Qoseir, Egyptian Red Sea, 2012






Trip dates:

1 – 8 April 2012

Boat / resort:

Utopia Beach Resort

Dive centre:



No camera Room but well-organised dive centre means you can get help with shore entries and zodiac dives. No true facilities for (big) cameras on board the day vessels. We were lucky there were relatively few divers interested in boat trips.

Number of dives:

10 over 5 days of diving. Nitrox free to certified divers.

Diving conditions:

Not so good, we were unlucky. There had been a few storms before our arrival and then sustained wind, which means the water was murky and the sediments were not settling. Water at 22°C, no currents, seas not too choppy.


Well, this was a special trip for me, as this is the place and the dive centre where I worked during my year off in 1999. It is always risky to compare the present with the good old days. Back then, I had not travelled that much and my memories of the state of the reefs are not very precise, since I had no true frame of reference to compare. I Do remember I love those dive sites. Today, I found that they can’t come anywhere near the sites one visits in a liveaboard. I had expected to listen to my gut and see if I should feel these corals have improved, but I heard nothing. And I do feel for sure that there is a lot less fish than I used to see back then, both in volume and in variety. But then, of course, there were only four hotels around Qoseir. Now there is more than double that. Without depurating plants, the polluted waters must perforce end up in pits dug in the porous substrate, and slowly seep into the sea, or even worse, directly to the sea through a deep pipe.

Of course all perceptions are very personal. Our group of 4 had a great time during the week. We enjoyed the dives, even if we were all a bit cold, and were glad to see again the few guys that are still around from my times there, Ayman, Kamal, Hamada, Abdu, and of course Captain Ali. Gosh he must be 100 now!

The Hotel is now 3 times as big as I left it, and is targeting family vacations. This means a lot of divers still (since the place is so big), but few of them go out for the day on the boats. One dive morning – family – one dive afternoon – family –  maybe one night dive once or twice. The housereef, on the other hand, is a very good dive and they have now four ways to dive it (shore and zodiacs) which makes for variety. Back then, we used to run four full boats every day at peak season (Easter surely qualifies). Now only one was on service, and one of the days we were only 6 divers on board, another day we were 8, along with 10 snorkelers. The dive Centre also offers now new dives in Abu Dabab (Jeep) and Elphinstone (drive to Marsa Shagra and speedboat).

The lack of visibility and possibly the lack of fish made photography very challenging, and in fact, I only took the camera out for 6 of the 10 dives. Especially the 2 first days were really awful in terms of viz. Not much one can do like that. As it was, I decide to just try to get pleasing images and expected no really exciting encounters. Note that on our 4th day, we crossed a boat and the divemasters aboard shouted in passing they had just come across a whale shark. We did not see it. Anyway, I have had to spend a long time cleaning backscatter from the pictures in my gallery. I hope nevertheless you like them. A couple of the published images were shot with natural light because I forgot to open the camera flash before closing the housing. Silly, but it was a good chance to practice. As you can see, There is beauty in those reefs alright.


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