Gozo - Dive Holiday late Autumn 2015 (guide price €595 incl 5 days diving, flights, airport transfers, jeep hire & self-catering accommodation)
For the coming Autumn we're planning a trip to the Mediterranean Island of Gozo (the small sister island to Malta). Sheltered by Sicily at the foot of Italy and the bulge of the North African coast of Tunisia, Gozo enjoys great easy diving in clear visibility of up to 30 mtrs. It involves only a 3.5 hour flight direct from Dublin. The island is 14kms long and 7kms wide meaning you will have plenty of time to explore the character and topography of the whole island during your stay here. The island itself has a population of around 31,000 people. Maltese and English are the official languages and official currency is the Euro.
Most good dive sites are from the shore and the sea temperature is likely to be 24 degrees so suitable for wetsuit diving with air temperatures around 22 degrees C. You typically drive to the water's edge, kit up and walk or jump in (good wetsuit booties are required as the shores are rocky with ledges and sharp edges. Depths very quickly drop to 25 or 30 metres and the topography offers caves, caverns, crevices, overhangs and beautiful swim-throughs. There are plenty of wrecks (sunk through wars or weather conditions but also newer ones scuttled by the authorities to create new dive sites). There's the M.V. Xlendi, an ex ferry boat, sunk in the south of Gozo near Fort Chambray, just 60 mtrs out from the shore lying upside down in 42m with her hull in 30m (there's a general depth limit of 40m for recreational diving, depending on qualification and experience of course).
The Inland Sea and Tunnel, Azure Window and Blue Hole at Dwejra point are just some of Gozo’s most popular sites and the marine life is diverse with many rare species of fish which have vanished from other part of the Mediterranean. There are no tides and few currents so you can dive when you feel like it and night diving too is fantastic. Driving distances on the island are short whilst there's always a sheltered dive site when the wind blows.
Depending on the group size, we'll stay in self-catering apartments or houses, rent jeeps to get around (you'll be driving on the same side of the road) and there's the option of some offshore boat diving as well.
Gozo has an amazing rural countryside and is well known for it’s scenic hills. Historical architecture abounds structures from pre-Egyptian pyramids through to the Crusaders of the St John’s Cross. Between May & October every town celebrates their patron saints feast day or “festa”! These celebrations are not to be missed, when the church is illuminated and streets are festooned with flags, drapes and light bulbs it’s something magical. The evening culminates in a firework spectacular.
The local food is heavily influenced by Italy and eating out is much cheaper than at home. The national dish is Fenech (rabbit) and seafood too features prominently on every menu - and the local bear Cisk isn't bad either!
Places of interest on Gozo are the Citadel, the Cathedral & Cathedral museum, the Natural History museum and Folk museums, in Victoria (named in honour of Queen Victoria) or by its old name Rabat, literally “the city” Ta’ Pinu church is a place of pilgrimage for the Maltese and Gozitans at Xewkija. The Megalithic temples of Ggantija near the village of Xaghra according to latest analysis were built around 3600 BC, earlier than the first pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge. On our final non-diving day we'll take a day trip across to Comino, the smallest inhabited island, where you can truly relax without traffic or noise pollution. Swimming in the Blue Lagoon or walking over the wild flower and thyme covered rocky landscape are ideally suited to this island.
Suggested dates 10-17 October 2014 when the water is still a comfortable 25 degrees C.
Flights are from Dublin direct to Malta and from there a short ferry crossing to Gozo so no overnight stays in the UK, guide price is based on a minimum of 4 people with jeep hire and 2-bedroomed apartments, unlimited shore diving with 3 airfills a day and optional extra boat diving at additional cost.
To receive information please email or call us.
Red Sea - Land Based Dive Holiday Spring 2016 (guide price €595 unlimited diving & accommodation full board + flights approx €475)
Over 400 varieties of coral and 1500 species of fish, turtle and shark living in an area of spectacular beauty featuring thousands of miles of pristine coastline and all in great visibility and warm temperatures. Our destination is in the south of Egypt providing access to many outstanding reefs from these still relatively remote locations. Marsa Alam is situated about 250 km south of Hurghada, and is a relatively new resort, with its own international airport and charter flights direct from the UK. It is only a 5 hour flight from the UK, so ideal for a week of sunshine and guaranteed good diving. Egypt enjoys 360 days of sunshine and hence a year-round season with thousands of divers visiting, often bringing non-diving family members to enjoy clean sandy beaches, 4* and 5* hotels and loads of resort activities on offer for all ages. These include camel rides, Eastern Desert excursions with visits to Al Shelatan camel market, or mountain trips to Pharaonic, Ptolemaic and Roman ruins or gold and emerald mines. Star gazing - astrology on a crystal clear night sky or bird watching trips (the exquisite Goliath Heron, Sea Eagle and other species), visiting bedouin camps, quad-biking, snorkelling and the possibility to swim with Dolphins too, kitesurfing, windsurfing or just relaxing in the sun,
Divers wishing to do a qualification level course can choose to complete their theory and pool training in Baltimore and then finish their open water dives in the Red Sea, as your instructors will be travelling with you. This is known as a "referral course". See PADI courses for further details. If you're booking to do both with Aquaventures, then there's no equipment rental cost in Egypt AND you'll get plenty of further diving during your week's trip to enjoy and build your experience level. You could even do your Advanced Open Water Diver course too.
Aquaventures organises a winter trip, subject to minimum numbers, in Feb/Mar 2015. Flights are via London with Thompson Holidays.
Unlimited shore diving - Marsa Shagra benefits from fantastic house reefs with hard and soft corals of offshore quality, excellent for pleasure diving, photography, dive training, snorkelling and night diving. As a guest you are completely free to dive at leisure and relax in one of the most peaceful of environments on the planet.
Suitable for qualified divers from Open Water Diver upwards or students undergoing their training (Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, Specialty courses), and those wishing to do snorkelling on house reefs just a couple of metres away from your accommodation.
Accommodation - there's a choice of
* Tents – no single supplement. Spacious twin bedded tents have electricity and modern toilet and shower facilities. A great choice for those who enjoy an expeditionary feel and briefly wish to leave the western world behind.
* Royal Tents -
Royal tents are almost twice the size of a normal tent and include the choice of either a master bed or a double, fan, mini-fridge, wardrobe, bean bag, table and chairs. They are the ideal choice for couples at €480 each. Single supplement €32.00
* Mandarah Lodge - Traditional domed, vaulted desert architecture and thick stone walls keep the rooms cool. Each Mandarah has its own terrace, two beds, wardrobe and electricity with separate toilet and shower facilities.
* Madyafa Guest House - Built in the same attractive Arabic style as the Mandarahs, they are more spacious with en-suite facilities. Enter by the hallway to the large and airy bedroom opening onto your own sun terrace. Enjoy the sea and desert mountain views. They are the ideal choice if you want a little more space, 2 people sharing at €575 each. Single supplement €125.00
* Madyafa Guest House with Air-con - Ideal for those Summer months. Also two with an inter-connecting door, great for young families.
The Eastern desert is supposed to flood every 10 years, however, in ten years of operating, this area has experienced 2 floods. The last one was in November 1996 and they were well prepared, so none of the tents or equipment was lost. In a flood situation the staff will make every effort to maintain village life but the guests have to be prepared to compromise. Dive sites may become unsuitable and tents may be damp. The positive side is that they will be one of the few people from the western world to witness the wadies flooding and the spectacular phenomena as they burst into bloom!
Airport transfer from Marsa Alam (30 minutes).
Bed linen (bring your own towel(s).
Your free rental of tank (12 ltr aluminium) and weights plus airfills for 5 days of unlimited shore diving.
As well as diving the house reefs of Shagra, the trucks leave twice daily at 8am and 2pm to dive the sharms, marsas and reef walls along the egyptian Red Sea, they cover approximately 100 kilometers of coastal fringing reef sites from 8m coral gardens to deep drop offs, pitted caves, elaborate tunnels and a diversity of marine life to match, where easy access makes this area ideal for shore based diving. The truck dives are organized so that divers have an opportunity not to repeat the same locations during their week long stay.
Three meals a day plus freshly baked cakes in the late afternoon. All soft drinks, mineral water, tea & coffee (bring your own duty-free spirits).
220v re-charging (bring fast re-chargeable's 6 hours max) and adaptor (they use 2-pin European plus/sockets).
Hard boat or RIB - diving the outstanding offshore reefs of Elphinstone, Abu Dabbab, Nakari, and Shaab el Gadeer, Marsa Egla Top and Habili Nakari as well as the new sites at Gabal el Rosas, Abu Nawas Garden , South Garden, Sharm Hesham and Ras Samadaiare. Elphinstone, a jewel of the south is directly opposite Shagra, with walls covered in soft coral plunging down into 400m of water. Here the strong currents and multitudes of fish attract up to seven species of shark. Shaab Samadi (Dolphin House), another gem lies just off Nakari, with beautiful soft and hard corals grafted into caves and caverns.
Price per person for 2 dive boat trips €65 for Fury / Wadi Lahami, €50 Dolphin House and €35 Elphinstone (minimum level AOW and 50 logged dives) - these can all be booked and paid for on site.
Tourist Visa (approximately €15 per person).
Nitrox (rental of tank and approx 30% nitrox fill = €2 per cylinder).
15 ltr steel cylinder rental €3 per dive.
Torch hire €10 per night dive.
Full gear hire (incl computer) for 5 days is €180 or 6 days is €200 (per person) and is payable locally.
Dive and medical insurance.
Flight (as quoted above separately).
Travel to Gatwick and overnight stay if required.
Egyptian beer & delicious ice cream which can be purchased on site.
Medical kit and emergency oxygen are available.
The Hyperbaric Medical Centre/Recompression Chamber, located at Shagra Village, is comprehensively equipped and manned around the clock. An insurance cover for decompression treatment (fee of €6 payable on site) is valid for 21 days. It includes chamber treatment (including HBO sessions if needed), doctor’s fees, diagnosis, as well as equipment and medicines used in treatment. The program does not cover hospitalisation or any means of transport of the injured person.
Bring a little insect repellent to stop the odd sand fly bite and drink plenty of mineral water to avoid dehydration - it's free.
Fresh water rinsing tanks are available for cameras, regulators and computers.
See photographs of previous trips on the "Blue Pearl" live-aboard and shore based in Marsa Shagra with excellent diving.
To receive information please email or call us.