NORTHERN RED SEA DIVING ADVENTURE - AGGRESSOR LIVABOARD
Mandy and Jason spent 2 weeks aboard the Red Sea Aggressor II on a diving livaboard adventure. Learn more about this trip, what a livaboard is really like and enjoy their spectacular photos.
" What an amazing experience. Crew were always attentive, and every dive was spectacular. So many things to see beneath the surface." Jason
Check out Mandy and Jason's diving trip to the Northern Red Sea on Red Sea Aggressor II. The Straits of Tiran offer divers spectacular diving opportunities, including some of the most amazing historical wrecks. Northern Red Sea Adventure
Red Sea Dive - Sample Itinerary
Northern Red Sea Dive Sites
The Northern Red Sea and Straits of Tiran provide some of the most historic wrecks like the Thistlegorm, Rosalie Moller, and Abu Nuhas. Ras Mohamed National Park includes many pristine coral reefs as well as abundant marine life. The Straits of Tiran are the narrow sea passages between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separates the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea. These reefs, named after British cartographers (Jackson, Woodhouse, Thomas, Gordon), are world famous for their extraordinary diversity of corals and pelagics.
----- DAY 1 -----
1st Dive Shaab el Erg
2nd Dive Abu Nuhas (wrecks)
3rd Dive Abu Nuhas (wrecks)
4th Dive Abu Nuhas (coral garden)
Abu Nuhas: Also known as “Ships Graveyard”, Abu Nuhas is located close to the busy shipping lanes of the Gulf of Suez. Four wrecks are lying in a chain on a sandy bottom of a steep sloping reef covered with table corals. The following wrecks are found there;
Ghiannis D was on the way from Rijeka to AI Hudayda at the southern end of the Red Sea, when the bow ran aground on the reef on April 19, 1984. The rear half of the wreck lies on the port side. At the front the funnel is the large letter “D” signifying the name of the shipping company, Danae. In front of the funnel is the bridge deck with different areas, an enormous winch and the bollard. Narrow portholes lead into the engine room. The mid-ship area resembles a scrap heap where steel girders are bent and torn up, and the side panels lie caved in on the bottom. Crocodile fish, scorpion fish, parrotfish, and groupers call the vessel home. This wreck is at 30 - 88 feet/10 - 27meters depth.
Carnatic was on the way from Liverpool to Bombay with 27 crew members, 203 passengers as well as a cargo of cotton, copper, and 40,000 pounds Sterling in gold. She ran aground in the night September 13,1869. Now the wreck lies at a depth of 65 - 88 feet/20 - 27 meters. The hull is covered with hard and leather corals.
Chrisoula K started her last trip on August 30, 1981 loaded with cheap Italian tiles. Chrisoula K ran aground due to a navigation mistake of the captain and sank in the same night. The wreck lies at 16 - 80 feet/5 - 25 meters depth.
----- DAY 2 -----
1st Dive SS Thistlegorm (wreck)
2nd Dive SS Thistlegorm (wreck)
3rd Dive SS Thistlegorm (wreck)
4th Dive Shaab Mahmoud (Dunraven)
5th Dive Shaab Mahmoud (coral garden)
The SS Thistlegorm is the most famous of the Red Sea wrecks. The English cargo ship (423 feet/129 meters) was bombed by German aviation on October 6,1941 in the area of Shaab Ali. She was transporting supplies destined for the British fifth army based in Alexandria, as well as armored MGs vehicles, motorcycles, jeeps, trucks, rolling stock, airplane parts, stacks of rifles, radio equipment, munitions, and a plentiful supply of Wellington boots. Now the wreck is an artificial reef on a sandy bottom at 104 feet/32 meters depth and is home to an enormous variety of marine life with large schooling fish. Additionally, the wreck provides a hunting ground for giant tuna and snappers.
"SS Thistlegorm is an amazing dive. There is so much down there that blows your mind. It was quite literally like going through a WWII museum. Over 200 motorcycles, trucks, guns and ammo." Jason
Dunraven: The Dunraven was a Victorian steam and sail ship carrying spices, cotton, and timber from India. Dunraven hit the reef during a dispute between the Captain with his wife and his First Mate and subsequently caught on fire. It sank in 1876 beside the reef, upside down, and broken in two parts. Inside the wreck are schools of yellow goatfish and giant morays. The hull is covered with corals and full of marine life, like schools of batfish, nudibranchs, pipefish and the rare ghost pipefish. The wreck rests at 50 - 95 feet/15 - 30 meters depth.
----- DAY 3 -----
1st Dive Ras Mohamed
2nd Dive Ras Mohamed
3rd Dive Tiran Islands
4th Dive Tiran Islands
5th Dive Tiran Islands
Ras Mohamed National Park: The park is located at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula. It was declared a protected area in 1983. The jewels in the crown of this national park are Shark Reef and Yolanda Reef. Shark Reef offers the chance to dive with grey and blacktip reef sharks. It is also home to huge numbers of reef fish and some larger pelagics such as tunas. Yolanda Reef is named after the shipwreck. On the plateau, at 32 - 82 feet/10 - 25 meters depth, are scattered remains of toilets and baths. Anemone City is a wonderful shallow dive at 40 feet/12 meters depth. The Shark Observatory is awesome with plenty of whitetip reef sharks and huge barracudas. The dive sites in Ras Mohamed offer an abundance of reef fish, scorpion fish, multiple macro critters, as well as hard and soft corals. The whole area is a big fish territory.
Jackson Reef: Jackson Reef is the northern most reef in Tiran and is well-known for the Cypriot cargo ship The Lara that sank in 1985; some remains of the wreckage can still be seen on top of the reef. The west site has a forest of spectacular gorgonian fan corals at 65 - 100 feet/20 - 30 meters depth as well as many different kinds of reef fishes. The most spectacular and colorful coral garden is at the southwest site in 50 feet/15 meters depth. It is very common to encounter sea turtles, whitetip and grey reef sharks.
Woodhouse Reef is the longest reef in the Strait of Tiran and home to both reef sharks and eagle rays. At the southern part of the reef is a wall at 100 feet/30 meters depth covered with coral from the top all the way down. Along the reef is a canyon at 82 feet/25 meters depth that spreads out into a coral garden with sand alleys.
Thomas Reef is the smallest reef in the strait. The reef’s ends are vertical walls with a large plateau at 82 feet/25 meters depth on the south eastern side. This plateau is covered in colorful coral and has a fence of gorgonian fans longnose hawkfish can be found.
Gordon Reef is the most southerly reef of the four islands and has a different topography from the others offering both a shallow plateau and drop-offs. There is a huge variety of reef fishes and the chance to see sleeping whitetip reef sharks on sandy patches. At 13 - 16 feet/4 - 5 meters depth, there is an eel garden. The top of the reef, with its lighthouse, is also home to the wreck Louilla that lies almost parallel to the wreck on Jackson Reef.
----- DAY 4 -----
1st Dive Tiran Islands
2nd Dive Tiran Islands
3rd Dive Ras Mohamed
4th Dive Shag rock
5th Dive Shag rock
Shag Rock: At the northern side of Shag Rock is a small wreck on the sandy seabed at 50 feet/15 meters depth. Kingston was a British cargo ship and sunk in February 1881. Exploring the ship starts at the stern, the rests at 50 feet/15 meters depth. The dive route continues into the hull, easily accessible as the wooden bridge is gone, and the area is well illuminated by sunlight. The remains of the engine room with the boiler still intact are still visible whereas the bow area situated at 13 feet/4 meters depth was destroyed. The fauna here is particularly interesting and includes surgeonfish, nudibranchs, jackfish, groupers, snappers, sea turtles, whitetip reef sharks, and eagle rays. Pods of dolphins are regularly spotted in this area as well.
----- DAY 5 -----
1st Dive Rosalie Moeller (wreck)
2nd Dive Rosalie Moeller (wreck)
3rd Dive Siyul Kebira
4th Dive Shaab Umm Usk
5th Dive Shaab Umm Usk
Rosalie Moeller: The Rosalie Moeller is the sistership of the world-famous SS Thistlegorm. This former 357-feet/108-meter-long cargo ship, transporting coal, was bombed and sunk in October 1941 by a German air attack during World War II. Now the wreck lies in 180 feet/55 meters depth on a sandy bottom. The main deck is at 114 feet/35 meters depth, and the mast rise up to 16 feet/18 meters depth. In the deeper parts of the wreck, the huge rudder and propeller are found as well as the ladders and handrails all along the main deck. Hard and soft corals cover the hull. This artificial reef attracts an interesting variety of marine life including barracudas, tunas, jacks, trevallies, glass fish, scorpion fish, and groupers.
Siyul Kebira: Siyul Kebira is a varied reef composed of dense coral patches with lots to explore. The undulating reef face has furrows, vallies, and depressions. The north side of the Siyul Kebira reef is covered in corals, and both sides of the reef feature a mix of different coral species – hard corals as well as soft ones. The fish life is vibrant and diverse, and Siyul Kebira attracts larger pelagics as well. Nurse and leopard sharks are sometimes spotted on the sandy bottom. This dive site is at 72 feet/22 meters depth.
Shaab Umm Usk: An awesome coral garden with many different soft and hard coral species. Acropora corals are present in different forms such as antler, table, and spreading formations. There is an abundance of parrotfish, snapper, wrasse, emperor, butterflies, angles, fusiliers, surgeons, and big groupers –the usual spectacular, colorful reef assemblage of fishes. Night dives here provide the potential to meet curious cuttlefish and squid. The lagoon is also popular with bottlenose dolphins. This dive site is at 65 feet/20 meters depth.
----- DAY 6 -----
1st Dive Carless Reef
2nd Dive Carless Reef
***Sailing to Hurghada Port approx. 1 hour***
Carless Reef: Carless Reef is well-known for gorgeous hard and soft corals, spectacular marine life, and a large population of moray eels. The plateau is at 52 - 82 feet/16 - 25 meters depth and has two large pinnacles covered with hard and soft corals. The reef attracts an interesting variety of marine life like barracudas, tunas, trevallies, jacks, groupers, scorpionfish, nudibranchs, and sea turtles. The wall slopes down to 130 feet/40 meters depth and is covered with soft corals, some fan corals, and longnose hawkfish. The dive site is also well-known for encountering sharks.
** Sample itinerary and dive site information courtesy of Aggressor
What's it like on a livaboard?
"From the moment you step on board, the crew do nothing but take care of you. Every morning the stewards take your breakfast order, the dive crew are putting your gear at your spot, then when it’s dive time even assisting you into your BCD and fins. They simply cannot help enough. Then the meals are plentiful, in fact we started not eating as much, as it was just too much. The stewards are constantly taking care of your room and your needs between dives.
A typical day will start around 0600 wake up light snack and then Dive 1. After this dive, back on board for breakfast which is usually eggs with some sides, potatoes, bacon, baked beans , it varies daily. After breakfast Dive 2. then lunch. Which again is plentiful, soup, salad, main course and desert. Then into afternoon Dive 3, afternoon nap, snack and Dive 4, usually a night dive. After the night dive, bar is open and it’s time for dinner again a four course meal. By this time it’s about 9pm and time for camera downloading and bed. All to start again next day. All meals and all beverages are included along with all dives, however the moment you drink an alcoholic beverage your dive day is over and you become a snorkeler for the remainder of the day." Jason
Information about the Red Sea Aggressor II vessel can be found here.
*Livaboard photos from Mandy and Jason's trip.
How good is the diving?
"The dive briefings are very comprehensive and detailed. All the staff are amazing, helping you with equipment, daily rinsing gear in antibacterial solution, lots of hand washing. And everyone coming into Egypt has had to have a negative PCR Covid test so everything is clean and safe.
The diving was spectacular and very varied, drift dives, wreck dives, wall dives, night dives, just a massive, varied experience. Four dives a day though can be a little tiring for some, but there is never any pressure to do them all. Simply do as much or as little as you want. By the end of the 7 night live aboard we had done 21 dives. For those who do every dive possible, Aggressor Adventures recognizes those divers with the “Iron Diver” award." Jason
*All diving photos from Mandy and Jason's trip.
Overall an amazing experience, the food is fantastic, the staff are fantastic, the diving is mixed and suitable to all levels, from the seasoned experienced diver to the new entry level diver. Safety is taken seriously with access to full medical equipment and supplies and oxygen to handle dive related emergencies, so you are in good hands with the crew." Jason.