There is a dive resort in the Red Sea that is stuck in time; a time when the marine life was not bombarded by modern times. No tourist hotels, no day boats, and very few divers… simply the Red Sea at its best.
That place is the multi award winning Roots Red Sea.
Nestling on the edge of the Eastern Desert beside a mountain back drop, Roots Red Sea offers an idyllic comfortable retreat in the desert making you truly feel at one with nature.
Roots Red Sea is a small friendly resort aimed at scuba divers, snorkellers and those who want a quiet, peaceful, relaxed atmosphere but with the convenience of having the small traditional town of El Quseir on its doorstep. The tag of a camp should not be taken too literally; it relates more to the location than the outstanding accommodations with modern facilities.
Roots Red Sea is managed by British-owned and run Pharaoh Dive Club, who have an unsurpassed reputation for friendly helpful staff delivering great personal service. Owners Steve and Clare have vast experience of the Red Sea, having been working the region for over 35 years.
Their simple mantra is to deliver the holiday the guest wants and treat everyone the way they would like to be treated themselves. There is a distinct no problem attitude and nothing is too much trouble for the team. It’s certainly a winning formula, as testified by their guests. TripAdvisor award winners every year since opening resulting in being accredited to the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame.
It’s no wonder that Roots Red Sea boasts an annual 75% repeat guest rate. It’s one of the diving world’s best kept secrets!
But you don’t go to the Red Sea to sit in a hotel, no matter how perfect it is – you go for the diving, and that certainly doesn’t disappoint – starting with the awesome house reef!
Roots Red Sea isn’t just the base for Pharaoh Dive Club, its operated by them too. Unlike the majority of holiday resorts across Egypt, at Roots Red Sea everything revolves around making your diving experience as good as it
could ever be.
The dive operation is seamless, from arrival to departure. All the check-in procedures are on-site, right next to the accommodation, and once completed, it’s just a short walk away to the private beach on Abu Sauatir Bay – Roots Red Sea‘s house reef. On the beach, you will find all you need to while away the hours: sun loungers, parasols, toilets, showers, and the Beach Bistro where lunch is served each day.
Diving with Pharaoh Dive Club is extremely relaxed and flexible. For those with suitable experience, the house reef is open from 8am to 5pm for unlimited unguided diving. Come and go as much as your computer allows!
Everyday, if you want, there are options to go further afield and explore the amazing variety of sites both locally and those which require day excursions. Trips are run by bus to shore locations and by zodiac for the less accessible sites.
There is more than enough local diving to fill the days for many visits, however we do also have access to some of the more renowned dive sites, and offer regular opportunities for our divers to experience them.
Elphinstone Reef is one of Egypt’s most exhilarating diving spots. The summit of a subterranean mountain barely reaches the surface and is abound with rich in colourful corals and fish species, all attracting the interest of hungry barracuda, dolphins and sharks. This is one of the few places where divers can regularly come in direct contact with the awesome Oceanic White Tip shark.
These encounters are only for experienced advanced divers due to the reef’s location in the open-sea, with its alluring but dangerously deep coral plateaus and caves and its infamous and constantly changing currents. You’re guaranteed an unforgettable experience.
The Salem Express is a wreck to be dived with immense respect for the poor souls who lost their lives in tragedy just an hour away from its final destination, the Safaga Port.
Originally built in the French shipyards of La Seyne in 1964 and known by several different names during the course of its life, the Salem Express was a 100 meter (300 feet) long roll-on roll-off ferry. She is is resting at a depth of 12 to 30 meters on its starboard side with its bow doors wide open.
On descending, the port side of the ship is merely 12 meters below the surface and is surprisingly intact. The lifeboats with the distinct “S” emblem are indications that they passengers didn’t even get the chance to lower them.
The Salem Express is a fabulous wreck dive for all levels of diver with clear waters allowing you to see the complete wreck as you descent to the the port side to begin your tour.
NIGHT DIVING AT ROOTS RED SEA
Night diving at Roots Red Sea is constantly referred to by our guests as their best ever. The unspoilt reef around the bay changes completely at night with a whole new cast of attractions. Without a doubt, the stars of the show are the awesome Spanish Dancers and eerie Flashlight fish who dart around the reef face.
They may be the stars, but the reef is also abundant with the resident sleeping Hawksbill turtle, sleeping parrot fish in their mucus bubbles exciting finds, and more. When the dive is over and you are back on the beach, you will undoubtedly be reaching for the marine life ID books, as there are some very strange looking night visitors!
FROM ZERO TO HERO: DIVER TRAINING WITH ROOTS RED SEA
Roots is also the perfect location for diver training, from total beginner to going pro.
PADI IDC AT ROOTS
Fancy turning your hobby into a career? Our PADI Pro training is provided by the best in the industry, namely Ocean Turtle Diving. Platinum Course Director Kerrie Eade works alongside Elite Course Director Edwin Lodder to ensure each course is fun and enjoyable whilst delivering the highest level of coaching and extraordinary success rates.
Kerrie and Edwin have achieved the highest level of recognition from PADI for their Pro training. They train in excess of 200 professionals each year, yet still deliver bespoke, tailored training to meet the needs of each candidate.
The next IDC at Roots Red Sea will begin on 30th November through to 7th December with the IE in Hurghada on the 9th and 10th December. Click here for more details or to book:
Have we whet your appetite to come and visit us? Lets make it a simple decision by making a very special offer!
Come and grab some winter sun with our exclusive offer in association with Scubaverse:
Visit Roots Red Sea during the whole of December 2023 through to the end of February 2024, with an amazing 2 for 1 package. Valid for bookings received before 1st November 2023, quoting reference SBV1023.
Diving into the World’s Fastest Tidal Rapids
In the mystical waters just north of Vancouver, Canada lies a narrow channel called the Skookumchuck Narrows, or simply “The Skook.” It’s a hidden gem in the Salish Sea that boasts a unique spectacle – a tumultuous dance of tides and currents that draws adventurers and spectators from far and wide.
Imagine this: a channel so narrow and shallow that a single tide can unleash an astonishing 200 billion gallons of water, creating a tumultuous display of standing waves, whirlpools, and currents surging at 16 knots (18 mph or 30 kph). Such speeds may seem mild when driving a car, but the erratic water is a different ballgame. Skookumchuck Narrows is a contender for the title of the world’s fastest tidal rapids, rivaled only by Nakwakto Rapids further up the British Columbia coast.
But there’s a twist – this aquatic battleground isn’t just for adrenaline seekers; The Skook is an oasis for life beneath the waves. April 2023 marked a rare convergence of perfect conditions: a celestial alignment allowing divers to witness The Skook in all its glory. And who better to guide this daring expedition than Porpoise Bay Charters, a family-run venture led by the seasoned Kal Helyar and Ann Beardsell?
Raging currents = an abundance of life
The allure lies not in the danger but in the vibrant marine ecosystem fueled by the relentless currents. Ocean currents act as nature’s turbochargers, transporting nutrients that transform places like Skookumchuck Narrows into underwater havens with colorful life thriving amidst the rocky terrain.
It’s important to debunk the myth that this is a reckless plunge into chaos. Diving The Skook is not about courting danger but choosing the right moment: at slack when the tide turns, the water experiences minimal movement, and the currents are a mere 4-5 knots. Picture this – a scuba diver slipping gracefully between tidal changes, maneuvering with precision as the water changes its course and gradually picks up speed. Timing is everything, and finding the rare dates when daylight piercing through the emerald-green water coincides with navigable water conditions is critical. April 2023 granted us a mere handful of these golden days of nature’s alignment for the first time in four years.
Entering the abyss
As our vessel, under the watchful eye of Captain Kal, approached the infamous Skookumchuck rapids, a tangible excitement filled the air. These cold-water adrenaline-filled dives are the scuba diving equivalent to scaling Everest. The unpredictability of The Skook, where currents can whisk you in any direction, demanded respectful caution from our experienced salty crew.
With a reassuring smile, Captain Kal dismissed the notion of a toilet bowl experience, where divers are pulled in a circular direction by the currents as if flushed down a toilet. He emphasized that they only dived during an easy drift in the current, which was hard to fathom possible in such treacherous waters. Approaching the narrowest section of the channel, where the current was fastest, Kal’s experienced eyes scanned for the telltale signs of slack tide. Tidal ripples slowed, and we entered the water in the few precious minutes within the next year when it was possible to witness Skookumchuck in all its sunny glory.
As we descended into the underwater world, a mysterious algal bloom cast a dark green haze, unveiling a breathtaking palette of colors below. Bright red and pink anemones, neon orange encrusting sponges, and deep purple ochre sea stars adorned the rocky canvas, showcasing nature’s artistic prowess.
Surrendering to the sea
Descending further, we felt the force of the tide, like a river yet to subside. Gripping onto rock holds and kicking into the current, we felt like underwater rock climbers. Adjusting our underwater camera settings and getting comfortable with the flow of the water, we marveled at the transformation of the underwater landscape. Slabs of rock, once pounded by the current, now hosted a vibrant community of marine life.
After a mesmerizing twenty minutes of relatively gentle water, the current intensified, signaling the roller coaster drop ahead. We surrendered to neutrality, letting the current guide us along the wall. Boulders and back eddies added a touch of unpredictability; with trust in our abilities and Captain Kal’s promise of a safe pickup, the thrill was exhilarating rather than menacing.
As the current ebbed, we found ourselves in a tranquil cove adorned with green sea urchins, marking the end of our underwater odyssey. The Skook had shown us its splendor: a delicate balance of chaos and life beneath the surface – leaving us with memories as vivid as the colors we witnessed.
About the Author
Nirupam Nigam is a dedicated underwater photographer and fisheries scientist. While growing up in Los Angeles, he fell in love with the ocean and pursued underwater photography in the local Channel Islands. He received degrees in Aquatic and Fisheries Science and General Biology, as well as a minor in Arctic Studies, at the University of Washington. After working as a fisheries observer on boats in the Bering Sea and North Pacific, Nirupam became the Editor-in-Chief of the Underwater Photography Guide and the President of Bluewater Photo – the world’s top underwater photo & video retailer. Check out more of his photography at www.photosfromthesea.com!
US-based divers: explore more close-by dive destinations with Bluewater Dive Travel here.
All photos: Nirupam Nigam
Hunting Lionfish Safely and Responsibly in Curaçao
Curaçao, a picturesque island in the southern Caribbean, is not only renowned for its stunning beaches and vibrant culture but also for its commitment to preserving its marine ecosystems. One of the key threats to these delicate ecosystems is the invasive lionfish. To combat this menace, responsible hunting practices are crucial.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to hunt lionfish safely and responsibly in Curaçao, including the use of pole spears (the only legal method in Curaçao). We will provide you with the top 10 safe hunting practices, including the use of a Zookeeper. We will also address what to do if you are stung by a lionfish and emphasize the importance of consulting with local experts before embarking on your lionfish hunting adventure.
Why Safe and Responsible Lionfish Hunting is Important
Lionfish (Pterois spp.) are native to the Indo-Pacific region but have become invasive predators in the Caribbean, including the waters surrounding Curaçao. Their voracious appetite for native fish species and rapid reproduction rates poses a severe threat to the delicate balance of marine ecosystems in the region. The introduction of lionfish has led to a decline in native fish populations and the degradation of coral reefs.
To counteract the lionfish invasion, responsible hunting practices are essential. Hunting lionfish can help control their population and protect the native marine life of Curaçao’s waters. However, it is imperative to follow safe and responsible hunting techniques to minimize the impact on the environment and ensure the safety of both divers and the marine ecosystem.
Understanding the Pole Spear
In Curaçao, the only legal method for hunting lionfish is using a pole spear. It’s important to note that a pole spear is distinct from other spearfishing equipment, such as a Hawaiian sling or a spear gun with a trigger mechanism. The use of Hawaiian slings or spear guns with triggers is illegal in Curaçao for lionfish hunting due to safety and conservation concerns.
A pole spear consists of a long, slender pole with a pointed tip, often made of stainless steel or fiberglass, designed for precision and accuracy. Unlike a trigger-based spear gun, a pole spear requires the diver to manually draw back on a rubber band then release towards the target, providing a more controlled and selective approach to hunting.
How to Hunt Lionfish Using a Pole Spear Responsibly
When using a pole spear to hunt lionfish, it’s crucial to do so responsibly to ensure the safety of both the diver and the marine environment. Here are some essential guidelines on how to hunt lionfish using a pole spear responsibly:
- Safety First: Always prioritize safety when diving and hunting. Ensure you have the necessary training and experience for hunting lionfish. Consider the Lionfish Scuba Dive Experience offered by Ocean Encounters. This opportunity allows participants to learn under the expert guidance of local scuba diving professionals.
- Check Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local regulations and restrictions related to lionfish hunting in Curaçao. Respect no-take zones and marine protected areas.
- Target Only Lionfish: Use your pole spear exclusively for lionfish hunting. Do not attempt to spear any other species, as this can harm the fragile ecosystem.
- Aim for Precision: Approach your target lionfish carefully and aim for a precise shot to minimize the risk of injuring other marine life or damaging the coral reef.
- Use a Zookeeper: A Zookeeper is a specialized container designed to safely store and transport lionfish after capture. It prevents the lionfish’s venomous spines from causing harm and keeps them secure during the dive.
- Respect Lionfish Anatomy: Target the head of the lionfish and stay away from its venomous spines. Aim for a clean and humane kill to minimize suffering.
- Avoid Overhunting: Do not overhunt lionfish in a single dive. Limit the number of lionfish you catch to what you can safely handle and process.
- Practice Good Buoyancy: Maintain excellent buoyancy control to avoid inadvertently damaging the reef or stirring up sediment, which can harm marine life.
- Dispose Responsibly: Once you’ve caught lionfish, carefully place them in your Zookeeper. Do not release them back into the water, as they are invasive and harmful to the ecosystem.
- Report Your Catch: If applicable, report your lionfish catch to local authorities or organizations involved in lionfish management to contribute to data collection efforts.
In the Unlikely Event of a Lionfish Sting
While lionfish stings are rare, it’s essential to know how to respond if you or someone you are diving with is stung. Lionfish have venomous spines that can cause pain, swelling, and even more severe reactions in some cases. Here’s how to respond to a lionfish sting:
- Signal for Help: Notify your diving buddy or group immediately if you are stung.
- Remove Spines: If the spines are still embedded in the skin, carefully remove them with tweezers or a clean, sterile tool. Be cautious not to break the spines, as this can release more venom.
- Clean the Wound: Rinse the affected area with warm water to help alleviate pain and reduce the risk of infection.
- Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help with pain and swelling. However, if you experience severe symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.
- Seek Medical Help: If the pain and swelling worsen or if you have an allergic reaction to the venom, seek medical assistance immediately.
Consult Local Lionfish Experts
Before embarking on a lionfish hunting adventure in Curaçao, it’s crucial to consult with local and responsible dive shops or organizations dedicated to lionfish management, such as Lionfish Caribbean.
These experts can provide valuable insights, tips, and up-to-date information on how to hunt lionfish safely and responsibly, hunting locations, safety measures, and environmental conservation efforts.
Start Planning your Next Caribbean Adventure
Knowing how to hunt lionfish safely and responsibly in Curaçao is not just an exciting underwater activity but also a crucial step in protecting the island’s marine ecosystems. By using a pole spear and adhering to the top 10 safe hunting practices, including the use of a Zookeeper, you can contribute to the control of the invasive lionfish population while preserving the delicate balance of Curaçao’s underwater world.
Remember that safety should always be your top priority when diving and hunting lionfish. In the unlikely event of a lionfish sting, knowing how to respond can make all the difference. By consulting with local experts and following ethical and legal guidelines, you can enjoy a rewarding and responsible lionfish hunting experience while safeguarding the beauty of Curaçao’s marine environment for generations to come. Please always dive safely and responsibly, and together, we can make a positive impact on Curaçao’s underwater world while learning how to hunt lionfish effectively.
News1 month ago
Emperor Echo liveaboard sustains “irreversible damage” in lightning storm at Fury Shoals
Blogs2 months ago
A Flying Visit to Nusa Penida, Bali
Blogs2 weeks ago
My week on Scuba Scene: simply the best Red Sea liveaboard experience
News2 months ago
2023 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition Announced
Marine Life & Conservation2 months ago
Book Review: The Lives of Octopuses and Their Relatives
Blogs1 week ago
Unveiling Indonesia’s Dive Gem: Welcome to Bunaken Oasis, Where Adventure Meets Luxury
Equipment2 months ago
Oceanic+ Now Has Freedive Mode on Apple Watch Ultra
Blogs2 weeks ago
DEMA Show 2023: The Depths of Progress in the Scuba Diving Industry