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Hi,

OK, a confession, I'm 40 next year, sob, sob. I was planning a dive spectacular, Truk Lagoon and Bikini Atol. Tragically this has got to be shelved due to the fact I am buying a new house. Yes even I have to occaisionally bow to the inevitable.

So, I started thinking "what can I do for around £1,000.00, that will be truley spectacular".

I have done a fair amount of checking about, I know for certain it will be a live-aboard, the idea being to dive my socks off.

The Sudan seems to be a superb option, it is relativly un-dived location at the moment, apparently, the odds on NOT seeing some seriously large fish are small. Theres Jaques's Conshelf thing, great wrecks, huge drop-offs, infact it's got the lot.

BUT, a week long trip costs about £1,300.00. A bit much, however, I contacted Diving World, it would be possible to get a huge discount if I can fill the boat but I would need to commit before the end of October. There is a choice of boats, the two I would most like to get are MY Sea Serpent, a truley fantastic boat, and MY Miss Noran, smaller but equally fantastic.

I need a minimum of 16 people, if we book the boat we can get the trip for less than £800.00.

Is anyone out there interested in a hugely discounted, awsome trip to dive Sudan.

Andrew
 

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When are you thinking of going and flying to where? - I'd probably be interested and might be able to persuade my better half too.
I would also try to get the Sea Serpent as I've seen the Miss Nouran and it does look pretty small.
Rgds

Robert
(P.S. 8 days 'til Singapore and a liveaboard to do the Prince of Wales and the Repulse - Yippee! That's just over £1,000, I'll post a trip report when I get back.)
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Andy

I looked at the Sudan for this year and it still seemed a bit of a logistical nightmare to get to.  Flights via Luxor and so on, how many days diving would going for a week be and when are you thinking of going, apart from that could be interested as at the moment contemplating doing the southern redsea on Coral Queen.

Fiona
 

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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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I hapen to know we are talking April next year 2004.

And yes I will also be 40 next year so I am a dfinate for a slot

ATB

Mark Chase
 

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Hi Andy,

40 eh? Well you know what they say - life begins....etc.

Don't mean to tap-tackle this Sudan gig, but for the money mate you could go on a very large South African (Sodwana Bay, Protea Banks & Aliwal Shoal) and Mozambique (Ponto De Oro) gig and have serious change in your pocket to boot!

Splendid wrecks (the 'Nebo' and the 'Produce') off Aliwal Shoal, along with 'Raggie Cave' and 'The Cathedral', both stunning Raggie Shark nursery caves - the sharks come to within a foot of your face and are devine to swim with. Then you've got Protea Banks, scene of my 120+ Hammerhead Shark pictures! Saw a whole mess of things I'd never seen before like a whole family of Ribbon-tail Rays, Zambezi (Bull) Sharks, Bronze Whaler Sharks and an Ocreanic White!! Sodawana Bay has a whole raft of different reefs and life, we (very much by accident!) drove over a baby Whale Shark in out RIB as  we were hacking out through the breakers to '9 Mile Reef'. You've also got (spelt phonetically) Schluschluwe National Park a hop-skip-n-jump from Sodwana Bay, along with False Bay and Richards Bay, so you can take in everything from Rhino's to Lions, crocs, in fact the full monty. Nature, red in tooth and claw and all the better for it.

South Africa is dirt, and I mean dirt cheap to live in whilst you're there too. Food and drink (all of the highest and fresh - e.g. stakes, fish and veg -  calibre) are commically cheap (i.e. a 3-course sit-down nose-bag for two, including top class wine cost you about £12 all in!).

That said, Mozambique is even cheaper and you can get (as I know you to be something of an accomplished underwater photographer!) whole squadrons of Whale Sharks migrating up the coast. The reefs are pretty much virgin and you'll get a number of different species (as you done the Red Sea how many times?) from your usual jaunts.

Can't comment on the Sudan, not yet been, but I can recommend the above suggestion in grand fashion! Something to ponder wnay way. Happy bidet in advance.

Cheers,
 

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Hi Bren,

South Africa and Mozambique are already planned for the end of 2004, my m8 is getting married out there which because they are stupid rich will be the party to end all parties. If I have to be there then I will just have to dive. Do the Surfari bit etc

I spent quite a bit of time looking around for where to go. I didn't want to spend a week on a plane and I have already done the Southern Egypt bit. I just keep hearing these fantastic stories about Sudan.

You can fly directly there, but, in discussions with Diving World the best bet might be to fly into Marsa Allam as there are still some issues getting in and out of the airport in Sudan, some of these details are yet to be ironed out. I do know I will not be doing that bus ride from Hurgarda again (ouch).

Andrew
 

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I've been keeping half an eye on the Sudan due to recieving Janes Security and Terrorism briefs. I would keep watching what the FCO are saying. This is the latest;

Still Current at: 18 September 2003  
Updated: 22 May 2003
 
SUDAN  

SUMMARY
The vast majority of visits to Khartoum are trouble-free. We advise against all travel to southern Sudan, except for those engaged in essential relief work. On 25 April 2003, there was an escalation in the fighting in Darfur. Anti-Government rebels of the Sudanese Liberation Movement (S.L.M) attacked the airport at Al-Fashir and held it for a number of hours. Fifty two government soldiers and rebels were killed and a number of aircraft were destroyed. There has been fighting in Western Upper Nile (Unity State) and the military situation in the Eritrean border/Kassala area remains tense and uncertain. We advice against travel to these three areas.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Terrorism
We believe Sudan is one of a number of countries where there is an increased threat to visibly British institutions and organisations from global terrorism

Political Situation
Khartoum has returned to normal since the last (peaceful) pro-Iraq demonstration on 9 April. Earlier there had been a number of demonstrations near the U.S. Embassy. Some of these had resulted in stone throwing and violence and had been dispersed by police using tear gas. At least one demonstrator was shot dead and cars were burned.The security situation in southern Sudan remains unstable due to the continuing civil war. On 17 October 2002, the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People&#8217;s Liberation Movement/Army agreed a Memorandum of Understanding on a cessation of hostilities for the duration of the peace talks. By and large this is being respected. Although there have been reports of fighting in Western Upper Nile (Unity State). Some government-controlled towns can be visited by scheduled flights. You should consult the British Embassy in Khartoum, immediately before travelling to these areas. The fighting in the western province of Darfur has recently escalated. Members of the Sudanese Liberation Movement (previously the Darfur Liberation Movement) attacked the airport at Al Fashir and fifty two soldiers and rebels were killed and many injured. The city of Nyala, in south Darfur is under curfew from 22:00 hours to 06:00 hours to help prevent similar attacks there. Banditry and tribal clashes continue around the Jebel Marra in Darfur. You are strongly recommended not travel to these areas. Only those engaged in essential relief work should visit rural areas of south and west Sudan. The Nuba Mountains Agreement has resulted in a ceasefire in the region, allowing some international personnel to enter the area. The ceasefire now extended until July 2003 continues to hold. We recommend that you do not visit the Nuba Mountains unless engaged in official monitoring or essential relief work. Unofficial visitors to the Nuba Mountains area have been arrested and held in detention. The situation on the Eritrean border /Kassala area remains tense. This area is currently high risk and should be avoided.

Crime
Although the incidence of street crime in Khartoum and major cities is low, you should exercise caution, particularly late at night. You should keep a low profile and avoid demonstrations. We have received recent reports from travellers of individuals who have attempted to use personal information to extort money from relatives. You should be careful to keep your personal information secure.

Local Travel
The Wadi Halfa border crossing between Egypt and Sudan is open. You should not attempt to cross any other land borders, whether or not at official crossing points. There is also a risk from landmines. You can obtain local driving licences from the police. Women as well as men are permitted to drive. You are more at risk of involvement in traffic accidents when using public transport (taxis and buses) as many vehicles are unsafe. It is unlikely you will be subjected to a personal attack on public transport. Desert travel within Sudan should be attempted only if you are fully equipped and experienced. Permits, obtained locally, are required for all travel outside Khartoum. Although international flights conform to international safety standards, you should be aware that the same assurances cannot be made for internal flights operated by national airlines.[HIGHLIGHT] There have been attacks of piracy and armed robbery against ships in and around Sudanese waters (13 cases in 2000, 5 in 2001). Mariners are advised to take appropriate precautions.

Road Travel
The driving conditions and standards in Sudan are below those in the UK and other European countries. Only major roads are metalled. Residential areas usually have unsurfaced roads. At night, there is generally no street lighting and many vehicles have no lights. Roads are used by pedestrians, donkey-carts, rickshaws, horses, camels as well as motor vehicles. When driving you should ensure your car windows are closed and doors locked. Although drivers need a licence and insurance, many do not have these. Many international companies and organisations do not permit their international staff to drive due to safety concerns. These organisations usually provide transport for their staff. You should ensure that you get a local driver&#8217;s licence and adequate insurance, preferably including a premium for "blood money" in case of involvement in an accident involving a third party. Outside Khartoum, some major routes between towns have good roads. Off the beaten track, roads may consist of a rough track and in many areas, not even that. Any journeys not following a major route or road should include a local guide with experience of the area. Many areas south of Khartoum become inaccessible by road during the rainy season from July to October. The wadis (dry river beds) are subject to flash floods and many are not passable during the rains unless travelling on a major road.

Credit Cards
Until further notice, credits cards (Barclaycard, Visa, Mastercard and JCB (Japanese credit cards) that originate in Sudan) cannot be accepted in the main hotels in Sudan.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
Sudan operates Islamic Sharia Law. Alcohol is not permitted. The use of mobile phones whilst driving is prohibited. Non-Muslim women are not expected to wear a veil or cover their heads, but you should dress modestly and respect local customs and sensitivities.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
British nationals should obtain a visa before travelling to Sudan. Please contact the Sudanese Embassy in London. Embassy of the Republic of The Sudan, 3 Cleveland Row, St James&#8217;, London, SW1A 1DD; tel: 0207 839 8080; fax: 0207 839 7560; Website: The Sudanese Embassy in London
If you do not hold diplomatic passport you are required to register with the Aliens Department within three days of your arrival in the country. (1 passport size photo is needed and the fee is SD 4,400). Once registered, you are not required to obtain an exit visa to leave the country. British nationals are required to pay US$20 per person airport tax.

HEALTH
Many diseases are present in Sudan for which vaccinations are recommended. Malaria is common. AIDS is believed to be a growing problem. Medical facilities are not comparable to Western standards. You should seek medical advice from your GP before travelling to Sudan, and make sure you have adequate comprehensive medical insurance.

There have been reports that there is an outbreak of meningitis in South Kordofan State. We advise that you be immunised against meningitis if you plan to visit the area, taking into account that outbreaks of meningitis are also recurrent elsewhere in the Sudan.

NATURAL DISASTERS
Sudan suffers from both drought and flash flooding: you are unlikely to be directly affected by either. However if you are planning to travel overland to remote areas, flooding can make areas inaccessible by road.

GENERAL
We strongly recommend that you take out adequate comprehensive medical and travel insurance before visiting Sudan.

You should contact the British Embassy on arrival in Khartoum and keep in touch throughout your stay.


[PETER] I bet Emperor divers don't tell you half of that. I'm purely just pointing it out.

Peter
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Andy

I thought I had read something about Sea Serpent somehwere I have just looked at Tony Backhurst's website WWW.scuba.co.uk and Sea Serpent is doing the RedSea next year.  I think he books them exclusively.  Could be wrong.

Fiona
 

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Hi,

Sea Serpent is actually owned by Diving World, as it goes, I have had another conversation with him today, it has been suggested that we could take a day in Cairo and spend it looking at the Pyramids, it will add a couple of hunderd to the trip as an overnight stop would be required, I am very tempted at the thought though. Also, there is a chance we could go on the Royal Emporer, she takes 14 people and is in the area at the begining of April. In addition a serious camera man is on the boat (the guy who did the shark CD for Dive magazine). It means we only need to find 13 people by the end of October.

The situation in Sudan can be dodgy, but we will not really stop there, one of the reasons to stop in Cairo is that you fly straight into Port Sudan and the boat is 20 mins from the Airport. Can't say as I am particually worried about that.

I am looking for interest at the moment, I can promise it will be a spectacular trip, if you take over the boat you also get the right to insist where you go. Sudan offers a site called Manta Point, it is apparently well named. We can avoid the crowds (not that there are many there) and get sites just to ourselves.

Andrew
 

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Well Andy l'm 45 next year and...................... well any excuse for a trip.
So yes l'm interested.
 

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Hi,

Below is the proposed itinery, it has pushed the price up a bit, but we will get a day trip to the Pyramids and get to some sites that can not normally be reached on a 1 week trip. I would love to do two weeks but work and children prevent it. I realise it is Easter next year. I particually want to be away for my birthday (9th April), but if this will prevent us getting the numbers then we might move it.

The videographer I mentioned yesterday is John McIntyre, I now have his phone number and will have a chat with him later today and will post any interesting bits he comes up with. He was a BBC war correspondant, lets face it he is going to have an interesting story or two.

The cost for this is £1,370.00 all in except nitox and booze.

I hope some of you will come, I know it is a lot of money, but it will be a fantastic trip.

Andrew

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]
Outbound Itinerary
2 April 2004 - LHR 1825, Arrive Cairo 0010 on MS780
3 April - Met & Transferred by our agents - overnight at either the Novotel or Sheraton (airport hotels).
3 April - fly Cairo 1900 Arrive Port Sudan 2200 on SD 105
On arrival at 2200 you will be transferred straight to MY Royal Emperor Port Sudan.
Diving

The Royal Emperor is able to offer the best dives in Sudan one one week itineraries. These are accessed on 2 week trips with other liveaboards.
1st day: SHA'AB RUMI - Sailing to Shaab Rumi for 2 dives - Sail to Shaab Sua'di 3rd dive (night)
2nd day: ABINGTON - Early sail to dive Blue Belt wreck - Sail to Shambaya - 2nd Dive Abington Reef - 3rd Dive Merlo Reef overnight Shambaya
3rd day: ANGAROSH - 2 dives at Angarosh - 3rd dive at Merlo or Abington Reef - overnight at Ma Shariff
4th day: MA SHARIFF - Manta Point - sail to Kit Al Banna for 1 or 2 dives depending on Mantas at Ma Shariff - Night dive on Cousteau's pre continent overnight at Sha'ab Rumi
5th day: SHA'AB RUMI - Sha'ab Rumi 1st dive - sail to Sanganeb for 2 dives - overnight at Sanganeb
6th day: WINGATE REEF - 2 morning dives at Sanganeb and early afternoon dive on Umbria - overnight either at Wingate or in Port.
7th day: SUAKIN ISLAND - Whilst docked in Port Sudan before your flight you can book a visit to the historical Island of Suakin


Return Itinerary
10th April Transfer from the boat to Port Sudan Airport.
10th April - Fly Port Sudan 1700 Arrive Cairo 1900.
Met & Transferred by our agents - overnight at either the Novotel or Sheraton (airport hotels).
11th April 2004 - fly Cairo to LHR 0930/1245
Own arrangements.
Flight weight allowance is 25 to 30 k per person.

Information on the Royal Emperor can be obtained from their website or our web pages on the folowing URL:

 www.royalemperor.com       http://www.diving-world.com/royal_emperor.html

With brief description about some dive sites on

http://www.diving-world.com/itine-10sudan.html

Dive press articles on our past trips can be found on http://www.diving-world.com/dive_press.html

 
Cost

The price including all flights, transfers, full board on the liveaboard, diving with tanks and weights is £ 1370 per person. We will accept a full charter booking based on 13 paying divers, and John McIntyre to be the 14th person on board. Our price excludes the following: Port departure tax $ 150, entry visa Sudan and Egypt $70, mineral water 50 cents/litre, soft drinks, alcohol and tips at your discretion. Visas are no longer a problem in Sudan as these are now obtained on arrival.

Deposits are £ 150 per person with the balance payable 8 weeks prior to departure. We will give you a free hand in filling the trip up to mid December 2003, after which you can either release the remaining spaces to us or comit to the full charter.
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Andy

Thanks for the information, with the extras its over £1500 for 6 days diving, so unfortunately that is a little too much for me plus I would have to travel to Heathrow which would also increase the cost.

But I hope you get the trip going and really enjoy your birthday.  Just had a look at the boat and it looks really comfy so that might have swayed me.  It really is just the cost.

Cheers

Fiona
 

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Hi,

A quick note,

The trip lands on Easter, I just checked, it can be moved forward 1 week so we would start on the 11th.

Fiona, yeh I know, but I will only be 40 once, I want it to be special and it costs. Sorry you can't make it.

Andrew
 

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OK,

Last bit for now.

I just spoke to John McIntyre, really nice bloke. He is due to go out in November to dive Sudan for the first time, he has dived the Red Sea more than 30 times though so he does know his onions.

He recons the itinery is superb, it will take us to some of the sites that are very rarely dived. He also said that the boat is fantastic, it can travel at night which is the reason it can get so far out on a 1 week trip.

He also offered to teach people about Underwater Videography on the trip, so for those interested it will be a fantastic opportunity to get instruction from one of the best..

Come on then, roll up, it's a lot of money, but then it is one hell of a lot of trip. Sharks, Manta Ray's, un damaged coral, Wrecks, Pyramids and a serious piss up at then end.

Andrew
 

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Hi,

Sorry, due to the fact that Mark is now having to go to China on the dates originally intended for this trip we are having to change. I can not get the Royal Emporer and so aam having to abandon the Sudan as the intended destination.

We have decided on a Southern Egypt Liveaboard and will start a new topic with the details.

Andrew
 
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