These luxury yachts visit the best dive sites of both the southern and northern Red Sea, so you can make your bucket-list dream trip come true.
The Red Sea stands as one of the most exotic bodies of water on the planet. Start with 200 species of endemic fish. Then consider that the reefs are ablaze with the reds and oranges of soft corals, framed by reefs of unending hard corals. Add to that the fact that whale sharks are just as likely to be seen as oceanic whitetip sharks in this current-swept area where pelagic wonders are never in short supply.
The Red Sea Aggressor I takes advantage of all that the southern Red Sea has to offer, dividing its time between two main itineraries, both of which depart from Port Ghalib in the town of Marsa Alam, a quick flight from Cairo.
The first of Red Sea Aggressor I’s itineraries is the trip that visits The Brothers Islands, Daedalus Reef and Elphinstone Reef. These islands and reefs sit 9 hours by boat north of Port Ghalib, making them reachable only by liveaboard or private dive boat. The Brothers Islands, two pinnacles, serve as beacons to passing marine life, ushering in all the greats, including thresher sharks, grey reef sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks and schools of scalloped hammerheads. Elphinstone Reef, a strong-current drift dive, is heralded as one of the best dives in the Red Sea thanks to the likelihood of seeing sharks, including schooling hammerheads. Plus, its topography is wonderfully unique: The cigar-shaped reef is sheer-walled on both sides, making for high drama.
The second itinerary targets the reefs south of Port Ghalib, with St. John’s Reef as the southernmost point. These southern sites are also frequently visited by the big stuff, including grey reef sharks and whitetip reef sharks. At the gently sloping site Marsa Shona, green turtles are common sightings, and dugongs and dolphins are also seen on occasion. At many of the sites along the itinerary, you’ll dive alongside gardens of soft corals and schools of trevally, snapper and goatfish. Other highlights include Napoleon wrasse, a 4-foot long friendly species, as well as scores of sea slugs, nudibranchs and other macro life, including the feathery-backed purple flabellina, wart slugs and Pyjama chromodorids.
Aggressor’s second Egypt-based yacht is the Red Sea Aggressor II, which focuses on the sites in the northern half of the Red Sea. This boat operates out of the city of Hurghada, which is roughly on the same latitude as the tip of the Sinai Peninsula. These seven-night itineraries include several wrecks, such as the S.S. Thistlegorm, the 419-foot British Merchant Navy ship sunk in 1941 with rooms upon rooms loaded with Jeeps, motorcycles, trucks, tanks and more. Red Sea Aggressor II also ventures to the Straits of Tiran, separating the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas. Here in this narrow sea, expect diversity in the form of corals, reef fish and, thanks to strong westerly currents, large pelagic life. Also on the itinerary is Ras Mohammed National Park, 85,000 acres that are home to abundant hard corals serving as a colorful backdrop for swift-moving drift dives alongside tunas, Napoleon wrasse, reef sharks, mantas, dolphins, whale sharks and more.
Hurghada and Port Ghalib are beautiful and safe cities with many restaurants, cafes, and shops. Want to do both the northern and southern Red Sea itineraries? Aggressor Fleet offers a 14-day itinerary where you’ll spend 7 nights aboard each yacht. You can also add an extension to your itinerary with Aggressor Travel. Spend 6 days/5 nights on an Aggressor River Cruise aboard the intimate 16-passenger, 155-foot Nile Queen and visit Luxor to see the Karnak Temples, Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut Temple, and end in Aswan. You may also spend two nights in Cairo and visit the Great Pyramids and Sphinx.
NEED TO KNOW
- Home Port: RSAI: Port Ghalib, Egypt; RSAII: Hurghada, Egypt
- Dive Season: Year-round
- Water Temperature: 74-84˚ F
- Travel Tip: If flying from Cairo to Marsa Alam, you’ll need a domestic ticket. If purchasing online through Egypt Air, be sure to mark Egypt as your home location to get the lowest rates.
- Length/Beam: RSAI: 120 feet/26 feet; RSAII: 138 feet/26 feet
- Passenger-crew-ratio: RSAI: 20:12; RSAII: 22:12 Staterooms/beds: RSAI: 10/17; RSAII: 11/19
- Bathrooms: Berths have private head and shower, individual climate control and hair dryer
- Sundeck: Yes
- Food and beverages included: Yes, including local beer and wine