In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…
What is your name?
What is the name of your business?
What is your role within the business?
MSDT & Front office manager
How long has the business operated for?
How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?
About 12 years. Now Master Scuba Diver instructor, working as a Front office manager.
What is your favorite type of diving?
Shore diving: – don’t have to go deep, love swimming along the colorful reefs of Dahab, always something to see. But I also really enjoy boat safaris once in a while.
If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?
We have a team of professional and enthusiastic divemasters and instructors, plus Aqualung dive equipment in tip top condition. We have high standards considering safety and reef conservation and love to show our guests all the best places in Dahab. Friendly atmosphere, easy going.
What is your favorite dive in your location and why?
It’s very hard to choose as there are so many. I like the Blue Hole but I guess that’s one of the obvious. So my own personal favourite:
I love Mashraba, it is a dive site in the bay and the beauty of it very underestimated by the rest of the dive centres in Dahab. I have dived there over a hundred times and still enjoy it very much! There is always something special too.
The dive starts with a sandy slope, easy entry and exit and perfect for a swimming safety stop at the end of the dive. On the slope you can find porcupine pufferfish, box fish, sea cucumbers and other creatures. Then the sand makes place for soft hills with sea grass. There are some statues placed there as an artificial reef , where you can find plenty of Lionfish, Octopus, damselfishes, stone fish, Red Sea Walkman, and seahorses!
Now the best part. To the right side you will bump into Roman’s Rock, a big rock covered with beautiful corals and full with life. Photographers never make it further than this Rock. Sometimes turtles or Napoleon wrasses pass by, or if you are lucky an eagle ray is resting at the deep end of the rock (26 meters).
If you make it past that Rock, you can look forward to table corals, and a garden with rock formations in all shapes. There is a secret little swim through at 36 meters (for Deep Divers). Then in about 30 minutes of the dive a rock formation that is called “glassfish pinnacle” and time to turn around. Following the reef along the coast, a perfect route to spot stone fish scorpion fish, crocodile fish, sea bream, octopus, butterfly fish, etc.
As you can tell by now… I really looove this dive!
Its also great for night dives, amazing feather stars, little crabs, shrimps Spanish Dancer etc.
What types of diving are available in your location?
In Dahab, it is all shore diving. We can dive the whole year and most dive sites are accessible for all level of scuba divers. There is a couple of sites where you have to be AOW (for instance Canyon, Blue Hole, Caves). There are hardly any currents and an visibility is most of the times around 20 meters. Water t emp in the summer can go up to 26C, and in winter lowest temp I had in 10 years was 18C.
We also organise 1 day Boat safaris to the most Southern dive sites in Dahab, called Gabr el Bint. Camel dive Safari to the Northern dive sites in Ras Abu Gallum, daysafari’s to the world famous Thistlegorm Wreck with Ras Mohamed, and this year we will be promoting more 3 day liveaboards for people that are into wreck diving and like to see sharks when the season is there.
What do you find most rewarding about your current role?
As a counter girl, I like to see the happy faces from our guests when they return to the dive centre after a great day of guided diving and the proud faces of students and instructors when students receive their dive certifications.
We also train Divemasters and Instructors. A whole different level as they usually stay with us for a longer period of time. It makes me proud when they find great diving jobs abroad and do well.
As a MSDT, I really enjoy teaching children or people that need a little bit more extra attention. The happiness on their faces when you come up from the dive is just priceless.
What is your favourite underwater creature?
Of all the underwater creatures that you can see here, I think I like the huge male Napoleon wrasses the most. They look so gentle, always keeping a fair distance but definitely interested in the divers.
Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?
We are working together with Project Azraq, a project run by volunteers and marine biologists in Dahab. Every month they organise at least one presentation of an animal creatures that can be found here, and next month we are going to host one of their clean up dives.
Of course the new liveaboards are also very exciting and I hope I get the chance to join one.
But to be honest, every day is special. I live in Paradise and have the best job in the world.
As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?
The biggest problem we’re facing at the moment is the lack of affordable flights to the nearest airport, Sharm el Sheikh and the media telling people that it is not safe to come here. I have lived here now for more than 10 yrs and I have never experienced feeling unsafe. The locals are very friendly and welcoming. The expats living here form a strong community, together with the locals.
Is your center involved in any environmental work?
The C.D.W.S. (Chamber of Diving and Water Sports) is trying to implement more rules for reef conservation and protection of our National Parks. The dive centres are checked on an annually base if they follow all the rules and regulations. As a PADI 5* CDC with high standards about safety and environmental awareness it is actually not a problem. We are one of the supporters of Project Azraq, who is organising weekly presentations about the marine life in the Red Sea and organising clean up dives (Dive against Debris), Poseidon Divers is going to host the clean up dive, providing free tanks and weights for all participants. The results of the clean up dives will be collected by Project Azraq and sent to Project Aware.
How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?
Difficult question. I’m not sure what I would like to change. Maybe more education? Specially here in Dahab. People arrive by bus, hire snorkel equipment and a life jacket and then happily walk over the reef, smoking cigarettes flicking their buds in the sea, not realizing what they are doing.
What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?
Shorediving, laidback and easy going. More than 15 beautiful dive sites with exciting names like The Islands, Mashraba, Lighthouse Reef Eel Gardens, Three Pools, Golden Blocks, Caves, and of course the world famous Blue Hole and Thistlegorm Wreck.
Diving in the Red Sea is one of the best experiences you will ever have. We dive whole year around, watertemp in feb 19 C and in August around 26C, Visibility average 15 meters!
We have enthusiastic and experienced instructors and dive masters on our team who are looking forward to show you the best dive sites. We offer tailor made package deals including hotel and airport transfers. Want to do 1 dive a day, start later? Or 3 dives on one particular site? We are happy to help you organise the best diving holiday you have ever had!
Where can our visitors find out more about your business?
WhatsApp: +20 109 006 1971
Book now for Underwater Video Workshop at Marsa Shagra this November
Improve your underwater video skills while meeting new dive buddies and enjoying a relaxed week of world class diving at this Underwater Video Workshop in Marsa Shagra Village, Egypt from November 19th – 26th 2022.
After the huge success they had with their first live and on location Underwater Video Workshop in Bonaire earlier this year (see what the participants said about the workshop in Bonaire), Matthias Lebo and Sebastian Kuntz from the Underwater Filmmaking School spontaneously decided to host another Underwater Video Workshop, this time in the beautiful Red Sea.
A maximum of 10 participants will be able to enjoy 7 nights at Marsa Shagra Village near Marsa Alam with 5 days of unlimited house reef diving, some trips to the famous Elphinstone Reef, Marsa Abu Dabab and the Dolphin House, all while working on their underwater videography skills.
The Underwater Video Workshop includes:
- IN WATER COACHING:
Matthias & Sebastian will be actively coaching before, while and after diving with the group, sharing their knowledge, giving tips and helping with any underwater videography related questions that may come up during the workshop.
- EVENING SESSIONS:
The evenings will be used either to learn about specific underwater videography topics or to review your footage taken during the day. Mini-challenges will help put in action what you learn during those evening session.
- EQUIPMENT TESTING:
You will have the possibility to test out different underwater camera gear that they will bring with them and will be available to you on location throughout the workshop.
EUR 1950.- per person (double occupancy – twin or double)
EUR 2600.- per person (single occupancy)
Included in the workshop cost:
- 7 nights accommodation for double occupancy
(Add 650€ for single occupancy)
- full-board including normal soft drinks, water, coffee & tea
- Transfer from/to Marsa Alam Airport
(Add 52€ per person for Hurghada Airport)
- 5 days unlimited house reef diving
- 2 speedboat trips to Elphinstone (single tank)
- 1 trip to Marsa Abu Dabab (two tank)
- Possibility for personal coaching through Matthias & Sebastian during all diving days
- Possibility to try out different underwater camera gear
- Daily presentations/mini-challenges/footage reviews
- Fun filled week with like minded divers
- Exclusive Workshop Welcome Bag (EWWB)
NOT Included in the trip costs:
- All flights
- Any required visas for travel to and within Egypt
- All beverages (besides coffee, tea, water and normal softdrinks)
- Travel and Dive Insurance (strongly recommended)
- Rental Equipment (if needed)
- 32% NITROX (2€/tank)
- 15L tanks (3€/tank)
- Privat 1:1 sessions with Matthias or Sebastian
- Additional dive trips
- Personal expenses
- Gratitudes/tips for the hotel and dive center staff
The workshop is suitable for every experience level, from beginner all the way to experienced underwater videographers.
6 Best places to go diving in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is a land of contrasts, rich in ancient history and dazzling cities with dramatic desert scenery throughout. It is one of the least-dived areas of the Red Sea and offers incredible diving among untouched reefs full of life. There are shallow reefs swathed in soft corals, deep walls and challenging wrecks to discover there. Boasting a wealth of reef and pelagic marine life, plus abundant sharks and mantas, Saudi Arabia needs to be on your diving wish list. Read on for our pick of the best places to go diving in Saudi Arabia before the rest of the world discovers this hidden gem.
Diving in Makkah
The Mecca Province, also known as the Makkah Province, is home to Mecca and the main port city of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah. This historically-rich area offers spectacular Red Sea marine life and is home to some of the best diving in all of Saudi Arabia. This is where most of the cities that offer scuba diving in Saudi Arabia are found.
The coastal town of Jeddah is Saudi Arabia’s best-known dive destination and offers fantastic wreck diving for all experience levels. As well as hosting famous wrecks, Jeddah has thriving reefs busy with vibrant Red Sea marine life.
There you will find the Ann Ann wreck, the biggest wreck in Jeddah. She sunk in 1977 and is a staggering sight, covered in soft corals. This is a challenging dive, but with the right conditions, you can start at the stern at 32 meters deep and work your way up to 5 meters at the bow.
The Boiler wreck is another one of Jeddah’s top dives, offering deep reef and wreck diving from 45 meters deep up to 15 meters. As well as the wreck itself, there are caves, a tunnel, and a reef wall covered in black, pink and bright red corals. On any given day, you have the chance to see sharks, manta rays, and large pelagic fish at this remarkable dive site.
These are just two of the many highlights of diving in Jeddah. You can go diving from shore at Jeddah’s luxurious resorts or explore further afield by day-boat diving. With a range of dive centers to choose from, Jeddah is an excellent place to get a scuba certification and experience some of the best Red Sea diving there is.
- Farasan Banks, Al Lith
Al Lith, one of the largest seaports in Saudi Arabia, sits just south of Jeddah and is the gateway to one of Saudi Arabia’s best-loved dive spots; the Farasan Banks at Jabal Al-Lith Island.
Jabal Al-Lith Island is stunning; swathed in white-and beaches and surrounded by mangroves and thriving coral reefs full of marine life. This little island is fast-gaining the attention of tourists and is an unmissable dive spot.
At the Farasan Banks, you can enjoy diving in the light-filled shallows or explore the depths, which plummet down to 500 meters. It’s an excellent destination for novice divers and experienced technical divers alike.
The Banks are well-known for their diverse marine life and boast diverse corals, a mixture of Red Sea reef and pelagic fish, plus numerous sharks. White-tip reef sharks, grey reef, silky, and hammerhead sharks can all be found there.
- Five Sisters, Rabigh
Another great city for diving, Rabigh sits between Jeddah and Yanbu and offers excellent coral reef diving. It is most famous for hosting the Five Sisters Reef: a series of five coral atolls just offshore from Rabigh.
The Five Sisters Reef is Rabigh’s most popular dive area and offers outstanding diving. This area is completely untouched, and each atoll has different underwater landscapes, including steep walls, plateaus, columns, and anemone beds. The dive sites are teeming with a wealth of reef life and are covered in corals. Added to that, schools of pelagic fish, hammerheads and mantas are often seen in the blue.
Diving in Madinah
The Madinah Region hosts another of Saudi Arabia’s top dive areas, Yanbu. This ancient port city north of Jeddah dates back to around 500BC and was an important rest stop for traders navigating one of the world’s oldest trade routes, the Incense Route.
Today, Yanbu is a major port and fast-growing tourist destination, surrounded by azure waters, gorgeous beaches, and untouched reefs. With access to areas such as the Seven Sisters Reef, Yanbu truly deserves its nickname ‘the Pearl of the Red Sea’.
- Seven Sisters. Yanbu
Seven Sisters Reef is known for one thing – hammerhead sharks. This reef hosts these unmistakable sharks almost year-round and offers excellent reef diving as well. There are beautiful shallow coral landscapes to explore, plus plunging walls patrolled by schools of barracuda and snapper.
- Abu Galawa, Yanbu
Abu Galawa is part of the Seven Sisters Reef and is an underwater world covered in corals and visited by numerous sharks, including hammerheads. It is one of the most rewarding dives of the Seven Sisters Reef system.
Diving in Tabuk
Tabuk Province is less well-known for diving than other areas of Saudi Arabia, yet it boasts the longest stretch of Red Sea coastline in all of Saudi Arabia. It is home to the Red Sea Project and NEOM, two impressive coastal development projects that will put Tabuk firmly on the map of enviable places to go diving in the Red Sea.
Go diving in Tabuk before the rest of the world discovers this dive area. You will be rewarded with crystal-clear, warm waters and pristine coral reefs few people have ever dived. If you like exploratory diving, Tabuk could be the place for you.
Kathryn Curzon, a conservationist and dive travel writer for SSI (Scuba Schools International), wrote this article.