- The “big brother” impresses with its steep drop off and two wrecks – the Numidia and the Aida.
- The “little brother” is not inferior as his “big brother” regarding the fish life. He impresses with its colorful hard and soft corals in many overhangs.
- Large fish, such as thresher sharks, hammerhead sharks, grey sharks or oceanic whitetip sharks provide on both “brothers” exciting dives.
- After the Brothers we continue to Elphinstone Reef.
- Elphinstone impressed by frequent encounters with oceanic whitetip sharks, partially do laps under the boats. On the plateaus in the north you often find hammerheads.
One single block stands in the southern area of Abu Dabab III. Here we can see bright red lionfish and during a night dive even gorgonians or gorgonocephalidae which feature beguiling branched arms. Whoever wants to see dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles or sharks is well placed in this part of the reef.
The famous 'Heaven One' – a safari boat which sunk on 27 April 2003 after a fire in the engine room – lies in the north. Not far from here, we can find a colony of sea anemones and a cave system.
The west side has some blocks and coral formations as well as sleeping reef sharks that like retreating here to get a little rest. Maybe they aren't even sleeping, but rather meditating – there are supposedly even some vegetarians among the sharks. We can then look along the edge of the reef for the remnants of amphorae.
From Marsa Alam, the boat travels north approx. one and a half hours to the Elphinstone Reef – a great excursion! Depending on the water level, the Elphinstone's high plateau lies at a depth between one and three metres. Strong surface currents and lots of boat traffic make it impossible to snorkel here.
Divers however can plunge straight into some challenging fun! The reef is known for its extraordinary biodiversity and, of course, also for sighting large fish. In the north, we dive down a sloping plateau from 18 to 40 metres, and in the south, down the underwater terraces . The west and east wall plunge steeply into the deep. The Elphinstone Reef has a total length of approx. 725 metres and a width of 140 metres.
Hard and soft coral in a myriad of colours make us rejoice under water – if we could, we'd jump for joy. Joining us are also turtles, moray eels, Red Sea percidae, whitetip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks and honestly just about everything the Red Sea has to offer. If we don't see it here, then where?
Big Brother Island
The name Brother Islands comes from the company which did the electrical work for the lighthouse on the larger island. Both islands are of volcanic origin and sit atop a mountain ridge which plunges well over 1,000 metres in depth from the west side to the east side. The volcanic history can still be seen today: namely on the basalt rock, which is significantly darker than the reef structure itself.
Big Brother is 650 metres long and 180 metres wide. With the exception of the eastern plateau, we encounter a steep-faced reef in all directions. There's usually the chance for you to stretch out your legs on the island, smoke a shisha with the lighthouse keepers and purchase small souvenirs or simply to enjoy the view from the lighthouse! Depending on the mood of the military, this can quickly change however.
At the western end of Big Brother, we usually have to take large waves and a stronger current into account. Should the conditions allow us to dive in the afternoon, we may quite possibly have the chance of seeing grey reef sharks and hammerhead sharks swimming between the wrecks.
On the eastern plateau, the thresher shark says 'Good night' to the spotted sea hare and encounters with grey reef sharks also occur here all the time. Beautiful depressions in the reef, which are covered in soft and hard coral, can be identified further down the north side. Mooring points are also located in the east area and around the boots there's a lot to see – from whitetip oceanic sharks to silky sharks.
Just as squirrels in the park learn to trust, so do Napoleon wrasse in famous diving sites – two specimens of this fish already accustomed to divers can be found west at any time of the day. Gigantic shoals of fish can be found in the south, near the jetty, which is used to supply the lighthouse. Mackerel, tuna and barracudas on the hunt usually rush past us in the water. Silky sharks or whitetip oceanic sharks as well as turtles top off this spectacular underwater picture.
The Red Sea has at the Brothers a width of 180 km, but the crew managed to strike this small island – shortly after two clock at night Captain Craig was rudely awakened from the mighty impact of the ship on the reef at the northern end of the “Big Brother”.
The “on duty” officer Merwood had fallen asleep at the same time with his boss. The route led the ship then in truly instinctive certainty in the middle of the reef.
So the ship got stuck in the narrow fringing reef and all efforts to self release failed.
In the following days other ships were still trying to drag the Numidia freely, but they failed as well.
Captain Craig remained only the thankless task to stay on the desolate island for several weeks and to monitor the recovery of the cargo.
Probably in the winter storms 1901/02 the ship was then torn from the reef and sank definitively.
As already mentioned, high waves and strong currents make diving here often difficult or impossible!
Originally, it was meant for the Egyptian port and lighthouse administration, and however, it was used later for ferry and supply work in Egyptian ports.
At the southeast coast of Big Brother Island, where Egyptian soldiers were always stationed for two months, the Aida was supposed to provide the supplies for the soldiers. It had fresh water, food and the next “watch” on board.
On the 15. September 1957 in a heavy storm, and despite several warnings, the captain decided to drive and tried to fasten to Big Brother. It struck to the reef. The Aida began to sink rapidly and the captain did not have any other choice, but to leave than the ship with his crew and give it up. A life raft was still able to be discharged, and all 77 sailors were taken safely on board, before the Aida sank, and set them down on Big Brother.
The dive is an unusual dive, it doesn’t matter how experienced a diver you are. It will surprise you, how a ship can sink onto the sloping reef edge in such a way that it looks as if it’s been parked. Since the ship contains no more cargo, it is assumed that this slipped off by the wreck and lies now in deeper regions. The same as, the AIDA stands straight up on the sloping reef edge, the highest point at 25 m, the propeller at 57 m. Apart from the collision with the reef the ship is still perfectly intact.
For more than 40 years now
it stands there and becomes ever more a part of the reef. Covered in coral. With increasing depth you will find a variety of all sorts of corals and soft corals. Within the upper area, these appear by daylight in a multiplicity of colours, and leave a unique impression. With regards to fish, beside the entire range of the usual fish, large tuna can very often be found.
Small Brother Island
The name Little Brother sounds cute, but this dive isn't for rookies. There are mooring points on the reef's south-east side, however, most dives start off from the Zodiac. Little Brother is 360 metres in length and 160 metres in width and it runs north in the shape of a wedge. Bordered by a protective fringe reef, the reef drops steeply down. In the south-east at a depth of 10 metres, there is a small reef spur which ends with an overhang at 37 metres. A lagoon-like wall leads to a large gorgonian garden here.
Boasting massive overhangs and large depressions, the reef extends to the north-west where a small hill has been formed at a depth of 40 metres – the Shark Point. During the morning hours, we often see grey reef sharks who've come to have their teeth brushed after a successful night of hunting. From the south-east to the north, Little Brother is shaped by a steep face, which exists between a depth of 25 and 40 metres.
Small Giftun Island
It begins several meters from the east coast of Giftun el Seghir, the smaller of the two military islands of Giftun, half an hour away from Hurghada.
The sensation of drifting in the blue with the current is marvelous. Even more exciting is the possibility of meeting the big and peaceful Napoleon fish, that approaches the divers with curiosity.
This unforgettable gliding flight leads to the vertical wall of Giftun Island, which drops to 90 meters depth.
Here we can choose to continue our dive at 20 meters depth or to go on to explore the famous tunnel cave at 46 meters depth. This sandy bottomed cave is very rich in gorgonians and has the possibility of quite interesting encounters.
However, the shallower path is very beautiful as well. It is on the eastern side of Giftun and is called "Gorgonia Reef" for its richness in coral life.
This dive ends in the lagoon south of the Giftun el Seghir island where the boat has moored. In this lagoon giant moray eys can be met on the lagoon reef which is rich in stone corals, fire corals and many other kinds of hard corals.
Shaab - Ras Disha
The boat is anchored in the south, protected from the wind.
One can here either make a drift dive by zodiac or dive from the boat the three ergs in the shallow area.
In a "drift" one will go by the Zodiak to the north and dive from there with the current along the drop off. It is always worth to take a look into the blue, to look for the great hunters.
It is quite possible that sometimes passes a reef shark.
When diving from the boat you circle the three Ergs in a depth of 10 - 12 meters.
Shaab Shona's lagoon originates from a wadi (a dried-out river) and is five to 45 metres deep in some places. We can still recognise the former river in the form of a channel ascending from the north to the south. A high plateau can be made out in the northern area of Shaab Shona.
From glassfish to crocodilefish, from Indian mackerel and ghost pipefish, we will find everything that a diver's heart wants to see in the Red Sea. Many different kinds of coral brimming with life can be found on the reef's edge down to a depth of around 20 metres.
A seagrass bed is located in the inner area and where there's beds of seagrass, then ... that's right ... there's probably dugongs there. With some luck, a few of these fine specimens can be seen here. An eye should be kept out for lionfish and large turtles, too.
Whoever is still not happy and wants to see a few sand eels and different kinds of rays, should make their way over to the southern edge to the sand pile at a depth range of 20 to 40 metres.
As an outer reef, Abu Kafan is of course completely at the mercy of the current, but it is exactly that which makes it so interesting and colourful. It is only because of this that we see a multitude of fish and find a large collection of the most diverse types of coral, topped by the large fish in the open water.
The reef top of Abu Kafan is at a depth of three metres and the actual diving area is between ten and thirty metres. After that, it drops off steeply and one can sometimes feel a little queasy or dizzy here, even though we cannot really fall.
Bigeyes and shoals of barracuda welcome us, as do grey reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks and hammerhead sharks. The last three do not show up here as often as some turtles, but that is what makes it so exciting. Soft corals, gorgonians and black corals complete the picture at Abu Kafan perfectly.
This tour can start in Hurghada and end in Port Ghaleb or start in Port Ghaleb and end in Hurghada.
(If the tour starts in Hurghada, there will be also possible the dive sites Small Giftun Island, Ras Disha or Abu Kafan).
ATTENTION: The tour description is merely our suggestion. Which diving places on tour are dived is determined by many factors including the wind and weather.
After arrival in Hurghada or Marsa Alam transfer to the boat.
Check in, dinner and spending the first night onboard in the marina.
Departure in the morning.
Instruction on the boat,
Diving, safety and equipment briefing.
Dives at Small Giftun Island
Dives at Ras Disha and Abu Kafan
Big Brother Island with Numidia and Aida Wreck
Small Brother Island
Dives at Elphinstone
Dive at Abu Dabab
Head to Port.
At least 20 hour safety rest before flying would be given to all participants.
Handing trip educational material/ videos.
Breakfast and check out latest at 10:00 am.
Transfer to the airport or hotel.