A ‘Life on Board’ experience in the Red Sea, diving in paradise

After almost a decade of enjoying diving, I finally decided to do a ‘Liveaboard’ to dive in the Red Sea. Normally, I’ve always dedicated myself to organize my own travel plans, but this time I joined the group of Zona Cero Sub, a diving school directed by Martin Saenz de Ynestrillas, and with whom I spent almost two fantastic weeks, so much so that this year I repeat with Maldives and Sri Lanka (we’ll tell you about it).

How much does the Red Sea diving experience cost (Life on Board)

This type of dive trip in the Red Sea, with the planes included, can cost around 1,500 euros in August. At other times of the year, the plane may be a little cheaper.

I am not going to talk about the high-end boats that we saw next to us, moored at the (film) diving points, but I will comment that, for less demanding budgets or tastes, there are also many offers of boats whose cost for the week of diving can be approximately 800 euros, so the complete trip with plane can be reduced to about 1,100 euros. I make the point that, in these cases, going with a group obviously helps to reduce costs.

Photography © Alejandro Izquierdo

The beginning of the Red Sea diving adventure

August seemed like a good time to dive in the Red Sea. Getting to Hurgada from Madrid is very easy, as connections via Cairo are frequent. At the Cairo airport, the service of a representative to help with the paperwork for making the domestic connection was very helpful in speeding up the process, although it is not at all complicated. I recommend, if you like to be connected, to buy Holafly’s SIM card in this link, because you will have a 5% discount. Although the boats always advertise free wifi, there is not always coverage.

For those who are thinking about it, but can’t make up their mind, my experience of diving in the Red Sea with the ‘Life on Board’ was a great one. Obviously, affinity with the group you’re traveling with is vital. In my case, I was travelling with my brother and I knew very few people, but the world of diving has that: it always creates very good environments.

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To visit the northern part of the Red Sea, one of the main departure ports is, as I mentioned, Hurgada, the other being Sharm el Sheik. There are more than 3,000 registered dive boats there, both for day trips (small boats going to and from port), and large ones that do ‘Life on Board’ for about a week. Our boat, the MY Galaxy, is of a medium-high range and I didn’t miss any comfort (I even had a Nespresso coffee maker).

Red Sea Diving Experience

Entering the dive, you will have read many articles about how beautiful and spectacular the Red Sea is. Well, know that everything that is said in that sense is true!

The so-called ‘Northern Route’ is a perfect blend of coral life and mythical and majestic wrecks such as the archaic ‘SS Thistlegorm’ (you don’t get a sense of what it is until you’re inside).

The trips between the different dive sites were very peaceful.

If you’re wondering what a normal day is like in this ‘Life on Board’ experience of diving in the Red Sea, I’ll tell you that the day began with the ringing of the bell to attend the briefing of the first dive around 7:30 am (early bird gets the worm). Afterwards, they had an excellent breakfast prepared for us. The meals on the boats are very tasty, varied and abundant. From there, time to rest: snorkeling, sunbathing, sleeping, chatting or watching the pictures of the dive, etc. Time stands still in that paradise.

Photography © Alejandro Izquierdo

Noon is approaching and the bell announces that the instructors are going to begin the explanation of the next dive. Let’s get to it! Beware the nap, not because Morpheus kidnaps you after the delicious meal, but because the merciless sun of Egypt burns you at the slightest opportunity. Always wear sunscreen and avoid direct contact. No kidding.

We have already had two dives in the Red Sea and we still have two more: one in the afternoon and one at night. One of the happiest moments of the day was when we all gathered on a deck and shared the little delicacies we had brought along: Serrano ham, preserves, cecina, olives, etc. The first day one is full of energy, the second is excited, but for the last day the tiredness makes a dent, although you are happier than a partridge because what you have seen and lived has been, simply, beautiful.

The group © Alejandro Izquierdo

The dive itinerary has its epicenter in Ras Mohammed National Park, which occupies the lower part of the Sinai Peninsula and is reached in just one night’s sailing from the port. The two main diving points are the famous Yolanda and Shark reefs: sharks, dolphins, moray eels, butterflies, squirrels, surgeons, jacks, clown fish (like the famous Nemo)… In addition to corals, gorgonians, etc.

We continue our voyage, sailing towards the east of the Sinai Peninsula, visiting different reefs and wrecks along the Strait of Tiran, entering the Gulf of Aqaba: Jackson Gordon or Thomas Reefs.

The incredible experience of exploring the ‘SS Thistlegorm

Motorcycles from the ‘SS Thistlegorm’ © Alejandro Izquierdo

Once you have enjoyed those dives, a tingle runs through your stomach because the boat puts the bow to a mythical point of the world diving: the wreck of the ‘ SS Thistlegorm’. Its history is well known: a British Navy freighter that was hit by a German bomber in October 1941, rapidly sinking with all its cargo of aircraft parts, trucks, motorcycles, boots, rifles, ammunition and a long etcetera. You have to go down to see it to feel what you can read. Usually two dives are necessary to see the vast majority of the boat.

Military cars © Alejandro Izquierdo

A stop at Abu Nuhas reef, graveyard of several boats, and several dives to enjoy wonderful coral shows and life in full, were the culmination of this Red Sea diving trip, which every diver should do at least once in his life.

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