MARSA ALAM SEASCOPE SEMI-SUBMARINE EXCURSION
You can book by emailing Steven@marsaalam.com or contacting him via WhatsApp on +201284332337.
So, you would love to see Marsa Alam’s virgin coral reefs and exotic fish from deep down, but perhaps you are a family with young children or you might be a tad nervous about all those scary marine creatures (jellyfish, sea scorpions, sharks etc) or perhaps even the world’s warmest sea (measured by year round average temperatures) isn’t quite warm enough for you.
These are all reasonable excuses to leave the snorkelling equipment at home and opt instead for the comfort of the observation deck on a semi-submarine.
HOW TO PERSUADE YOUR HUSBAND
Just trick him with the submarine word. Say that it will be a little like the film “Das Boot” without depth charges but more exciting because this “submarine” has windows. You’re not sure if you get to fire any torpedoes or watch bathing beach beauties through a periscope but that you will see a lot of colourful fish and possibly even sharks, sea cows and turtles.
SO WHAT IS THE SEASCOPE SEMI-SUBMARINE ?
The Seascope semi-submarine, despite is name, is just a ship but with a submerged passenger viewing deck, equipped with comfortable swivel seats, located in its’ deep hull some three metres below sea level from which you can look down at the seabed though large clear panoramic windows.
In real submarines large windows are not usually possible due to the problems of pressure at depth but because the viewing deck of the semi-submarine is close to sea level it is able to make extensive use of glass to create an experiene for the passenger similar to scuba diving – without the need for any lessons or the risks of diving !
AND WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ?
It’s the perfect way to see the spectacular sea life of the coral reef without even getting wet. And it’s a view no visitor to Marsa Alam can afford to miss.
The Red Sea is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. A beautiful ecosystem which is far older than the Pyramids and which is one of the world’s most important marine habitats. Due to its’ extensive coral reefs, low coastal population densities and year round high temperatures, the Red Sea supports a vast range of marine life.
It is host to more than a thousand species of fish, many of them not known anywhere else in the world as well as two hundred species of coral, 150 types of crustaceans (crabs, lobsters etc) and many other exotic creatures such as the dugong sea cow, the moray eel and the hammerhead shark.
An excursion on the Seascope can be an empowering experience offering a vital holistic view of nature – both a great learning opportunity and giving you invaluable memorable moments of the beauty of Marsa Alam’s famous reefs.
If you want to see in detail about some of the fish you might see – look at our Red Sea fish page.
HOW DO I GET A TICKET ?
The excursions operate from Port Ghalib marina, close to Marsa Alam airport. The price includes your transfer from your hotel (providing it is located within 50 km which includes most Marsa Alam hotels.) if you book with local agent Steven (firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp +201284332337) he may be able to get you the following prices – but please check first.
- Adults just 40 euro.
- Children (2-15 yrs) 22 euro.
Steven can also arrange a private air conditioned taxi (you would normally be picked up by a minibus) to pick you up from your hotel for only a small extra charge. The boat trip takes around 90 minutes and departs twice daily at 8am and 10am.
WHAT’S IT LIKE ON BOARD ?
When you arrive you will be offered a welcome drink on the upper deck and after about 15 minutes sailing, once the coral reefs are reached, you can descend to the air conditioned underwater observation deck.
The Captain has years of experience in locating the best spots for watching marine life and you will be accompanied by a friendly guide narrator who will entertain you with interesting facts and true stories about all the local marine life you see.
Both boats that operate from Port Ghalib are well maintained and clean and there are toilets if you need them. If you wish to spend any time on the above water-level upper deck, it also has seats and while on most boats they are partly shaded, you can opt for a sunny spot if you wish to enhance your sun tan.
There are two semi submarines which operate from Marsa Alam. They are both large vessels of between 20 and 36 metres in length and designed to safely and comfortably carry between 50 and 123 passengers depending on type. The Nefertari is the largest of the two (36 metres) with its upper deck designed to appear like an ancient Egyptian temple and its waiters dressed as Pharaohs. The other is the yellow Royal Seascope, which is also a comfortable and spacious sea going vessel and they are just two of 24 such vessels operated by Egypt Sunmarine.
Since 1996 over six million passengers have enjoyed excursions operating from Marsa Alam, Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Taba, Hurghada, Safaga, Makadi Bay, Soma Bay and El Gouna without any major accident or incident.
My understanding is that each state of the art vessel is equipped with all the latest navigational and safety equipment and all employees are given safety induction training when they start work, however please do check to confirm with Egypt Submarine regarding all the latest details of their safety measures.
WHAT TO TAKE ?
A camera is a must to capture those once in a lifetime encounters – It’s also great for children to be able to use for school projects once they return home. If you don’t have one, you should be able to purchase a disposable camera in your hotel or a better quality camera in El Quseir. However it’s much better to bring one with you.
If you forget your camera, the crew often take photos and video of the tour and offer them at the end for reasonable prices.
Another essential is either your passport or a photocopy of it in case it’s needed to be briefly inspected by officials on your return to the marina.
Choice of clothing is also important. It’s best to dress casually and comfortably and to avoid high heels which might cause you to slip once on board.
Unfortunately the observation deck is accessible only down some fairly steep steps. However please email email@example.com and ask for advice. If it’s at all possible he will be only too happy to help with advice and if necessary liaise with the company on your behalf.
OTHER IMPORTANT TIPS
The boat can sometimes rock slightly in very rough weather. This is normal and is not a safety issue but if you are susceptible to sea sickness it’s best to check the forecast for a reasonably calm day. If in doubt sea sickness tablets and sick bags are kept on board and if you feel at all unwell it’s usually best to leave the observation deck if you don’t mind missing out on the sights and take a breather and a rest on the upper deck.
The company has won several awards including “The Golden Medal Award” for quality of service from Tui Travel (Europe’s largest tour operator which owns Thomson and First Choice) in 2006 and 2007 as well as an award of excellence in 2012 from Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism.
As of 12 February 2021, the Seascope semi-submarine was ranked significantly above average at #21 out of 77 for boat tours, outdoor activities and water sports in Marsa Alam, while Steven’s Taxis (which might be able to organize tickets) was ranked at an unbeatable #1 out of 77 based on over 300 reviews. The semi-submarine excursions were ranked reasonably highly by most tourists, with 73.5% rating the experience as either “very good” or “excellent” and just 9.2% rating it as “poor” or “terrible.”
Here are three of the more positive comments which were online as of 12 February 2021.