bnhamlin

bnhamlin

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My Dive Map

Reviews (3)

Emperor Elite

5
5
4
4

Despite diving for over 30 years, this was my first ever liveaboard adventure. I relied heavily on recommendations from Katie at Bluewater travel and I have to say that I was very pleased with both the itinerary, the boat and the "extras" that were necessary to get me there and back again. Emperor Elite is a well maintained vessel (much more luxurious than i imagined for the price) with comfortable cabins, private baths and plenty of space for the week long journey. We set sail for the southern Red Sea adventure in flat calm seas which, as a frequent seasickness sufferer, I took as an excellent sign. The local crew were great as helping us all get acclimated to onboard living as we steamed south for the St John reefs and caves. The two non-dvers on board were made to feel at home and the dive guides were great about encouraging them to snorkel at a few sites where there was decent viewing. Diving was done directly from the dive platform or from one of two zodiacs where the crew could drop us off up-current for some fantastic drifting back to the boat.

Four dives a day for a week straight is a marathon. The dive guides selected the best sites for the conditions and their briefings were very thorough, utilizing detailed diagrams of each reef supplemented with actual UW photos. The atmosphere was like a carnival as the dive crew would often crank up the music on the dive deck and you just have to experience for yourself the comedy of 20 divers getting into wetsuits while trying to dance at the same time. The crew would be waiting for us post dive with fresh fruit smoothies for us to refresh ourselves (hot chocolate for the colder night dives) before we even had our wetsuits off. This level of personal attention really made the dive marathon possible.

As a self proclaimed foodie, I was disappointed with traditional Egyptian fare, however the chef on board made sure we were well fed with wide range of comfort foods that, while somewhat bland for my personal palate, were satisfying and filling for those long dive days. The real problem was the onboard pastry chef whose dessert table after every meal made us all wonder aloud whether we would still be able to fit into our wetsuits by the end of the voyage. Egyptian wine was included with dinner (beer available for extra $). Overall I found was not too wanting in the food department.

As the trip progressed, the winds picked up and by the end of the voyage were were dealing with 20 knot winds and 10' swells, however the dive masters still managed to select good sites that afforded protection in the lee of the reefs where we both dove and occasionally slept in relatively calm waters. On the last day the options were so limited we pulled into a shore site in the hopes of finding the resident Dugong, even though the conditions were so bad visibility was down to a meter or two. Luckily for us the crew and their zodiacs are so skilled they managed not only to spot the beast, but drop us right next to it for a brief, but extremely exciting encounter with a very rare and endangered animal.

Overall this trip was an amazing value for the money and was a great experience.

Visited on 01/2015 - Submitted on 02/23/2015
Read all Emperor Elite Dive Liveaboard reviews

Florida

4
3
4
4

SOUTH BEACH, FLORIDA DIVING REVIEW

South Beach diving may not seem as sexy as many of the south seas locations, however if you want variety and easy diving access it is ideal. Known as the "Wreckreational" capitol because of its 35+ wrecks creating marvelous artificial reefs all along the south Florida coast line. Vast fields of Gorgonias, schools of rays, goliath groupers of Pleistocene proportions, are all the "regular" fare at most of the wrecks. Other pelagics often swing by in different seasons (lemon sharks, black tip reef, etc...). Wrecks vary in depth (60' to 270') and skill level so there is something for every diver at every level. Great macro opportunities since the wrecks all lie on a nice sandy bottom with relatively good visibility allow for easy shot set up with clean backgrounds. Boat captains are all well versed in the wrecks and the different wildlife that inhabits each. This is a great vacation spot for groups with all levels of dive experience and even those non-diver types.

Visited on 02/2014 - Submitted on 07/31/2014
Read all Florida Dive Travel reviews

Sea Saba Dive Center

4
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3

Amazing service that starts with your first step on the island. Sea Saba really knows how to offer five-star service on an island that is very casual about everything. Two 40" dive boats are rated for up to 20, however Sea Saba generally only will only take out 10 at any one time. It was almost live-aboard luxury as our gear stayed on the boat and was maintained by the dive crew in between dives and overnight. At least two friendly and knowledgeable dive masters accompanied each boat every day taking us to some great locations that offered some real "finds" (Sail-fin blennies, yellow banded shrimp, hawkesbill turtles and some of the largest queen angels I have ever seen). Due to the Caribbean Sea getting very deep very close to shore, most of the sites we dove were sea mounts and pinnacles which are fabulous for macro and absolutely jam packed with fish, invertebrates, corals, and sponges. The entire island being designated as a marine preserve park means that you will see some of the healthiest corals anywhere. A few reef sharks and barracuda were noticed off the shoals on one dive and large game fish are often seen in

Visited on 12/2013 - Submitted on 02/04/2014
Read all Sea Saba Dive Center reviews

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