Most tourists who come to Makadi Bay stay in all-inclusive hotels, sit by the pool all day drinking watered-down beer, and overindulge in huge mediocre buffets. Egypt is more expensive than Turkey for lower quality — generally a poor value for money. So why bother with Makadi Bay? The snorkeling!
You certainly can’t find that in Turkey!
Ferda and I avoided the all-inclusive trap by renting an apartment (with kitchen, heat, hot water, washing machine) in the Stella di Mare resort complex. I guess people buy these places as investments or vacation homes or something, but except for the reefs Makadi Bay has no attraction for me. Our home was one of these:
Other resorts around the bay might look like this:
We cooked our own meals and snorkeled twice a day. Both the water (19°C) and air (highs 12-22°C) felt cold the whole time we were there. It ranged from windy (22km/hr) to very windy (45+km/hr), the wind being more of a problem than the cool temperatures.
Stella has a ~300m pier facilitating access to their large, excellent reef. However, it still takes some time (8-15 minutes) to swim out to the good stuff, and it’s exposed to the wind. On the protected north side of the bay we snorkeled at Jaz Makadina and Sunrise Tucana. The reef at Stella is definitely better. I say “their” reef because Makadi Bay beaches and reefs sort of belong to the hotel they’re in front of. It’s not a warm welcoming feeling that you get walking around the bay, snorkeling in different spots. This is sad.
The snorkeling highlight at Stella is the hard coral.
Of course we saw some fish and other animals as well. Please correct my misidentifications below.
One of the more exciting sightings was this pair of spotted eagle rays.
Ferda and I on separate occasions in very different places once each saw surprisingly large eels (giant moray?). The one I saw startled me. Ferda’s was heading into the reef to hide.
On our last full day in Makadi Bay our friend Philipp showed up in the afternoon, and we had time for one snorkeling session together.
That’s when we had an even better sighting of an even bigger spotted eagle ray.
Philipp caught the ray on video. Let me know if that link doesn’t work. I might be able to fix it.
Wow, that was fun.
Makadi Bay was the fifth place I’ve snorkeled in the Red Sea, and it was the best I’ve seen. However, it’s also the longest I’ve stayed in any one place. For the record (since I’m comparing) other places include Jordan near the Saudi border, Nuweiba, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.
Since it’s all about the snorkeling, I’ll end with more underwater photos.