Category Archives: The Red Sea

Egypt: Port Ghalib (best of the best)

Since I was a child, I have been dreaming of visiting the mysterious, beautiful and fabulous Egypt, the country I had only read about in books.

Finnish writer Mika Waltari wrote a historical novel. It was first published in Finnish in 1945, and has been translated to 40 languages. 

Pyramidit

Then there were all the pictures, postcards and movies of the great and mysterious pyramids and sfinks. The Great Sphinx of Giza, commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx (a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human head) that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. 

Great sphinx of Giza

Some years ago we found on Finnmatkat web pages information of a new destination – Marsa Alam. Close to the airport there are Coraya Bay and Port Ghalib. We visited Coraya Bay a few years ago. It was a great week.

Coraya Bay Egypt_Our beach_Sunny day

We decided to try Port Ghalib, due to the high class hotel and the amazing coral reefs right next to the marvellous and private sandy beach of The Palace Port Ghalib Resort. I fell in love with the hotel, the personnel, the interior, the food, the splendid service, the beach and the coral reefs. So did my husband. The colorful fish and amazing coral offer you new things to see each day. I have even seen a few sea turtles, swimming just five meters from me.

Sea turtle

The Picasso triggerfish is one of my favourites.

Picasso fish at PG Egypt_2

The yellow exquisite butterflyfish is another beautiful and exotic fish.

Chaetodon austriacus_The Blacktail Butterfly fish

This is  a short intro to the future stories and photos from the best place in Egypt –  The Palace Port Ghalib Resort. If you enjoy kind and open people, sunny days, warm days, great beaches, snorkelling and diving, luxury hotels, relaxation, superb spas, fabulous food – travel right away to Marsa Alam.

Ma`as-salāma – مع السلامة

 

Egypt: Sunny Sharm el-Sheikh

Sharm el-Sheikh is one of the best areas in Egypt to visit, if you love sunny weather, the Red Sea, swimming, relaxing, snorkelling, diving, exotic trips to Bedouin camps and shopping.

ps. to enlarge the photos, click on them 🙂

Sharm El Sheikh_1

There is something for everyone. There are hotels  optimised for couples, for families and/or for those who love water sports.

watersports

I recommend to check what you can find beneath the Red Sea surface. You do not need expensive diving courses and trips to far away coral reefs, which you can of course also enjoy. You can just rent or buy a mask and a snorkel and enjoy beautiful corals and colorful fish, close to the shore.

Sea turtles are rarely seen close to the shore. We did not see any in Sharm el-Sheikh. But we have seen a few sea turtles in Port Ghalib.

Sea turtle

Why not start a new hobby during your next vacation.

Sharm_J sukeltaa_1

In Sharm el-Sheikh you can enjoy the beach life. The hotel we stayed at had a private sandy beach with a coral reef right there. That is rare.

Snorklaus ja meri sopii kaikille

Sunny and hot days can be enjoyed also during the winter time. We travelled to Sharm in January and the weather was perfect.

I ja J pinnalla_uusi harrastus maistuu

One day we decided to check out the near by bazaar. It was said to be huge. A friendly taxi driver took us there in less than fifteen minutes.

Sharm El Sheikhin kaduilla

When we arrived at the bazaar, I was surprised. I had expected to see something different. I had imagined small stands in a row. This bazaar was a huge area, inside a beautifully built wall.

Sharm El Sheikhin basaarin edessä

The area in front of th wall was filled with taxis and buses, bringing tourists to this bazaar.

I loved the mountain view behind the bazaar area.

We strolled around the bazaar. The shops sold t-shirts, sandals, ornaments etc.

As we saw a small mall on the other side of the street, we decided to visit it. The sidewalk around the mall was super clean. We were looking for a book store and a coffee shop. We found both.

Sharm El Sheikhin basaarin edessä_2

We found a Red Sea diving book with ship wrecks. And a few nice shirts.

The hot sunny weather made us think about swimming and snorkelling. So we took a taxi back to the hotel and ran down to the fabulous beach.

Sharm El Sheikh_innokas snorklaaja
Back in the water! Guess who dived in first?

I think you would like Sharm el-Sheikh. We had a great sea view from our top floor room.

Sharm El Sheikh_aurinkoinen kaunis päivä
If you prefer to swim in a pool, there are plenty of pools to choose from – in most hotels. We like the big pools. The water was cold but so refreshing.

Sharm El Sheikh_Altaan vesi oli kylmää ja piristävää

Jordan: Beneath the Red Sea surface…part 2

Pterois Volitans, the Lionfish is quite an amazing creature. The colouring of one of them includes white, beige and brown. The Lionfish is part of the Scorpionfish (Scorpaenidae) species, which take their name from the venomous spines positioned on the dorsal fin.

Lionfish are voracious predators.

Lionfish_Siipisimppu_RedSea

The Two-spot Lizardfish is usually found within the depth range of 1 – 10 meters. The maximum recorded length of a Two-spot male lizardfish  is about 18 cm, but the common length is around 10 cm.

Lizardfish are harmless.

Two spot lizardfish_Synodus binotatus schultz

The Boxfish (Ostraciidae) is certainly one of my favourite fish. It is also called Cofferfish, Cowfish and Trunkfish. There are 24 extant species in seven extant genera. The adults are in general quite square in shape, young Ostraciidae are more rounded. The young often exhibit brighter colours than the adults.

ps. to enlarge the photos, click on them 🙂

Lossorekala_Boxfish_Ostraciidae

Black Peacock Lionfish and black sea urchin

The Black Peacock Lionfish is astonishing with its beautiful black colour, showy pectoral fins and venomous spiky fin rays.

Diadema Antillarum, the Black Sea Urchins, were all over the bottom of the Red Sea in Jordan. We had to be very careful not to touch them by mistake. This sea urchin is characterized by its exceptionally long black spines.

When the population of sea urchins is at a healthy level, they are the main grazers, which prevent algae overgrowth of the reef.

Black sea urchins

The corals in the Red Sea at Tala Bay, Jordan, were a bit different than the ones we had seen in Marsa Alam, Egypt. Less colour, but nonetheless very beautiful and amazing to explore.

Corals in the Red Sea

Puffer Fish

photobackstory

IMG_4483 copy 2There were several out and about on the floor of the sea that night we dove. When I found this guy and the next, they didn’t swim away from me. They just sort of stood there… ok, lay there. Later on I figured it out. Anytime any of my dive companions shined their flashlight in my face, the bright light was all I could see. I couldn’t see the diver behind the light. So it works that way for the fish. IMG_4489 copy 2The light beam blinds them and they stay still because they don’t sense a threat. As a result I got to shoot in macro right up close. Even the camera flash didn’t not cause them to stir much. It’s a neat observation. But, there aren’t too many fish out at night. I was really struggling to keep the camera and the flashlight in sync. It’s kind of like getting…

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Jordan: Beneath the Red Sea surface…

Domino fish_Dascyllus trimaculatus_Täpläpreussinahven

Dascyllus trimaculatus, the Three Spot Domino fish, is actually quite neat though it is territorial and a bit aggressive. Dascyllus is a genus of fish in the family Pomacentridae. It is quite a small fish as it grows only up to 13 cm in length. You recognize the fish for the three white spots, of which one can though sometimes be absent.

ps. to enlarge the photos, click on them 🙂

Lionfish and Halfmoon triggerfish_Sufflamen chrysopterus

The Halfmoon or Flagtail triggerfish, Sufflamen chrysopterus, is very beautiful with its black velvet like colour. The tail is white and yellow, as you can see in the picture above. It can grow up to 30 cm in length.  This triggerfish feeds on a variety of invertebrates and the occasional small fish.

A small Lionfish, Pterois Volitans, swims above the triggerfish (in the above picture). Can you see it? It is just a baby and the colouring is white, beige and brown. The Lionfish is part of the Scorpionfish (Scorpaenidae) species, which take their name from the venomous spines positioned on the dorsal fin.

Flagtail_Halfmoon triggerfish

Above is a funny photo of  the Halfmoon triggerfish. Look at those lips. Can you see the small rainbow on the sand

 

 


Ostracion cyanurus,
the Arabian boxfish, is only 15 cm as an adult. It likes to swim close to the bottom We suddenly saw one below us and took this photo. The Arabian boxfish inhabits areas of moderate coral growth  and is usually found close to shelter.

Ostracion meleagris_Black spotfish_Spotted boxfish

Ostracion meleagris, the Black or Spotted boxfish, explores the bottom of the Red Sea on the bottom of this photo. The male is more colourful than the female. The colouring can be blue to black and the dots can be white or black. The female is dark with white spots. This boxfish does not grow past 25 cm. The one we saw was only about 20 cm in size.

The Black sea urchins at the top of the photo are fabulous. But remember to keep your distance from them. Keep your feet off the bottom.

Clownfish_Anemonefish_Amphiprion_1

The Red Sea Clownfish, also known as the  Twobar anemonefish, Amphiprion bicinctus, is one funny and beautiful fish. It is one of the most common Clownfish in the Red Sea. It can grow up to 14 cm, but is usually smaller.

Egypt: Hurghada

Our first visit to Egypt took us to Hurghada. A few friends had recommended the area. We wanted warm weather, sunshine and a hotel close to the Red Sea.  In January it can be 25°C. During our stay the temperature did not get quite this high, but we enjoyed warm weather during the day. During the night it was about 12°C.

Egyptikartta

The vacation was great and the week was sunny.

Hurghada_Blue Lagoon beach

 

THE HOTEL

The Shedwan Garden Hotel has 4 stars.

Shedwan Garden Hotel Hurghada

Our first room situated outside the main building in a quickly built additional wing. The front door and the balcony door had a gap of a few inches between the floor and the door. The wind was strong, outside and also inside. The furniture was cheap and old. We decided to change rooms.

JH ekassa huoneessa_Hurghada

Personal discussions with the personnel worked well.  We got a room in the main building. We had to give up the wish of a balcony and partial sea view, but instead we got a real room, with great furniture, space and no wind inside 🙂

Ile uudessa kylpparissa

Johanna uudessa huoneessa

 

There were lots of cats around this hotel. I heard it is common in Hurghada. Hurghada_slight cat problem

The garden of the hotel was very nice. The personnel took good care of it. You could stroll through it during the evening and on your way to the beach.

Hurghada JH in the hotel back yard

THE BEACH

The beach of the hotel was OK. We had yet not found the amazing world of snorkelling and photographing underwater,  so the beach fulfilled our needs – we got to swim in the Red Sea.

Hurghada_Blue Lagoon beach

Hurghada_IH swimming in the lagoon_luxury boats in the background

There were no coral reefs close to the beach, but you could take a boat and travel to coral reefs and go scuba diving.

Hurghada seen from the beach

We saw some pedal boats and decided to try one. It was actually quite fun and sporty to pump the pedals in the high waves.

Hurghada beach_lets rent a paddle boat

Here are some great shots of the Blue Lagoon and Hurghada, seen from the sea.

Polkuveneellä laguunin ympäri

Hurghada_seen from the sea 2
It was nice to swim in the Blue Lagoon. The temperature was not too hot, but during the day it got warm and the water felt great on the hot skin.

JH tried the cold water

I recommend to travel to Egypt and to enjoy the country’s many beautiful places, beaches and its many attractions.

Egyptin pyramidit