Scuba Diving Recce to Makadi Bay for October 2017 Group Holiday
Having ran group diving holidays to Sharm el Sheikh, Marsa Alam and areas around Hurghada many times, it was time to explore somewhere new.
After some extensive research I stumbled across the resort area of Makadi Bay. Makadi Bay is as its name suggests is a large bay situated around 30 minutes South of Hurghada airport.
With lots of direct flights from across the UK, Hurghada airport is easy to reach and is generally less expensive than Marsa Alam, and with the current ban on Sharm airport it makes sense to look at this area.
As well as taking this trip as a recce it was first and foremost a family holiday for myself, partner and our 4 year daughter. We decided to stay at the luxurious 5* Cleopatra Hotel which is ideal for couples and familys who like a relaxing, laid back and quiet holiday. The all-inclusive buffet was varied and good quality.
For a group trip I decided that this was possibly a little too expensive and sedate for a group diving holiday. Instead I was collected in the mornings and taken to the dive centre at the Fort Abaresque resort. The Italian run idive centre was friendly and relaxed and they some great facilities including classrooms, dive boats and a house reef.
I met the manager Erika was very approachable and enthusiastic about the diving in the area. I decided to do 2 morning dives here. The first day was on the house reef. Walking straight in off the beach we soon descended to 30m. My Egyptian guide swam at a nice relaxed pace and had a keen eye for the marine life (either that or it hardly moves). We spotted a couple of Octopus and watched them shape shift and colour change as well as hunt for a few fish. We also spotted several devil scorpion fish lying on the sandy bottom, a stone fish, a few blue spotted rays and plenty of clown fish. With little current this is an ideal reef for new divers and those doing training dives such as the PADI advanced open water course.
Two days later after some family time I returned to idivers for a boat diver. I was buddied with a nice English chap called Richard who had managed to get a pass from his wife for a morning of diving. The short boat trip to a local reef allowed us enough time to kit up and do our buddy checks. We descended down for a semi-drift dive with the reef along our right hand shoulder. Viz was great at about 30m and there was plenty to see including crocodile fish, free swimming morays, blue spotted rays and one of the largest swarms of glass fish I’d ever seen. The coral was in good condition and the gently sloping reef made it suitable for all levels of divers.
After the dive Erika took me for a tour of the hotel and showed me the three swimming pools, beach bar, luscious green grounds, golden sandy beach and the restaurants. The hotel was full and had a great vibe to it. This confirmed my instincts that a group diving holiday to the Fort Abaresque hotel in Makadi Bay was an ideal spot for a dive club holiday.
I sat down with Erika and Carlos and built a plan for the trip. Carlos is a professional underwater photographer and has been used by the BBC for training their camera men and currently has a photo hanging in the Saatchi Gallery in London. He is also a qualified marine biologist which seems him travelling several months of the year to the Philippines and doing talks in Italy (his home country) and a few other places as his desire takes him. He has agreed to act as our private guide for the week running a week-long underwater photography workshop suitable for novice photographers to advanced photographers with their own SLR’s. He will also combine the trip with talks on marine biology which will cover the Red Sea, the dive sites we will visit and some interesting global views. In terms of dive sites we have decided to spend 2 days on the house reef, a day in the local national marine park looking for Dolphins, a day doing the Northern Wrecks including the Giannis D and a local boat dive. If the sharks at Elphinstone when arrive then we can change the itinerary to spend the day here – fingers crossed.
Overall my impression on Makadi Bay is that it is a great place for new divers, couples where possibly one of them doesn’t dive and those who like to bimble along the reef. For more advanced divers there is the chance to dive wrecks such as the Salem Express.
So while Sharm el Sheikh airport remains closed to UK airlines, Makadi Bay offers a decent alternative and I look forward to returning here in October. If you are interested in joining us then please visit the ‘overseas trips’ section on the dive club section of our website.