into the blue

Egypt
Gift of the Nile

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GENERAL INFORMATION

In the diving world the Red Sea is listed as number one and Sharm El - Sheikh has the best that the Red Sea has to offer – crystal clear waters, abundant tropical sea life ranging from dolphins and sharks to feather-stars and gorgonian fan coral, not to mention the best wrecks, drifts and walls that you’ll ever dive. The winter season boasts excellent warm water diving with water temperatures in the mid-twenties. So frequented by divers from around the globe is Sharm that it has been known to be “too” busy on certain sites at certain times during the summer, thus making winter visits to Sharm El - Sheikh so much more of an experience, especially on sites such as the “Thistlegorm”one of the most famous and exciting wreck dives in the world.

DIVING AND SNORKELING IN SHARM EL - SHEIKH

The waters in and around the conservation area of Ras Mohammed National Park offers a visual feast for snorkelers and divers alike. No matter what your level of experience you can be guaranteed and abundance of incredible marine life on any one of our amazing sites. The visibility, typically well in excess of 30 metres allows for glimpses of the most reclusive of creatures and offers the chance to see far below into the depths whilst on one of the many deep wall dives.

Na’ama Bay is the tourist centre of Sharm El - Sheikh and boasts a beautiful sandy beach with warm clear water and a coral reef with an abundance of colourful marine life that begins only a few meters from the waters edge. Armed only with a mask and snorkel you can float safely and effortlessly in the warm waters, gliding just above the colourful coral reef and its many inhabitants.

RED SEA CORALS

Egyptian Red Sea supports about 200 species of reef building corals in about 50 genera.
Coral reefs are particularly well developed in the north and central Red Sea (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan). In the south, coral growth is inhibited because nutrient-rich water from the Indian Ocean enters the Red Sea, and because stratification is reduced by very strong winds caused by the high mountains near the coast. In this area, corals are less diverse and seaweeds grow on top of the coral reefs during the summer.

MARINE LIFE

The Red Sea itself, dotted with Coral reefs, fringed by ancient ports, teeming with under water life, has a rich maritime history which stretches back to Pharaonic times. Common sights here include Whale Sharks, Dolphins, Barracuda, Batfish, Grouper,Lion Fish and lots more. You have to check it out yourself and soon you will find out why the Red Sea is the number one dive destination.

red sea DIVE SITES

GENERAL

Sharm El - Sheikh is situated at the southernmost tip of the Sinai peninsula, in the Red Sea, between Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Our dives range from beach entry to live-aboard diving, each and every one of which teeming with the best and most abundant sea life you’ll ever see. With the amazing variety and number of sites to choose from it’s hard to know where to begin.

RAS MOHAMMED NATIONAL PARK


Ras Mohammed, the world famous national park that is situated on the southern-most tip of the Sinai, is home to some of the most famous and exciting dives you’ll ever do. The eastern coast of the Ras Mohammed park is composed of a tall fossil coral reef. On the Southern side on the sandy, shallow Hidden bay whose mouth is completely blocked by a long coral reef. The western side is low and sandy. Because of the geographic position this natinaol park area is disinguished for the strong, massive currents that transport large quantities of plankton and other food the give rise to an extraordinairy growth of soft and stoney corals and therefor attract large schools of both reef and pelagic marine fauna. Given the great abundance of food Tuna, Barracuda, Jackfish ans Sharks swarm in these waters. The park is proteced and fishing, spearfishing and mooring boats are not allowed. Therefor a splendid dive area and one the most famous spots in the world!

 

All dives at Ras Mohammed are drift dives. Within the park are sites such as:

Anemone City which lies at a depth of 12 metres to 20 metres. Here it is possible to examine the relationship between the clownfish and their hosts. You will find a large population of sea anemones within which the Red Sea Anemonefish make their home.

Jolanda Reef and Shark Reef whose vertical wall drops to an incredible 700 meters. Both sites can be explored on the same drift dive and are famed for their combination of adventure, fun and huge concentrations of marine life. The wall on Sharks reef is recognizable by the profile of some Gorgonians. If you look away from the reef into the blue you will easily spot huge schools of Barracudas, Emperors, Jackfish, Snappers and Batfish.

After this reef you will pass a sandy sadle with soft and hard coral formations, where we regulary spot Giant Moray eels, Napoleon fish and Scorpion fish. The saddle connects Shark reef with the Yolanda reef. Passing the southern outcrop you will see the remains of the Yolanda, a Cypriot merchant ship that sank there in 1980. (See wrecks for more specific details). You can even end your amazing and memorable dive by being photographed whilst sat on one of the remains of the wreck of the Yolanda – a toilet! These are two of the reefs that the national park is most famous for!

Ras Za’atar A fantastic wall within the blue with many schools of Jackfish and Barracuda hunting their prey. At 25 to 30 metres you will find some beuatifull Gorgonians and colonies of black coral. The reef wall is at a depth of 12 to 20 metres, full of marine life and studded with pink and red Alcyonarians. Whilst you drift towards the North you pass a chimney that narrows towards the surface where you can observe typical inhabitants of gullies and crevices such as Lion fish, some Malabar groupers and Glass fish. At the tip of the wall where the current becomes stronger we turn into Marsa Barieka bay, recognizable by many coral pinnacles that create a coral garden frequented by a great number of reef fish. Turtles can also be seen here.

Eel Garden Popular for it's lovely colony of Garden Eels swaying in the current for their favourite food, plankton. The diving is easy and the route winds through a sandy plateau that gently slopes to a depth of 33 metres. The Eel garden is sheltered from currents but since it is exposed to prevailing winds and waves we dive there when the wheater conditions allow us.

Ras Ghazlani Just around the corner of Sharm el Sheikh, at the beginning of Ras Mohammed park, you will find Ras Ghazlani. A dive site which was only discovered recently and is one of the most amazing dive sites in the area! The wall starts at a depth of 1 metre and gentley slopes to a depth of 50 metres. The sandy bottom is covered with many coral pinnacles that create a fantastic coral garden frequented by a great number of reef fish! The bay Marsa Ghazlani is famous for Turtles which lay their eggs on the sandy beach and as a result we often see Turtles during our dives there.

Jackfish Alley A parallel satelite reef, orginally known as Fisherman's bank, that is often fequented by Jackfish and other predators. At the start of your dive you will find a cave at a depth of 5 metres that penetrates the reef to about 40 metres. However we stay on the left in the cave and we exit the cave at only 9 metres in depth! The reef is populated by large schools of Glass fish. Whitetip reef sharks, Manta rays, Jackfish, Triggerfish and Blue Spotted Stingrays are often seen in this area.

Shark Observatory A magnificant wall dive also known as Ras Mohammed wall. Whilst diving look into the bue to spot large pelagic predators. Even Whalesharks have been seen in this area! This reef has some large Gorgonians, shelters, caves, a huge overhang and this all without losing sight of the blue from which Jackfish, Barracuda and even Sharks suddenly appear. We pass through an extremely beautifull cave that has a large opening in it's roof, trough which light filters. From this opening we exit the cave.

The Dunraven A britisch steamer merchant ship that lies up-side down at the depth of 15 to 29 metres. See wrecks for specific details

LOCAL SITES IN SHARM EL-SHEIKH AND NA’AMA BAY


To say that the choice is varied would be an understatement as the local dive site area stretches from the airport, north of Na’ama Bay, to downtown Sharm El – Sheikh, in the south. The many sites vary and include ideal sites for check dives and courses, coral gardens, sloping reefs and walls. There are 25 different dives to choose from.

Here some of the impressive dive sites:

Ras Nasrani has become one of the most popular and visited dive sites in Sharm El - Sheikh. Red Anemone, Mushroom shaped Porites, Large Gogonians, Pelagic fish such as Tuna, Jackfish and Barracuda.

Ras Um Sid is famous for it’s large Gorgonian garden, starting at 15 to 20 metres and growing down further than the eye can see.

The Temple is situated to the north-west of Ras Um Sid and is one of the oldest and most famous dive sites in the area. The Temple is a massive cracked rock, surrounded by smaller coral and rock formations. At a depth of 6 to 25 metres there are 3 coral pilars that resemble the columns of an ancient temple. It guarantees easy diving and is rather interesting because of its underwater landscape, rich in soft and hard corals with the presence of many species of Buttelfly fish, Parrot fish, Lion fish, Trigger fish, Angel fish and especially Arabian Angel fish.

The Gardens are situated to the north of Na’ama Bay. The three gardens, Near Garden, Middle Garden and Far Garden are famed for their stunning coral formations and vast variety of marine life. It differs from the other locations in the bay, since there is a series of large madreporic pinnacles with an extraordinary outcrop of both stony and soft corals. They are frequented by a great number of reef fish; Lion fish, small scalefin, Suez Fusseliers, Sergant Majors, Glass fish, spotted Eagle rays, often Manta rays, red Sponges, Napoleon fish, orange stripped Trigger fish and red-toothed Trigger fish.

White Knight A small bay bordered by a rather well developed reef with a large crevice that opens onto a sandy plateau from 6 to 17.5 metres. At a depth of 8 metres is a beautiful canyon that decends to 38 metres. The eastern side is built out of two stoney coral butresses on which you will see Serpetine salad coral. Next to the canyon there is tunnel that starts at 10 metres and opens into the canyon at 13 metres. Near this site lies the wreck of Noose One, a diving boat that sank in 1994 after a fire. It lies upside down at the depth of 15 metres. Manta rays may be seen especially during the summer.

Sodfa This classic dive is at an average depth of about 15 metres. You will see large coral pinnacles with a wide range of reef fauna and large Gogonians at the depth of 20 metres, Parrot fish, Lion fish, Sailfin and lots more.

Tower A spectaculair dive site characterized by a canyon whose wall decends to 180 metres. At a depth of 12 to 15 metres are some large coral pinnacles, small caves with huge schools of Glass fish, many Parrot fish, Gorganians, Lion fish, Cube Box fish and sometimes giant Porcupine fish.

Pinky's Wall Named due to the vast multitude of pink Alcyonarian. At an average depth of 15 metres you'll find the greatest concentration of the soft Alcyonarian corals.

Amphoras The name of this site derives from the 17th century shipwreck of a Turkish vessel with a cargo of amphoras containing mercury (metal). At depth of about 12 metres are some coral pinnacles with a crust of a huge number of multi coloured Alcyonarians that create a magnificent garden. Glass fish swim among the red Alcyonarians. At the depth of 25 metres you will see the stock of the original anchor of the ship with inscriptions as well as fragments of the amphoras that the wreck held (which has now virtually disappeared).

Turtle Bay A slope that runs at a depth of 9 to 25 metres. You will find low coral towers, some Gorgonians and a wealth of soft and hard corals. Large Salad corals can be seen, some large and mushroom shaped coral heads surounded by a beautiful and varied reef fauna.

Paradise A drift dive where the underwater landscape differs in the taller coral pinnacles with a variety of hues due to the growth of red, pinkish and yellow Alcyonarians. The overall effect is a magnificent environment that is unique! You'll see large coral tables and you will be able to admire a host of reef fauna, Parrot fish, large Napoleon fish, Butterfly fish, Moray Eels and Surgeon fish.

Ras Katy A reef with an initial depth of 5 metres and slopes to 16-18 metres. On the plateau you will see two coral pinnacles a few metres away from each other. They are filled with Alcyonarians with numerous specimens of Brocoli coral. These pinnacles are a favourite haunt of abundant and varied reef fauna, specially Butterfly fish. You'll see Glass fish, Lion fish, Big-eye Trevally, Crocodile fish on the sandy bottom, Blue spotted Sting rays and Scorpion fish.

 

TIRAN STRAITS

This separates the Gulf of Aqaba from the rest of the Red Sea and consists of four undersea ‘mountains’ that rise up to a metre meter from the surface. The five sites located here rank highly amongst the finest attractions of the Red Sea and are known for their fantastic wall diving with medium to strong currents, the surrounding water that drops to depths between 200 and 500 meters, excellent hard and soft corals, abundant marine life including Turtles, Barracuda, Tuna, Moray eels, large Napoleon Humphead Wrasse, Grouper and the high probability of encountering Sharks on almost every dive.

The sites here are:

Jackson Reef This amazing site is situated about one kilometre north of the island of Tiran and is known for the wreck of the Lara which sank in 1985. The reef wall is steep and vibrant and you'll see Gorgonians, numerous Fire coral and red Anemones. Commonly sighted here are Turtles, White tip reef sharks, Grey reef Sharks and Hammerhead Sharks as well as an abundance of pelagic and predatory fish.

Woodhouse Reef Located between Thomas reef and Jackson reef. It is a narrow and long reef and one of the best sites for observing Sharks. Often sighted here are Whitetip reef sharks, Grey reef Sharks, Leopard sharks, Hammerheads, Spotted Eagle rays and Sea Turtles. This marine environment with it's abundance of corals is absolutly fantastic!

Thomas Reef The smallest of the four Straits of Tiran and one of the most spectaculair diving sites in the Northern Red Sea. Drift diving here is about as good as it gets and on a typical dive along the wall we observe huge Gorgonians, colonies of black Coral, an exceptional array of fauna with large pelagic fish like the Whitetip reef Shark but also Sea Turtles, Angelfish, Groupers, Surgeon fish,Tuna and Barracuda.

Gordon Reef which is the southern most member of the Straits and South Laguna and is known for the wreck of the Lovilla, which ran around in 1981. Depending on the current we make either a drift dive or a moored dive. This is a very nice reef with varied marine life such as Nudibranches, Mollusks, Garden eels, Blue spotted eagle ray, Whitetip reef Shark, Hammerhead Shark, Fire coral, Triggerfish, Parrot fish, Octopus and many other species of coral and reef fish.

Komoran In August 1984 the Komoran, out of Aqaba with a cargo of phosphate, ran aground on the reef bordering the island of Tiran due to navigational error. The wreck is still relatively unknown because the wreck can only be dived on when the sea conditions are calm. She lies on the bottom at a rather shallow depth of only 12 metres at her deepest point. The ship is 80 metres long and easy to spot from the surface because its stern is breaks the surface. Some sections of the wreck are really well preserved whereas other parts are completly destroyed. The name of the ship on the bow side is still clearly legible. A good site for Photographers.

Laguna reef At the western side of Tiran island, bordered by a madreporic formation standing over a fantastic Coral lagoon with an average depth of 10 to 13 metres. The lagoon is dived into 2 parts: North and South. The reef is very rich in coral and reef fauna, large Table corals, soft and stony corals and some Gorgonians. Sometimes we see Leopard Sharks and Whitetip reef sharks.

WRECKS

The SS Thistlegorm

In 1956 Jacques Cousteau, with his mythical oceanographic ship Calypso, discovered the wreck of the Thistlegorm on the outer wall of the reef known as Sha'ab Ali, off the western coast of Sinai. The Thistlegorm had come from Cape Town loaded with material for the British troops in North Africa.

Sunk by a German bomber on the 6th October 1941, the British transport ship the Thistlegorm (see pictures below) built in 1940 lies on a sandy bottom at 30m, but starts at a shallow depth of 17m and can usually be seen clearly from the moment you enter the water. She is 131 metres long with ample space and time for safe penetration and examination of it’s cargo of munitions, Bedford trucks, BSA motorbikes, Morris automobiles, two light MK II Bren carrier tanks, locomotives, railway freight cars and carriages.

Your dive is not limited to admiring the ship's structure but also offers views of the abundant fauna living there: Schools of Bathfish, Barracuda, large Groupers, Snappers, Jackfish, Butterfly fish, Surgeon fish, Crocodilefish, Squirrel fish, Soldier fish, Glass fish and other beautiful fauna. That’s why it’s known as one of the best!

The Dunraven The wreck of a British steamship (see pictures below) built in 1873 in Newcastle and hit Sha’ab Mahmoud, also known as Beacon Rock, in 1876. The wreck lies upside down at 15 - 29.5 metres depth, in 2 pieces; it was only discovered in 1977. The Dunraven was the subject of a memorable BBC documentary film in 1979 and has become a classic site for Scuba divers. You can access the wreck through the three main openings at the stern, midship and the Bow. There is a splendid, virtually intact coral garden on the outer slope of the Reef. It's rich in stable populations of Groupers, Scorpion fish, Crocodile fish, Alcyonarians and Sponges.

The Yolanda At 25 - 10 metres depth lies the Yolanda, carrying a cargo of toilets (see picture), bathtubs, sanitary fixtures, wallpaper, cases of Whiskey and even a BMW 320 Automobile that belonged to the ship's captain. The ship originated from Cyprus and ran aground on Yolanda Reef in stormy seas in 1980 while on it's way to Aqaba. The wreck, 75 metres is length, is always surrounded by large Malabar groupers, Napoleon fish, Snappers and Fuseliers.

The Chrisoula K A modern Greek motor freighter, 380 feet long and carrying 3700 tons of Italian granite, bound for Jeddah, hit Shab Abu Nuhas and sank in October 1981. She lies at 28 meters, her shallowest point at 12 meters.


The Loullia A cargoship, travelling from Aqaba to Suez, struck the north side of Gordon Reef 29 September 1981 and sank to become a natural part of the underwater landscape.

The Lara The remains of a Cyprian vessel situated on the northern side of Jackson Reef which sank in 1985.


The Ghiannis D Known as one of the best wreck dives in the Red Sea, the Ghiannis D hit the Shab Abu Nuhas in April 1983. She split in two and sank to a depth of 28 meters and is known as an ideal wreck for penetration.


The Carnatic This wreck lies on Shab Abu Nuhas, between the wrecks of the Chrisoula K and the Ghiannis D. The Carnatic was a passenger and mail ship for the P & O company and apparently held fifty thousand sterling pounds in bullion. She hit the reef, broke in two and sank to 30 meters. It is said that to date eight thousand of the sterling bullion still remains to be found.

NON-LOCAL SITES IN SHARM EL-SHEIKH

DAHAB

GENERAL

Dahab is located around 100 km North of Sharm El-Sheikh. We leave early in the morning by car and head off for a cross-dessert trip towards our Dive location. Dahab is nice, cosy and extremely relaxed, set on the eastern coast of the Sinai. After diving we take a long break in one of the Bedouin style restaurants for lunch. After lunch there is ample time to shop around on the Dahab Boulevard. You may even decide to take a short ride on a Camel. Long breaks are mandatory after diving Dahab due to the altitude we drive to on our journey back to Sharm El-Sheikh.

One of the beach views of Dahab

The 2 famous dive sites in Dahab:


The Bells and The Blue Hole The Blue Hole is the most famous and considered by Europeans as being one of the top world-class dive sites. It is literally a hole in the reef that is around 55 meters wide and it's maximum depth is 102 meters. The most amazing feature of the Blue Hole is the stunning Archway, which is located at 54 meters and exits into the bottomless open sea. After exploring the seemingly bottomless vertical tunnel we exit through a beautiful coral garden at Bells, a 5 meters wide crack within the reef that dramatically exits at 30 meters to the open azure bottomless ocean. Corals, fans, eels and dozens of fish species flourish here.

The Canyon Equally famous is the Canyon that is a deep wide ravine within the ocean floor with a large coral lagoon. Starting at the fish bowl, an enclosed circular cavern with three entrance / exit points full of small Gold fish or Glassfish at 15 meters, then sloping downwards to two more exits / entrances, one at 30 meters the other at 52 meters. Most dives are conducted from the 30 metre entrance then upward to the fish bowl or in the opposite direction. You will see beautiful coral pinnacles, Garden eels, Triggerfish, reef fish, Scorpion fish and often Nudibraches.



OUR STAFF

We teach all PADI courses ourselves with an expanse of experience in The Red Sea, South Africa, Malta, Greece, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Caribbean and Europe.

Between us, we speak English, Dutch, German and French, and instruction in other languages may be available upon request.
We teach in small groups and we take the time to make you experienced in the area of your choice. (e.g. Open Water, Advanced Diver, Speciality Diver, Rescue, Dive master, Assistant Instructor, Oxygen Provider, Emergency First Response (EFR) provider) and Nitrox. Experienced / qualified divers will be guided to some of the most beautiful dive sites in the Red Sea and can expect personal service, fun and safety!

Please check the link on our web site for course and dive information in the folder: PADI Scuba Diving Courses.

 With warm regards,

Bobby and Marjolein
Diving & Safaris

E-mail us: info@divingandsafaris.com
Website: www.divingandsafaris.com


 

Sharks bay - November 2003