After our flight to Marsa Alam Airport we still had a 2,5 hour transfer to our hotel in the far South. Hamata has the southernmost hotels in Egypt. While we were driving south the concrete skeleton constructions which will eventually transform into more hotels became fewer. The plastic rubbish found ANYwhere near Egyptian roads disappeared almost. We passed mangroves! I knew we had chosen the right spot.
Hamata is a small town, quiet and off the tourist track. The handful of tourists stay in one of the two hotels or at the Ecolodge (nice bedouin tents, 6 hours electricity only :-)). All this made the boat departure in the mornings really relaxing.
With only a dozen divers in the hotel the days were relaxing on board as well as in the hotel. The temperatures were quite low with a chilly 10°C at 7 am and maxima around 19°C around noon. The strong northern winds didn’t help to warm up. In the end it was in the water where we had the best temperatures with 22°C.
We started our diving with dolphins on the first day. It’s mere magic! The group of six dolphins passed, stopped close to Chris, turned , had a quick look at us and finally swam away. I had the feeling that all divers in the group stopped breathing for a moment, just to make this moment last a bit longer.
Unfortunatley I was surprised by the lack of fish. Some of you might say I’m spoilt from my recent trips to Indonesia, but I have been to Egypt on several occasions and always had more fish around. I couldn’t figure out during my stay if this is a seasonal change or if there’s another explanation.
Most of the sites have stunning underwater sceneries with beautiful hard coral blocks.
The house reef is a great opportunity to drift along the jetty to meet the local barracuda and groupers. On night dives crabs are commonplace as are basket stars stretching out their arms in search for food.
On the last day we were lucky enough to dive with a curious Napoleon. It seemed as if this large fellow wanted some company. A more realistic explanation might be that it was used to get food from the dive boats.
All in all this week in the south was a wonderful change from the rainy grey days at home. Above all it was a great opportunity to work with the new underwater rig before getting to tropical waters on April 12.
All photos here