the Degree Confluence Project

Egypt : al-Bahr al-Ahmar

16.8 km (10.4 miles) N of Ra's Abū Sawma (Cape), al-Bahr al-Ahmar, Egypt
Approx. altitude: 0 m (0 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreetMap ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 27°S 146°W

Accuracy: 60 m (196 ft)
Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: View to the East #3: View to the South #4: View to the Southwest #5: Panorama at the Confluence N-E-S-W-N #6: Closest approach #7: Not all Confluences are hard #8: The Idive team #9: On our way home #10: The happy confluencers

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  27°N 34°E  

#1: View to the West

(visited by William Meller, Amanda Meller, Penelope Meller, Jasper Meller, Mohamed Arafa and Wael Ahmed)

28-Nov-2022 -- Red Sea Adventure

After a week of touring ancient monuments and modern markets of one of the world’s oldest civilizations, it was time for a change of pace… and a confluence visit.

Sometimes these visits go easily, sometimes otherwise. It was surprising to us that there was still a primary confluence in such a populous and developed country, with a rich history and well-developed tourism industry. One could say that Egypt is the birthplace of tourism as visitors have been drawn to the Pyramids for as long as they have existed, 4500 years!

Much more recently the Eastern coast of Egypt on the Red Sea has become a popular tourist destination. Although it is several hundred kilometers from the Nile and Cairo, in the past 20 years this once barren coastline now boasts dozens of all-inclusive resorts catering to the sun seekers of Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. Not quite as well-known as Sharm al-Shaykh at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, just across the Gulf of Suez, Hurghada is accessible by land to Cairo and the older cities of Aswan and Luxor. It is also known as one of the premier wind and kite surfing destinations in the world because of its year-round warm water and steady breezes. Why had a confluence just a few kilometers off shore not yet been visited?

Just down the coast from Hurghada is the older town, and modern resort of Makadi Bay. And just off the coast of Makadi bay lies the confluence 27N 43 E, our goal.

We left the history and hustle of Luxor’s treasures and tourist traps, embarking on a 300-km drive across the desert to the coast. The four-hour journey took us through sun parched hills and dry river beds (wādiys). Our destination? A surprisingly luxurious resort hotel. A stark contrast to our usual accommodation, but the only option in this tourist-oriented area. At 75 USD a day, all inclusive, how could we refuse?We arrived just in time for lunch. And what a lunch. After a week of street food, Kushari!!, and every version of eggplant that one can imagine, the beautiful airy dining patio offered an impressive array of European and Egyptian cuisine, a feast we’d enjoy three times daily during our stay.

We had planned a three-day stay because, well, you never know how things are going to go. A walk along the shore, challenging because property rights allow each hotel to fence themselves off from the adjacent ones, revealed a lot of boats, fishing, dive boats, and a few motor yachts. Our goal was the IDive diving center at the north end of the bay. We had tried to contact them by phone but were unable to explain our mission sufficiently well to make the arrangements. “Come in and speak to the captain. He will let you know what he can do.”

That was enough for us. Jasper and I made our way to the Dive center late in the afternoon and waited for the boats to come in at the end of the day. When we explained the Degree Confluence Project to Mohamed Arafa, we saw the light go on quickly in his eyes. An adventure! Not just his usual day of taking tourists out for a dive but something different, to somewhere nearby that they had never been. Sure, he said, come by tomorrow morning and we will see what we can do.

Back to the hotel to let Amanda and Penelope know that the plans were made. A quick look at the weather promised smooth seas and little wind. A nice warm day. We would go for the confluence first and take it from there. We didn’t need to take much gear. Sun shirts, swimwear, snorkels and a few snacks.

The boat they provided was a 30-foot twin outboard that was really fast. Within a few minutes of leaving the bay we were doing close to 30 knots with a heading almost due east. 20 minutes later we slowed our approach and worked out some hand signals to allow Mohamed to steer directly to the Confluence. Very little swell, clear weather. Easy peasy.

It all went so quickly, we circled around for a while to decide what to do next. Not a hard decision as Mohamed and our snorkeling guide Wael were prepared to take us to some great dive spots on the way back.

We spent about an hour drift diving along a hundred-foot-deep vertical wall covered with coral. And then half an hour at a shallow reef hand feeding swarming schools of fish and then a few more stops on the way back into the harbor to look for turtles.

We were back by noon. One of the smoothest visits we have ever had. (Compare to Vanuatu or the Virgin Islands!!) And yet this visit gave us all of what we look for in confluence visits. A chance to do something a little out of the ordinary, a way off the beaten path. A chance to meet and collaborate with the people who know the locale best and make the world just a little bit smaller and a little bit more wonderful.

Our heartfelt thanks to all involved in making this adventure possible. Including those of you who started and keep the world shrinking Degree Confluence Project going.

 All pictures
#1: View to the West
#2: View to the East
#3: View to the South
#4: View to the Southwest
#5: Panorama at the Confluence N-E-S-W-N
#6: Closest approach
#7: Not all Confluences are hard
#8: The Idive team
#9: On our way home
#10: The happy confluencers
ALL: All pictures on one page
In the Red Sea, but with a view of land.