Tag Archives: coral

Somewhere in the Red Sea…

Soon it is time to visit our “second home”, the¬†beautiful and mysterious Red Sea ūüôā

We fly 3972 kilometers south and¬†land in the great Sahara,¬†which¬†is Earth’s largest non-polar desert.

There is not much more on the map than the airport ūüėČ

Map MA Airport

ps. click on the photos to see them enlarged

But when you go below the surface of the amazing Red Sea, you see a lot, and it is more beautiful than one can describe:

Raccoon Butterflyfish 2014 PG_3

Beautiful RedSea_1

Excuisite Butterflyfish_PG 2014

The deep blue beautiful Red Sea_2

Orangespine Unicornfish

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 Р10 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 ūüôā

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

Waiting to fly to Jordan

Where is Jordan?

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is in The Middle East, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan borders Saudi Arabia to the south and east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and Israel to the west.

Map of Jordan and the surrounding countries
Where is Aqaba and Tala Bay?

Aqaba is situated in the southern ¬†part of Jordan and is the largest city on the Gulf of Aqaba. It is Jordan’s only coastal city. Tala Bay is a holiday resort 15 minutes south of Aqaba and very close to the border of Saudi Arabia.

Why Jordan?

We have travelled during the summer in countries around the Mediterranean Sea for more than 10 years. During winter time it is a bit cold in Europe, so we decided 5 years ago to visit Africa. We thought Egypt could be something interesting, mysterious and fun.

Egypti kamelimies
We love the sun, warm days on the beach, diving into the sea and photographing fish and corals. It is also wonderful to experience new cultures and countries, meet local people.

Exif_JPEG_422
We have visited Egypt 5 times. We are in love with the Red Sea.

fish in the red sea
In September 2013 the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland recommended to not travel to Egypt due to the unstable situation in the country. As a result of this all Finnish travel agencies cancelled all reservations to Egypt until April 2014.

We searched the web for other countries (to which Finnish travel agencies offer flight + hotel packages) around the Red Sea, which we hoped to visit again. We found Jordan and Israel. They both have some coral beaches on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea.

We compared Israels’ Eilat with Jordan’s Aqaba. Aqaba sounded more exciting and mysterious. Then we found Tala Bay, a sunny vacation resort 15 minutes south from Aqaba. No noise of a hectic town or traffic, great hotels, long beaches and promise of corals and exciting fish … that is all we needed to make our choice. Apollomatkat is the only one in Finland offering vacation packages to Tala Bay (and Jordan for that matter). If you want to go to Eilat you can choose between Aurinkomatkat and Apollomatkat. Both fly with Finnair.

Tala Bay venesatama kuva
The temperature in November in the southern part of Jordan was said to be quite warm. Forecasts promised 23-30¬į C during the day and 19¬į C or less in the night. This sounded very good.

Apollomatkat, which we had never before used, handled everything very well from the beginning. The website works well, the customer service is friendly and helpful and the list of hotels in Aqaba was surprisingly long. In Tala Bay you can choose between 3 nice hotels.

We chose Radisson Blu Tala Bay, as the pictures of it on the website of Apollomatkat were great, we were promised corals and fish very close to the beach, the hotel had a private beach and the website of the hotel gave a great overall feeling of the resort.

Radisson Blu Tala Bay web site Radisson at Tala Bay Jordania_6Radisson room pic
The hotel gave us great service already before our trip. We have a wish list regarding the room and the car service. I contacted the hotel, as Apollomatkat, just like all other travel agencies in Finland, cannot confirm if you get a balcony or terrace, if you are on low floor or high floor etc. We got all our wishes fulfilled with the kind help of the executive assistant manager at the hotel. To offer this kind of service is definitely a competitive advantage.

It takes 5 hours to fly from Helsinki to Aqaba. Most tourist take the travel agency’s bus. But as it usually takes a long time to wait for all people to come to the bus, and the bus drives to many hotels before ours, we started to use the hotels’ car service a couple of years ago. One more reason was a sad experience with Finnmatkat (which otherwise works quite well). The bus did not pick us up from our hotel in Egypt some years ago. (The guide did not answer her phones and no one knew what was going on. The hotel finally drove us to the airport. When checking up on this matter, we were told “the phone lines do not always work in Egypt, the bus was late and the guide forgot to inform the hotel and the customers about this.”)

Most hotels offer car service. It is smooth and fast. It does not cost more (or much more) than the bus service.

This was an introduction to my future stories about Jordan. I will write about Tala Bay, the history of Jordan, the corals and the fish in the Red Sea as well as a review of Radisson Blu Tala Bay Resort.

Our passion since a few years back is to photograph in the Red Sea. I have hundreds of pictures from the land, the air and the sea. I’ll share the best with you.

Radisson Tala Bay Red Sea Diving picture_2 Ma`a as-salńĀma!