Two Whale Sharks Both Dives
Reports have been coming in from
different people that for a few days now there have been several
whale shark spottings in Marsa Alam area and on Wednesday there were
a few lucky divers who saw not only one but two whale sharks around
Elphinstone Reef on not only one but two dives! Congratulations to
you lot (you should have gone to Las Vegas!!!)
Ramadan And Daylight Saving Time
Egypt is using the system of Daylight
Saving Time, or summer time as it’s more popularly called. By law
this is between the last Friday of April to the last Thursday of
September. It is also stipulated by law that the Holy Month of
Ramadan is to be excluded from the summer time. This means that when
The Holy Month of Ramadan occurs in the summer, the time will be
stopped and “Unchanged” during this period. Discombobulating? This
is how it will work according to a decree from authorities:
1- Summer time shall be stopped during Ramadan month and winter time
shall be enforced starting from Wednesday 11th August 2010. (Clock
will be set backward one hour)
2- Summer time will be enforced once again by the end of Ramadan
starting from Friday 10th September 2010. (Clock will be set forward
3- Summer time shall be continued- in accordance to law- to the end
of last Thursday of September 30th 2010, and the winter time shall
start by Friday 1st October 2010.
MANTA RAYS ON GOTA ABU RAMADA
Marieke Appelhof, dive instructor at Aquarius Dive Centre in Marriott
Hotel was lucky enough to witness something few people ever get to
see. On the renowned dive site of Gota Abu Ramada two manta rays
were mating on the top of the reef. This is fantastic news for
several reasons and it shows that Hurghada still has the marine life
many think has abandoned the area. This time of year is
traditionally when manta- and whale sharks are encountered and now
we also know that the reproduction is secured. Hopefully the family
will be keeping back to the area.
NEW WRECK IN DAHAB
Dahab there is a new feature on the house reef of Dive In in form of
a wreck of Swiss sailing yacht Samadhi that sank July 13th.
According to information on Dive In’s facebook page nobody was
injured in the incident and that the boat sunk at a perfect location
for diving purposes!
“We have been the first ones diving
there after we were asked to support the Egyptian environmental
affairs agency” the staff from Dive In says and continues “Of course
we loved it!”
See more pictures of this special
house reef dive wreck on
New photographs of Geisum Oil Rigs
These photographs comes from Mourad
Samy, living and working in Belgum. He is a nature lover and
environmentalist who thinks it's important to inform about the risks
before it's too late. After the recent oil spill from the rig in
Jebel al-Zayt, north of Hurghada he has given aziab permission to
publish them here on Latest News. A friend of Mourad's
cruising in the gulf of Suez sent him those photos. Mourad says
"I hope the diving community as all authorities and protection
institutions will make their best to talk about that announced
There are more then 180 oil rigs in
the region, some of them in a very bad state and oil spills are the
regular consequence of this type of bad maintenance. The government
has declared that "the spill was not due to a platform and that
ALL offshore platforms are "sound" I don't know If I would land
my helicopter on that thing...
Mourad says that he's happy for
anyone to use photographs and encourages to spread them largely.
Windy in Egypt
Dawson, know as the featured photographer at aziab.com Reports from
Emperor Divers that the last days of windy weather today made the
coast guard to stop the boats from leaving the harbours and even
recall the boats that already left. This actions were taken in the
resort towns of El Gouna, Hurghada and Marsa Alam. The last few days the
wind speed has been around 18-19 knots average and reached up to 29
in the gusts. Also the direction of the wind is making life
difficult The wind forecast from the kite surfing website windguru
doesn't look very much like it's going to slow down until earliest
tracking system law extension
From CDWS News Letter
The deadline for safari boat
operators to install a diver tracking system on all boats operating
in remote sites in the Red Sea has been extended while further
systems are approved by authorities. Safari boats now have until the
end of 2010 to implement a diver tracking system to be used by law
on remote sites, including the Brothers Islands and any site further
Two systems have been approved, with a further two undergoing tests.
See the Rules and Regulations section on the
website for more information.
What happened with the dead sharks?
After the Egyptian authorities,
several Red Sea Liveaboard together managed so finally capture the
Yemeni fishing boats that recently have been illegally fishing
sharks in Red Sea waters, the question as of where the catch went has
The illegal fishing has been going on mainly in
the deep south area around St. John's Rocky, Zabargad, Daedalus and
as far up as Brother Islands which is classic shark diving spots,
well known to any Red Sea Diver. An attack on the shark population
of this magnitude and at this time of year can be absolutely
devastating since many shark species are congregating for mating.
This means that one big catch can wipe out a large part of the
sexually mature generation, making a huge dent in reproduction.
As it turns out the sharks captured
by these fishermen was not finned but kept in one piece onboard
which is a bit of a mystery. It
Makos but also some
Grey Reef. All carcasses were confiscated, where of
two were pregnant female Tiger Sharks. All of them were destroyed
under supervision of Egyptian authorities and HEPCA. Nothing was sold or made any profit
on. And nothing was left with the fishermen.
Dive Operators help cleaning up Red Sea Oil
Adly owner and Director of
Deep Voyage has offered his
Liveaboard Vessel M/Y Liberty, Crew and assistance to HEPCA for
cleaning duty. When this wat written he have not heard back from
them. Ahmed says "At the moment, we are waiting for the
Environmental ministry to asses damage. Once anything is official,
we are sure to have an opportunity to sue the oil company for
damages." He continues "You see; this is one of those few
cases, where tourism and investors are actually a good thing for the
environment..... but for them, the oil people would have laid waste
to this region a long long time ago. Food for thought. I would pray
for the Americans now..... they have it so bad that it is raining
oil." Ahmed is one very cleaver Dive Operator and has a well
earned reputation as a "Good Guy". Hopefully more operators follow
his lead and become more engaged in environmental issues.
Nobody seem to know exactly what the
damage is or what's happening at the offshore platform of Jebel al-Zayt.
Ahmed Adly confirms that some harm has already been recorded "Oil
HAD washed up on some of the northern beaches, but largely nothing
much more happened. No dive sites were hurt directly due to the
spill thank God. Some of the northern islands have had some habitats
hurt, but most think that we have a rare opportunity to clean it up."
He also reassuringly continues "All in all it is under control."
Hopefully Ahmed can report back to aziab when he returns from
clean-up trip how bad or good the situation is.
Latest News on Red Sea Oil Spill
more than a week, the oil platform off the resort of Hurghada in the
Red Sea, quietly but surely been spilling oil out in the sea risking
to damage over 160km of coastline.
The Egyptian government, fearing
that the oil spill would harm the tourist season in the area known
for its beautiful dive sites remained silent for several days. The
only official statements were intended to reassure the little extent
of damage. The members of government have ensured that the leak was
controlled and that the beaches would be quickly cleared.
From the operators' side of the
platform, the oil company Geisum Egyptian Oil is a low profile.
Having received the ban on speaking to the media, employees have
testified anonymously to specify that the leak occurred on the
offshore platform of
The environmental groups fear the worst for marine life and some
protected areas have been affected: “Birds and sea turtles covered
in oil have been recovered," said Ahmed el-Droubi, a biologist at
HEPCA. According To the Egyptian government, hotels along the coast
of Hurghada have not reported much oil on their beaches but that
might be because they are too busy cleaning the beaches before the
arrival of visitors.
HEPCA's News Letter regarding
the oil spill
"The community of the Red Sea has
once again stood up to protect our environment, livelihood and
health. The valiant efforts of fishermen, dive operators, hotels and
the local government to control the spill must be commended. The
governorate has committed all its resources in manual cleanups at
nearly all affected beaches in cooperation with the local community.
The cleanup efforts over the past five days have been outstanding,
over 90% of the impacted beaches on the mainland have been entirely
cleaned, and work is still ongoing. Dive operators have expressed
their relief that there is no apparent damage to any dive sites; and
that business is back to normal.
The Northern Islands protected area is the most heavily impacted
region. These islands are one of the few pristine areas in the
northern Egyptian Red Sea, and are of high ecological value as they
host a number of key habitats, including mangroves, sea grass beds,
protected bird nesting grounds, turtle nesting grounds and an
extensive reef system.
The spill was from an oil rig approximately fifty nautical miles
north of Hurghada that began to leak on Wednesday the 16th of June;
the leak has been sealed.
We are still fervently awaiting the Nature Conservation Sector’s
assessment of the damages at as well as a statement declaring the
identity of the rig that is visibly spewing out the oil!
The damage to Egypt's natural resources is a crime that must not go
unpunished; and the complicity of any party with such a crime must
be revealed and condemned. This incident clearly reveals that the
oil concessions of the Ministry must be reconsidered especially any
concessions near key habitats, protected areas and tourism hot
We must continue to push as a community for the protection of our
natural environment we must take a collective stand and clearly
state that we shall not allow corruption and greed to destroy our
ecosystem, livelihood and health."
CDWS statement on oil spill
Charlotte Boan, spokesman for Chambre
of Diving and Water Sports says in a press release:
"Egypt’s Chamber of
Diving and Watersports (CDWS) can confirm all member diving and
watersports centres are operating as normal in the resorts of El
Gouna and Hurghada following the recent oil spill. The spill, which
has been classified as ‘limited’, is thought to have been caused by
a leak at an offshore Red Sea oilrig situated 40 miles north of El
According to latest information received by the CDWS, the main
concentration of oil and the most polluted area is far north of El
Gouna near a bird sanctuary. Around 12 hotels in the Hurghada and El
Gouna area reported oil spills on beaches, however, the clean up of
these areas for the last few days has been running successfully. It
is hoped; most, if not all, oil washed up on the beaches will be
The Environment Affairs Agency (EEAA), together with the Center for
the Combat of Petroleum Pollution and the Red Sea Protectorates
Authority, is overseeing the clean-up operation.
CDWS cannot confirm the extent of the damage caused, however, CDWS
member operations in the area have reported little signs of the
spill. Dive centres from both El Gouna and Hurghada area, including
Aquarius, Ilios Dive Club and Blue Brothers, said their guides had
seen no signs of oil on the reefs and that following the clean up,
most of the spill on shore had been cleared.
Hurghada-based conservation organisation HEPCA said in a recent
statement that the efforts to contain the impact of the oil spill
had been very successful.
‘More than 90 per cent of the beaches north of Hurghada were cleaned
and the manual collection method has proven to be very successful,’
said the HEPCA statement. ‘Most of the hotels and resorts have
informed us that their beaches are back to normal. More efforts are
expected regarding the clean up of the northern islands of Um El
Luhaimat and Tawila which are located around 30 miles north of
Spill threatens Northern Red Sea
Massive oil slicks floating around in
the northern Red Sea have been reported to Environmental
authorities. Boats have encountered oil from Geisum in the El Gouna
area in the North all the way down to to Sahl al Hashish in the
South and some hotel beaches have been abandoned by their guests.
Egypt admitted yesterday that oil had
leaked from one of several rigs operating off the coast of the Red
Sea resort of Hurghada.
Government spokesman Magdy Rady said
the spill was detected last week and has been largely contained. Oil
company officials in the port city of Suez said the spill was caused
by a leak from an offshore oil platform in Jebel al-Zayt, north of
ILLEGAL SHARK FISHING BOAT CAPTURED
This Sunday Dive Guides and Crew from
the Red Sea Liveboars Thunderbird and Desmondo managed to get more
photographs of the illegally shark fishing boat from Yemen. They
also alerted the Coast Guard who immediately responded with full
power and managed to capture the foreign vessel and brought it
together with its crew in to the Egyptian port of El Queseir.
This is one of the sharks found on
According to HEPCA's there was also
actions taken by the Red Sea Liveaboard Golden Dolphin III which,
together with the other vessels managed to keep the perpetrator in
the area until the Egyptian authorities arrived and made the
official arrest. This past Monday HEPCA's own research vessel
Red Sea Defender found yet another two Yemeni fishing
boats in open sea straight out from Hamata and two hours also these
illegal fishing boats were in custody. All in all four Yemeni
fishing boats has been apprehended.
Right: Hooks baited with
Claudia, guide on Thunderbird
(and more of a Red Sea Legend than most) came back to Hurghada today
with some pictures and aziab was the first to get them and some more
details on the successful action.
According to Henrik Lynge's report today there are a lot of shark
fins on the captured vessel. Around 11 km of long-lines with hooks
baited by dolphin meat and juvenile sharks were collected in the
area by Liveaboards Eldabran and Royal Evolution.
A shark fin is
estimated to bring in about 200 LE while one single shark on
Brothers Islands is estimated to bring in 1.250.000 LE yearly in
More than 11 km of hooked lines were
Photos courtesy of Claudia Rechberger
- MY Thunderbird/Deep Blue Cruises.
"OLD LATEST NEWS"
Whale shark sightings in Hurghada
By Marieke Appelhof - Aquarius Dive
and Mac, one of the first dive centres in Hurghada, reports
sightings of a whale shark on their website. On the 26th and the
27th of May they went the dive site Ben El Gebel, where they saw the
shark. Some of their divers where even able to dive with it, a
The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is the largest living fish
on earth and it feeds mainly on plankton. The largest measured
individual was 12.65 metres of length and had a weight of more than
21.5 tonnes. But there have been reports of larger sharks. The shark
is not dangerous for humans, although its size would presume
something else. It’s quite gently and sometimes plays with divers.
The whale shark inhabits all tropical and warm oceans, in a belt of
30 ̊latitude north and south of the equator. It lives in open sea
and has a life span of 70 years. Unfortunately the whale shark is
targeted by commercial fisheries. The population is unknown and the
species is considered vulnerable by the IUCN.
The shark is very recognisable by its size, big mouth, grey body,
white belly and very distinguish pale yellow spots and stripes.
These spots and stripes are unique for every shark and therefore
very useful for researchers. They’re use to understand shark
movement, population structure and feeding habits. This information
can then be used for the conservation of this beautiful creature.
You can also help! If you have any pictures of your encounter with
one of these friendly giant, you can send these with some other
information (such as shark size, maturity and behaviour) to the
Whale Shark Project (www.whalesharkproject.com).
They’ll be used to understand the biology of the whale shark and
that could help to protect them in the future.
On the website of the Whale Shark Project you can find more
information about whale sharks and how to send in your pictures.
ILLEGAL SHARK FISHING BOAT CONTINUES
Yet another encounter of the
fishing boat from Yemen took
place this week in the St. John's area. The vessel has also been
spotted at Zabargad and Brother Islands. This time Red Sea Legend Henrik Lynge from Thunderbird of Deep Blue Cruises reports directly
to aziab that
several Liveaboard vessels in the area, Obsession, Sea Serpent,
Longimanus, Golden Dolphin and
Seven Seas, took up the chase and managed to get their Zodiac close enough to
the illegally shark fishing boat to be able to take photographs of
buoys, lines, and hooks. Dead sharks were found on the reef of Habili Ali and other sharks were still attached to the lines and hooks. The
crew of the illegal fishing boat immediately cut the lines and
disappeared south. Photo Left from HEPCA's News Letter
Amr Ali, Managing Director of
says that the Liveaboard Operators have been advised not to approach
the violator too much since they are "not likely to sail unarmed".
The Egyptian Navy is at the moment in pursuit of the Fishing boat
with no less than three vessels. This is not only illegal fishing
but also a violation of Egyptian borders. Amr Ali continues "If
we don't close this door now it may have disastrous
HEPCA will issue a News Letter on
the incident tomorrow May 26th.
SAVING THE WORLDS REEFS WITH RED SEA CORAL
to the higher average water temperature here, the coral in the Red
Sea has become more temperature resilient than in other parts of the
world. This have now lead to expert and scientists to star thinking
in a fascinating direction - trying to rebuild reefs around the
world with Red Sea Coral.
There have been several surveys on
Red Sea Corals over the years and some of you might have seen the
metal signs saying "Marine Park Study Site" and a number. All those
surveys has shown that the Red Sea coral is in better state than
Read more on
MAINTENANCE ON MOORINGS IN THE SOUTH
HEPCA's News Letter:
HEPCA mooring team undertook their seasonal maintenance round in the
south. During their trip, 5th- 14th of May, they visited fifteen
dive sites; including the ever popular Elphistone, Abu Dababab
sites, Gotaa’ and Erg Marsa Alam, Sha’ab Nakari and the renowned
During their engaging nine days in the south the HEPCA mooring team
surveyed all the moorings in the region. The team repaired 27
moorings, installed almost a dozen, in addition to conducting
maintenance on the zone demarcation buoys at Samadai.
Marzouk the HEPCA Mooring Co-ordinator for the South expressed that
he “is always thrilled by working on the pristine reefs on the
south. And that he was delighted by the continued support provided
by our members, which is the essence of the work that HEPCA does”.
Our team came back with an important message; they ask that all boat
operators follow HEPCA’s Guidelines For Using Buoys; and report any
violations or damaged moorings as soon as possible through the HEPCA
The HEPCA mooring team will return to the South soon and wishes you
all an enjoyable diving season.
FALSE KILLER WHALE MORE COMMON IN THE RED
Páll, or Stella as she’s known to most of her friends, working for
Shams Safaga had a good day when she and her
guest got to experience the presence of a rather unusual visitor
here in the Red Sea. It was a pod of false killer whales that joined
them for a while, riding the bow wave and playing around the boat.
Even if you don’t come across this
specie of whale very often it happens now and then Last time I heard
of encounters was Elke Bojanovski from blue O two in March this year
and before that a group of divers from Orca Dive Club Hamata on
See more photos in Stella's facebook album
This is the story in Stella's own
"The pics were taken on 07.05. we
were going to Shaab Sheer east and before the dive site around 15
minutes they just appeared. they were following us till our divers
didn't jump for the drift dive. 5 or 4 of them were playing front of
the boat, jumping out and they were communicating with each other,
it was quiet loud, cause we could hear it. also in the group, there
was a bottle nose dolphin. i can not tell how many of them we could
see, cause all the time one just left, 2 came again and etc... but
front of the boat like 4 or 5."
BOATS STOPPED BY COAST GUARD
- May 20th.
The last few days it's been really
windy on the Red Sea. A friend of mine who was flying from Sharm El
Sheikh to Hurghada yesterday said the whole sea was white from
Today May 20th the Coast Guard
decided to stop all daily boats from leaving the harbour in Hurghada
and to be on a liveaboard on Brothers or other off shore dive sites
must be ... interesting...
www.windguru.com next week it will be slowing down to
more acceptable 14-18 knots in Hamata area, unpleasant 16-20 knots
around Marsa Alam and in the north - Hurghada/Sharm el Sheikh are
still rough with 24-28 knots.
BRIGITTE LENOIR DEAD
- May 14.
Swiss Brigitte Lenoir, 40 from
Monthey was training in Dahab by the Red Sea side aiming at breaking
the female's world record for deep Rebreather diving this August
when, at 147 meters, on ascending from 200 meters an accident
happened due to a technical problem. Most likely reason was a
problem in the valve that left the pure oxygen opened through the
rebreather, which leads to hyperoxic toxicity. The body was not
Authorities said a search has been organized to recover the victim's
body, which is still missing.
WHALE SHARK IN HURGHADA
"small" whale shark was seen in the area between the island of Abu
Ramada and the popular dive site of Gota Abu Ramada. It was around 4
meters according to lucky divers and snorkelers who happened to be
at the right spot at the right time and on a boat with an observant
This is not the first time whale
sharks are encountered here and over the years it seems it's been
happening around mid May. Also it seems to be mid sized individuals
if that can have any significance.
LARGE POD OF DOLPHINS SPOTTED
daily diving boat from Diving World was heading back to Sheraton
Hotel Harbour when the captain suddenly signalled the horn to get
everybody's attention. On the horizon it looked like the sea was
boiling as a huge group of dolphins approached! Mieke, Dutch
Instructor working with Diving World reports that she stopped
counting somewhere around 50 individual animals as she realized that
there was no point in going on.
"There was hundreds of
them" she says "Adults and juveniles were playing around the boat
and there was no end to it". Everybody was stunned by the spectacle
and rumours has it that even the captain was crying.
This event takes place every
spring when the dolphins move up north. In the summer a lot of them
hang around in the area around Shaab El Erg.
EGYPTIAN NAVY CHASES ILLEGAL FISHING BOAT
fishing boat from Yemen was spotted fishing for shark in the St.
John's area by a dive guide from blue O two who immediately reported
the to HEPCA via Satellite phone. Amr Ali Managing Director of HEPCA
managed to mobilize two Egyptian Navy Vessels that left the port of
Safaga within minutes.
it happens the perpetrators had already sneaked away and the hunt
for the violators were unsuccessful. However, this proves that the
will is there to enforce the laws and rules regarding shark fishing
and that actions from dive guides out there can result in that
measures are taken against environmental violators. Keep