Egypt: Red Sea - Dive Sites - The Brothers: Big Brother

The Brothers: Big Brother



By Boat

By swimming

By Live-aboard

All Divers






In the central Red Sea, about 67km (36 nautical miles) east of El Quseir


By live-aboard from any Red Sea port

Average Depth:

25m (80ft)

Maximum Depth:

70m+ (230ft+)

Average Visibility:

20m (65ft)

The Brothers are a pair of tiny islands. Actually they are the exposed tips of two massive reef pillars that rise from the abyssal depths. They are the only significant reefs in the area, and as such act as a magnet for any pelagic and reef fishes. Washed as they are by the full force of open-sea currents, they support an incredible dense and diverse coral population, with almost overwhelmingly profuse soft coral growth on all sides.

Big Brother, the larger of the two, lies about 1km (0.6 miles) north of its sibling. It is an oblong landmass some 400m (1312ft) long, easily identified by its Victorian stone lighthouse, a legacy of British rule. A narrow reef table round the islands shore gives way almost immediately to a sheer vertical wall, dropping well past the limits of sport diving. Absolutely fantastic coral growth begins at the surface and continues unabated into the depths.

Gorgonians, sea whips, antipatharians and, above all, a wealth of soft corals of every conceivable species flourish in the big currents. The stony corals are also well represented.

The fish life here is more than impressive, ranging from the tiniest anthias in the shallows to the most impressive sharks in the depths offshore.

Big Brother also boasts a wreck on its northwest side, lying fairly deep. The bow is at 30m (100ft) and the stern is at least 40m (130ft) deeper, too deep for the average diver, especially this far from the nearest recompression chamber. The wreck, the Aida, is said to be a troop transport which went down in 1957. She sits upright on the steep slope, so covered with soft coral that the hull and superstructure look like some bizarre topiary. It is possible to penetrate the wreck, but given the depth, great care should be taken.

Less than 100m (330ft) north of the Aida, a second, much older wreck lies in shallow water. Marked by a collection of strange, spoked wagon wheels where the bow section smashed into the reef at about 9m (30ft), the ship descends from the shallows to a maximum depth of 40m (130ft) where the hull is split. The stern section is said to lie still further below. She sits more or less upright and is completely covered in a gorgeous array of soft corals.

This is one of the most amazing dives in the Red Sea. Some safaris spend a week or more here. The reefs isolated position makes it a rare treat for a privileged few divers.

Back to Dive Sites in Egypt

Last Updated: May 30th, 2011