Depending on the excursion from the week before, the departure will take place from Marsa Alam or Hurghada.
The Brothers (Al Ikhwan or El Akhawein) are lying in the middle of the Red Sea, 36 nautical miles (70 km) east of El Quseir.
It exists out of two islands that emerge from a depth of more than 500 m. Their location is exposed to the current and a common meeting point for all pelagic fauna that are coming from the depths and are making this reef one of the top 10 dive sites in Egypt and the Red Sea.
From 1996 to 1998 divers have been banned by the Egyptian government because the many boats visiting the place were causing problems. The Brothers are now a national park that requires a permit from the Coast Guard and a diving fee of 50 €.
The two islands are situated less than 1 km from each other. The largest in the north is called Big Brother and the smaller one south … Little Brother.
The largest of the two brothers islands is only 300 m long and is known for its 100 m high stone lighthouse built by the English in 1880 in the purest Victorian style. Big brother is only inhabited by some soldiers who maintain the lighthouse and protect the surroundings.
Big Brother has 2 wrecks:
The Numidia, in the far north, is a British freighter that sank in 1901 with a length of 145 m, carrying railway equipment. It is lying on its starboard between 15 and 80 m. We were not able to do this dive due to poor weather conditions that dampened our enthusiasm when the zodiac of another boat of Dune returned.
The Aida, on the northwest, is an Egyptian troop transport vessel of 75 m that sank in 1947 due to bad weather. The wreck is lying in an upright position with the back resting at 60 m and the shallower bow at 25 m, which allows easy access to the cargo holds. We went 2 times down without entering inside because of the 30 m depth limit applicable in Egypt at that time.
Daedalus is situated 100 miles south of the Brothers Islands and is not really an island. In fact it is a huge circular reef with a lighthouse in its centre which hosts a group of soldiers like at the Brothers. A long bridge reunites this area built in the southwest part of the edge of the reef, where the boats come to moor. A beautiful excursion, when soldiers permit it, is a visit to the lighthouse, where the panorama on the top is unique!
The possibilities to dive are numerous because of the size of the reef. The northern part is often chosen, when the weather conditions allow it, for the first dive at dawn and is an ideal area for large gatherings. Gray sharks and white tip reef sharks, schools of hammerheads, big trevally and barracudas. Manta rays and eagle rays are part of the visitors of this area. There is also a wreck located north of the reef, but unfortunately off limits to dive without special blends. The peculiarities of the drop off on the west, besides the beautiful soft and black corals, are a huge colony of sea anemones with their clownfish in the more shallow area of the drop off, a place that is also nice for snorkelling. The wall on the east side, consisting of madreporic formations, is also a place where all types of gatherings are possible. Near the bridge the coral “pyramid” is lying, coral formations attached to the drop off at a depth of 8 meters that are rising to the surface.
At dawn we will reach the reef Elphinstone, the most spectacular reef that grows on the north and south. Four dives will ensure the very best of the Red Sea. Elphinstone North is a plateau that descends to 25 meters and that reaches the second plateau on 45 m depth with a nearly constant current. Pelagic fish and schools of hammerheads are often passing here. The east and west walls are covered with multitudes of corals, gorgonians and black corals, and a high concentration of benthic fish and corals. The drift dives are starting from the north and ending on the south side of the reef. Elphinstone South is unique below a depth of 25 meters, where the wall with a background of blue forms a huge natural arch that opens up at 55 meters depth and offers a very impressive sight. Sharks, tuna and schools of jacks are often present.
The final route will be discussed onboard and is depending on the weather conditions, time of the year and Egyptian regulations in force at the time of the liveaboard.