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Red Sea shipwreck
The Thistlegorm - World War II supply ship

Why Dive the Red Sea?

  • Close proximity to Europe with connections to all the main European cities.
  • Can be dived year round, very hot in summer and temperate in winter.
  • Water temperature never drops below 23 degrees centigrade and can go as high as 30 degrees centigrade in summer
  • Hurgada , Sharm El Sheikh and Eilat are resort towns that have been specifically developed for diving
  • Hurgada, Sharm El Sheikh and Eilat are all situated near some of the best dive sites in the Red Sea, each offering a view of the different features of this underwater kingdom.
  • On a liveaboard you can combine the best of the Red Sea dive sites.
  • National Parks have been established to preserve this pristine underwater wonderland.
  • Dive several world famous wrecks including the Thistlegorm and Dunraven near Ras Mohammed.
  • With an width of 350km at it's widest point and a length of 2350km the Red Sea is protected from the stronger Indian Ocean currents and supports a prolific variety of corals and aquatic life.
  • 20% of endemic fish species
  • More than 400 species of coral have been recorded to date in the Red Sea.
  • Spectacular walls and drop off's
  • Crystal visibility creates the feeling of being suspended in air rather than water.

Dive Sites: Wreck dives:

SS THISTLEGORM

A few miles to the northeast of Shag Rock is the is the southern tip of the reef of Sha'hb Ali. This is the resting place of the S.S. Thistlegorm. The Thistlegorm is a World War II supply ship that was carrying ammunition and supplies to an English Battalion in Egypt . She was sighted by an Italian submarine and bombed at anchor by a German aircraft. The ship sank after the stern section was ripped out by the explosion and the explosion of the ammunition stowed below.

The Thistlegorm lies in three pieces in 28 m of water, the bow is 12m below the surface. This 150m long ship is full of trucks motorcycles and even a railway engine. On the stern deck there is a large anti-aircraft gun. There is prolific sea life on her decks with sightings of huge groupers and barracuda. Take a look at the sand where you are sure to see the well camouflaged crocodile fish. Schools of bannerfish take refuge in the mangled center section of the ship.

THE DUNRAVEN

At Beacon Rock in 28 meters of water lies the Dunraven. She was carrying a cargo of cotton when she hit the reef and sank. On descent, you will encounter the ship's stern at 28 meters wit the huge screw and rudder pointing towards the surface. The ships keel is practically intact and covered with coral. A few Malabar groupers have chosen the ship as their home and in the central area of the holds, one can see the great coal boiler around which tiny glassies provide a remarkable show swimming amidst the shafts of light that filter through the hull. On the sea bed stretching towards the open sea, are the two masts, with the crows nest still visible.

Dive sites: Other:

RAS MUHAMMED

SHARK REEF

Shark Reef is the ultimate wall dive. It is like an underwater petting zoo, as Napoleons, parrotfish and triggerfish compete for handouts. On the ocean side, vast schools of pelagics patrol the deeper water looking for prey. Look up occasionally to see the huge schools of jacks, batfish, unicorn fish, or barracuda, darkening the surface like a living cloud.

This is one of the best places in Sinai to observe sharks. Hammerheads are common from May to October, as are oceanic whitetips. Winter is the mating season for sharks: grays, whitetips and blacktips are likely to be encountered. There are caves, overhangs and sea fans in great concentration on this reef. Making it a beautiful spot for observing reef fish. Black surgeonfish and large schools of snappers often gather. At least two stonefish are permanent residents.

Around Shark Reef, one continues along the reef in a clockwise direction to the saddle between the two reefs. On the saddle, look for the toilets that were dumped by a supply ship. Another point to explore in the Ras Muhammed area is Anemone City , which lies about 100 meters to the northeast of Shark Reef. Here on a shelf ranging from 16 - 20m is an unbelievable quantity of enormous anemones surrounded by two bar anemone fish and dominoes. Such a gathering of these alluring anemones in just under 100 square meters is without a doubt unparalleled on the planet.

At Fisherman's' Bank look out towards the sand and you will see a garden of eels rising from the sand. Look carefully amongst the coral for the elusive little pipefish. They mimic the coral background making it very difficult to see them.

THE TEMPLE

Two coral columns rise from the sand with the larger one almost reaching the surface. It is split by a crevice with sea fans and soft corals. The lush growth, the colours and the reef fish make this an excellent site for photography. As it is sheltered, it is also good for night dives.

Look in the smaller crevices for sleeping parrotfish and in the larger caves for sleeping napoleons. Resident reef creatures include angelfish, parrotfish, puffers, triggerfish and lionfish. You are also likely to see a Spanish dancer, a huge resident moray, and the occasional cuttlefish.

RAS UMM SID

This is the favorite dive spot of many Sinai divers. Divide your attention between the open water and the reef. This is one of the few places to observe mantas in the summer months. Shark and turtle can be seen throughout the year. A spectacular array of sea fans grow from the wall starting in the shallow water and continuing past 40 metres. Torpedo rays, crocodile fish and blue spotted stingrays hide in the sand patches.

STRAITS OF TIRAN

Four large coral reefs stand between the islands and the Sinai coast, lined up North to South. They comprise the Straits of Tiran, a navigable passage only about 800m wide yet 760m deep.

JACKSON REEF

Marked by a large freighter which has run aground on its northern end. It is like a circus of fish, all competing for your attention. Shallow water photographic opportunities are excellent especially over the vast field of fire coral trees on the top of the reef. Dense schools of goldfish flit around the coral heads, while scorpionfish can be found in the crevices. In the sandy patches look for small blacktip groupers, about a foot long. Sergeant majors, angels, butterflyfish, parrotfish, and tiggerfish will vie for your attention as well, while schools of jacks darken the water overhead. The soft corals are outstanding, among the richest in Sinai.

SHARK LOOKOUT

This is where Jackson and Woodhouse reefs meet. Be sure to look on the outside water for cruising sharks. White and blacktips, hammerheads and leopard sharks might be encountered.

WOODHOUSE

This is a long narrow reef sloping gradually onto the sand. Large gray tube sponges project form the wall. Fish life consists mostly of reef fish, although eagle rays, sharks, and turtles sometimes cruise along the wall. At 30 m there is a small satellite reef, separated from the main one by a narrow canyon. The outside of the reef is a better area, with a large overhang, large black coral trees, and several caves.

THOMAS REEF

This is an advanced dive as there are no places to hide from the currents. It is also a drift dive, done when there are no strong winds. The strong currents give the diver a feeling of flying along the wall. The best scenery is at 15-25m, so there is no need to go deep. Here soft corals and sea fans are outstanding. The wall is sheer, with many coral outcrops and overhangs. Be sure to look occasionally for cruising sharks, jacks, and tunas. This is one of the best places in the Red Sea to observe sharks, usually cruising about 5m below the diver. Moving around the reef the scenery changes as the soft corals give way to a seascape dominated by fire corals on the south-facing side. A network of shallow caves, form 27 m to the surface, house colourful fish and invertebrates. This is an exciting, high-energy dive.

GORDON REEF

Is a shallow, big, flat formation. A freighter has run aground on the north end and looks as though is has parked there, just like on Jacksons reef. The reeftop is protected from currents, so topography is dominated by small outcrops and table corals. Small gray morays love in the crevices. Occasionally sharks may swim through this area. Cargo from a 1950s shipwreck is scattered about the reef. This is a good night dive spot, when there is no wind.

NAAMA BAY

NEAR GARDEN

Near Garden is the closest diving spot north of Naama Bay . A relaxed, low-key dive for all levels of ability. Its best features are the coral formations and sand-dwelling organisms which make it an excellent place for closeup photography. The reef table drops off to a sandy bottom at 8 meters, that gradually slopes 35 meters. Small outcrops with fan and table corals dot the slope. Look beneath the corals for bottom-dwelling crocodile fish, stingrays, and starfish. Jacks, unicorn fish, and baracudas often swim by the point. A resident Napoleon cruises by divers, expecting handout. Accessibe from the beach or by boat, Near Garden offers views of nearly all Red Sea life. At the edge of the dropoff, in 20 or 30 meters, look for large black coral trees and even larger gorgonian fans. If diving from a boat, swim the dropoff in an easterly direction from the mooring.

FAR GARDEN

Only reachable by boat. This sloping wall has a few coral outcrops where Anthias aggregate around coral formations and sea fans. The reef fish are found concentrated around these formations, making this a good area for both closeup and wide-angle photography. There are also some interesting caves between 5 and 15 meters. The safe, easy anchorage makes Far Garden an excellent spot for night diving. Be sure to look out for Spanish Dancers as you are almost certain of seeing one.

THE CATHEDRAL

This is a deeper part of Far Garden , recommended for advance divers only! The reef slopes to a depth of 35 meters where an overhang forms a deep cave. Whip corals and large white soft corals surround the arching entrance, making it seem like the doorway to cathedral. The cave extends for some 18 meters back into the reef, but the entrance can be seen at all times. Large moray eels inhabit the area, and interesting pelagics sometimes swim by.

THE STRAIT OF GUBAL

SHAG ROCK REEF

At the southern end of Sha' ab Ali. The reef itself is some 500 yards lining by 100 yards wide. A steep wall drops to a sandy shelf at 28 meters. Along its face are several small, well-hidden caves. Inside, nurse and whitetip sharks often sleep by day before roaming the reef to feed at night. Sometimes they lie on top of one another inside the caves. Look on the Sandy shelf for guitar sharks. Nurse sharks, leopard sharks and an occasional turtle. Due to the current, this is often a drift dive. On the northern end of the reef, about 18 meters deep, lies a wreck, perhaps a hundred years old. Only the framework of the stern section remains, but it makes a good background for photographs. Big moray eels and many table corals can be seen around the wreck. It is divable only when the northerly winds aren't blowing.