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Dive Review of Seawolf /Seawolf Dominator in
Red Sea/Southern

Seawolf /Seawolf Dominator: "Excellent Red Sea diving", Jul, 2018,

by Patrick Ryan, CO, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 10379 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments [NI went to Egypt to do a Nile River cruise. So, I saw some of the most amazing sights that Egypt has to offer. After checking out places like the Egyptian Museum, the pyramids, Memphis and the Cairo Bazaar we flew to Luxor – an incredible series of monuments followed, culminating with Abu Simbel. From there it was a seven-hour ride across the desert to reach Port Ghalib – our departure port.

We arrived late – 9.00 pm – but the crew were waiting for my group (11 of us) and fed us an amazing dinner. We were given a briefing by our dive instructor Mimo and then gear set up followed so we didn’t get to bed until 11.30 pm and that was after a 4.00 am start.
The following morning, we met the other divers – mostly from Europe. We totally outnumbered them 11-6 and they were visibly overwhelmed by our group presence. But only good folk go on my dive trips. Within an hour we were all getting on well and swapping dive anecdotes. Hats off to my group – we never sat en bloc at meals but always mixed.

Our first dive was an easy introduction – here we met our other divemaster Gamal, not only a highly accomplished dive master he was also a linguist – made me feel very humble. That first dive was the usual cluster fu#k. One of my group was grossly underweighted, and, as it transpired I was over-weighted. I split my weight between my BCD and weight belt and was able to hand over my weight belt to Mimo and the underweighted diver. I never used it again.
That first dive set the scene with respect to the diving. Warm water, good viz and no current. I managed to drown a camera housing on this dive – fried a Canon 7D Mark2 and 60 mm macro. Our second? dive was mostly in the blue and here we saw a manta and scalloped hammerheads.

From the second day onwards, we were able to take advantage of our free nitrox. The fills were amazing – absolutely consistent - 3200 psi at 32% oxygen. The second day saw our first 3 dive day and then the third and fourth days were both four dive days. Most of us passed on the day 5 night dive. Day 6 only allowed us two morning dives.

Most folk wanted to see big stuff – so our dive masters swam way too quickly for me and my underwater photographer friend Dave Herrick – so we did most dives on our own (with the DM’s blessing). We were all catered for well but in my opinion the dive groups were too big for one dive master to safely handle – this probably isn’t the dive master’s fault – simply the company trying to save money. Fortunately, almost everyone on the trip was highly experienced – with a bunch of beginners this would have been a recipe for disaster.

The diving was consistent rather than spectacular (with a couple of exceptions). There were places where there were acres of towering columnar corals which formed underwater canyons. At one of the sites we spent almost the entire dive in a series of swim throughs – a sunlit labyrinth that took my breath away.

Probably the highlight of the trip for several lucky divers was an extremely close encounter with a young female Oceanic whitetip shark. She arrived as folk were getting onto a Zodiac. Those left in the water got an extraordinarily close encounter – in one instance pushing her off with a camera!

Spinner and bottlenose dolphins were common. We were given an opportunity to snorkel with the latter.
After each dive we were met with a fresh fruit juice of some description and fifty million crew members who stripped us to our swimsuits within seconds of hitting the dive deck. Piranha could learn a thing or two from these guys …

The boat was comfortable and ostensibly offered free Wi-Fi – but as this was totally dependent on shore proximity it translated to perhaps two days of reception – but as you don’t you don’t go on a Red Sea adventure to troll the net this wasn’t a problem for most of us.

There were a few idiosyncrasies – there was no soap in the shower and as I hadn’t brought any I had to wet myself, head out to the sink and use the hand soap to lather myself before heading back to the shower. Used toilet paper went in a basket – a good move – nothing worse than used toilet paper in your face when you dive. The dip tanks were totally inadequate for anything except a point and shoot rig but there were more power outlets than we were ever able to use (European 2 pin, 220 volt). Oh – and Egyptians have a very different attitude towards smoking – I think all the crew (and both Dive masters) smoked.

As group leader I was incensed when Seawolf told me that I would have to pay the port and fuel surcharge for everyone in my group in advance or they’d cancel my booking. I was led to understand that everyone could pay on board. Ah – paying on board – Euros, dollars or Egyptian pounds only. No credit cards, not even when settling up or paying tips.

Local beers and Heineken were on board, plus some interesting local wines. Interesting as in the ancient Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” – still it gave us an idea of the wine Jesus turned water into. Alcohol was reasonably priced. Espresso coffee was available for about $1.50 a cup – hell of a lot cheaper than Ratbucks.

Food was amazing. Our chef produced one of the moistest turkeys I’ve ever tasted. He regularly got a round of applause for his dishes from the assembled multitude. Typically, there would be a main meat or fish dish supplemented with salads and various local dishes.
The crew was totally amazing. They went out of their way to make us feel good and did a great job of coping with a diverse set of divers. And as for the outnumbered European divers – they accepted us and after initial hesitation we all became friends. Two of these folk, Johann and Sylvia, were superb animal spotters – I learned to hang around them like a jackal scavenging scraps.

On our last day Mimo gifted us all an extraordinarily well-made video. Unlike many dive trips it didn’t include any previously shot footage – only stuff Mimo shot on our trip. Beautifully edited over a short time frame this was a lovely parting gift.

Would I go back? Hell yes. It’s an amazing country and it’s an amazing dive trip with great value for money. And if I have used “amazing” a few too many times in this report – well – I don’t do hyperbole so go figure.

one]

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving New Zealand, Fiji, Honduras, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Belize, Malawi, Mexico, Bahamas, Australia, Philippines
Closest Airport Marsa Alam Getting There Fly to Cairo and then to Marsa Alam

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80-90°F / 27-32°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80-120 Ft/ 24-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions We were ostensibly limited to one hour but as the divemasters became more familiar with our dive capabilities we were able to extend this somewhat
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]I mentioned this in my main report.

The good:

Plenty of recharge outlets
Careful crew handling of dive gear

The bad:

Inadequate dip tanks
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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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