From January 26 - February 2, 2007 Mario claimed his award, a 1 week dive safari to the Farasan Banks in the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia. The journey was part of the 2nd. prize of the contest “Il Mare a Milano” in May 2006 in Milan/Italy (see also Awards) and was sponsored by the Italian travel agency and Red Sea specialist Mar Rosso. The trip started with a meeting of the party at Malpensa Intl. airport of Mailand and a flight with Saudi Arabian Airlines. The service on board, the individual entertainment system with integrated monitor in front of each seat as well as the quality of catering were excellent even though they didn’t offer alcohol on board. After the arrival in Jeddah and a 3 hour transfer to a marina in Al Lith, South of Jeddah, the group entered the MY Dream Voyager.
The next morning at 6.00 a.m. the ship started its 2 475 HP strong Diesel engines to move directly towards Farasan Banks. It is equipped with many systems like GPS, radar, sonar as well as satellite telephone to ensure a safe navigation and for availability in case of emergency on the open sea at anytime. The cabins were a little small but individually climatised by AC.
The Philippino crew on board did a great job! At anytime they excelled in all issues like help to put on the equipment or to get in and out the water, they ensured a perfect stay on board.
Diving! The Farasan Banks lies app. 40 km West off the shore of Al Lith (250 km South of Jeddah) and offers an absolutely untouched underwater world. The reefs are in best condition and littered with hard and soft corals. Huge shoals of reef fish, Barrakudas and Mackarels are there and even Dolphins can be met under water. The drop offs are exciting and often reach depths below 200 m. But even above water there are many things to discover. Besides breeding sea birds we met a sea turtle just laying her eggs into the sand - a great experience!
Following the dive safari we visited a part of the historical district of Jeddah’s centre. During archaeological excavations they frequently find relics of the historical past. Recently they discovered cannons of the 15th. century from the defence against the Portuguese aggressors. The historical houses built of coral stones and wood are protected by the government and can only be restored with authentic material.
The temperature changed between 23° and 30° Celsius above water and between 25° and 27° Celsius under water. The climate was quite comfortable and it rained only one time in combination with a storm (level 8).
Pick-up from airport
Departure with the “MY Dream Voyager”
towards Farasan Banks
Sea Turtle digging a nest
Tired she has to do a break
Fish Eagle’s eggs
Red Sea Gannet with chick
“MY Dream Voyager”
...and sometimes under water
Amazing, kid with mother
Preperation of the briefing
Let’s go diving!
Roof of the reef, view from bottom
Variable Coral Crab
Red Coral Crab
Good dive, everyone’s happy
Women have to wear black robes
Historical district of Jeddah
Historical buildings built with...
...corals and wood
Sunset in Jeddah
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