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Northern Red Sea Reefs and Wrecks Trip Report, Part 1: Welcome to Adventure

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red sea

Jake Davies boards Ghazala Explorer for an unforgettable Red Sea diving experience…

The Red Sea is known for its range of dives, from bright, colourful reefs with a diverse array of reef species to world-famous wrecks scattered along its numerous atolls. The reefs and wrecks of the North Red Sea are one of the best ways to experience many of these.

Organised by dive tour operator specialist Scuba Travel, Ghazala Explorer was going to be home for the week for this exciting trip, a 37m steel-hulled vessel with top-class reviews by previous guests.

red sea

Departing from Hurghada, the plans were to head north for the first couple of days, including check dives on Global reefs, before then heading to see a few of the wrecks at Abu Nuhas reef. Then we would head across the Gulf of Suez into Ras Mohammed National Park to see what are considered to be some of the best reef dives in the Red Sea. From there, we would head to the Strait of Tiran for a day, then head back south to dive the world-famous wreck and one of the trip’s highlights: the SS Thistlegorm. This would include a night dive prior to heading back for the final day’s diving around Hurghada before heading back to port.

Arriving from Gatwick into Hurghada late in the evening, the Scuba Travel rep was waiting for arrivals ready to take us all to the Ghazala Explorer, docked in Hurghada’s New Marina. Stepping onboard, the high-quality and spacious deck spaces and interior provided an instant sense of comfort. There was a friendly welcome by the crew and guides. After some food, it was time for the boat briefing, which was detailed and covered all the important safety aspects of the vessel and procedures. The kit was then set up in the allocated spaces, and the spacious tables in the interior provided the perfect place to build up my camera ahead of the week’s trip. As soon as everything was done, it was time to head to the cabin to get some rest before an early start for a check dive.

red sea

The northerly wind provided a chop, but it wasn’t felt as the steel hull of the vessel cut through each wave. By mid-morning, we were moored up at the reef at Gobal Island, sheltered from the chop on the other side. With Ahmed providing a detailed briefing, it was time to kit up and get in the water to explore some of the reefs below during the check dive. It’s always exciting to stand on the stern of the boat, looking into the clear blue water before taking a stride entry to enter the colourful coral scenery below.

red sea

Like most of the dives on coral reefs in the Red Sea, the colours and busyness of the reefs were great to see. It was great to be back on the reefs, taking the time to watch the many species which make up the Red Sea ecosystems before picking out a few to film and photograph. The time flies by as you are constantly engaged with the surroundings, and then before I knew it, it was time to head back onboard, where everyone coming back from the water had big smiles and were full of excitement and anticipation for the rest of the week.

red sea

The next two dives, which included the night dive, were on the wreck of the barge, where very little remains act as an artificial reef for many species, which included a few perfectly hidden large stonefish and a crocodile fish camouflaging on the sand beneath the hull. Looking up though was the highlight of the dive, as a squad of squid could be seen mid-water, dancing around. Ascending slowly and calmly, I was able to position myself amongst the squad for the opportunity to get a few close-ups of this great species. Shortly after, the squid were then accompanied by a shoal of halfbeaks just below the surface. Everywhere was just full of life!

red sea

After some afternoon snacks, and as part of the safety protocols of the vessel, it was time to practice an emergency drill to put the briefings into action. The fire alarm rang, and we then had to carry out a full drill of getting the life jackets and using the closest emergency exits to then gather at the muster point on top deck where we would then have a run-through of the life rafts. The drill was great to do and I thought it was a really important part of the boat’s safety, as it was an opportunity to use the emergency exits to ensure a safe and effective evacuation, while also convening at the muster station to go through different scenarios and become familiar with some of the kit used during these emergencies.

Check in for Part 2 from Jake tomorrow!

To find out more about the Northern Red Sea reef and wrecks itineraries aboard Ghazala Explorer, or to book, contact Scuba Travel now:

Email: dive@scubatravel.com

Tel: +44 (0)1483 411590

www.scubatravel.com

Photos: Jake Davies / Avalon.Red

Jake grew up on Pen Llŷn, North Wales and from a young age, the underwater world and marine life have played a major role in his life. He's a marine biologist and an underwater videographer who aims to share the range of marine life and habitats found beneath the waves. Giovana trained as a professional dancer/actress/singer in London. She is also a personal trainer, scuba diver and L1 skydiver. Currently training to become a Stunt / SPACT performer within the film industry. Jake and Giovana enjoy traveling and being in the water where they share the trips and experiences on their YouTube channel: Scuba Bucket List.

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The Ocean Cleanup to Complete 100th Extraction Live from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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the ocean cleanup
  • The Ocean Cleanup marks 100th extraction of plastic pollution from the Pacific Ocean by livestreaming entire cleaning operation from start to finish.
  • Occasion brings together supporters, partners, donors and followers as the project readies its cleanup technology for scale-up.
  • Founder and CEO Boyan Slat to provide insight on the plans ahead.

The Ocean Cleanup is set to reach a milestone of 100 plastic extractions from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Extraction #100, scheduled for 28 or 29 May 2024, will be the first ever to be livestreamed direct from the Pacific Ocean, allowing supporters and partners around the world to see up close how the organization has removed over 385,000 kilograms (nearly 850,000 lbs) of plastic from the GPGP so far – more than double the bare weight of the Statue of Liberty.

the ocean cleanup

The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to rid the oceans of plastic. To do this, the non-profit project employs a dual strategy: cleaning up legacy floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the world’s largest accumulation of floating plastic), while stopping the flow of plastic from the world’s most polluting rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup captured its first plastic (the first ‘extraction’) in the GPGP in 2019 with System 001, following years of trials and testing with a variety of concepts. Through System 002 and now the larger and more efficient System 03, the organization has consistently improved and optimized operations, and is now preparing to extract plastic trash from the GPGP for the 100th time.

the ocean cleanup

Extraction #100 will be an interactive broadcast showing the entire extraction procedure live and in detail, with insight provided by representatives from across The Ocean Cleanup and partners contributing to the operations.

This is an important milestone in a key year for The Ocean Cleanup.’ said Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. ‘We’ve come a long way since our first extraction in 2019. During the 2024 season, with System 03, we aim to demonstrate that we are ready to scale up, and with it, confine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the history books.

the ocean cleanup

The livestream will be hosted on The Ocean Cleanup’s YouTube channel and via X. Monitor @theoceancleanup for confirmed timings.

www.theoceancleanup.com

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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Book Review: Plankton

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Plankton: A Worldwide Guide by Tom Jackson and Jennifer Parker

This is a book that jumps off the shelf at you. The striking front cover demands that you pick it up and delve further, even if you may not have known you wanted to learn more about the most diminutive life in our ocean, plankton!

Small it might be. Much of the imagery in the book has been taken under huge magnification. Revealing stunning beauty and diversity in each scoop of “soup”. There is lots to learn. Initial chapters include interesting facts about the different vertical zones they inhabit, from sunlight to midnight (the darkest and deepest areas). I loved finding out more about the stunning show that divers oft encounter on night dives – bioluminescence.

The black water images are wonderful. So this is a book you can have as a coffee table book to dip in and our of. But, these tiny organisms are also vital to our very survival and that of all the marine life we love. They provide half the oxygen produced on our planet. They are also responsible for regulating the planets climate. And for a shark lover like me – they are food for charismatic sharks and rays like the Basking Shark and Manta Ray, along with a huge number of other species. This book contains great insight into their biology, life cycles, migration, and how the changes in currents and sea temperatures affects them.

This is a book that is both beautiful and packed with information about possibly the most important group of organisms on our planet. Anyone interested in the ocean should have it one their shelves.

What the publisher says:

Plankton are the unsung heroes of planet Earth. Passive drifters through the world’s seas, oceans, and freshwater environments, most are invisible or very small, but some are longer than a whale. They are the global ocean’s foundation food, supporting almost all oceanic life, and they are also vitally important for land-based plants, animals, and other organisms. Plankton provides an incomparable look at these remarkable creatures, opening a window on the elegance and grace of microscopic marine life.

This engaging book reveals the amazing diversity of plankton, how they belong to a wide range of living groups, and how their ecology, lifestyles, and adaptations have evolved to suit an enormous range of conditions. It looks at plankton life cycles, the different ways plankton feed and grow, and the vast range of strategies they use for reproduction. It tracks where, how, and why plankton drift through the water; shares perspectives on migrations and population explosions or “blooms” and why they happen; and discusses the life-sustaining role of plankton in numerous intertwined food webs throughout the world.

Beautifully illustrated, Plankton sheds critical light on how global warming, pollution, diminishing resources, and overexploitation will adversely impact planktonic life, and how these effects will reverberate to every corner of our planet.

About the Authors:

Tom Jackson is a science writer whose many popular books include Strange Animals and Genetics in MinutesJennifer Parker is a zoology and conservation writer and the author of several books. Andrew Hirst is a leading expert on plankton whose research has taken him around the world, from the Antarctic to Greenland and the Great Barrier Reef.

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Hardcover

Price: £25

ISBN: 9780691255996

Published: 9th April, 2024

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Experience the Red Sea in May with Bella Eriny Liveaboard! As the weather warms up, there’s no better time to dive into the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea. Join us on Bella Eriny, your premier choice for Red Sea liveaboards, this May for an unforgettable underwater adventure. Explore vibrant marine life and stunning coral reefs Enjoy comfortable accommodation in our spacious cabins Savor delicious meals prepared by our onboard chef Benefit from the expertise of our professional dive guides Visit our website for more information and to secure your spot: www.scubatravel.com/BellaEriny or call 01483 411590 More Less

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