Our colleague John Butland recently visited Marsa Alam, staying at Marina Lodge at Port Ghalib and diving with Emperor Divers. John very much enjoyed his trip and shares some details with us here.
John told us:
It was certainly great to be back in Egypt after a break of a couple of years and back in Marsa Alam for the first time since 2009. Bookings for Egypt are picking up again and it was nice to see the flight to Marsa was just about full. A friendly face was waiting in the arrivals hall, Regaldive's Rep, Ramadan. He's there to help all Regal's guests with the visa process and show you to your transportation.
It's only 10 minutes from the Airport to the Marina Lodge, our location for the week. The resort is on the quieter side of Port Ghalib, overlooking the marina and with the Emperor dive centre on site, it's perfect. Marina Lodge is small and friendly, so it's ideal for divers.
I'd met some of the staff from Emperor on my last visit, but there were many new faces too. A very friendly team there, so it soon felt that I had known them all for ages.
Diving with Emperor is mainly day boat diving, similar to how you may have dived from Sharm and Hurghada, so it's very relaxed, with a comfortable and hopefully calm transit to all of the dive sites. After the usual boat and dive briefings, we started with a nice easy dive, after a quick weight check. It didn’t take long to get re-acquainted with the lovely reefs in the area, but the highlight of the first day was diving with a Dugong, the first time for me. It’s taken a while, but I’m glad to finally tick it off the list.
The second day involved a special trip, to the iconic Elphinstone Reef. An early start is required, as it’s 6 miles offshore, but we were served a tasty and filling breakfast on the boat. Conditions on the surface were a bit more challenging than the local sites, but once in the water things calmed down to a gentle drift. Big stuff turning up is a bit less likely at this time of year, but there’s plenty of reef fish and beautiful soft corals to help make it worth the trip.
The next day's diving was also a supplementary trip, South to Samadai, otherwise known as Dolphin House. This is the home to a pod of Spinner Dolphins that sleep and rest there during the day. It’s not possible to dive with them and the snorkelling is carefully controlled to avoid disturbance. The dives are conducted on the sloping reefs and pinnacles on the outside of the horseshoe shaped reef. Only a quick glimpse of the Dolphins took place on this occasion, but that is nature, I’ve been lucky enough to have some close encounters on my previous two visits. But, as compensation, we did have a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins riding the bow wave of the boat on the way home.
My last days diving with Emperor was in a calm bay called Shoni Kober, just south of Port Ghalib. lovely reefs with the usual suspects in profusion. The highlight of the day was the second dive which brought us five huge Green Turtles, some swimming towards the Sea Grass for a snack, others just resting and sleeping. They seem oblivious to divers and you can get nice and close. One even almost bumped into my buddy who only turned to see him at the last moment and had a shock to see a huge Turtle just two feet away!
It was so nice to get back to diving in Egypt and I’d like to thank Emperor Divers, particularly Tracy, for their great service and some lovely diving.
If you have the chance to visit Marsa Alam, I'm sure that you'll enjoy some great diving!
Marina Lodge The Marina Lodge at Port Ghalib offers a good standard of accommodation and facilities. Located in the resort of Port Ghalib, this hotel is ideally situated, close to the airport and with Emperor Divers on site. Port Ghalib is located just 10 minutes from Marsa Alam airport and offers superb access to the fantastic dive sites of the southern Red Sea from its jetty. The position of this attractive hotel makes it a popular and convenient choice for divers. 7 night trips start from £559pp including twin share, half board accommodation, flights and transfers.
Marsa Alam is the gateway to the exciting Southern Red Sea and its myriad pristine reefs. Once the sole preserve of liveaboard boats, this area is now accessible directly from the shore. This is virgin diving away from the crowds at its very best.
Regaldive offer various accommodation options in Marsa Alam to suit a wide range of budgets. For more information, please visit our Marsa Alam accommodation details.
To find out more about diving in Marsa Alam, please call the Regaldive team on 01353 659999.