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Fi's in the process of changing jobs (from an acute medicine to a theatre ward) and I was thinking about getting a quick and cheeky week away in the above.

Any of you guys and gals got any experience on the place? The diving? Any decent wrecks? Best Accom? Dive Centres?

I've read very good reports about the number of hammerheads and dolphins you can dive with (and snorkel in the case of the dolphins) and was wondering whether you troop had any 1st-hand info - good or bad??

Thanks in advance.
 

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Hi Bren,

I've been there, the town does not really exist so make sure you pick a decent hotel with all you need, but, the diving is fan-bloody-tastic. Big walls, big fish, I loved it.

Andrew
 

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<font color='#000080'>Bren,

I spent eleven days (14 dives) at the Kahramana resort this time last year. I had a very nice time.

Elphinstone is only a 15 minute zodiac ride away (depending on sea conditions) if you want to see hammerheads and a few other types of shark (tigers, oceanic white tip, silver tip and black tip reef shark all pass through - if you are lucky!).

If you want dolphins you can take a dayboat to the 'dolphin house' reef (sorry I can't remember the correct name for it but that's what everyone calls it) and you can see loads of them. It's a nursery area so you will see lots of very cute baby dolphins as well. There is some lovely diving to be had on the outer reef and some excellent swimthroughs (the dive guides call them caves but they are not).

There are also lots of nice shore dives from the Kahramana as well but no wrecks.

The diving is generally very good in the area. I've not dived the northern Red Sea so have nothing to compare it to. It was much better than Thailand though (only the diving).

HTH

If you want some more specific info let me know.

I would certainly recommend a visit.

Mark.  
 

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I'll be passing through Marsa Alam on Wednesday. Going on a 7-day liveaboard trip on the Tiger Lilly to the Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone Reef, starting and ending im MA. We spend the last night and whole of the next day at the Iberotel Coraya (5-star). Last time I dived around MA was about 10 years ago and it was just a small mining community without a single hotel. The diving was good though. I'll post a report when I get back.
 

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Hey Gully, Mark, AndyP,

Thanks for the 1st-hand heads-up guys - absolutely no substitute.

Firstly, Gully, diving in Marsa Alam next Wednesday eh, you jammy sod! Please forward me your home address so that I might burn you house down!  
 Serioulsy mate, get in amongst it and enjoy. Thought you and others would benefit from this recent (as in 'came back yesterday' from the resort in question) dive report I've just blagged from 'another place'  - hope it helps/illuminates:

http://www.diverforum.co.uk/talkfor....57.html
 

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Yeh, I read that, I can't for the life of me remember the name of the place where we stayed but it had three pools, two nosh places, plus bar-b-q's, a couple of bars, shops and so on and so forth, it is very quiet, but, if what you want to do is hang out by the pool, drink, eat and dive it is fantastic. Elphinstone is a great site, if you really push you can get them to take you to some sites that are rarely dived. If you remember the picture of the Yacht I have on the desk top of my PC that was from around there. I have to say the site was on of the most fantastic sites I have seen, huge hard coral pinnacles. You swim accross a coral garden, into these huge hard corals, which basically form a sequence of swim thru's, briefly into a cave, back out round the end and drift accross the wreck of the Yacht. Ah, memories, memories

If you go, you WILL enjoy it, but don't try to save money, if you are in the wrong hotel it will be a miserable experiance.

All the best,

Andrew
 

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Hi All,

Dennis off D-net just sent me this too:

"Bren,

To define 'great diving' is obviously difficult, everyone has a different point of view on what constitutes this (this is the beauty of the Divernet). In my opinion Marsa Alam is bloody marvelous. There are no fish and chip shops, there is no mass tourism, there are no shops to walk around, it's just plain peace and quiet, and great diving. Just the way it was intended! The masses don't seem to have started pouring down there like they do to Sharm and Hurghada, although I suspect this is just starting to change. As a consequence the reefs are pristine, alive, colourful, and best of all completely quiet - no '20 boats at a time' like the Thistlegorm type excursions.

Elphinestone is a great day-boat trip out for 2 dives (about 20/30 minutes on a day boat) - oceanic white tips, and hammerheads a-plenty. Most dives down here seem to be shore entries though, with the odd days day-boat trip out if they've got enough divers. That said the shore diving is superb, the best I've seen anywhere in the Red Sea between El Qusier and Aqaba, it seems it just gets better the further south you go. I don't believe there are many/any wreck dives out of Marsa Alam, although there appear to be some down towards Wadi Lahami if you are prepared to do a tent safari trip (contact Oonasdivers or check the link below). I've stayed at the Kharamana Resort (very nice, neat and tidy, great staff). The dive operation there, Pioneer Divers have to be amongst the most professional I've seen in the Red Sea, and get 10 out of 10 in my book. Dolphin guaranteed at the aptly named 'dolphin reef' (Samadai reef), with a resident pod. Fish life is abundant, as are the bigger pelagics, unlike further north where I've found corals damaged/dead and fish life lacking.

It's one of those undiscovered 'wonders of diving' I think you'll like (for people adventurous enough to go off the beaten track to places like Sudan, Oman, Mozambique, Protea, Aliwal, etc.) If that's the type of diving you like, pack your bags and get out there...

I'm off there again in 6 weeks time for my anniversary to try the Shams Alam resort... Can't wait!


regards
Diverd"


Related link: http://www.redsea-divingsafari.com
 

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<font color='#000080'>
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Bren Tierney @ May 22 2003,17:26)]Elphinestone is a great day-boat trip out for 2 dives (about 20/30 minutes on a day boat) - oceanic white tips, and hammerheads a-plenty. Most dives down here seem to be shore entries though, with the odd days day-boat trip out if they've got enough divers. That said the shore diving is superb, the best I've seen anywhere in the Red Sea between El Qusier and Aqaba, it seems it just gets better the further south you go. I don't believe there are many/any wreck dives out of Marsa Alam, although there appear to be some down towards Wadi Lahami if you are prepared to do a tent safari trip (contact Oonasdivers or check the link below). I've stayed at the Kharamana Resort (very nice, neat and tidy, great staff). The dive operation there, Pioneer Divers have to be amongst the most professional I've seen in the Red Sea, and get 10 out of 10 in my book. Dolphin guaranteed at the aptly named 'dolphin reef' (Samadai reef), with a resident pod. Fish life is abundant, as are the bigger pelagics, unlike further north where I've found corals damaged/dead and fish life lacking.
That's a good and very acurate review of the place .

Mark.
 

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[Ian Matthews writes, of Marsa Alam]:

"It's cheap, diving is great and uncrowded. There are only 16 hotels in the area, although this will increase to 33 by the end of the year. Not as many different sites as in the north, but the quality and sheer joy of not bumping into other groups make up for it.

On our first dive at Elphinstone we saw over ten sharks, plus turtle and shoals of barracuda. Later on we snorkeled with 40+ dolphins (not the semi-tame variety).

Stayed at Kahramana, but dived with Emperor (based at Sol y Mar). We definitely had the better resort, not to mention a huge day boat to ourselves for two days. Much cheaper to buy dinners in resort rather than take Half Board Package.

Right, when can I go back? "



So that's a future dive holiday sorted then !

 
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