Week of diving at Abu Dabbab Dive Resort

In July 2023, Leonie Korbijn, along with friend Rianne (co-owner EWDR) went on a week-long vacation to Egypt. She wrote a report about it.

Leonie Korbijn

After a chaotic time with moving and hard work, I am finally in my new home and beginning my well-deserved diving vacation in Egypt. I have never visited this country, unlike Rianne. We chose a resort partnered with EWDR and planned both, shore and boat dives. I am greatly looking forward to the spot “Elphinstone” where Oceanic white tips and hammerheads swim. A special highlight that I am looking forward to is the manatee, which I have never seen in the wild. There seems to be one near the house reef, so I hope we get lucky. Because of early rising and late going to bed, we are both sleep deprived. I expect we will mostly sleep during the flight.

Day 1, July 8, 2023: Schiphol Airport – Marsa Alam

After a comfortable flight, we arrived in Marsa Alam. Although Rianne slept a lot, my peace was disturbed by a child behind me. Upon arrival at the airport, we were welcomed by a private driver. After a short drive, we reached our resort. Although Egypt is known for large resorts, we stayed at a relatively small-scale dive resort: Abu Da

bbab Beach & Dive Resort. The owners of the diving school greeted us enthusiastically. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. The resort, close to the beach, was quiet and attractive. Our room was clean and tidy. Upon unpacking, however, I discovered that the clips of my diving fins were missing. I didn’t remember why I had removed them and hoped the diving school had replacement parts. After a sumptuous snack and a tour of the resort, we took a dip in the water and enjoyed a mojito during sunset. Although I decided to shower early, Rianne stayed out a little longer. I also ran into Arris, an old acquaintance from Bonaire, at the reception desk. After a pleasant evening and a glass of wine, we went to bed early, looking forward to the dive the next day.

Day 2, July 9, 2023: Diving on the house reef in Marsa Alam

The busyness of recent times has taken its toll, and both Rianne and I are in need of rest. This morning we stayed in bed for a long time and even missed breakfast. At 11 o’clock we hurried to the dive center for a check dive. The location where we dive has coral walls and lots of sea grass; some 84 turtles live here in the bay. After instructions, the challenge began with my fins. I needed replacement clips, which proved difficult. Eventually I got new fins from the manager. During our check dive, we performed some basic exercises and enjoyed the diverse underwater scenery. We came across a huge turtle, stingrays and beautiful colorful fish. After this dive, it was time for lunch. Later we did another dive on the other side of the bay, where I took many photos and videos of the marine life. The day ended with mojitos on the beach and the knowledge that we had to get up early the next day for another diving adventure.

Day 3, July 10, 2023: Diving at Elphinstone

This morning we left early for Elphinstone, known for its currents and big fish. Despite high expectations, we did not see any large marine life during the dive, which is precisely what makes diving so unpredictable and exciting. Back at the resort, we enjoyed a well-deserved breakfast. The afternoon dive led us through caves with fantastic light, a beautiful sight. The diversity of appearances among Egyptians is striking, ranging from European to African features. Their cordiality was emphasized by the helpful resort manager. We ended the day with mojitos on the beach, followed by an early night’s sleep.

Day 4, July 11, 2023: Diving at Dolphin House

On Tuesday we visit dolphinhouse with a big day boat from Port Galib. Along the way, we pick up a group of snorkelers. Once we arrive, it becomes clear that we are diving and snorkeling in separate zones so as not to disturb the dolphins. Although we do not initially see any dolphins, we experience two great dives, where the caves and coral are particularly impressive. While snorkeling, we still get a chance to catch a glimpse of some dolphins. Back at the resort, we were greeted by a creative surprise from the cleaner, who put our towels in an artistic shape. After tipping, we rested and went to bed early in anticipation of the next early morning at Elphinstone.

Day 5, July 12, 2023: Diving again at Elphinstone

Today we have to get up early again, because we are going to try again at Elphinstone. A generous breakfast package from the hotel helps us through the morning. On the way to the dive site, we enjoy a beautiful sunrise during the boat ride. Although the dives are calm, the wild sea offers its own unpredictability, and we only briefly see a hammerhead shark. Back at the resort, we decide to explore the house reef. Accompanied by the local photographer, Ibrahim and among other things, we come across a beautiful large turtle. The day ends with a relaxing evening at the beach with pizza and mojitos. The day’s efforts ensure an early night’s sleep, preparing for the next diving adventures.

Day 6, July 13, 2023: Local diving at Marsa Alam

On Thursday, Arris returned home. We planned a day of boat dives. The first dive with a Dutch family was pleasant, although the location was not particularly striking. For the second dive, local photographer Ibrahim joined us for an underwater photo session in the Abu Dabbab caves. This was very beautiful. Although our stomachs were bothered by the food, we eagerly looked forward to the afternoon dive, where we hoped to spot a rare manatee. Unfortunately, we had no luck spotting the manatee, but were rewarded with another beautiful dive site Sha Ab 5, where we saw some reef sharks. That evening we dined at the resort with Ibrahim, who shared some of the photos we took. Ibrahim takes really nice pictures. We ended the evening making nice dive plans plans for the next day.

Day 7, July 14, 2023: In a world full of fish, be a mermaid!

On Friday, our last day, Rianne and I wanted to take it easy. We decided to explore the house reef again, but this time with Ibrahim, who knows the area well. During the dive, I noticed that the animals in Egypt are used to human interaction, so I felt I could get closer than usual. That afternoon we fulfilled one of my childhood dreams: diving like a mermaid. Rianne had a mermaid tail with her, which we used for an underwater photo session. Ibrahim was our photographer and captured the magical moment. Although it seemed exciting at first, the experience was unforgettable. That evening, Ibrahim treated us to some of his photos of the mermaid dive, which were truly stunning. We decided to spend our last evening on the beach, enjoying a beautiful sunset.

Looking back on the vacation, it really was perfect. Although the resort was not overly luxurious, everything we needed was there: comfortable beds, great food, and great staff. The dive center was also excellent with quality equipment and support staff. This place is definitely recommended for a short getaway!

Travelogue by: Leonie Korbijn, 2023

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