We’ve done over 500 dives in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and the Maldives and this must rank as one of the largest and best run establishments we’ve ever dived with.
• Good variety of dive venues, dive times and dive types. House reef, dives from a zodiac inflatables, shore dives, half day boar dives, full day boat dives and night dives.
• Although the strict efficiency with which the organisation is run grates at first when you realise that they are catering for over 400 divers at a time, more than 2,000 individual dives per week with over 70 staff you realise why it needs to be run efficiently.
• Good briefings, safety conscious dive guides, well-appointed half day dive boats, friendly knowledgeable service throughout.
• Good house reef – if you just want easy diving then you could dive this all week. Everything from turtles, dolphin, stingray, hard and soft coral in good condition, wide variety of fish all starting 20m from the end of the jetty.
• Few half day two tank dives - boats largely leave at 9am and return at 1-2:30pm having just completed one dive – for a two tank you leave early and return late afternoon.
• The shore dives can be more of an ordeal than a pleasure. We went to Marsala Egla on a two tank dive
o An hour in the mini bus. No shelter in 43 degree heat, soft drinks are limited in variety (water, sprite, coke) and charged by the can. No washing facilities – they could just rig up a simple gravity shower for post dive freshener – no food. The bus is parked 75 yards from the entry point over soft sand and the reef then starts 75m from the entry point. Several of the women couldn’t manage the tanks in or out and the staff had to be asked to help – they didn’t volunteer assistance.
o The pickup carrying the tanks and the mini bus raced all the way there and back – fortunately there’s next to no traffic but their fun will eventually lead to someone getting injured in a crash.
o The dive guide – unusually - took almost no notice – gave a perfunctory brief and then just sat in the bus listening to music and on the phone – didn’t bother to even get wet.
• If you stay at the Coraya Beach Hotel the dive centre is half a mile away. You can walk round the bay but it’s a bit of a trek. There are shuttle buses but they only run 4 times per day but when you get there they will run you back anytime you want. Drop off AND pick up on demand would be much better.
• The boats don’t have fresh water tanks for cameras post dive.
This was our first time in the red sea and although we had heard good things about diving here it just never appealed somehow. To put the quality of the diving in place its basically much better than anything in the windward islands of the Caribbean (the local appetite for fish and nitrate run off from agriculture has basically ruined diving in the Caribbean and we’ve done over 300 dives in everywhere from Barbados through St Lucia to the Virgins – diving in Cayman is still very good but the rest is pretty poor). It’s also better than the Med but not quite as good as the Maldives.
The variety and health of the corals is very good – both soft and hard corals with vast Acropora hard coral areas. The variety of the fish and invertebrates is also good but you just don’t see the shoals of fish that are so common in the Maldives and the overall impression is that the Red Sea is lower in nutrients than the Maldives. The number of large fish is also low and I assume that is due to overfishing but we did not see any fishing boats at all.
Turtles and dolphin are common and seem totally unafraid of divers. Nudibrachs , pipe fish, giant clams abound but we saw no shark or any pelagics larger than 1 metre.
Although there is a dive guide on every dive (except the shore dive) certified divers with more than 25 dives can go off on their own after the briefing. On the dives we did there was almost no current and the average depth to see good coral and fish was 10 – 20m.
Coraya divers is well run and on a world scale very good value at €25 per dive. It offers all of the certification courses and has designated areas for reception, good locker and gear drying facilities, excellent wash up areas as well as a separate camera tank on land. The dives are posted for each category every day and you just sign up to the one you want to join. Nitrox is available at no extra cost, there is a snack bar, large meetings areas and overall the staff are friendly and efficient. The guides are very safety conscious.
You even get a free video when you leave and a 10% discount card for any returning “members”.
I would use Coraya Divers again and recommend them to a friend.
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