Many of the best diving destinations are located in Egypt. One, in particular, The Brother Islands.
The Brother Islands are known as one of the most famous scuba diving destinations in the world, and it really is no surprise as to why. These 2 small Islands, known as the Little Brother and Big Brother, often holds a place on every advanced divers bucket list.
These islands are not only famous for wonderful pristine corals these islands are also one of the best places in Egypt to dive with sharks, including, Oceanic Whitetips, Hammerhead Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, and Silvertip Sharks.
Scuba Diving at The Brothers
Egypt itself is so much more than just sand, pyramids, and ancient monuments. The country offers more than world wonders, especially for us scuba divers, it offers us the Red Sea.
History of the Two Brothers
The Two Brothers were a Nantucket whaleship that sank during the night of February 11th in 1823. The ships sank off of the French Frigate Shoals and were only discovered in 2008 by a team of marine archaeologists working on an expedition for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Due to the identity of the ship not being known immediately, the wreck was called “Shark Island Whaler”. The ship’s identification was announced by NOAA in February 2011, on the anniversary of the 188th of her sinking, as Two Brothers. The wreck is the first-ever discovery of a wrecked Nantucket whaling ship.
The first artifacts found at the wrecks include three try pots, two anchors, bricks and the remains of the ship’s rigging. In 2009 and 2010, expeditions with more artifacts were opened which displayed four cast iron cooking pots, harpoon tips, glass, ceramics, and blubber hooks.
Also referred to as Al Akhawein, the Brother islands are now a couple of small islands located in the Red Sea. One of them is called Big Brother and the other Little Brother. Numerous dives can be found throughout both of the islands.
Scuba Diving the Brothers
Scuba divers from all around the world come here throughout the year in order to experience some of the most alluring coral formations and reefs and astonishing wreck dives that the Red Sea has to offer.
The Brothers are two very small islands width-wise, both islands form a steep-sided cone shape, possibly formed by volcanic action caused by the spreading of the Red Sea rift. The Big Brother and Little Brother are only a 5 minutes boat journey apart. The larger Brother is home to a military manned lighthouse.
The scenery around the island makes for some wonderful diving and is often surrounded by wild currents. There is also a high chance of seeing sharks which guarantees a fantastic experience.
Egyptian authorities have acted to now protect the Brothers. The islands are regularly closed to divers and when open, a fee of 5 US dollars is charged per diver. This money is put towards protecting the marine environment.
The 3 Best Dive Locations Surrounding the Brother Islands
The Brother Islands are known as a world-famous scuba diving destination and offer some of the best diving in the Red Sea and in Egypt. These small islands gain their famous reputation for their incredible pristine corals and the high chances you have of diving with sharks!
Here are the 3 most popular dive destinations surrounding the Brother Islands.
1. The Aida
The Aida is a transport supply ship around 75 meters long and is a very popular wreck dive off of the island of Big Brother. It sank back in 1957 and can now be found at a depth of 30 to 60 meters.
At the deepest end of the wreck, large groupers can be found swimming over the hard and soft corals with an array of colorful marine life that can be found throughout the reef which has established itself over the years.
2. The Numidia
Often referred to as the Railway Wreck and also found off of Big Brother Island. This British wooden cargo ship sank in 1901 on a voyage on route to India which never met its end. Around 130 meters in length, you are still able to see two locomotive wheels that were on board when the ship went under.
The framework of the ship is now covered in beautiful corals and the reef that is has created is now full of life. Depths of this dive range from 8 to 9 meters.
3. Little Brother
Reef walls teeming with life surround the Little Brother Island. Further around the wall eventually gives way to a plateau where you can find grey reef and silvertip sharks at a depth of around 40 meters deep.
Some divers are lucky enough to see groups of hammerhead sharks. Other highlights include barracuda, black corals, massive gorgonian fans and tuna.
The Brothers Diving Conditions
As the Brother Islands are located in the middle of the Red Sea, around 150 km southeast of Hurghada and around 125 km north of Marsa Alam, they are only accessible by liveaboard. Most of the offered liveaboards visiting the Brother Islands start in Hurghada or Safaga.
You will need to be an experienced diver in order to dive the Brothers. This is due to the remoteness of the site’s location, its great depth, and strong currents. As it is a National Park, you must have at least 50 dives logged to embark on a Liveaboard.
The current on both walls tends to run from the north to the south, so dives are more than likely to end on either wall by the southern plateau which is a wide ledge around 20 meters or so deep.
Marine Life at The Brothers Islands
The Brothers dive location is a reef and is, therefore, an ideal location to spot and dive with sharks. The experience of diving with sharks is just one of the mind-blowing fish encounters that this destination has to offer.
During your dive at the Brothers, you will be able to encounter grey reef sharks, silvertip sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks and if you are lucky enough, schooling hammerhead sharks. Sites of the rare thresher shark have also been reported from time to time.
The Brother Islands are also home to some fantastic reef life, home to countless colorful reef fish, pelagic fish such as giant trevally, barracuda, tuna and even the magnificent giant manta ray. The vertical walls are covered with coral formations that are home to a spectacular fish population, making the islands diving an unforgettable and remarkable dive.
The Brother Islands are both amazing for seeing walls with unspoiled hard and soft coral. The underwater scenery it has to offer really is breathtaking and the diving out of this world. A well-deserved dive spot for our Top 12 Dive Destinations.
The Best Time to Visit The Brothers Islands
Diving at the Brothers is possible all year round. Although, June to August is the best season to dive at this location as this is when the sea is at its calmest. Shark population also seems to increase in May so this would be the best time to go if you are planning on diving with these amazing creatures.
Due to its offshore location, sea conditions can get worse and diving can be canceled due to rough sea conditions. During the winter, from November to March, the sea conditions are often worse and increase the chances of liveaboard trips being canceled.
As it is an exposed spot with no shelter for boats to be able to moor up in, good weather is crucial to be able to dive at the Brothers. Anchoring is forbidden at this location therefore permanently fixed buoys are used for mooring. In cases of very bad weather, these permanently fixed buoys can be swept away.
Most divers tend to book a place on a liveaboard out of Hurghada. There are options to make your own way independently to Hurghada and join a boat when you get there, or some people prefer to book a complete package from home before they arrive. A trip from Hurghada to the Brothers Islands normally takes around 8 hours.