Amazing summer time special. Technical safari for only 879 euros!! You must be mad not to book!!

 So Tekstreme have just got back from another amazing technical expedition to the Brother Islands and already we look forward to the next! In under four weeks time we have a sell out trip to visit the mighty wreck of the Maiden situated in the southern Red Sea off Rocky Island. Not a trip for the faint hearted. With the shallowest point of the wreck being at 90m and the deepest part at around 120m it is a dream wreck for all experienced advanced trimix divers.

 

Our specific Technical expeditions are very much in demand with availability selling out earlier and earlier. The next technical safari where we have available space will be to the northern sites of the Red Sea. This is a very popular trip that we run at the start and of each year and never fails to please.

 

The trip is open to all levels of technical diver, OC, SCR, CCR with a full range of courses available on board. We will be visiting sites such as:Image

 

– The wreck of Rosalie Muller

– The wreck of the Gulf Fleet

– The wreck of the Lara

– Thomas Canyon

– Wreckage of Yolanda

– Shark Reef

– Giftun Wall

 

And many more….

 

 

As a summer time special we will be offering an amazing deal for the first 10 customers to join the trip. We will offer the places at only 879 euros! This price Imageincludes:

 

–       Twin set hire

–       CCR tank hire

–       2 x Decompression

–       2 x bailout tank hire

–       All Twin set air fills

–       All CCR oxygen and air fills

–       7 nights accommodation

–       Airport transfers to and from boat

–       Marine Park fees

–       All food and soft drinks on boardImage

–       Minimum of 2 technical guides

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trip will be run on the platinum boat of the Emperor Fleet called “Elite”. You can find more info on the boat by heading to http://www.emperordivers.com/liveaboards-fleet-elite.php. The dates for the trip are February 21st – 28th 2014. The trip will be departing and returning from the port of Hurghada.

 

 Want to combine the trip with a flight also….simply contact Scuba Travel and they can put a whole package together for you. dive@scubatravel.com

 

Contact us now to take advantage of this amazing deal.

Tekstreme@emperordivers.com

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Red Sea Advanced Technical Expedition to the wreck of the Maiden.

For all you advanced technical divers out there, the expedition trip of the year is about to happen.

 

Way down in the middle of the Red Sea you will find an Island called Rocky Island. Situated on the surrounding reef lies quietly the wreck of the Maiden. This particular wreck is probably the least dived in the Red Sea due to its depth; beginning at 90 metres and going to a maximum of around 120m. Tekstreme will be running an expedition to go and dive this wreck this summer time. There are not many divers that can say that they have been and visited this wreck, it certainly is one for the log book! (if you even have a log book!). The trip only has a few remaining places left so contact us soon if you would like to join.

 

The Wreck

Built by W Hamilton & Co (Glasgow), the Maiden was launched in March 1902 and officially described as Steel Screw Steamer. A very large ship for her day, She was 152.4m (500 feet!) long, 17.7m wide and had a draught of 10m. The Maiden was owned and operated by T & J Brocklebank who were much respected throughout the world and something of a legend in Liverpool. The Maiden had been used exclusively on the Eastern Trade routes, operating between European Ports and India. It was in 1923 that a navigational error resulted in the ship hitting the south side of the Rocky island.

 

 

Basic Information – 09/08/2013 – 15/08/2013Image

 

  • Port of Departure = Marsa Alam
  • Port of Return = Marsa Alam
  • Boat = Emperor Elite
  • Level of technical diver = Advanced Trimix diver CCR or OC
  • Courses Available = Trimix CCR and OC on request
  • Number of dives = minimum 7 / maximum 8
  • Number of technical divers = 16 divers
  • Recreational divers welcome upon request (subject to conditions)

 

 

Included in the price

 

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • Marine Park Fees
  • Fuel surcharges
  • All food and soft drinks on board
  • Wine with evening dinner
  • Twin set hire
  • CCR tank hire
  • 2 x Decompression tank(s) hire with rigging
  • 2 x Bailout tank(s) hire with rigging
  • Twin set air gas fills
  • CCR oxygen fills
  • CCR air fills
  • Emergency Surface marker buoy hire

 

 

 

Wreck Dives

 

  • Zealot @ Daedalus
  • Maiden @ Rocky Island

 

 

Reef Dives

 

  • Daedalus Reef
  • Elphinestone
  • Fury Shoal

 

 

(Please note dive sites are subject change due to weather conditions and level of technical divers on board. Please also note that night dives are not permitted at Daedalus reef or Rocky Island)

 

Email us to place your booking tekstreme@emperordivers.com

Brothers Technical Expedition

Image

Basic Information

 

  • Port of Departure = Hurghada
  • Port of Return = Marsa Alam
  • Boat = Emperor Elite
  • Level of technical diver = All levels welcome
  • Courses Available = CCR and OC on request
  • Number of dives = minimum 8, / maximum 13
  • Number of technical divers = 16 divers
  • Recreational divers welcome on request (subject to conditions)

 

 

Included in the price

 

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • Marine Park Fees
  • Fuel surcharges
  • All food and soft drinks on board
  • Wine with evening dinner
  • Twin set hire
  • CCR tank hire
  • 2 x Decompression tank(s) hire with rigging
  • 2 x Bailout tank(s) hire with rigging
  • Twin set air gas fills
  • CCR oxygen fills
  • CCR air fills
  • Emergency Surface marker buoy hire

 Image

 

 

Wreck Dives

 

  • El Mina @ Hurghada
  • Salem Express @ Safaga
  • Numidia @ Big Brother
  • Aida @ Big Brother

 

Reef Dives

 

  • Big Brother
  • Small Brother
  • Elphinestone @ Marsa Alam
  • Gota Abu Ramada @ Hurghada

 

 

(Please note dive sites are subject change due to weather conditions and level of technical divers on board. Please also note that night dives are not permitted at the Brother Islands)

 

Email us for more details on how you can fill the final few places

Brother Islands technical expedition – 05/07/2013 – 11/07/2013

Tekstreme@emperordivers.com

Our Top ten technical diving sites in the Red Sea

There are many dive sites within the Red Sea that are suitable for technical diving. Each of the sites having their own very unique and distinctive features and highlights.  Every diver has his or her own preference and opinion which combines to make them decide which are their favourite technical diving sites and we here at Tekstreme are no different. As a team we have put together 10 of our favourite technical diving sites from Egypt in the Red Sea. Please note they are in no particular order.

 

1. Elphinestone Archway @ Marsa Alam by Cat BraunImage

 

Situated off the coast of Marsa Alam lies the reef of Elphinestone. This finger long reef stretches from slightly off north to south with a plateau at both ends. Lying underneath the southern plateau is a wide passageway known as the “Arch” which you can swim through between the depths of 45m and 60m. Surrounding the entrance and exit is a mass of various soft corals, large gorgonian fan corals and whip corals. This dive site is well known for its currents hence the abundance of coral and marine life that brings the reef to life. As a result of the currents it is also the home to various pelagics. It is a well-known site for seeing Oceanic White Tip Reef Sharks, especially around the southern plateau. Hammerhead sharks are more frequently spotted on the northern tip but definitely not unknown to also frequent the southern edges of the plateau at depth.

 

 

2. Wreck of the Lara @ Sharm El Shiekh by Steve ParryImage

 

The Lara is a 137.5 metre long former cargo ship that ran aground on Jackson Reef in 1982. Originally intact and sitting atop the reef, she was salvaged in the mid-90s resulting in sections of the ship being allowed to be submerged.

 Today her remains lie against the reef immediately to the west of the surface-based remains. Descending next to the surfaced-based wreckage and swimming ‘reef left’, descend to 45m. There you will start to see her ghostly remains appear from the gloom. The remains start at 48m with her mast and sections that probably included workshops. Her bulkheads were removed during salvage allowing you to swim in and around this section. Laying on its starboard side you will then see her stern section with an impressively large propeller still attached at a depth of around 55m. Her superstructure and other sections lie at deeper depths.

This dive is very weather dependent as the wreck lies against the most northerly, and therefore exposed, side of Jackson Reef. For me this is why the dive is one of the best; it is a dive that many divers take years of failed attempts to complete and so as you enjoy the dive you have the privileged feeling of knowing you’re seeing a wreck only very few have enjoyed!

 

 

3. The Blue Hole @ Dahab by Steve ParryImage

 

One of the most famous technical dive sites in the Red Sea, the Blue Hole is a giant sinkhole in the reef-plate that drops directly down to 110m.

Starting the dive from the small wooden jetty, make your descent and turn ‘half-left’. As you descend to 50m there you will see the reason everyone want to dive this impressive site. A huge archway in the wall of the hole appears in front of you. Beautifully lit up by the sunshine on the outside of the hole, the archway seems like a massive cathedral window. Beware of dropping to deep though as you gaze into the light; this dive is best done as a trimix dive for this reason!

Swim through the arch, enjoying some healthy black gorgonians attached to the roof of the arch and come out onto the outside. From there turn ‘reef right’ and start your deco. From approximately 20m you will find a very colourful coral garden, culminating in a lip at 6m serving as the entrance back into the hole. From the lip, swim back into the hole whilst completing your deco and finish the dive back where you started.

 

 

4. The Canyon @ Dahab by Duncan SpenceleyImage

 

Situated a short drive to the north of Dahab Town, “The Canyon” is a popular dive site with both recreational and technical divers alike. Once your kit is prepared the first step is to walk your stage tanks out into the shallow, shore entry point. Open heeled fins and boots are highly recommended. You enter the site into a long narrow lagoon in the reef that is clearly visible from the surface and about 4-5m deep. Swim slowly to the end of this lagoon and you will see a dip in the perimeter that is about 2.5m deep. Exit the lagoon here. You will see directly in front of you a prominent pinnacle that starts at around 10m and tops out at around 6m. Remember this pinnacle as it marks the location of the lagoon for your exit! The seabed gently slopes and is a mixture of sand and coral out crops. Facing out from the pinnacle turn to face approx. 10 0’clock and swim out in this direction sticking to about 10-12m. The bottom will gently fall away from you. The entrance to the canyon is at around 22m. So when the bottom gets this deep, hang a left until a black opening appears in the seabed. It can take 5-10 mins to reach depending on the current. On reaching the entrance (you will usually see thin bubble trails coming out of the sand unless you are the 1st group in) scan the entrance for other divers. If the canyon is blocked just hang out @ 10m till they are clear. You descend into a large bowl that bottoms out at around 26m. Swim in the direction of the shore and the bowl narrows and looks like it ends. At this point look up and see the light filtering down through the ‘Fishbowl’ and hatchet fish and cave sweepers dancing in the shadows. You used to be able to exit through this passage vi the Fishbowl which took you up to 12m but the structure is now unstable and as a result this exit is closed to diver. Having had a little look there turn 180 deg and descend the slope further into the canyon. The passage narrows and deepens and wiggles down toward the deeper water. Be careful of your depth as it does slope fairly quickly and as the passage lies on a slope it can be quite disorientating. Towards the base of this passage at around 44m there is a small opening that can be used to exit to the open water, or you can carry on through a small narrowing and enter a smaller chamber at around 50m. At the end of this chamber is another opening to the open water. Pop out here and you will be on the reef wall / drop off. From here you can either enter the canyon and exit the way you came in swim back over the top of the canyon following the ribbon like crack back towards the reef wall or for the deeper qualified continue down into a depression and visit Neptune’s Chair at 65m or even Neptune’s caves at 75m.  When entering the ascent phase of the dive, follow the canyon up to the fringing reef wall; keep the reef on the right and deco out according to schedule. Keep an eye out for the pinnacle! If you continue slightly past the pinnacle you will see a pristine sandy slope that shallows to 3m, ideal if you are into lazy deco! Exit back out through the lagoon keeping an eye out for sea moths.

 

 

5. Yolanda Plateau @ Sharm El Shiekh by Duncan SpenceleyImage

 

Shark and Yolanda Reef is one of the most popular dive site for all divers in Sharm El Sheikh and as a result can be quite busy. If you want to guarantee some alone time on this popular site then what better way than to visit the Yolanda Plateau which is out of reach to most divers visiting the area. The dive site requires a blue water 70m descent so make sure you are comfortable with that!!! Once kitted, the boat is positioned between Yolanda Reef and Satellite reef and then moved approx. 100-150m out into the sea. And away you go. Descend fairly quickly as there can be strong currents to blow you off course. On reaching 70m, if you still just see blue, swim north until the plateau looms in front / below you. The tip of the plateau is around 98m and the plateau is marked with a large gouge marking the path the Yolanda took to its final resting place past sub 160m. Gaze down into the blackness and convince yourself you can make out some portion of the wreck below… Then follow the plateau up as is shallows keeping an eye out for cameras, dive computers etc. dropped by other clumsy divers! There are 4 containers on the plateau for you to explore and a section of mast. As you reach the reef wall and start ascent you will see more debris including toilets complete with lids! At around 45m is a anchor with a net around it; often you will find a big moray eel here. Continue up following the scar and it will lead you up to what the recreational divers see. At 26m view the stacks of bathtubs and on your journey up to 9m take in more toilets, rolls of linoleum, a BMW, and hand-sinks. All are encrusted with coral and full of marine life. Continue round the back of Yolanda reef and visit the beautiful shallow coral garden as you deco out. At the end of your dive move to the front of Yolanda reef and exit back to the boat.

 

 

6. Wreck of Gulf Fleet @ Hurghada by Cat BraunImage

 

Towards the north end of the Hurghada dive sites you will find the reef of Shaabrugh Umm Gammar. Located on the north east side of the reef you will find the wreck of a cable layer that was part of the Gulf Fleet. The ship hit the reef and then slid down the eastern reef wall to its current position where it got wedged on a hard coral mound. The wreck is lying pointing downwards with the stern section being the shallowest point at 85m, then angled down towards the bow section at around 100m. The wreck is completely in tact will minimal structural damage.  Due to the topography of the reef side it is possible to swim under the keel towards the box at around 105m. The visibility in the area is normally very good with natural light still penetrating down to this depth and so you can clearly see wreck without the essential need for torches. The wreck also does not receive large currents and so exploration is a relatively simple process. As the wreck is lying on the reef once you have finished exploring you then get a nice swim during your decompression of the reef side until eventually arriving at the southern end where your boat is normally moored.

 

 

7. Wreck of Numidia @ Brother Islands by Cat BraunImage

 

Situated towards the middle of the Red Sea you will find two islands that make up what we call the Brother islands; Big Brother and Little Brother. Small Brother is completely uninhabited but Big Brother provides accommodation for a small team of Egyptian workers who man the lighthouse, act as an outpost and sell Brother Island T Shirts! It is on Big Brother Island where you will find the wreck of the Numidia. The British cargo ship was a relatively large vessel at 137.4m long, 16.7m wide and had a draught of 9.2m. The Numidia struck the northern most tip of the reef due to a navigational error. The strong currents in this area combined with the winds that can be experienced in the Red Sea makes this dive suitable for a more experienced diver. The wreck can only dived by zodiac drop with your main boat being moored up on the more sheltered southern end to the reef. Once you roll into the water from the zodiac you will see the wreck directly beneath you starting at its shallowest point of around 10m, however, it is critical to make a swift decent to get shelter from the currents that can blow you off the wreck and potentially on top of the reef. Once you are down and have protection from the current you can follow the structure of the wreck to your planned maximum depth. The Wreck is sat up right alongside the reef with the bow section, all be it slightly broken up at the shallowest point at around 10m, and the stern section coming to rest at around 80m which is the deepest point. The first thing that most people will comment on is the absolute color that now adorns this vessel. Hard Corals and Soft Corals have colonized this ship in a manner making it amongst one of the most beautiful shipwrecks in the world. The railings, masts, lifeboat davits, windlasses and deck winches are all still in place – having become part of a living Reef of such vibrancy that it is easy to lose sight of the fact that this is a “wreck dive!” The wooden decking has gone and the cargo was salvaged. This, however, provides a great opportunity to investigate a large ship at whatever depth suits the personal requirement. Forward of the central bridge are two cavernous cargo holds with ventilation hatches along the starboard side. The decks are now a square pattern of steel in between which is the lower half of the forward mast. As you make your way up the wreck you will ultimately end up back at the eastern reef wall of the island ready to begin your deco. Head with the reef more commonly on the left hand side and don’t forget to keep an eye out in the blue. Multiple varieties of pelagics can be found on this Island.

 

8. Small Giftun @ Hurghada by Cat BraunImage

 

The Marine Park of Hurghada is made up of the two Giftun Islands; Big Giftun and Small Giftun. It is on Small Giftun Island that you will find one of the most popular drift dives in the area so titled “Small Giftun Drift”. You may come across this dive site by a few other names which could include; “The Police Station”, aptly named as there is a patrol outpost in the area, or “Gorgonia Gardens” due to the amount of Gorgonian fan corals that can be found on the site. The eastern wall of the island is where you begin you dive and it is a wall dropping to depths below150m, however, the best depth for the dive is between 60 – 70m. You will find yourself drifting along through a beautiful  green soft coral forest with long whip corals and Gorgonian fan corals along the way. With a bit of local knowledge you will also be able to time your ascent to swim through a narrow crack in the reef, commonly referred to as “The Giftun Archway”. You would make your entrance at around 47m and exit at 43m. The current in the area can be strong hence so much soft coral growth even at depth. Hurghada diving is not renowned for Pelagic’s but it is not unheard of to see a Thresher Shark who has made his home within this area cruising by.

 

 

9. Thomas Canyon @ Sharm El Shiekh by Chris ArmstrongImage

 

Situated in the straits of Tiran are 4 reefs stretching from North to South. The second reef from the south is Thomas reef. Halfway along this reef on the eastern side is a deep underwater fissure, what we commonly refer to as “Thomas Canyon”. The canyon is approximately 80m in length. It begins at a depth of 35m and gradually gets deeper.  At the shallowest point it is quite narrow and drops to a sand base at approximately 42m. As we proceed down through the Canyon you will see there are 3 Arches above you created by falling boulders. The first arch is at 42m; the second is at 50m and the third and final arch at 52m. To the right hand side and deeper at 62m is a short tunnel swim-through which exits between 66-69m. After passing the arches the canyon widens and can easily accommodate two divers side by side. Towards the northern end, the shallowest part of the canyon is 50m with the deepest at 90m under a rocky overhang.

 

This is an ideal site for all levels of technical diver and as there is no current in the canyon which makes for a relaxing dive although usually there will be current upon exit to ascend the wall for deco obligations. There is an abundance of marine life on the main reef wall and its common to see tuna, fusiliers and blue fin trevally patrolling by.

 

 

10. Wreck of Rosalie Muller @ Gobal by Cat BraunImage

 

 

The ship of the Rosalie Moller was 108.2m long. She was ideal for collier duties and was making a significant contribution by transporting anything up to 4,500 tons of best Welsh coal to whichever port the Royal Navy demanded. In July 1941, The Rosalie Moller entered the Red Sea and, on reaching the Gulf of Suez, was assigned “Safe Anchorage H”.  Late at night on 5th October 1941, two twin-engine Heinkels crossed the north Egyptian coast heading southeast in search of a prize. They attacked and sank the Thistlegorm at 0130 hrs 6th October 1941, detonating much of her ammunition. In so doing, the night sky was briefly illuminated revealing more vessels at anchor. 48 hours later, on the night of 7th October 1941, the Rosalie was hit and went down.

 

The Rosalie Moller now stands upright on the seabed. As you make you way down the shot line to the wreck you will notice that the visibility within this area is not as clear as most outside reefs. Instead of this being a negative comment it is actually meant as a positive as it gives the wreck a nice almost eerie atmosphere to it. There are normally two permanent mooring lines on this wreck but they do have a tendency to move around the wreck, so don’t always expect to find them where they were on your last diving trip! The first thing you may see as you approach the wreck was the forward mast, with the masthead lamp in place at 17m. Below this, the Bows are at 39m and the starboard anchor is deployed with the chain running down to the seabed at 47m and then out of sight. The cargo hatches are gone, revealing the full cargo of Best Welsh still in place. Pots and pans still hang in the Galley where they are now concreted to the walls above a large stove. Although the wooden decks have rotted away, all the portholes are still in place. Aft of the Bridge, the funnel is still standing – with only the slightest list to port. You will clearly see the major damage to made to the ship by the bomb, its like it has torn a hole out of the side of the ship and upper decking. The thing that I like the most about this wreck is the fact that it is has not been dived as much as its sister ship the Thistlegorm, and because of the fact that’s it is slightly deeper it means that it is not suitable for the novice diver, again keeping numbers of divers down. As a direct result of these factors the marine life is superb. You must descend through an upper deck area walled with glass fish and cave sweepers, big Tunas are patrolling the masts above your head, multiple peppered moray eels have made their homes along the path ways along with the thousands of tube works, nudi-branches and flat worms.  For me this is a wreck that combines history and marine life, and as it lies only at maximum 47 meters you can have a super long dive on the wreck without too much deco.

 

 

If you would like to dive Elphinestone Archway or the wreck of the Numidia we will be running a technical expedition to the Brother Islands departing from Hurghada on the 5th July 2013. Email us for more details on how you can join that trip.

 

Many thanks to Charles Hood and Duncan Spenceley for some excellent photos.

 

charleshood.com

redseasnapper.com

 

Tekstreme@emeprordivers.com

 

Tekstreme Team 

Top ten items to take when you go technical diving

So holiday time has arrived and you have a week of technical diving or a technical course booked. With the airlines these days clamping down on weight  allowance here is what we recommend as the Top 10 items that you need to fit within your quota.

 

1. Decompression planning software.Image

 

Being able to plan your decompression dive is a critical part of your diving day.

There are many varieties of deco planning software available on the market for desk top computer, I pad, smart phone or Android. Some programmes are free to download but may have limited features; others are available for a small fee. Examples can include V Planner, MV Planner, Baltic Planner, Deco Planner, Z Planner, Pro planner. Have a few practise runs on your new software before you arrive for your diving to ensure you have a basic understanding of the program.

 

2. Marker Tape and Permanent marker pensImage

 

After analysis of your gas you will need to clearly mark and label your cylinders with their contents and the maximum depths of the gas.  Marker tape like duct tape is a perfect option for this. Thick permanent marker pens are essential for clear labelling.

 

3.  Nail polish removerImage

 

Nothing cleans the pencil off your slate better than good old fashioned nail polish remover. A small amount goes along way so just bring a small bottle and it will last the week, or alternatively go back to school and bring a pencil eraser! Another option is to use marker tape on your wrist slate and write the plans on top with a permanent marker pen.

 

4. Basic ToolsImage

 

Be prepared for most equipment related issues by having a few specific tools in your box. Its handy to carry with you a set of Allan keys, a couple of small adjustable spanners, a small screwdriver, a cutting device of some kind, and a handful of cable ties go along way.

 

5. BatteriesImage

 

It does not matter how many times you check the battery life in your computers, rebreather electronics or cameras, you can guarantee that at some point a battery will die at the most inconvenient time. Be armed and ready with spare ones to hand. In some countries specific rebreather batteries may not be readily available so be organised and bring a few with you.

 

6. CellsImage

 

Attention all rebreather divers out there, oxygen cells are not that easy to come by once you leave home, especially if travelling abroad! Even if you have new cells for your trip take a spare one or two just in case. Worst case scenario you wont need to use them but your CCR guide may be more than happy to buy them off you to lighten you load on your return leg home!

 

7. A CalculatorImage

 

Most of these days most mobile phones can provide a calculator facility and it is a very useful tool to have around. Each time you need to work out the maximum depth of a gas, or your breathing rate, or gas volumes for a few examples a calculator will come in very handy. For sure if you are making a technical course your instructor will be throwing calculation questions at you left, right and centre, so be armed and ready!

 

8. A memory stick or hard driveImage

 

During your technical diving there may be other technical divers that you meet who have cameras or video cameras recording footage of your diving experience. What better way to easily keep the memories of your dives by supplying a storage device to save this evidence. You may also find that your guide or other technical divers may have some technical related articles or interesting information that you would like to have. Supply a memory stick and now the information is yours to keep. (you may to make a deal with your fellow divers over some beers to obtain these things!)

 

9. A Kindle or a few books.Image

 

After a longer decompression dive there is nothing better than off gassing with a good book or looking at the back of your eyelids in the sun!

 

10. An open mind and a relaxed temperament

Image

Red Sea Summer Expedition to the Brother Islands – Part Two

Welcome to the second instalment of our build up blogs for our technical expedition to the Brother Islands.

 

In this blog we are going to examine the larger of the two wrecks that lies on Big Brother Island; The Numidia. Once again I have called upon Mr Middleton to assist with the description of the wreck and also Mr Spenceley for his expert photos. Thanks again boys.

_DSC0133

The Ship

The British cargo ship Numidia was built in Glasgow in early 1901. A relatively large vessel, she displaced 6,399 gross registered tons and was powered by a 3 cylinder triple expansion steam engine capable of providing a top speed of 10 Knots. She was 137.4m long, 16.7m wide and had a draught of 9.2m. The Numidia was owned and operated by the Anchor Line at the time of her loss.

The Loss of the Numidia

On 28th February 1901 the Numidia set out from Glasgow on her Maiden voyage. She was a well-found ship and the lengthy journey to Calcutta and back was an excellent opportunity for both Captain and crew to get to know this brand new vessel. Her second voyage, however, would prove to be her last.

On 6th July 1901, the Captain ordered the mooring lines slipped from her berth in Liverpool and stood beside the Pilot as the vessel moved slowly into the River Mersey and then out into the Irish Sea. The Numidia was carrying a general cargo of 7,000 tons and a crew of 97. There were no passengers.

 _DSC0027

The ship cleared Suez in the early hours of 19 July 1901. They made good time and by 7pm that evening, Shadwan Island was already abeam. The weather was fine with a fresh breeze from the NW. At 11pm the course was altered and at 1am on the 20th the light on Big Brothers island was sighted off the port bow. Observing the bearing, the Captain altered course again and informed the “officer of the watch” this would take the ship over one mile to the west of the Island. He then left the Bridge leaving instructions to be called when the Light was abeam. At about 2.10am the Master was awoken by the shock of his ship crashing onto rocks. Hurrying to the bridge, he found his ship hard aground on Big Brothers Island – almost directly below the Lighthouse!

After two hours of trying to get off the rocks the engines were stopped. By this time the ship was taking on considerable water although the pumps were coping. At 7.30am dispatches were sent to Suez for urgent assistance and most of the crew were landed on the Island. Other vessels then arrived and every effort was made to refloat the Numidia without success. Eventually realizing his vessel was lost, the Master allowed his crew to be rescued – although he remained on the island for a further 7 weeks – during which he supervised the salvage of most of the cargo before the Numidia finally sank.

Diving the Numidia

tec safari brothers web-7The Numidia is found off the northern-most tip of Big Brother island. Quite often, however, there is a strong current running straight onto the wreck.

This is a dive to set the heart racing and one of the most incredible shipwrecks available to Divers. She defies all the known laws of gravity and lies “up” the reef at an almost vertical angle. After nearly 100 years underwater she is, of course, now an integral part of the reef itself and will never move.

At a depth of only 8m the Diver will find the Bows are well broken and marked by a pair of Railway Engine Wheels originally carried as deck cargo. From here, the ship quickly takes on its original shape and the Diver is soon descending to deck level. The first thing that most Divers comment on, however, is the absolute colour that now adorns this vessel. Hard Corals and Soft Corals have colonized this ship in a manner similar to the wreck of the Aïda – making them amongst the most beautiful shipwrecks in the world. The railings, masts, lifeboat davits, windlasses and deck winches are all still in place – having become part of a living Reef of such vibrancy that it is easy to lose sight of the fact that this is a “wreck dive!”

The wooden decking has, of course, gone and, of course, the cargo was salvaged. This, however, provides an incredible opportunity to investigate a large ship at whatever depth suits the personal requirement. Forward of the central bridge are two cavernous cargo holds with ventilation hatches along the starboard side. The decks are now a square pattern of steel in between which is the lower half of the forward masttec safari brothers web-23

Immediately behind No 2 Hold is the raised central “castle” with its accommodation and what remains of the Bridge. Having been constructed of wood on a steel floor, all but the basic outer framework has rotted away. We are now at a depth of 50m and the remainder of the ship lies in very deep water.

Immediately behind the bridge is the ship’s funnel which has fallen over to one side. Here several lifeboat davits are swung out. The Engine Room is immediately below. Further aft are Nos 3 and 4 Holds – and the decking is very similar in appearance to that nearer the Bows. Once again, the Diver will find the lower half of an equally stout rear mast – also defying gravity, along with all the attendant deck winches. The stern is raised and provides a beautifully rounded poop deck below which the single large propeller is found at a depth of some 80m.

Apart from the damage encountered at the Bows, all metal structures are fully intact throughout the ship and they are all covered in the most exciting arrangements of Hard and Soft corals – which only begin to fade in their intensity from 50m downwards. The largest Grouper are also a feature of these deeper aspects of the wreck.

As I said – this is a dive to set the heart racing…

 

Brother Islands technical expedition – 05/07/2013 – 11/07/2013Elite web full boat

This particular trip is open to all levels of technical diver and even entry level technical courses can be taught on board. The bonus of the wrecks that will be dived is that they fall between the depths of 15m – 75m, plenty for all levels of technical divers. For more information on the next technical trip to the Brother Islands contact us on Tekstreme@emperordivers.com.

Don’t miss out on the upcoming blogs by subscribing to receive them by email.

Cat Braun – Tekstreme Technical Manager.

 

Acknowledgments

Ned Middleton – http://www.touregypt.net/vdc/shipwrec.htm

Duncan Spenceley – http://www.redseasnapper.com

 

Red Sea Summer Expedition to the Brother Islands

As we return back from our first Northern technical expedition we look for forward to our first technical expedition of 2013 to the Brother Islands. Over the up coming weeks we will be bringing to you a few blogs about the highlights of the trip.

 

Beginning our trip from the port of Hurghada the first wreck that we will be paying a visit to will be the wreck of the Salem Express.

 

Much has been written about this particular wreck but I think that the best write up is from Ned Middleton’s book “Shipwrecks of the Red Sea”. I personally am not such a good writer, and also struggle to find much available time and so have taken the article from his book and recognised him for his efforts. I have trimmed down the article some what but if you would like to read the whole write up you need to purchase his book! Thanks Ned. I have however included throughout the blog photos that were actually taken from our trips with many coming from Duncan Spenceley, owner of the Red Sea photography company “Red Sea Snappers” and also a Tekstreme Technical instructor. Many thanks Duncan, a beer is coming your way.

 

The Loss of the Salem Express

The Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah is located on the eastern shores of the Red Sea it was here on 16 December 1991 that the Egyptian ferry “Salem Express” was loaded with vehicles and several hundred passengers. These were mostly Pilgrims who were in good heart and dressed in their finest robes – as is always the case when returning from the holy city of Mecca.tec safari brothers web-4

Based in Safaga, the Salem Express provided a ferry service between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Her Captain was Hassan Moro a very able and vastly experienced Master Mariner. He was appointed Master of the Salem Express in 1988. This was a Captain who knew the route between Safaga and Jeddah. Every time he approached Safaga, Captain Moro was in the habit of sailing between the Egyptian mainland and the treacherous Hyndman Reefs – which lie just to the south of the port. This maneuver shaved a full two hours off the journey time.

None of the other captains would follow such a route – always remaining further offshore until they were able to take the designated path around the northern tip of Panorama Reef before adopting a south-westerly course that would keep them in deep water until they were safely in Safaga. It should be noted that, in the aftermath of the loss of the Salem Express, this “safer” route became compulsory for all big ships.

On 16th December 1991, the Salem Express commenced her final journey. By nightfall, the weather had deteriorated with winds gusting to gale force. Many of those on board were deck-passengers and Moro was well aware of their discomfort on such a foul night. Crossing the Red Sea, he deliberately hugged the coast as he made his way northwards – trying to provide his passengers with whatever protection was available from a “lee” shore. As the vessel approached the Hyndman Reefs it was close to midnight and impossible to distinguish Reef from Sea in such conditions. Moro was just slightly to the east of his normal route and that resulted in the Salem Express striking the most southerly Reef a heavy glancing blow.tec safari brothers web-1

The result was twofold. Firstly the hull was holed on the forward starboard side. At the same time, the impact caused the Visor on the Bows to be jolted upwards from its closed position allowing water into the car deck. Such a double blow was utterly catastrophic and, as vast quantities of water swept into the vessel from these two sources, everything happened too quickly.

An immediate list to starboard caused by the ruptured hull was worsened by the water entering the car deck and the list increased at an alarming pace. Within 20 minutes of striking the reef, the Salem Express sank. She came to rest in 30m of water on her starboard side.

Many lives were lost when the ship sank and others perished in the immediate aftermath. So swift had been the sinking that none of the lifeboats or life-rafts had been properly launched. Remarkably, 180 people survived with most of them eventually reaching shore unaided.

The Ship

Launched as the Fred Scamaroni in 1976, the roll-on roll-off ferry ship Salem Express was built by French shipbuilding company. She was later renamed Nuits Saint George, Lord Sinai and Al Tahra before becoming the Salem Express in 1988.salem3a

She was 4,771 gross registered tonnes and her measurements were 100.29m x 18.1m with a draught of 4.92m (unladen). Powered by 4 x 8 cylinder diesel engines reduction geared to serve two propellers and directional thrust propellers forward, the engines were built by Ch de L’Atlantique also of La Seyne and produced a very powerful 14,880 bhp.

Diving the Salem Express

This is one of the largest wrecks in the Egyptian Red Sea – roughly the same size as the Thistlegorm. She lies perfectly on her starboard side at an almost uniform depth of 32m from Bows to stern. The visor is still found in the raised position – just as it was so many times when loading vehicles. The large foredeck has few obstructions except for a pair of windlasses for the large twin anchors – both of which remain fully retracted into their respective hawse-pipes.

The tall forward-facing accommodation block has many rows of square windows with the upper-most belonging to the bridge. Some of the windows have been removed making it quite clear that some divers do enter the wreck from time to time. Above the Bridge is an open space occupied by the ship’s large mast.

The uppermost port side of the entire wreck is at a fairly uniform 10-12m throughout and a companionway runs for most of the ship’s length from bridge to stern. Here are many doors that once gave access to the ship’s interior – but all are sealed. Behind the bridge and above the accommodation, is a raised sun deck with lifeboat davits on both sides. All the lifeboats on the port side are absent.

Amidships, the divers will find twin funnels connected by a strengthening brace. On both sides of each funnel there is a capital letter “S” – very appropriately within a “wreath” of laurels.

 

Immediately below the funnels are four lifeboats sitting on the seabed. The after deck was where the deck-passengers were congregated. A light framework stretched over the deck onto which sheets of blue corrugated plastic were fixed in order to provide some shelter from the sun. These corrugated sheets now litter the seabed at a point where one or two personal belongings – such as a large stereo and suitcase, are found.salem2a

From here, the ship’s sides curve back slightly towards the square stern making it quite easy to swim under the wreck and emerge on the other side right next to the two huge propellers and single rudder.

As I mentioned earlier this is the first wreck of the week and makes for a great afternoon extended deco dive on the first day of the trip.  As the maximum depth is only around 30m a nice Eanx for the open circuit divers and a single deco tank is suffice. For the CCR divers, well, lets face it they can spend the entire afternoon if they choose.

Brother Islands technical expedition – 05/07/2013 – 11/07/2013Elite web full boat

This particular trip is open to all levels of technical diver and even entry level technical courses can be taught on board. The bonus of the wrecks that will be dived is that they fall between the depths of 15m – 75m, plenty for all levels of technical divers. For more information on the next technical trip to the Brother Islands contact us on Tekstreme@emperordivers.com.

Don’t miss out on the upcoming blogs by subscribing to receive them by email.

Cat Braun – Tekstreme Technical Manager.

 

Acknowledgments

Ned Middleton – http://www.touregypt.net/vdc/shipwrec.htm

Duncan Spenceley – http://www.redseasnappers.com

 

 

 

Who is the leading PADI TecRec dive centre in Egypt……Tekstreme Diving is!

The new year could not have got off to a better start than to receive a phone call from Reto Moser, the PADI regional manager for Egypt, to inform us that Tekstreme had the most PADI TecRec certifications in Egypt in 2012. What an awesome achievement. This  achievement is only possible due to great team of PADI TecRec Instructors that we have here at Tekstreme. The technical manager of Sinai Chris Armstrong, along with Duncan Spenceley and Steve Parry continue to provide thorough, safe, fun packed PADI TecRec courses which keeps our customers returning back to us. Now we would not be able to offer this level of service if it was not for the fantastic work of Emperor Divers. From the very first email reservation enquiries, to the quality of the dive centres, the boats, the transfers etc it makes for a complete high quality package.

 

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If you would have come to Tekstreme four years ago you would have struggled to find any reference to PADI technical diving courses,  so what has changed? Why are these courses now so popular?

 

The PADI TecRec debuted in 2000 with the launch of its Tec Deep Diver and Tec Trimix Diver Programmes.  Although TecRec is not the first tec diving program (cave diver training has been around for decades), it repeatedly receives accolades for its merits. TecRec courses are integrated into an instructionally valid, seamless course flow that takes you from beginning tec diver to one qualified to the outer reaches of sport diving using different gas mixes. Each level introduces you to new gear, planning and procedures appropriate to extend your diving limits.

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The Tec Deep Diver course is a nine day course and successful candidates upon completion would be certified to make decompression dives with the use of two eanx decompression gases for accelerated deco to a maximum depth of 50m. As much as the course was designed very progressively, it was very intensive and for some students proved to be too big a jump in a single course. If students could not achieve the performance requirements by the end of their holiday they would not have any certification to go home with. Of course referral forms were readily available for continuation of training in the future. Also, from the holiday makers side, it was often not possible for them to complete the Tec deep diver course in its entirety if they only had a single week holiday and so the numbers of students enrolling in these courses were relatively low. Similarly, the Trimix Diver course was also a nine day course with successful students being certified to 80m using the full range of trimix gases available. Both courses were perhaps not as user friendly as they could be due to the durations and intensity. Maybe partly for these reasons potential technical students were looking elsewhere to other technical training agencies that had more bite size courses and as a technical diving centre we were obliged to offer the other agencies to satisfy the customer. (Can I make a note at this point that I personally teach through PADI, TDI (technical diving international) and BSAC (British Sub aqua club) and actually enjoy teaching through all three agencies equally. This article is not meant to put other agencies down, far from it, this is an article to simply examine the growth of PADI TecRec)

 

 

PADI responded well to the challenges that were presented against their technical courses and sought to rectify this problem; hence the breakdown of the Tec Deep Diver course and the Tec Trimix diver course. The Tec Diver course is now an integrated sequence of three sub-courses: Tec 40Tec 45 and Tec 50.  You can complete them continuously, or you can complete each level separately with a time span between them.  This gives you learning efficiency, instructional integrity and schedule flexibility. The Tec trimix course is also now an integrated sequence of two courses; the Trimix 65 and the The Trimix diver. Similar to the Tec Deep diver you can complete them continuously or you can complete each level on its own.  With these crucial changes PADI had created a much more use friendly sequence of courses that had a strcuture similar to other technical training agencies. Low and behold with a push on the marketing of these new courses the result was effective and immediate…the numbers of divers entering into the PADI technical training route was rapidly increasing.

 

tecrec-chart

 

 

Tekstreme recognized the effort that PADI had made and responded by reinforcing the marketing for these new courses and look where we are now! I personally feel that not only are the PADI courses very thorough in their content but the reading materials that accompany each course are the best in comparison to other training agencies. Now yes, I do admit that PADI do love their multiple acronyms which some people are not a fan of, and yes, the manual does have a lots and lots of pretty colorful pictures, but from my experience as an instructor I can only report that these are beneficial to the learning curve of the student not detrimental. The manual is idiot prove, how can that be a bad thing!  The other bonus is that the Tec Deep Manual was designed for the complete Tec Deep Diver course and so the result of this is, is that you only need one manual for the Tec 40, 45 and 50. I do think that in the future that this may change and that PADI will break the manual into three parts to go in partnership with the three sub courses, but for now you get the all in one.

 

PADI have taken some criticism by many over their technical courses. Some people would categorize PADI as only a holidaymaker recreational agency and what place do they have in the technical diving world, but slowly this stigma is being overcome and PADI are standing up tall and defending their courses, as they rightly should.

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It has been a pleasure to join PADI on their journey of technical diving development and we can only hope that it continues to grow in the future.

 

If you are interested in any of the PADI TecRec Courses then you can click on the following link http://www.tekstremediving.com/tecrec-courses.php or email to us directly at tekstreme@emperordivers.com.

 

Cat Braun – Tekstreme Technical Diving Manager

Bad diving season for Europe means great diving season for Tekstreme.

Lets get up to date…..

 

Due to the poorer summer weather around Europe and especially UK the diving season has not been a great one, which is good news for us out in Egypt. Over the last couple of months we have seen increasing numbers of technical divers taking advantage of the good winter weather in Egypt and coming out to join us to get some last minute diving in for 2012.

 

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Hungarian Pilot Norbert Miskolczi came to Tekstreme Hurghada to make the most out of his holiday by beginning his technical diving path with the PADI Tec 40 & 45. Norbert, who only began diving a couple of years ago has taken to the sport very quickly and easily and wanted to expand his practical skills as well as his theoretical knowledge. With PADI Instructor Cat Braun (aka Cat Parfitt) on hand Norbert sailed though both his courses enjoying dives around the local wrecks and reefs. Norbert, who now has the technical diving “bug” has already signed up for the next technical safari in February where he will continue to Tec 50 and the first Trimix level, Trimix 65. Onwards and downwards Norbert.

 

 

 

john ruggles

 

Shortly after Norbert had finished, El Gouna dive center welcomed John Ruggles. John, who is an experienced diver and existingTec Deep diver wanted to gain his SDI Solo Diving certificate on his most recent holiday. Under the watchful eye of Cat Braun, John not only gained his Solo diver status but it also gave him the time to refresh all of his technical diving skills.

 

 

 

 

martin smid

 

Over in Tekstreme Sharm, instructor Chris Armstrong has been busy. To begin with, he was teaching TDI Advanced nitrox and Deco procedures to Martin Smid. Martin is very lucky and can have extended periods of holiday time in Sharm, because of this he then went on to do more days of technical diving at that level building up his experience so that soon after he could make his Entry Trimix course. Martin has done really well in a short space of time and also will be joining us on the next technical safari to make his Advanced Trimix. Well done Martin.

 

 

pete walsh2

 

It is always nice when Emperor Divers staff want to become involved in technical diving and this autumn saw Emperor instructor Pete Walsh beginning his technical diving with the BSAC Accelerated Deco procedures course. Once again, instructor Chris

Armstrong was on hand to put him through his paces, (and I am sure he did) and Pete did successfully pass his course. Next stop Sports mixed gas, as soon as Manager Tammi gives him more holiday time! Welcome to the dark side Pete.

 

 

 

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Tekstreme Sharm also saw a familiar face return, Mattijn Buwalda who made his entry level TDI CCR course in the summer time with instructor Chris Armstrong was back out again to take the next step into CCR decompression diving. Mattijn had managed to get quite a lot of hours on the rebreather on his recent safari with Emperor Divers and felt ready to take the next step. Mattijn, found the course exciting and challenging and by the end of the week had achieved his goal. Well done. Mattijn, will also be joining us on the next technical safari to get even more hours on the unit and put into practice what he has now learnt. Mattijn, who is by trade a anesthesiologist, is also currently training to become a hyperbaric doctor, always handy to have onboard!

 

 

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Heading down the coast to mainland Egypt, Adventure man Marc Sluszny came back to do some more days of technical diving with instructor Cat Braun. Marc who is a very busy man, recently set the world record for the longest vertical forward run. (he ran down the Belgacom building in Brussels setting a new world record (15’56) in the Vertical Run discipline) It would kind of make sense then that when he comes out technical diving he wants to push the boundaries. On this trip, he only had three days, but we did manage to get a nice 100m dive in at Torfiet Ali, and we also began the exploration project of the House reef of Moreen beach (Emperor Divers location marsa Alam). From that dive Marc, Cat and Shaun Fox found a nice hard coral tongue heading down to 60m, with more exploration needed of the other parts of the reef.

Check out more about Marc and his adventures by heading to http://www.marcsluszny.com/

 

oceanic

The divers of Marsa Alam are so lucky to have the magnificent Elphinestone reef on their door step, so when two Russian technical divers came into Tekstreme Marsa Alam there was only one site they wanted to dive. Andrey and Andrey, both TDI Trimix divers wanted to explore the archway under south plateau as well as spend some time with the Oceanic White tip reef sharks. And so it was! After exiting the archway at 55m a very very curious Oceanic came down from the surface to visit us, which was a little bit surprising for our two Russian friends, they did not panic, buts lets just say they were caught a bit off guard! During the shallow water deco the same Oceanic was very interested in Cat Braun and Shaun Fox on the rebreathers, unfortunately the lack of bubbles to scare them aware meant that they were getting a very close up view! Elphinestone has to be one of the best reefs in the south by far!

For more information about the new location of Emperor Divers Marsa Alam click on the following link

http://www.emperordivers.com/marsa-alam-diving.php

ian barker

 

Whilst Cat Braun was down in Marsa Alam, returning English guest Ian Barker was back in Hurghada to make 11 days of technical diving. PADI Technical Instructor and guide Szilard Bardoz was on hand to be with Ian and over the course of the days make a nice steady depth progression so that when Cat Braun returned, Ian could make his deepest dive. A great 85m dive on the Gulf Fleet wreck was where this occurred, great visibility and no current meant that Ian’s deepest dive was not only a great dive but one of the most relaxing dives. Well done Ian. On Ians next trip he plans to increase his depth so he can see 100m on his computer, and we will be there with him.

 

 

kevin cox

Heading back over to Sharm, Tekstreme instructor and Red Sea Snapper owner Duncan Spenceley welcomed back a former Red Sea Snapper guest Kevin Cox to begin his technical diving courses. Under the supervision of Duncan, Kevin began with the PADI Tec 40. Not only did Kevin pass the course but enjoyed it so much he then went on to also make the Tec 45. Well done kevin. Tekstreme Sharm also saw the return of Dave Hurring. Dave, who has made all of his technical courses in Sharm with instructor Chris Armstrong, made the most out of the dive show special offers and was back out to enjoy two weeks of diving to escape the UK rain! Dave and Chris enjoyed multiple dives around Ras Mohamed, Tiran and Dahab during his time and really built up more Trimix diving experience and a small teasing introduction to cave diving! At the same time, Peter Bosmans was also out in Sharm. Peter managed to squeeze in a couple of days of technical diving with Tekstreme instructor and Red Sea Snapper co owner Steve Parry. The weather at this time was awesome; great visibility, warm waters and moderate currents certainly resulted in some great diving being had.

 

 

 

 

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And finally, back to Hurghada, Tekstreme guide Cat Braun, enjoyed a couple of days of diving with Michael Wilson. Michael who is a Trimix diver managed to sneak in a few days of technical diving on his holiday with the potential to persuade a few of his diving club to come and visit us next year. A couple of nice 65m dives were done on Giftun reef and the wreck of the Colona.

 

As we now move into December it does not get any quieter, with TDI Advanced Nitrox & deco courses, PADI Tec 40 & 45 courses, BSAC ADP courses, and some deep cave exploration on the list for the Christmas period, when will we find time for Christmas shopping?!

 

If you are looking to get a last minute holiday, drop us an email to Tekstreme@emperordivers.com

 

Until next time,

 

The Tekstreme team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrecks, wrecks and more wrecks!!

After the success of many technical safaris in 2011 and 2012 we start off 2013 with a technical safari to the Northern wrecks and reefs of the Red Sea. The trip will have a large emphasis on wrecks that can be found between Hurghada and the straits of Tiran. The wrecks are at various depths so suitable for a full range of technical diving levels.

Wrecks to include:

  1. El Mina = 21m – 32m
  2. Mohammed Hasebella = 21m – 32m
  3. Rosalie Muller = 30m – 45m
  4. Colona V = 53m – 70m
  5. Gulf Fleet = 83m – 105m
  6. Abu Nuhas = 12m – 30m
  7. Thistlegorm = 16m – 30m
  8. Lara = 45m – 73m
  9. Hebat Allah = 35m – 45m
  10. Dunraven = 20m – 30m
  11. Al Qamar Al Saudi = 60m – 95m

There will also be various reefs along the way:

  1. Small Giftun Wall
  2. Shark & Yolanda
  3. Shaab El Erg
  4. Tiran
  5. Thomas Canyon
  6. Shaabrugh Umm Gammar

(N.B – Wrecks and reefs subject to weather conditions)

Once again we will on board the wonderful Emperor “Elite”. With its spacious dive deck area, large compressors and fantastic chef who could ask for more! For more details of the boat simply click on the following link:

http://www.emperordivers.com/liveaboards-fleet-elite.php

The trip is only 1150 euros and is open to all levels of technical diver; open circuit or rebreather. Technical courses are also available on board on request.

Contact us for more details on how you can join our trip. Don’t delay as we only put a maximum of 16 technical divers on board and places are on a first come first served basis.

The trip date is 22nd February 2013 – 1st March 2013

Cat Parfitt – Technical Diving Manager

Tekstreme@emperordivers.com