It's a really long time, over 10 years, since I went on a liveaboard. In the past I've enjoyed mostly Northern Red Sea trips - wrecks and reefs. But for the last 10 years, I've done land-based dive camps in Egypt and loved the laid back vibe and unlimited relaxed diving. I did the Southern Red Sea on a liveboard out of Hamata about 14 years ago and the boat was a tatty disaster and the week was very windy so my memories of that trip were not happy.
This time last year, we agreed with our regular dive buddies to book a boat and go down South to Fury Shoals and St Johns. We chose Hurricane as this is a large steel hulled boat and supposed to be stable during the long overnight sailings down to almost the Sudanese border. Hurricane has been around for many years now but she looked excellent for her age. The boat was spacious and clean, the food was good and plentiful (about 4000 calories per day of food I am sure), the crew and guides were excellent. Our fellow divers ranged from age 17 to 60-odd years old.
We spent the first night in Port Galib. There were bars, loud music and local shops in case you forgot to buy anything en route. I found the first night a bit of a faff to be honest, unpacking kit and trying to set up a space on the dive deck, settling into the cabin, chatting to fellow divers and trying to remember where I put everything!!! It was a relief when the unpacking was done and we could bring out the spirits bought at Gatwick and create strange cocktails with sprite and coke from the fridge. Thank God everyone was as boozy as us. We felt at home.
I did not write down all the names of the dive sites but we dived at Fury Shoal after a 6 - 7 hour overnight journey, stayed there 2 days and went further South (another 7 hour overnight sailing) to St John's where the caves and swim throughs were fun and the diving was beautiful and relaxed.
We were amazingly lucky to have flat calm seas for the whole week. We a tad unlucky to have the most humid heat I have ever known so it was impossible to ever feel dry!! Humidity must have been 80% or more so washing cozzies and T shirts resulted in clothing that was always damp. We got used to smelling like rank sewer rats for the week.
Apart from Elphinstone, all our diving was max 25 metres, with the most beautiful and pristine corals at 15 metres and shallower. The currents were minimal and the water was 31 degrees. I have never ever dived in water that warm.