Sunday, August 7, 2011

Letters from Egypt: The New Barracuda False Advertisement

It's not as great as this picture would portray
I have now secured two different boats out of Porto Sukhna for a 24-hour fishing excursion on the Red Sea and would highly recommend going. What I do not recommend is the New Barracuda boat that seems to be the most popular boat in the marina.

First of all, you can take a gander at its website and say, “Wow, this boat looks phenomenal,” but remember, you are in Egypt and pictures can be deceiving (and/or taken over a decade ago). I wish I would’ve taken photos to counter their website, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.

The boat costs LE 2,100, to be paid in advance (usually have to reserve the boat a month prior to the desired date) and fishing equipment also has to be prior to the day of departure. Each regular rod/reel costs LE 25 and you may have one large trolly reel at LE 100. The reservationist Hassan said that only one large trolly could be purchased for the boat because there was no space, but this is obviously not the case after seeing the boat.

Unlike the first boat that we took (Yusef Salem), the boat crew just stood and watched us unload all of our equipment without ever attempting to help. I’ve detailed the fishing part in the “False Advertisement #1,” but one of my major concerns is that when all of our group – minus myself – went to bed at around 8 pm, the captain came out and said to me that he wanted to dock the boat back at the marina because the water was too choppy (this was around 10:30 pm).

Dear New Barracuda staff and owner: if I wanted to stay at the marina, I would’ve just gotten a hotel room at the luxurious Porto Sukhna hotel and/or stayed at a friend’s flat in Ain Sukhna.

Then when I complained to the captain about the so-called fishing, his response: “This isn’t a fishing boat. This is for relaxation.” Then change your website and also let me know in advance so I can relax at the hotel since I could literally swim back to shore and I’m NOT that great of a swimmer.

False Advertisement #1:  “Fishing the Gulf of Suez”
When you first pull up the New Barracuda’s website, you find these words etched in the top. Funnily enough our boat captain Islam (also pictured on the website) refused to take us out of the Porto Sukhna bay and instead parked us between two barges because” trash from the barges would attract fish.” When that turned out to be incorrect, we asked to change locations. Rais Islam turned the boat in a 180 degree circle – I’m assuming he thought we wouldn’t notice just because the barges that were previously east/west and then north/south…

The first boat (Yusef Salem, price: LE 1,200) took us about 2-2.5 hours near Ras Sedr for fishing. When we wanted to swim, the boat also took us to another swimming location. What did the New Barracuda do? Had us swim amid a sea of jelly fish. Sign me up for THAT again.

Don’t be fooled by that large fish pictured on the homepage. The boat crew told us they had not caught a fish in years.
Lies, all lies

False Advertisement #2: Air Conditioned Suites/Bedrooms
If there was an AC, I failed to ever find it.

False Advertisement #3: Stainless Steel Swimming Ladder
While this isn’t AS important, it was not stainless steel yet wood.

False Advertisement #4: The various cookers
When you think of electric cookers, I’m almost certain you do not think they will be located on the floor of the so-called luxury boat with various sized roaches. I know I like roach pasta *shudder*

You could not use the upstairs bar since the two generators are from the 1940s and make such noise that you can’t hear the music and/or your friends’ conversations. And let’s not forget the refrigerator that had a broken door, didn’t cool and before we left the boat, the fishing line holding the door in place apparently gave way and voila – fridge without a door…now that’s useful.

I would never recommend this boat and its staff that was unwilling to remotely do what they were asked – especially given the nearly doubled price. The only positive of this boat was the space.

However, if you would like a boat that while not seemingly as luxurious, offers a wonderful staff, a great trip that is far away from Porto Sukhna’s marina, I highly recommend Yusef Salem. You may email me for the phone number (Arabic only).

The trip wasn’t horrible as it was the group that made it – as anything in life goes – but please pass this information along to any interested parties that may be thinking about reserving the New Barracuda. With the boat being in such “high-demand,” perhaps it’s time for the owner to make a few upgrades.

Please see: Renting Your OWN Private Yacht on the Red Sea for pictures and information about Yusef Salem boat (Letters from Egypt: Three Years Later)

FYI: Help Finding Medicine
I have added a Medical Corner page to give those of you new an idea of what to always have in your medicine cabinet. Make sure you check it out and if you have any other additional items that you feel pertinent, feel free to email me for inclusion.

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