“Amazing visibility and lovely warm water, it’s like jumping into a bath tub.”
Blue O Two on Tour: The Red Sea in September
Blue O Two’s representative in the Red Sea, Mel Hicks, loves living in Egypt. She is also a keen diver. Mel grabbed the opportunity to go on one of our award-winning vessels, Blue Melody, in September 2022. During her trip, she saw some of the Red Sea’s iconic wrecks and reefs. She told us a little about her trip and what makes diving in the Red Sea so special. Mel explains what her favourite Red Sea itinerary and dive sites are – a really inspiring read.
What was the best thing about your trip?
The diving of course, but closely followed by the great food and great service. We had an outdoor BBQ – it was really nice to eat outside and the food was incredible.
What was the best thing about diving in the Red Sea?
Amazing visibility and lovely warm water, it’s like jumping into a bath tub. The Red Sea has a huge variety of marine life and there are just so many really cool and unusual critters.
Which itinerary and vessel did you do?
Blue Melody, Northern Wrecks and Reefs.
Tell us more about the diving.
I did Northern Wrecks and Reefs itinerary. There is a great selection of dive sites. You cover all the main wrecks and get some lovely reefs so it was a really nice balance between them.
Which was your favourite dive and why?
Thistlegorm, there is just so much to see. On the Thistlegorm, the cargo is nearly untouched and it’s very eerie to see it all in place as it would have been when it went down. It’s also interesting to see how the sea is taking over it, everything is covered in coral and so many fish shelter there and call it home.
Tell us about life on board – a day in the life.
Up early then dive, eat, sleep and repeat 😊. Life on the boat is very easy, everything is taken care of for you, you just have to jump in the water and enjoy. We had a great mix of nationalities so it’s always interesting to get to know the other guests and where they are from. It’s great to be out at sea and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s so peaceful and you get the best sunsets. It’s very relaxing.
Tell us about the boat and the crew.
The crew did an amazing job, keeping us all fed (very well) and taking care of whatever we needed. The boat was lovely, plenty of space to relax inside or outside; the crew make you feel right at home.
What Red Sea trip would you recommend and why?
My personal favourites are Rocky and Zabargad (Best of Red Sea which includes Daedalus or Rocky, Zabargad and St John’s). It’s not done so often so there are less boats there than other more popular dive sites, which is always nice. At Rocky, you have walls with great coral coverage due to the currents and the chance of sharks. I saw my one and only Tiger shark at Rocky so it’s a special dive memory for me. Rocky Island is very small but it’s home to what seems like thousands of birds that are super noisy in a good way. At Zabargad you have a steep coral garden with lots of nooks and crannies to investigate and it’s very beautiful both below and above water. The island is like the tip of a mountain and there is a lagoon in front so it makes for a really great photo.
Was there anything you found challenging?
We had 45km winds that week, which is exceptionally strong wind for Egypt. Some guests got a little sea sick crossing the Suez Channel, which was a bit rough to say the least. We always felt safe though. We also has some strong currents which for some guests that are not used to this, was a challenge for them.
You’ve travelled around Egypt a bit. What is your top tip when planning land based trips?
Pick your time of year carefully! It gets super hot in Luxor in the Summer. I made this mistake the first time I went – it was nearly 50 degrees in the desert with no wind it was very challenging indeed. It also meant that going inside some of the tombs at Valley of the Kings and Queens was quite uncomfortable as it was very claustrophobic in such a small space in the heat. Winter is the high season in Luxor when the temperatures are much more suitable for sightseeing.
It’s also worth considering getting a private tour guide and taking more time to see the sights. Guided groups have their place and will cover all the main parts in one day for those that are short on time. There are so many interesting sights, you do need more time at them to really appreciate them. Also a private tour guide will go into much more detail and show you parts you just can’t cover in a day tour. Blue O Two does a choice of both types of tour and works with a specially selected company to tailor-make trips to suit everyone’s needs.