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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet/Red Sea Aggressor in
Red Sea/Southern Itinerary

Aggressor Fleet/Red Sea Aggressor: "Red Sea Aggressor Daedelus/St John's Reefs/Fury Shoal", Apr, 2016,

by Phil Johnston, Bayswater, AU (Contributor Contributor 18 reports with 19 Helpful votes). Report 8903.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments This cruise begins & ends at Port Ghalib, which can be a little difficult to get to due to the small numbers of direct flights from Cairo. European passengers seem to have higher numbers of daily direct flights from a number of European countries. Coming from Australia I had to route through Cairo & Hurghada due to lack of a direct flight that day from Cairo to Marsa Alam.
Our cruise was the "Southern Itinerary", taking in Daedelus reef & southern reefs around St John relatively close to the Sudan border. We encountered hammerheads during almost every dive at Daedelus, including a school of 9-10 on a mid-day dive. The hammerheads were slightly smaller than those I've encountered elsewhere (eg Osprey Reef & Cocos Island), but were much less skittish & more relaxed than at other sites. The closest encounters I've had with hammerheads has been at Daedelus, often approaching within a few metres. We saw a Manta on 1 dive at Daedelus but surprising little other pelagic or big fish action. Overall the marine life, large & small, seemed to be much more relaxed & approachable across all the sites we visited than any other place I've dived - a very good area for fish photography.
Abu Dabab 1 reef was another highlight for me, a huge area of very healthy hard corals of every shape, texture & color - a truly beautiful dive site. "The Maze" in the St John's area was another site with very healthy, lush hard corals & relaxed, approachable fish life.
We also visited Fury Shoals (aka Sataya reef) to snorkel with dolphins resident in that shoal. It didn't disappoint - I had some excellent close encounters with a pod of 20-25 dolphins, often close enough to see the pores on their skins as they swam alongside me. I gathered from the RSA divemaster Mahmoud that we were fairly lucky with this interaction & that the dolphins aren't always so friendly.
Weather conditions were highly variable over the course of the week's cruise, ranging from very calm to a nasty storm. This hit one night whilst 3 divers were doing a night dive, the crew did an excellent job of rescuing the divers via Zodiac in appalling conditions, they had to spend quite some time in the Zodiac before the waves abated enough for them to transfer back to the main boat. I'm still not sure about the wisdom of proceeding with the night dive given the approaching weather & given one of the divers had extremely poor diving skills, I had decided not to do that dive given these conditions. Nonetheless the crew did a fine job of preventing what could have been a disaster.
The crew were consistently helpful with donning/doffing dive gear, & providing warm dry dry towels & refreshing juice drinks at the end of every dive. Food was plentiful - if anything, too much as lunch & dinner were both 4 course meals & snacks such as pizzas & nachos were supplied between meals. Soft drinks & beer were provided free of charge.
The Red Sea Aggressor itself was in good condition & appears to be well maintained. Overall, the cruise was run in a very professional manner.
As far as the diving went, the various dive sites were variable in quality, but overall generally pretty good. Whilst I enjoyed my first dive trip to the Red Sea, I didn't rate it as highly as some of the other highly reputed places I've dived e.g Cocos, Raja Ampat, Walindi Bay PNG, & Komodo.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia/Bali, Cocos, Cozumel, Tonga, Galapagos, Tahiti, Maldives, Mozambique, Cat Island in the Bahamas.
Closest Airport Marsa Alam Getting There Some European airlines fly direct from Europe, Egyptair doesn't fly from Cairo every day, I had to route through Hurghada & get a 3 hour transfer to Port Ghalib

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 23-25°C / 73-77°F Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 12-20 M / 39-66 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions No deco diving, stay with buddy, do not exceed recreational diving limits (30 metres/100 feet). Some latitude was given with depth limits.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There were 2 areas for setting up/storing cameras, which was sufficient for the small numbers of divers on this cruise (3). The Red Sea Aggressor carries up to 20 divers, space would be at a premium if the majority of a full passenger load were UWPs. I'd rate the Red Sea as an excellent area for fish & hammerhead photography subjects (see my general comments).
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Subscriber's Comments

By woodca in , at May 07, 2016 09:15 EST  
Nice, balanced review Phil. Islam and Emad are very skilled RIB drivers, I'm particularly grateful for their expertise the night of April 27
By Donfrazier in , at May 10, 2016 16:41 EST  
It did get a tad repetitive hitting the same sites again and again. Elepntine was pretty beat up. Most of the coral had been abused. However the crew was the tops. The boat was very well maintained. Hard to believe it's ~ thirty years old.
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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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