Elphinstone

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Small Giftun, Egypt, 8/2-2012

N27°11.173´
E033°58.714´

Sailing distance made: 7020 nautical miles

After four weeks out at sea, we are now back at the Giftun islands, east of Hurghada. During our time at sea, we have spent both day as well as night out at reefs and smaller bays.


This time, I want to share some of our experiences, as well as photos, that we got during our time at Elphinstone reef.


Elphinstone is a reef in the open sea at 12km off the shore. This 300 meter long reef is well known for its god drift diving.

However, this off shore reef is quite exposed to wind in all directions. So to be able to work there we truly need
calm weather...

After many days with lots of winds and heavy seas we are really happy when the weather is getting calmer and gives us the great opportunity to sail over to Elphinstone! :)




When we arrive at the reef, it does not take a long time before we enter the water...



The diving here is drop-off with huge walls mainly covered by soft corals.





During our dives we see lots of different kind of marine life in variable shapes and colours. But our main reason why we have been sailing over here is that we hope to find sharks...



Elphinstone is known to be a god spot for different shark species. With many days of good weather, we so hope we will have a chance to find the widely known oceanic whitetip shark...




At the south plateu we get nice encounters with shoals of barracudas.



Between our dives we always have a good look out at the surface around the boat. Who knows, there might be a shark close by...

Suddenly, we see a massive shadow beneath the surface. There is no doupt, it is a oceanic whitetip shark in the water!!!

And with shark in the water it does not take many minutes before we are there too...



First we see the shark in distance, but slowly it is coming closer...




The oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) is a large pelagic shark, with a maximum length of 4 metres.



This opportunistic shark species is suspected to be responsible for many fatal attacks on humans.

However, as for all shark species, the oceanic white tip is far more threatened by humans than the other way around...

New studies show steeply declining populations because of both being directly targeted for human consumption (where the large fins are highly valued in shark fin soup), as well as being a common bycatch species in pelagic fisheries.

Recently, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, moved the oceanic whitetip sharks to 'vulnerable' status...



It is a huge experience to see this impressive predator so close. While watching us, the shark is circulating with slow, but powerful, movements.

It seem to be a little bit curious about us, but after a while it slowly disappear into the big blue pelagic ocean...











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