
stop in route to dive a large underwater plateau.  We continued motoring
through the night to reach Port Sudan to clear in and out of Customsvery
efficient!  We stayed on board while the crew handled everything.
We stopped a short distance outside the port to do three dives on the
Umbria wreck, including a night dive.  The 23 divers were divided into 3
groups and led through different sections of the ship to avoid
The routine for the next week was four dives a day, some from the stern of
the liveaboard, and some from RIBs.  The divers on board were highly
experienced, making the dives very enjoyable.  We were usually divided into
3 groups to avoid overcrowding during dives.
The boat ran very efficiently at sea, with lots of helping hands.  The
entire staff was very safety conscious.  Divers were issued a safety
sausage , air horn, and signal mirror and were required to carry an extra
signal light on night dives in case they drifted off (which hasnt happened
to date).  Guides checked out riskier sites.  We had one passenger on board
that got around on crutches.  She was helped when needed without any
embarrassing fuss.  She was a good diver once in the water and the crew did
not let her mild handicap prevent her from using the RIBs or missing any
dives.  Right before plunging in for a night dive, an observant deck hand
spied a small leak in my octopus hose.  It was quickly changed out, saving
the dive for me.
Food could have been better.  The main course was often overcooked, but one
day we had raw meatballs.  The buffet had plenty of variety to include
salads, side dishes, two main courses, and desert.  Breakfast was virtually
the same every day, except for eggs cooked to order.  There was always a
line for the slow toaster.  There was no filtered coffee unless you
purchased an espresso.
The first two dives usually consisted of deep dives over drop offs to look
for sharks.  Unfortunately, the water is warm in September and my husband
and I only saw one gray reef shark and a small white tip.  Hopefully they
havent been fished out and theyll return with cooler water.  After
looking over the drop-off, we wandered back to a wall, plateau, or
pinnacles to enjoy the spectacular reef creatures.  The boat moved to a
shallower site for the afternoon and night dives.  
We saw butterfly and angelfish, jacks, groupersincluding coral and
lyretails, anemones with clownfish, sea slugs, and colorful soft corals. 
We got close to giant bumphead parrotfish as they slept and saw moray eels,
tons of lionfish and the ever-present Red Sea anthias.  We even snorkeled
with a school of manta rays.
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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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