Diving in the Red Sea. Hamata, Egypt, November 2011.

Egypt: Hamata, between sea and desert

  Egypt: Hamata - Red Sea - November 2011

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

I've just returned from Egypt. A vacation interlude, in the south of the country, by the Red Sea, far from the troubles of the Tahrir Square... A whole trip dedicated to underwater photography!

Underwater photo

For once, I, the fan of the solo tripI went in a group! But be careful, not just any group : divers photographers, like me. The trip was organized by the P'tit forum of the photo-subI have been using it more and more since I invested in a waterproof housing for my Canon Eos 7D.

We met on November 26, shortly before dawn, at Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport.

Charles-de-Gaulle Airport, Terminal 3.
Charles-de-Gaulle Airport, Terminal 3.

For once, I wasn't the only one to trick the check-in counters, to get cameras, lenses, domes and portholes out of the dreaded hand luggage weighing... In a group, solidarity plays a big role! We quickly organized discreetly our small traffic of heavy objects towards the back of the line, in order to present a lighter bag to the scale... Hey, hey!


The plane took off over Paris in the glowing sky. Five hours later, we landed in Marsa Alam. We had to endure another two hours of minibus ride, before reaching our goal: Hamata.

Take off at dawn ...
Take off at dawn ...

Cape Hamata

I came back enchanted from this little one week stay in Hamata, between the azure of the Red Sea and the ochre expanses of the desert.

On the program, two dives per day, under the radiant Egyptian sun. A pleasure that I fully enjoyed, too happy to escape the winter greyness installed in our countries...

The coral at the water's edge in the Red Sea, off Hamata. (Egypt, November 2011.)
The coral in the Red Sea, off Hamata (Egypt, November 2011.)

From Egypt, I would have seen only the underwater area called Fury Shoals. Superb coral reefs, off the resort Wadi Lahmy Azur, where our little band was housed.

Mid-air half-water ... The coral and our boat. Hamata, Red Sea, Egypt, November 2011.
Mid-air half-water ... The coral and our boat. Hamata, Red Sea, Egypt, November 2011.

I'm sorting out my photos... I've just unveiled my brand new fisheye lens, the Tokina 10-17, and its brand new mini-dome.

Thanks to these additions, I brought back images that are different from the ones I usually make while diving. As a foretaste, I'm proud to show you, opposite, my first half-air half-water picture !!!

I really appreciated the philosophy of this diving trip, focused on photography. Non-divers don't realize it, but underwater, nothing is more pleasant than to be in a homogeneous group, moving at the same pace, with the same desires.

So I found myself with people who like long, quiet, contemplative dives as much as I do, where you can dawdle at your leisure to adjust the settings of your camera... In short, happiness!!! And then, back on the boat, we exchange tips and tricks, we see each other's pictures, we glean ideas... It makes you progress!

I'll be back very soon to tell you about the rest of this little Egyptian trip, and, above all, to show you some pictures of the incredible underwater landscapes of Hamata...


  Egypt: Hamata - Red Sea - November 2011

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  1. Egypt, group travel, so many firsts! And what's more, it looks like you really enjoyed it! A lack of macro perhaps, but I'm just as proud of your half-air-half-water photo as you are! Bravo!!! 😉

  2. @Manta: In fact, this isn't exactly my first time in Egypt. I had already been there a few years ago, as part of a press trip, to meet archaeologists and divers from the CNRS who were working in the Bay of Alexandria... fascinating!!!!
    But this is my first time diving in the Red Sea. And, as you say, I've done very little macro. But you'll see, in future posts, the fisheye photos are worth the detour. And we were even lucky enough to swim with schools of dolphins at Sataya... I'm preparing the video. In short, a really great little stay in Hamata!!!!

  3. Ah, diving in the Red Sea ...
    And diving between photographers !!!
    What a pleasure, no more obstacle courses, pedaling and distance running! Quiet, contemplative (I love that word), and less of a consumer as a result. I can't wait to see the photos.

    Thank goodness for FB, because I can't seem to subscribe to the blog!

  4. So, what are the members of the P'tit forum like?
    There are animals in there, you must have learned a few tricks?
    But then, we're still a little hungry, just one photo, how can we justify buying a Tokina 10-17? 😆

    @bloc18: Excuse me, but I'm very late for the validation of the sites on my directory 😥.

  5. @ Bloc18: There, you've got it all figured out... Happiness!!!! 😀
    To subscribe to the blog, you have two options:
    1 -> receive an e-mail alert for each new post, by registering via the form at the end of this link: http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=petitesbullesdailleurs/blog&loc=fr_FR
    2 -> save the RSS feed at the end of this link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/petitesbullesdailleurs/blog

    @Laurence: I'm preparing the photos, patience... As it's also back to work, I don't have much time. But it will come... 😉

    @Alimata: I have to say it was a really great group. It's so good to finally feel understood, to share the same sub-photographic whims with others... For once, I wasn't considered a curious beast, with all my gear, on the boat... 😆
    I'm delighted with the Tokina 10-17. And I've even got the photos to prove it (I'll be showing them soon). In fact, I've hardly left it. I only took my macro lens once during the whole stay!!!! 🙄

  6. All the technical side leaves me pretty indifferent, although I know that to make beautiful pictures (which is the case of small bubbles), it takes good stuff!
    But what I like best in all this is the quiet, serene, calm, peaceful and contemplative side - I use the same vocabulary when I walk! 😉

  7. @Robin: Very flattered... 😆
    The problem is that this period is during the presidential election, you see. So I might have to work a bit at that time... 😡 I can't see myself taking time off from the duck, it's not a good time to take time off at all!!!! So, no, I won't be taking part in this outing.

  8. I'd be up for the next session: people call me an underwater tramp too, and sometimes look at me funny with my two flashbulbs. how do you sign up for these group trips?

  9. @PJ: They are there -> https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/photo-fisheye-egypte-mer-rouge-20111207/

    @ Nadège: Hi there!!! 🙂 I've posted some photos (follow the link I gave Robin, just above).

    @Ysbilia: Yes, diving in these conditions is soothing and serene, just the way I like it!!!!

    @Melissa: Yes, I haven't done any, but apparently it's good for snorkelers too. The hotel's house-reef is said to be very good.

    @Robin: It happens on the Petit Forum de la photo sub. You need to register, then go to the "Workshops, courses and outings" -> section. http://forum-photosub.fr/forum/viewforum.php?f=15
    The next outing is organized with "Chercheurs d'eau" and will take place in April-May ->. http://forum-photosub.fr/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5910

  10. @corinne: thank you for this information, but will you be the next release in April / May? ❓
    I have to admit that with my favorite blogger/siren, it would be even better!

  11. @corinne too bad! I'll wait until next year then! 😥
    I have 8 weeks to put down every year, it's hell to get there, so I jump at the slightest opportunity 😆
    by then, I'll be able to fit my 5D into a second-hand housing (hope)
    in any case, I'm now convinced by the "photographers only" stays (even though I don't usually like being in a monomaniacal tribe...).
    to try to make you jealous, I'm going to train this summer here : http://www.la-petite-kepa.com/Nah ! 👿

  12. pfff, I thought I'd found paradise lost and you already know: you're too good for me 😡
    but I'm not going to give up, I'll figure it out one day 😉 (I feel like I'm in "palace" and the groupama commercial...)

  13. Great report! 😀
    It reinforces my idea that there's a need for this type of outing...
    Trips simply to be able to take photos without having to chase after a pack of divers hungry for depth or kilometers underwater...
    For those who want to see or see the dolphins of Sataya and sites further south, a photosub trip in the same spirit will take place late 2012 => a combined cruise (a week half boat, half cruise) opinion to fans ... 8)

  14. @Thierry: Oops, your message had gone to the junk folder, so it took me a while to see it and validate it!
    I agree with what you say. For my part, I don't dive in the same way as I used to, I "choose" more according to the conditions in which I'll be able to dive, and I even try to organize it. In Bali, for example, this summer (I haven't written about it yet), I went back to the Tulamben / Amed area, to dive the Liverty wreck. I had taken the trouble to contact an Australian photographer-sub who lives there, who arranged everything according to my wishes: I had my Indonesian guide all to myself, during the week I spent there. How ideal!!!
    In any case, congratulations again on organizing these photo-sub oriented outings. I won't be able to join you in May, but I'm looking forward to future expeditions...

    @Block 18: You'll find information on these outings in the "Photo-sub workshops, outings, courses and trips" section of the Photo-sub Forum. Here's the link:

  15. Hello Corinne,
    you can stop doing us so much harm when the winter fog almost prevents me from finding the letters on my computer keyboard! No, but can you give a little thought to January's depressed 😀
    No, seriously, which agency did you go through to get there, I ABSOLUTELY have to check that you've seen THAT!
    Laurence (Komodo !!!!)

  16. @Laurence: Hey, hey!!! 😆 I'm copying and pasting below the reply I've already made to you via Facebook, which may also be of use to others!!! 😉

    I already explained a little earlier, in my article, that this is a trip organized through the "Petit forum de la photo sub". They organize several photosub-oriented outings a year, and regularly in Egypt. I believe the next trip, in association with "Chercheurs d'eau" magazine, is in April or May. You'll find the useful links in my reply to Robin above, inside this comment:

    The tour operator who arranges all this for them is Dive Spirit Travel.

    Otherwise, you can contact directly Thierry Rolland, who created the Small Forum of the Sub Photo, and who organizes all that.

    The link to the Hamata outing I attended: http://forum-photosub.fr/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5279

    The link to the next release in April-May 2012:

    The link to the October 2012 release (pretty close to what I did in November-December, I think, with the added bonus of a bit of cruising) :

    Voilà!!! I think with all that, you've got plenty to keep you busy!!!!
    Enjoy !!!

  17. Hello Corinne, bravo for this site which I'm going to look into. I'm a huge fan of Bonaire (8 one-month stays there) and I'm trying to wean myself off this place, which I recommend. I'm also a photo enthusiast, but "apnea". We go down (my wife is in on it) between 15 and 20 meters and we shoot as much as we can during our apneas. I have a question about Hamata. I'd like to know if, from the shore, without taking a boat, it's possible to find a bit of bottom (not just the classic 2 meters of the reefs), fauna and flora? Sorry to bother you with my question, but nothing beats experience. Sincerely Jean Michel Brault

    1. @Jean-Michel: hello, my stay in Hamata (Egypt) dates back to November 2011, and we went scuba diving exclusively, not from the shore, but with a boat, still offshore. So I have no idea how to answer your question... The best thing, I think, is to try to contact some local structures and ask them. You can also contact Thierry Rolland, from the website Forum-photosub.comwho organized the trip and knows the place better than I do. He also his personal website and is on Facebook. Good dives without bubbles !