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Review: M/Y Voyager

For our Red Sea dive trip we stayed aboard the M/Y Voyager.  We did the seven day tour of the Sudanese Red Sea. Details about the trip, the diving, and what we saw can be found on my last few posts. This post is all about the boat itself.

For the boat – I give it 5 stars out of 5

For service- I give it 3.5 stars out of 5

Overall, the boat was great. It’s in good shape. It has ample room both in the common areas and in the cabins (ample for a cabin). Hot water and electricity were never an issue.

The boat can accommodate 25 guests in 7 double cabins, 1 bunk bed cabin, 1 triple cabin, 2 double bed cabins and 1 suite. The main salon is comfortable and spacious and there is also an upstairs bar area and sun deck (partly covered). Plus there’s an upper level sun deck.

Sudan iPhone - 7

Main Salon

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Our Cabin

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Dive Deck

Also, if you want a bit of a tour, J. shot video from walking around the boat.

As for service, it was mostly good but rough around the edges.

The good:

  • Excellent food
  • Plenty of food
  • Excellent dive master

The rough parts:

  • Not enough beer or wine (we ran out and there was no red wine)
  • The crew was a little weird on the dive deck. Many of us had to tell them to give us space to get ready and to not rush us. Also, I don’t need help getting into my wetsuit. After the first instance, when someone came up behind me and yanked me up off the ground by pulling at the wait of my wetsuit, I told them to back off.
  • We had to remind them a few times to change the towels.

Again, overall it was good. I would go on that boat again, especially knowing that I can set some dive deck ground rules up front.

Umbria Wreck Dive

We got to dive the Umbria, one of the world’s best wreck dives and one accessible to recreational divers. The wreck, just north of Port Sudan, is in great condition, relatively easy to dive (though not for novices), and has interesting history.

Why does this have an interesting history? For starters, unlike other wrecks we dove, this one was not sunk to create an artificial reef. It was sunk with purpose.

In June 1940, the Italian vessel was at Port Sudan for supplies when Italy suddenly joined the war. The British, knowing that the boat likely had arms, wanted to detain it and search for contraband. On June 9, British did indeed board the ship to look for contraband. The next morning, June 10, 1940, while his crew as well as the British were still on board, the captain learned that Italy had declared war. He decided to sink the ship rather than turn over the weapons.

The British noticed water filling the ship and gave orders to abandon ship. Although the ship was salvageable, it was deemed too dangerous. Why? It carried over the 360,000 bombs.

The bombs are still there in the cargo hold, as are tons of wine bottle and three Fiats. I never dove near bombs before.

I didn’t get very many photos from the dive, but here is some video.

Umbria Wreck Dive from curriedpotato on Vimeo.

Wreck Details:

Location: 37 19′ 38″ N, 19 38′ 19″E

Maximum Depth (at bows): 38 m

Average Visibility: 35-30 m (it can get murky, especially by the propeller

Sudan Red Sea Dive Trip Video

As promised, here is the video of the dive trip.

Sudan Red Sea Dive Trip 2017 from curriedpotato on Vimeo.

A post about the Umbria Wreck dive and video for that is coming soon.

Dive Trip to the Sudanese Red Sea

I lived in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia for fifth and sixth grades. On many weekends, we’d go to the beach on the Red Sea. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to scuba dive in the Red Sea. Snorkeling and swimming wasn’t enough. I wanted to go deeper, see more, and hang out under the water. I finally got my wish.

We just got back from a week-long dive trip on the Red Sea, leaving from Port Sudan. (We flew on Emirates from Nairobi to Dubai and then on Fly Dubai to Port Sudan. This avoided having to go through Khartoum.) The trip was great!

The marine life was abundant. The reefs were healthy. The boat, the M/Y Voyager, was nice (review to come soon). The people we dove with were super nice and we made some new friends.

There were just a few glitches. There was not a lot of current, and so there were not as many sharks as I would have liked. We did see some though. I even saw a hammerhead – my first! Of course that happened on the dive when our GoPro flooded. Actually, this was the dive trip where a few things went wrong:

  • The GoPro, which was human error. The housing is still fine but we need to buy a new camera.
  • The fogging of my housing was an issue. I shot mostly with a universal lens and the port dome for that lens large, which means more air and more risk of condensation and fogging. It was pretty bad this trip. We are going to modernize our camera equipment for future trips. It’s time for something more streamlined and less error-prone.
  • J.’s regulator malfunctioned, which was quite scary. The air connection where the regulator connects to the tank (the first stage, the mouthpiece is the second stage) sort of blew out and air started to leak rapidly. It happened twice. Luckily, we caught the error above water both times. If it happened at depth, it would have been a serious and life-threatening problem. We were able to rent a regulator from the boat for the rest of the trip.
  • One of the dive masters got very sick and we had to go back to Port Sudan to drop him off. However, we went back out again and resumed the trip.

Overall, still a really great trip. Highlights for me include that first hammerhead sighting, diving the Umbria wreck (separate post on that to come), and playing with the macro lens. (There was no fogging problem with that lens and port dome combination: smaller lens, smaller air space, less condensation.) Here are some shots I took with it.

Sudan Red Sea-105Sudan Red Sea-96Sudan Red Sea-94Sudan Red Sea-114

Another highlight was diving on the site of the Precontinent II. This was the second of a set of projects by Jacques Cousteau. The project was to see the effects of living underwater on the human body. The site we saw is near Sha’ab Rumi. Here are some shots from that.

Sudan Red Sea-25Sudan Red Sea-26

Overall, it was a fantastic dive trip. We can’t wait to dive again with with group.

Video from this trip to come soon!




Knitting Experiment

Some of you know that I am a knitter. In past blog posts I’ve written about knitting and the struggle of finding yarn in Kenya. It is tough.

I’ve been experimenting with yarn from Spinner’s Web. It’s soft enough. It comes in pretty colors. However, the yarn weight isn’t even. A given ball of yarn can range in thickness from lace weight (like a string) to super-bulky.

This issue causes two problems:

  1. You can really only do stockinette or garter stitch. Color work, cables, ribbing, and other elements just don’t work. You can see the issue with the ribbed hem of a sweater.

Knitting - 3

2. Getting a size right is tough. I made a sweater for myself that fits fine. (It was in DK weight yarn.) I used that same pattern with the Spinner’s Web yarn (thinking that DK might be a good mid-weight example thickness to use as a baseline) and the sweater has come out child size. It will fit a 10- or 11-year-old. I am an experienced knitter so I know the problem isn’t me. The problem is that with the yarn varying so much, it is hard to know what to shoot for in order to get the size you really want.

I’m going to try again with a cardigan, aiming for a much larger size with the hope of getting something that actually fits me. We’ll see how that goes. If it doesn’t work then I won’t make any more sweaters from their yarn.

I’m trying another pattern as well. There is a scarf I made with worsted weight yarn that could work with this yarn. So far it’s coming along nicely in terms of texture, but we’ll see how length and width work out.

Knitting - 2

I don’t know how much more I’ll experiment with this yarn. It’s not fun to have to take wild guesses on sizing and yarn amounts. I might talk to the people there to see if they can spin their yarn to even even weights.

In the meantime, I’ll be buying tons of yarn every time I’m in Europe or the US. Anyone coming to visit soon? Can I order yarn through you?