25 Years of cruising the Red Sea
The Ghazala I, the ‘mother of all Red Sea liveaboards’, is celebrating its 25th birthday this year.
Built in 1987, the Sinai Divers vessel was something of a sensation. To build and operate such a boat in Egypt at the time was a brave, expensive decision but the years since have proved that it was the right one.
Until the arrival of Ghazala I, the boats used for diving safaris were regular dayboats, catering to a rapidly increasing number of divers.
The concept of Ghazala I was to supply everything a diver needed for one or two weeks of diving without having to return to shore. Air-conditioned cabins, three showers and WCs, a salon and a fresh water maker to allow generous use of showers and rinsing of cameras & equipment were considered at the time to be the ultimate in luxury diving, seen before only on liveaboards in Australia and the Caribbean.
The demand for such a boat was high and once Ghazala I was advertised worldwide, she became fully booked in a very short space of time.
Most of the first clients came from the US and over the years, many well known names of the Diving World cruised the Red Sea on Ghazala I.
1995 saw her first major overhaul which included new generators and air conditioning units, and in 2004 she went to dry dock for an eight-month long total refit.
All cabins were redesigned with private showers and WCs, new and more powerful generators to guarantee fully-charged strobes and hot & cold water around the clock, along with a membrane system for Nitrox production (Nitrox for free programme) were added. Her length was increased to 28 metres to allow for a much larger diving area and platform.
She is still cruising the northern Red Sea, operating out of Sharm el Sheikh.
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