Red Sea Liveaboard

May 9th-16th 2019

By GLYNIS JONES

We were booked on MY Charlotte , a British boat owned by Paul Cooper of Bavaria Blue Safari. As usual, Paul was on board and made sure that our trip not only ran smoothly but our dives were timed to get the best light and miss other groups. He guided many of dives as well.

Originally the itinerary was Brothers and North Tour, but a couple of days before we arrived the Egyptian coastguard closed the Brothers again – with no warning. So a change of plan was needed – All the divers were consulted and we decided on North Tour, Ras Mohammed and Tiran. As the sea was nice and calm, Tiran was to be our first main area and then work our way back to Hurghada.

I had a bit of a shock on the first dive well two shocks actually . My underwater case flooded, luckily no camera inside, and the water was distinctly chilly… 24c. Don’t believe what is said on the internet when you Google it.

Our first overnight was at the Beacon Lagoon near to the Dunraven – lot of morays on show here. Next morning Jackfish Alley and up to Tiran and Gordon Reef. Brilliant dive there, perfect morning light, a beautiful coral garden and a Grand Daddy of a Napoleon just circling around posing for photos. Night dive were always an option, I’m never too keen on night dives – I just don’t spot the stuff other divers do. But Pete likes them so..

As the sharks at the Brothers were off the agenda Paul asked us if we fancied doing a dive off the back of Jackson into the Blue to see if the Hammerheads were around. Very very early next morning we did dive there … but no hammerheads, That’s diving. Dives on Thomas (the canyon) and Woodhouse were timed to perfection – no other divers and sparkling light dancing on the reef walls. And between dives a sunset excursion in the Zodiac to have a good look at the Loullia off Gordon.

“Food on board was excellent and plenty of it. We even had fried potatoes for breakfast!!”

The personal touch on this liveaboard was again shown when we encountered a pod of Grampus Dolphins bow surfing. MY Charlotte stopped engines and some guests dived in to snorkel with them but I waited for zodiac to be launched and got ahead before I dropped in. I don’t think that the likes of Blue 0 Two would do that for their guests.

Three Fantastic dives on the Thistlegorm. We went in as the other groups came out – no current, good light, good viz and empty. Pete and I planned our own dive. Find the loco off the starboard side. We couldn’t see it from the gangway but we swam 3/4 mt off the side, it emerged from the ’mist’ and there was a TURTLE inside the boiler chomping away at the coral! Couldn’t be better. Our night dive was after dinner at 9.30. According to Paul that’s the time for a proper night dive. He may be right about that. Our morning dive was another success story of good timing – the other liveaboards were in the water at 6.30 – we waited until 7.30 and again had the wreck to ourselves.

Because our original itinerary was cancelled, we were consulted at all stages as to what we wanted and this in conjunction with the local knowledge meant that we had an excellent time. Going the ‘extra mile’ for us by the crew and management showed itself again when we had a dolphin encounter when diving the Ulysses. They didn’t stay long underwater but in the zodiacs on the way back to Charlotte they joined us again. Our zodiac skipper encouraged us to jump in and snorkel with them – so we did. Another memorable moment. We finished off the week with a bit more rust. Giannis D and Chrissie K – both well guided around the interesting parts.

MY Charlotte is a 26 berth liveaboard. As I have said previously Paul – the owner –and was always on hand both in out of the water to ensure all went well. Nothing was too much trouble. I was particularly impressed by the timing and choice of the dives.

Each cabin had USB charging points (very handy in today’s world) and, of course, cleaned daily. Food on board was excellent and plenty of it. We even had fried potatoes for breakfast!!

Evenings on board were well sociable. Enjoying each other’s company and each other’s duty free drinks. Along with snacks and crisps that came out at regular intervals. As with most liveaboard holidays – at first evenings stretched until midnight or longer. But as the week went on, diving took it’s toll and bedtime came earlier and earlier.

All in all, considering the change of itinerary, we had a very successful week. Plenty to see and enjoy .. and looking forward to the next one.

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