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More on the Brothers
Reopening of the Brother Islands
From April 1996 to December 1998 the Brother Islands were closed by the Egyptian Government. Nobody knows the exact reason for closing these these sites.
In May 1998, the Brothers were theoretically reopened again. But the Egyptian Government made it so complicated it was impossible to reach the Brothers (you have to go in convoy of 4-6 boats with a so called park-ranger, who didn't exist).
But in December 1998 the first Brother diving trips were made regularly again.
It is very important to choose a reliable operator as a lot of travel agents promise to go to the Brothers but only a few boats have the license and the equipment to make a save trip to these remote islands. There have been occasions were operators tell you the weather is not good enough call off the trip when the true reason - of not having the right permits - is kept quiet. Just a few boats have a license to reach the Brothers (and the other Marine Park Islands). These license are given by the Egyptian Government and an organization called HEPCA.
The Marine Park Islands, including the Brothers, ( the others are: Daedalus Reef, Rocky Island and Zabargad) can be reached by a few boats only.
The boats who may visit these islands legally can be seen by clicking here!
From Safaga the trip to the Brother Islands will take 7 to 8 hours. Most of the time the boats - with the license - will cross over in the night reaching the Brothers in the early morning of the following day.
The history of the Big Brother
The lighthouse on Big Brother has its own history. Built by the English it was used for the first time on June 4th, 1883. The tower is 24 meters high and this was a big accomplishment according to the 'Illustrated London News'. Lighted by petroleum, the torch can reach up to 12 seamiles (20k) away.
The turning of the torch was done by a contra-weight made by the Change Brothers out of Birmingham/ England.
The material for building the lighthouse came directly from the island itself. People were forced to dig the coral stone from the north side of the island. You can still see this area. The 'slavepath' is the only path still existing; going from the place where the coral stone was digged to the lighthouse.
Up till today the lighthouse is still in use. The old Fresnel-lenses however have been replaced by modern technology.
The little concrete houses give shelter to the soldiers, who live here for 3 to 4 months at the time. I you're lucky you can visit the island. From the lighthouse you will have a marvelous look out over the Red Sea and Little Brother lying 1,6 kilometer up north.