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Liveaboard Diving in Daedalus
What to Expect on a Daedalus Reef Liveaboard
Due to it's remore nature choosing a liveaboard to Daedalus Reef is necessary to fully apprecaite this amazing dive area. East of Marsa Alam about 80 km/50 miles offshore, Daedalus reef, also known as Abu Kizan lies within a marine protected zone. At the centre of the reef the Egyptian Navy has built a lighthouse on a small man-made island originating in the 1860's which was then rebuilt in the 1930's. A long fixed pier stretches from the lighthouse out to the edge of the shallows. This is where most liveaboards moor to keep stable in the open sea. Daedalus is included in numerous Egypt liveaboard itineraries that visit this area.
Daedalus has a large shallow reef with drop-offs at the sides. It varies from a few meters of beautifully clear water to the deepest point for recreational divers at 40 meters/ 130 ft. This means Daedalus has the best of both worlds. On the largely unspoiled reef there are stunning corals, tropical fish and huge napoleon wrasse for divers to enjoy. In the deeper sections, out in the blue, the pelagics: sharks, mantas and tuna shoals can be seen passing through.
For technical divers there are other areas that are only accessible to those with experience and equipment for going deep. The wreck and debris of the Zealot steamer is very popular for rebreather and side mount diving.
Daily Schedule (example)
Morning - The first dive will normally be a dawn dive. After a quick snack and coffee, you will have a briefing before heading to the dive deck. The deeper dives will be first and divers will enter from the liveaboard directly or by tender boat. After breakfast there will be a second briefing followed by the second dive. The dive times will vary depending on the depth of the dives and air consumption.
Afternoon - After lunch and a break on board, there will be another two or three dives in the afternoon. These will likely be shallower reef dives to look at the coral and anemone city. Sadly, there is no night diving within this marine protected area. This is not only for conservation but also safety, the currents and general conditions can be difficult even during the day.
Daedalus Reef Underwater
The reef is less than a kilometre long and 100 meters wide with a drop offs all around. The deepest areas of the site are around 40 meters/ft. and currents can be very strong. Visibility is very good despite often rough conditions. Divers can expect between 20 to 30 meters 65 to 100 ft. The water temperature varies from 24 to 30 degrees 75 to 85 Fahrenheit.
Fortunately, because Daedalus is less frequently visited by divers, it is in pristine condition with soft and hard corals and a huge variety of tropical reef fish. 'Anemone City' an entire section of the reef covered with anemone is a macro photographer's dream.
In deeper waters the position of Daedalus reef so far offshore makes it ideal for encounters with passing pelagics. Hammerheads and oceanic whitetips are just some of the big sharks you can hope to encounter around Daedalus. There is also a chance in the south of the reef to see solitary thresher sharks, easily distinguished by their long pointed tails. There is also a chance in the summer to see whale sharks passing by in the blue.
There is also a wreck at Daedalus reef, the Zealot which lies in between 80 and 120 meters of water. Not only is there the wreck but the cargo of iron is scattered all the way down the reef lost as the ship sank. This steamship, sank due to poor navigation in the 1980's, is perfect for technical divers to explore.
Top Tips for Daedalus Reef
- Currents can be strong at Daedalus but the directions are fairly predictable. Take a compass to stay orientated.
- Do remember to check the rules of the marine park, many things such as wearing gloves while diving are prohibited.
- Be sure to take adequate thermal protection as currents can make the water feel colder than it is.
- Be aware that there will be a charge to enter the marine parks such as Daedalus depending The price will depend on how many you will be visiting. It should be paid on the liveaboard.
Getting to Daedalus Reef
Most Egypt liveaboards depart from Port Ghalib near Marsa Alam which is the closest mainland harbour. These liveaboards are easily accessible from Marsa Alam airport which receives frequent flights from a number of major European airports. Alternatively, Hurgada airport is a four-hour transfer away from Marsa Alam.
The reef itself is an 9-hour sail, normally done overnight from the port of departure. Daedalus is part of a number of different itineraries which can also include the Brothers, Elphinstone and St. Johns. The number of dives at Daedalus will vary depending on which itinerary you chose.
The distance from shore makes this site exclusively for liveaboard dive boats. This means the reef is in very good condition and you won't be surrounded by hundreds of other divers every day. Dives can be done directly from the liveaboard which moors close to the edge of the reef or from a tender.
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