Great for sharks | Famous Umbria wreck | Remote seldom dived area
This is a typical example of the Egypt to Suakin Expedition itinerary. The schedule is subject to change according to prevailing weather conditions and is only given as a example of what you would usually encounter during your holiday.
Day 1: Arrive Marsa Alam - process visa, transfer to Port Ghalib and board boat, process papers for departure from Egypt, overnight sailing to Fury Shoal and St. John's reef
DAY 2: Check dive at Fury Shoal or St. John's reef, then sail to Abu Fendira overnight.
DAY 3: Early morning dive at Abu Fendira, then continue sailing to Port Sudan
DAY 4: Early morning arrival to Port Sudan (stay on boat, approx. 3 hours) to process visas and port fees. Sail to Umbria wreck for 2 dives. On to to Wingate reef for third dive and night dive. The boat then moves to Dahret Abid for the night.
DAY 5: Starts with 2 dives at Dahret Abid and 2 dives at Habili Abid
DAY 6: Is spent in Suakin diving at Dahret Darraka, Dahret Ghab and Habili Ghab.
DAY 7: Dives at Protector Reef, Hindi Gidir and Seil Ada
DAY 8: Dives at Shaab Anbar, Pinacolo and Jumna before sailing north to Sanganeb in the evening.
DAY 9: Completes 2 dives at Sanganeb (north and south plateau) before moving to Shaab Rumi for an afternoon and night dive.
DAY 10: Kicks off with 2 dives at Shaab Rumi followed by 2 dives at the Blue Belt (Blue Bell, Toyota Wreck)
DAY 11: Heads to Merlo for a dive followed by Angaorsh and then Abington for the 3rd dive and night dive.
DAY 12: Sails to Shaab el Hara for 1 dive before returning north to Abu Fanadir for 2 dives. Afterwards the boat sails for St Johns and then on to Port Galeb.
DAY 13: Arrive at Port Ghalib and process papers for re-entry to Egypt. Disembark (approx. 12.00 p.m.) where you will be transferred to a local hotel for the night (HB twin share)
DAY 14: Spend day at local hotel. Transfer late afternoon to airport for your flight departure
NB: Schedule may vary according to local conditions and requirements and dive sites chosen to maximise seasonal differences in marine life and currents etc.
How Many Dives are Included?
Approximately 40 dives, including night dives, are planned, local conditions permitting.
Some useful information follows on dive sites that may be visited.
WINGATE REEF & THE 'UMBRIA' WRECK
This reef lies right in front of Port Sudan harbour and can be reached within 15 minutes. This massive reef offers a few dive sites which would be excellent for a "check dive", but its main attraction lies sheltered at its core: the wreck of the "Umbria". The wreck is one of these jewels you rarely dive and is considered one of the top 10 wrecks in the world. You could call it the "Thistlegorm of Sudan" but the comparison stops there. This Italian cargo ship, on its way to the actual Eritrea, was stopped by the British authorities, which were controlling Sudan at that time, in 1940. Its cargo mainly consisted of ammunition, detonators, bombs and construction materials and was supposed to be delivered to the Italian troops stationed in the horn of Africa. This was troubled time and, when its captain heard first that Italy had declared war, he decided to organize a "rescue exercise". Little to say that he and the crew had sabotaged their own boat to avoid the cargo falling into enemy's hands.
The wreck now lies on its side at a maximum of 36m and a minimum of 3m and is completely intact (Thanks Captain!). One dive allows you to explore it entirely, but it would be a shame to stop there. The holds are easily penetrated and the cargo (from ammunition to cars, passing by good Italian bottle of wines) is still there to be explored.
This very large reef lies 1h30 north of Port Sudan and is easily identified by its British-built lighthouse. Between dives, the lighthouse attendees will welcome you and from the top, you will have an impressive view of the whole reef with a large sheltered lagoon in its centre.
Due to its size, it offers several dive sites and you can easily spend a full day on that reef without getting bored. Grey reef sharks are a very common sight, both on the North & South plateaus, and, with luck, other larger pelagics, such as hammerheads or silky sharks, might show up. Another likely attraction is to snorkel in the lagoon with a pod of dolphins.
SHAAB RUMI & 'CONSHELF II'
If you come to Sudan, this is a reef on your "to-dive" list! Lying north of Port Sudan, the reef offers a sheltered lagoon for mooring at its centre, plateaus at its tips and sheer drop-offs on its side: a perfect combination!
On the plateaus, healthy and colourful corals are setting up the scene for schools of jackfish, snappers, trevallies, anthias and other species and numerous sharks can be seen patrolling around.
Shaab Rumi also is a special place for the history of scuba diving and scientific deep-water oceanography. It was on its west side that Jacques Cousteau and his team set up an underwater village to study the effects of long term underwater stays of a diver once he was fully saturated with all the gases in his body. The experiment might sound crazy nowadays, but in 1963, no data existed and this successful operation paved the way for the conquest and exploration of deep waters.
The remains of this expedition, called 'Précontinent II' (Conshelf II in English), can still be seen some 40 years later. Nature has taken back its rights, but divers are still able to see the coral-covered remains of the village: the hangar which used to store a bathyscape and looks like an urchin, shark cages, sheds for tools and abandoned structures elements left behind.
If you were to translate Angarosh, it means "mother of sharks" and the diving lives up to its name.
This reef features two plateaus and drop-offs all around. This site will not deceive avid shark divers with chances of silvertip sharks, schooling hammerheads, grey reef sharks and occasional tiger sharks. Manta rays may also glide by, amongst the schooling barracudas, tunas and other fishes. The diving on this reef can be truly amazing and unforgettable.
SHAAB SUADI & THE BLUE BELT WRECK
This reef is the host of the other big wreck of Sudan: the Blue Belt (sometimes called the Blue Bell), better known by its nickname: the Toyota wreck.
This cargo ship sinking, in 1977, is a bit of a mystery as nobody understands why it was sailing so close to shore. It now lies completely upside down against the reef slope and the size of the wreck is already very impressive, but the most interesting part of the dive, though, does not lie within the wreck but in its surroundings: the Toyota cars. In an effort to salvage the ship, the cargo was tossed overboard to light the whole structure. It is now the highlight of the dives to see the pick-ups, tires and spare parts covered with corals and it makes for some interesting photographic opportunities.
Close to Angarosh reef, Abington reef is easily recognized by its lighthouse. The site offers great chances to see some reef sharks as it's surrounded by deep waters, but its attraction is the turtles munching on corals and the beautiful coral garden.