Diving the Red Sea was the whole reason for our Egypt trip! As we were trying to decide where to go on vacation, diving was a big factor. Why not go to one of the best dive destinations in the world? Our trip with Emperor Divers was incredible and it raised the bar for our future liveaboard trips!
That ‘Eat, Sleep, Dive’ Liveaboard Life
With our positive liveaboard experience in Thailand and our desire to visit some of the more remote places in the Red Sea, we decided going on a liveaboard would be the best option. For example,
Our typical day looked like this: dive, breakfast, nap, dive, lunch, nap, dive, dinner, sleep. While I took full advantage of nap time, many people also read and hung out. Whenever we heard the bell ring, it was calling us for a dive briefing or a meal.
We had 18
Emperor Echo of the Red Sea
Emperor Divers has definitely set the bar for future liveaboards because the cabins (or at least our room) were so luxurious! Spacious twin beds, our own bathroom and shower, and a window. There were one or two days where it was hard to sleep because the boat was rocking so hard but otherwise, I was nice and cozy. (Our Thailand liveaboard had bunk beds for two and two bathroom-shower combos for 20 people.)
And the food! We ate so well on the boat! Three chefs cranked out three hearty meals plus snacks every day. There were a few Western dishes but the majority were Egyptian. I ate fava bean falafels or something with fava beans every day. The buffets had a great variety, many times there was hot soup, and there was always a dessert spread.
In addition to the three chefs, there were two dive instructors, a captain, and a crew to help with meals, dive equipment, and other tasks. They were full of smiles and happy to help with every task, from putting on your wetsuit to taking your plate after a meal.
Diving was excellent! The instructors focused on giving us the best experience possible. Since there were 26 of us, we prepared and jumped off in two groups. We rented full gear except for our mask. We also rented a computer as it was required for each diver to have one. They provided free nitrox, which was nice.
Emperor Divers also has liveaboards in Indonesia and Maldives, and I’ll definitely be looking at their boats whenever we visit those destinations.
Best Dive Sites in the Red Sea
I recommend a liveaboard to see the many dive sites in Egypt. Otherwise, you’ll likely be based in one city (or two, if you hop) and have a limitation of a three-hour boat ride to the farthest dive site. Our liveaboard took the “Famous Five” route and it hit a variety of wrecks and reefs. Here are some of the sites we dove and ones I considered when planning our trip.
S.S. Thistlegorm was a British cargo ship on its way from Glasgow, Ireland to the Allies in Alexandria, Egypt when it was sunk in the Gulf of Suez by the Germans in World War 2. It was discovered by Jacques Cousteau in the fifties and gained recognition as a dive location in the nineties. It’s noted as one of the best wreck dive sites in the world.
Rosalie Moller is a wreck lying at about 30-50 meters down. The ship, also located in the Gulf of Suez, was bombed and sunk two days after the Thistlegorm. Because the ship sits so deep, you’ll only spend a few minutes exploring it before needing to ascend, but it was a very interesting dive.
Only accessible by liveaboard, Brothers Islands (Big and Little Brother) are known for its shark sightings. We saw plenty of oceanic white tips and a hammerhead, and it’s also known for threshers. Off of Big Brother, where the lighthouse is, you’ll find the Numidia wreck and Aida II wreck. They are covered in coral and a beautiful spot to dive. You’ll also find strong currents here so be ready.
Abu Nuhas Wrecks is a site with four wrecks – Giannis D, Carnatic, Chrisoula K, and Kimon M.
Ras Mohammed National Park is a protected park, so you’ll find rich corals here. Shark and Yolanda Reef is a fun dive with a lot of life and the Yolanda wreck of 1980. You’ll see a bunch of toilets, sinks, and wallpaper from the wreck!
Elphinstone Reef is known for its drift dives and walls.
Daedalus Reef is part of the Marine Park Islands National Park. It’s known for its walls and drop-offs.
Favorite Underwater Sights
Our list of things seen is long! We got a good look at several octopuses, which were at the top of my list. We also spotted a hammerhead shark and tons of oceanic white tip sharks. Colorful nudibranchs and a starfish were also high on my list.
Thistlegorm was incredible! If you remember, we had dove one wreck previously, Kittiwake in Grand Cayman. I didn’t enjoy that experience, so I wasn’t looking forward to Thistlegorm. I was wrong! Seeing the old motorcycles, trucks, boots, and other cargo still on the ship was hauntingly beautiful. Also, Thistlegorm didn’t feel as claustrophobic as Kittiwake even though it involved some tight spaces as well.
Info About Diving the Red Sea
There is diving in Egypt year-round but the best time to go is from July to December. September, October, and November are high season. We dove in October and wore full 5mm wetsuits.
Divers come to Egypt because it has everything from wrecks, reefs, walls, and large and small life. Most of all, the health of the reefs and clarity of the water ensures fantastic diving all around.
We picked Emperor Divers because the date, price, and location lined up with when we wanted to visit. I used the PADI travel website to compare dates, prices, and routes. You can also search on Liveaboard.com.
The one negative thing about our liveaboard trip was that a few dives at
If you’re looking stay on land instead of a liveaboard, here are some places to check out:
- Reef Oasis Blue Bay Resort (Sharm El Sheikh)
- Dahab Divers Lodge (Dahab)
- Euro Divers Grand Hotel Hurghada (Hurghada)
Liveaboards depart from Hurghada, Marsa Alam/Marsa Ghalib, Sharm El Sheikh, and Safaga, depending on the route. Most are seven days, though there is one that is three days. If you want to do a liveaboard, consider planning a year out to secure your spot.
Everyone on the boat was gloomy on the last day because we weren’t ready to leave. We had spent seven days diving and hanging out with new friends. It was a memorable experience. This liveaboard trip will always be special to us since it’s where we got engaged but it was also a bucket list trip to dive the Red Sea. I hope we make it back here one day to experience it again!
Want more Egypt? Check out the posts here!