Liveaboard Diving in The Brothers

What to Expect on a Liveaboard to The Brothers

Liveaboards to The Brothers are the only way to visit these reefs due to it's remote location. The two islands, Big Brother and Little Brother or El Akhawein as they are known locally, lie less than a mile apart around 67 km/ 40 miles from the coast at Al-Qusayr. For those more familiar with Sharm el Sheikh area, that is around 200 km/ 125 miles South of the Ras Mohammed National Park.

Both islands are tiny when viewed above water, the tear shaped little brother has nothing but a few rocks on its flat surface. Big Brother is made much more obvious only by the 30-meter-high lighthouse that was put there by the British in the late 19th Century as a warning as to what lay beneath. Although the lighthouse was not enough to save the two ships the Numidia and Aida which lie wrecked, one directly beneath the lighthouse!

Underwater the Brothers are much larger, little brother has a few meters of shallows and then a huge drop-off into the blue. Big Brother drops straight down from the side of the island, the walls on both islands are covered in soft and hard coral. These reefs are home to huge napoleon wrasse and barracuda as well as hordes of reef fish. There is also a chance to see sharks with oceanic whitetips, grey reef sharks and even hammerheads hanging around. Numerous Red Sea dive liveaboards will offer a visit to The Brothers in their itineraries.

Daily Schedule (example)

Morning - A dawn dive will normally be offered before breakfast with a light snack and a briefing around 6 am before heading to the dive deck to prepare. These dives are definitely best on Nitrox especially since there will be four or more dives a day

The divers will be dropped and picked up on the dive site by small tender boats with a small surface or underwater swim each way. The conditions can be quite rough on the surface so a negative entry is best if possible. After returning to the boat for a proper breakfast and a rest there will be a second dive before lunch.

Afternoon - After lunch in the afternoon there will be two more dives, likely to the shallower areas of the reef. Unfortunately, there will not be night dives at The Brothers as it is not allowed inside the marine park area not only for conservation but also safety reasons. The currents and surface conditions at The Brothers can be quite rough so it isn’t really the best for night diving.

The Brothers Underwater

The Brothers have long been known to be among the best dive sites in the Red Sea. The tear shaped Little Brother is a wall dive with sheer drops on all sides. It is a feast for the eyes with Gorgonias and fantastic colourful hard and soft corals all around.

To the North there is one exception to the underwater wall topography. A plateau sits right at the edge of recreational dive limits, 40 meters/130 ft. down. This is the place to see sharks. Grey reef sharks, silvertips and even the occasional hammerhead can be seen coming out from the blue.

Big Brother is only 1km away from Little Brother is one of the best places to see oceanic whitetips and great hammerheads as well as the more common reef sharks.

In addition to the big fish, Big Brother has two shipwrecks sitting to the North ironically just beneath the lighthouse. Lying stem to stern on the sloping walls of the island Numidia is the larger of the two. The wreck starts at 8 meters/26 ft. with the stem of the boat but the main body of the ship starts around 20 meters/65 ft. The Stern is around 80 meters/260 ft. giving technical divers the opportunity to explore an area not accessible to most other visitors.

The smaller Aida also provides a dive for recreational and technical divers starting shallow and reaching 60 meters/196 ft. Both wrecks are covered in corals and fish and make fantastic dives although divers should be aware that the currents on both wrecks can be severe.

Top Tips for the Brothers

  • The currents here are very strong and with very deep waters on every side a safety stop on the slightly sheltered shallow reef is a wise move.
  • A depth alarm on your computer is a good idea given the tremendous drop-offs and 30 meter plus visibility.
  • Plentiful thermal protection is a good idea since the currents here make for some serious thermoclines.

Getting to The Brothers

Only accessible by diving from a liveaboard the Brothers are an overnight sail from land. Egyptian liveaboards depart from either Hurghada or Marsa Alam, some depart from one and disembark at the other, the advantage being less time spent sailing back so more time diving. Those departing Marsa Alam are typically part of an itinerary that also takes in Daedalus and Elphinstone reefs. Hurghada to Marsa Alam itineraries on the other hand often visit the Northern wrecks before heading down to The Brothers.

Both Hurghada and Marsa Alam have their own airports close to the departure ports offering international flights from mainland Europe and connections further afield. It is worth noting that transfer between the two resorts is around 4 hours and can involve an extra charge.


The Brothers Diving Reviews

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