Marine Park South 

   

Overview of tour / diving spots

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After arrival in Hurghada or Marsa Alam, transfer to the boat to Port Ghalib, dinner and departure the next morning.

The Marine Park South Tour starts from Port Ghalib – after 2 dives it goes directly to the south to Daedalus Reef. Even seen from far is the striking lighthouse of Daedalus. The reef extends over a length of more than 1.2 km. Drop off diving in the regular existing current and shark encounters mark the dives around Daedalus.

Now it goes on to the reefs of Zabargad and Rocky Island, the most southern islands in the Egyptian Red Sea. Countless soft and hard corals await the divers here in the Deep South.

On the way back we can visit the places of Sataya, Malahi, Abu Diab, Shaab Maksur, Shaab Claudia, Abu Galawa and Gota Sharm, so be assured of variety! Also here with great regularity can be shark encounters – only about half a dozen liveaboards run on these far southern reefs.

Before we return to the harbour in Port Ghaleb, the Elphinstone Reef is another treat! The northern tip offers the best conditions to meet some hammerheads at an early morning dive.

 

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                     Some impressions of what there is to see on this tour:

Possible stations on this tour

 
  

20 minutes west of Elphinstone Reef, we come across Abu Dabab III – a diving spot well-known because of the 'Heaven One' wreck and not least because of the dolphins which also like to frequently spend their time here. On top of this, there are small caves, wonderful coral gardens, remnants of amphorae and the possibility to experience an amazing night dive.

Details

One single block stands in the southern area of Abu Dabab III. Here we can see bright red lionfish and during a night dive even gorgonians or gorgonocephalidae which feature beguiling branched arms. Whoever wants to see dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles or sharks is well placed in this part of the reef.

The famous 'Heaven One' – a safari boat which sunk on 27 April 2003 after a fire in the engine room – lies in the north. Not far from here, we can find a colony of sea anemones and a cave system.

The west side has some blocks and coral formations as well as sleeping reef sharks that like retreating here to get a little rest. Maybe they aren't even sleeping, but rather meditating – there are supposedly even some vegetarians among the sharks. We can then look along the edge of the reef for the remnants of amphorae.

Hotspots/

Amphorae: Marvellous remnants of amphorae, transporting our thoughts to another time, can be found on the reef's edge.

Blocks: On the blocks of Abu Dabab III, we won't only find fascinating coral formations, but there are also reef sharks which can frequently be spotted taking a power nap here.

Facts

Current: N in the morning, N at midday, N in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35m; M, J, J, A: 30–50m; S, O, N, D: 30–50m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24°C; A, M, J: 26°C; J, A, S: 28°C; O, N, D: 27°C

Depth: 30 m

Tour 1 – the sharks in the southwest

From the boat, we travel west. There's a reef nose at the end of the reef and right next to it there is one single hill of coral. If we want to see young reef sharks or interesting nurse sharks, here's the right spot for us to do so. On the way back, we dive along the reef and keep our eyes open: in the first large depression, there are small pieces of ancient clay drinking vessels.

Tour 2 – wreck and caves at midday

Travelling by Zodiac, we reach the 'Heaven One' wreck in only five minutes. The ship is completely burnt above the waterline, showing that not much remains. You can still clearly see the keel and the engine as well as some parts of the outer ship. From the wreck, the journey continues south, across a coral hill to the entrance of the cave – the play of lights there is indescribable! Afterwards we take a right to the two lagoons with colonies of sea anemones and then go back to the ship, travelling southeast across the coral reefs.

Tour 3 – the southeast at midday

From the ship, it's only a few metres until we reach the block in the middle. More often than not we will find moray eels and lionfish there. The dive continues further east to the next blocks with glassfish and pipefish. Turtles, dragonfish and bluespotted stingrays as well as well-camouflaged carpet flatheads also come around here. Crabs live in the small coral garden and sometimes if we're lucky we might also see dolphins.

Tour 4 – night diving

The block in the heart of the southern area has everything that a night dive should have to offer – from feather stars to gorgonocephalidae and Spanish dancers, calamari, crabs, prawns and clam-diggers on the ground (slipper lobsters). Don't use much light – it's worth it!

 

  

Daedalus Reef is located in the midst of the Red Sea – depending on the speed, it's a five- to eight-hour trip east of Marsa Alam. A long journey with a great reward: shoals of hammerhead sharks are frequently spotted here. You can also encounter thresher sharks on the southern plateau and the steep walls and depressions of Daedalus form an extremely diverse reef structure brimming with all kinds of life.

Details

With a length of 600 to 700 metres and a width of 100 to 300 metres (north to south), the Daedalus Reef is a very large reef. In the eastern section and in a depth range of 18 and 40 metres, we'll find a lagoon-like plateau from which, depending on the current, we can usually watch multiple groups of hammerhead sharks swimming at open sea.

There are usually 12 to 25 specimens in a group and it's definitely worth it to wait around at depths of 20 and 25 metres – this is a sight none of us want to miss out on. Almost all boats, which drop anchor at Daedalus, send their Zodiacs to the north in the early morning hours. The best spot to enter the water is namely in the northwest corner. It's best to quickly dive to a depth of four metres, so that you won't be carried too far by the surface current which could possibly occur.

Hammerhead sharks emerge mainly from the deep. When a shark dives past us at some distance and leans to one side, then it's trying to tell us that he rules the sea. Nevertheless, these animals are shy and if we get too close, they'll be gone at a rate of knots. Some lucky divers have even been able to observe groups of hammerhead sharks for up to 20 minutes.

Manta Point is also located nearby and is absolutely enthralling with its colourful reef wall. On the west side, we can see one of the largest colonies of sea anemones in the Red Sea. 200 examples of each species and each colour have firmly anchored themselves to the reef, living in close quarters on a surface measuring just 10 metres in width.

Continuing south our breath is completely taken away: the gigantic hard coral which sits here will make you feel like a hobbit among elves when you gaze eyes upon it. Just like a waterfall, it plunges from a depth of four to 19 metres. Sadly, the first signs of damage can already be seen.

Hotspots

Northern tip: With a little bit of luck, hammerhead sharks can be seen right here – on the northern tip of the Daedalus Reef. And if we are patient enough, we might not only see one shark but a whole group of them instead!

Manta Point: Whilst we keep an eye out for mantas, we can also marvel at the vast number of widely differing sea anemones, which in all sorts of colours, contend for the title of 'the fairest of them all'.

Southern plateau: A plateau with large and small blocks lies in the south of the Daedalus Reef – a good place for the thresher shark. In addition, turtles, grey reef sharks, hunting mackerel and tuna as well as stonefish and snails can be found here.

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, S/E at midday, N/E in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35 m; M, J, J, A: 30–40 m; S, O, N, D: 50–80 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–24°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-31°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Depth: 100 m

Tour 1 – the highlight of the morning

Travelling by Zodiac, we head north in the morning – the ride can get a bit choppy depending on the waves. We must not underestimate the current and make sure to quickly dive down. The reef is our point of reference and, if we exercise patience under the water, a 'sharktacular' dive is guaranteed.

Tour 2 – the plateau

Stretching across the entire south side, there is a soft coral-covered riff edge which transitions into a really wide plateau at a depth of 18 and 20 metres. The entire south area is bordered by a drop-off edge which descends to approx. 35 to 40 metres. Again here, it's important to always pay attention to the current!

Tour 3 – sea anemone colony

Sea anemones don't actually build colonies and that's why the west side of the Daedalus Reef is also a real anomaly! To see the 200 specimens of sea anemones living in confined spaces, we have the Zodiac drop us off at the last or second-to-last lagoon and drift to the south. Where the steep face drops 70 metres, there we will find everything that lives and lingers – the field of sea anemones among others.

 

  

The island Zabargad, from Egyptian sailors also called El Gubal ("The Mountain"), is 3.5 km long and its highest elevation is 235 m. Already at Cleopatra's times the semi-precious stone olivine was mined here.

Zabargad has two shipwrecks to offer, both located in the scuba diver friendly area. To the east you will find between 1 - 24 meters depth, a 70 m long and 10 m wide wreck, about his name and story is puzzled already for a long time. It is believed that it is a Russian engine cargo ship that was seeking protection of the island after a collision or explosion on board and sank there – a sign for it could be the damage at the rear. The growth of the wreck suggests a sinking time in the 1950s to -60er years.

Located on the south side in the upper reef there are many cave passages in which we find with a little luck, nudibranchs and flatworms. On the west side of Zabargad the remains of the safari boat "Neptuna", sunken in 1981, can be visited next to beautiful hard coral gardens. On the sandy bottom in about 24 meters you can find today scattered testimonies of doom: a generator, several suitcases, a radar and a scuba tank. However, from the wreck of the ship there is no trace. Because the reef at this point is only gradually steeper, the safari boat cannot be further slipped into the deep, so it must be somewhere near. Presumably, it drove little further, when the stern was already under water, and the said objects fell overboard. The wreck of the Neptuna could not be located until today and thus remains one of those mysteries with which the Red Sea can still come up to this day.

Safari boats mostly anchor on the south side of the island protected behind a large lagoon. Around the lagoon, which is about 10-12 m deep, it goes steeply down to depths of about 50 meters. One can reach the interior of the lagoon by numerous passages through the rock, which rises to the lagoon and is lush overgrown with colorful soft corals.

 

  

Rocky Island is famous the world over thanks to the frequent shark and manta sightings. The wreck of luxury ship – the 'Maiden' – also lies here, but sadly just a little too deep.

Details

Rocky Island is a diver's paradise – with the reef lying far out at sea, we run into all conceivable types of marine life: discoveries of small reef fish and shoals of barracudas to hammerhead sharks, mantas, dolphins and even small whales have already been here made by some divers.

Rocky Island is 700 by 450 metres in size and it has a fringe reef whose south side is composed of overhangs and rock shelters which are often visited by whitetip reef sharks. Since the current comes from the north here, the shark points are located in the east and west.

In the north, Rocky Island has a deeply carved sheer wall with ledges and overhangs. The lush coral vegetation is a real treat for snails and whilst they fill their bellies, dolphins pass nearby every now and then.

The wreck of the Maiden, a luxury ship which was discovered in 2002, lies in at a depth range of 60 to 70 metres. Marine park rules apply when diving around Rocky Island and this spot is a very challenging diving destination thanks to varying currents.

Hotspots

Reef edge: The richly coloured reef edge is located at a depth of only three to eight metres and we could spend hours here making new discoveries over and over again.

Facts

Current: W in the morning, W at midday, E in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 40 m; M, J, J, A: 30 m; S, O, N, D: 35 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24°C; A, M, J: 26°C; J, A, S: 28°C; O, N, D: 27°C

Depth: 30 m

Tour 1 – the south-east in the morning

We can dive from the boat to the reef wall and will be pushed eastward by a light current, past the overhangs and rock shelters. At the end of the wall, there is a small shelf which sharks like to linger around. We can dive back or put out the buoy and be collected here.

Tour 2 – the south-west at midday

We immediately dive deep upon exiting the Zodiac; otherwise, the current here could get in the way of our plans. At the same time, we can soon put our luck to the test and search for the first large fishes at sea. We also can't miss out on the chance to see the coloured beauty of the reef's edge and, just maybe, a manta might unexpectedly float by us too.

Tour 3 – the north in the afternoon

We have ourselves brought to the northwest corner to make sure that we actually dive the north side. We can simply drift with the current when we set out here. The overhangs cast large shadows in the afternoon – everything from glassfish to hammerhead sharks travel around here.

 

  

Sataya Gota Soraya – the name of this diving spot already sounds wonderful and so is its coral garden, too. A great playground for ardent navigators as well as for the dolphins who like coming here to show off.

Details

Soraya means 'small' and Gota stands for a circular reef. We find ourselves at the small, circular reef in the area of Sataya – the sister reef of Sataya Gota Kebir, the large circular reef. The mooring is located in a small lagoon in the south-east. Should the current suddenly change, there's also another mooring in the south-west.

A small tip: At lunchtime, there's not much going on in the waters around the south-eastern mooring, so just postpone your lunch and enjoy the coral gardens for yourself!

We usually travel north by Zodiac because of the current. From there, we then choose whether we want to dive along the east or west side. No matter which direction we choose, the dive takes a good hour.

Should we not wish to miss the small cave in the north, we can dive through it to a lagoon which is covered with gorgeous mountain coral. Sataya Gota Soraya captivates us in the first place with its large table coral, acropora and soft coral as well as gigantic mountain coral. Snappers, thresher fish, goatfish, snails, dolphins and reef sharks cast their spell over us here too.

In the north-western area behind the sand alleyway, there's another coral garden consisting of old and new coral formations and which plummets 40 metres in the north.

Hotspots

Lagoon: In the north, we travel through a small cave to the enchanting lagoon full of grandiose mountain coral.

Dolphins: No matter where we go, we should always keep an eye out for these oceanic beauties. Encountering dolphins in the wild is a very emotional experience – nothing else can compare to it!

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N/E at midday
Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–30 m; M, J, J, A: 30–50 m; S, O, N, D: 40–50 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–25°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-31°C; O, N, D: 30-25°C

Depth: 40 m

Tour 1 – lagoon and around the reef

We travel north by Zodiac and then we dive right over a ridged edge where we can immediately search for snails. Once we've seen enough, we dive into the mountain coral lagoon where there's many shoals of fish and fry to see. The caves on the west side of the lagoon lead us to a coral garden which is bound by four blocks. Here we can race dive and in the process say 'Hi' to the sea anemones, moray eels, young reef sharks or also turtles. After repeatedly giving our greetings, we either dive back to the boat with the reef on our right shoulder or we put out the buoy and get picked up.

Tour 2 – from the north to the south-west

From here, we also head towards the reef by Zodiac and then to the blocks in the west. We have the reef on our left shoulder, repeatedly diving over sandy flats and maybe even exploring trails left by humphead dragonfish, which lead us to their hiding place. Arriving at the single, round block, we might just find cuttlefish and crocodilefish.

Tour 3 – for ardent navigators

This dive also starts in the north and goes north-east to an elongated stretch of land with different blocks. The average depth is 22 metres and the blocks are between three and ten metres high. It's best to run through the dive in 3D beforehand and to take the current into account. Just before the boat, you can also dive around the large block instead of diving through the channel.

 

  

Taken from the literal translation of 'Malahi', the Shaab Malahi is truly a 'playground' for all divers. The enchanting labyrinth including coral gardens in the inner lagoon has countless surprises in store for us as well as delightful treasures waiting to be discovered by us in the many small caves.

Details

In the 100-metre long and 60-metre wide 'Shaab Malahi' labyrinth, it's not uncommon for one to get lost. The guide or diver's watch equipped with compass can be used in an emergency, as there's always an exit located south! Here we can dive between 6 and 22 metres; there is only a drop-off on the eastern side. The current flows mainly from the north-west around the reef and there is no current to fear at the centre.

Breathtaking blocks measuring up to 16 to 20 metres high form the beautiful reef of Shaab Malahi. They are also covered with overhangs and home to the most colourful coral. Since the diving depths often greatly vary, all those who have mastered the art of pressure equalisation may count themselves among the fortunate to enter this diving site. The dive leads through two to eight metre-wide channels and 15 metre-wide lagoons.

Hotspots

The western part of the reef is definitely worth a visit, especially to find the block adorned with table coral on top. The 'Iron' block is located just south of this location – and we can't wait to see who discovers it! In addition, there are two blocks with table coral in the south-west as well as whole shoals of fish. When in luck, you might just witness two male bannerfish fight for dominance by butting their heads together. The picture of the century!

All those not able to take this dive will nevertheless get their money's worth: two humphead wrasse measuring over two metres in size swim around the Shaab Malahi, just as do moray eels, eagle rays, captivating whitetip reef sharks as well as a variety of snails, triggerfish and snappers. One dive alone does not suffice to explore the reef's many wonders.

Facts

Current: N/W in the mornings, N/E at midday

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–30 m; M, J, J, A: 30–50 m; S, O, N, D: 40–50 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–25°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-31°C; O, N, D: 30-25°C

Depth: 3 m to approx. 25 m

Tour 1 – centre area in the morning

Whoever goes diving for the first time in Shaab Malahi is well-advised to take a guide due to the maze-like layout. Repeat visitors will, of course, take great delight in looking for exits themselves, which are usually located in the south and easier to find there. The current at the centre is minimal and for this reason no risk is presented.

Tour 2 – outer area at midday

Via boat, the tour continues south to a 'Japanese garden' made out of blocks and hills covered with table coral, acropora, alcyoniidae and brain coral. This second tour offers you the chance to take a roundabout route to the lagoon and to try to discover your way out of the labyrinth on your own. Visiting the whitetip reef sharks by swimming through the caves, briefly saying 'hello', taking a keepsake photo and then returning back to the boat from the left side around the blocks is a definite must.

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Erg Abu Diab is near Ras Banas. The cone-shaped reef extends to a depth of over 100 meters. It is surrounded by a drop off and can be circled within 30 minutes, if the very often occurring strong current permits.

This spot is typical of the biodiversity of the southern Red Sea, but also known for encounters with large sharks. Often the diver encounters groups of hammerhead sharks, the largest number, which was observed at one time, was more than 50 animals. But the encounter with grey sharks and thresher sharks is most likely and among them, with good luck, a Longimanus.

Even if the sharks fail to appear, the drop off has a magnificent vegetation and dense shoals of fishes amble along the reef wall.

 

  

Shaab Maksur is one of the northernmost reefs in Sataya and it lies approx. 15 to 20 minutes away from Shaab Claudia and Abu Galawa. Maksur means 'crack' or 'cleft' and that's exactly what we can see in the northern region. Shaab Maksur is more or less a steep wall reef, reminiscent of the east side of Elphinstone, and it´s here where we'll find one of the most beautiful lagoons in the Red Sea.

Details

Shaab Maksur measures 350 to 400 metres in length and it shares some similarities with Elphinstone: both reefs point in the same direction and therefore also have very similar currents. The southern plateau of Shaab Maksur resembles a rice terrace with two levels – the first is located at a depth range of 18 and 35 metres, the second runs from 35 metres to 42 metres. Both are approx. 50 to 60 metres in length and 40 metres in width.

Unusual for an outer reef, Shaab Maksur also has a plateau on the west side. The indescribably beautiful lagoon – that will make our hearts race – is located right here at the centre of the plateau. We find pieces of wreckage from a safari boat that only made it to its 14th day.

Another plateau is found in the north – the east side is a steep wall – and at the northernmost point, there are two pinnacles which are separated by an eight metre-long crack in the reef ('Maksur'). Warning: Shaab Maksur is famous for its undertows!

Hotspots

Sea anemones: A colony of sea anemones can be found on the western plateau at a depth of approx. 12 metres. Between colourful tentacles, we might just find some clownfish eggs!

Lagoon: In the lagoon, we discover moray eels, glass shrimp, cleaning stations for barracudas, torpedo rays, and if we're lucky, even a whitetip reef shark.

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N/E at midday
Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35 m; M, J, J, A: 30–60 m; S, O, N, D: 50–80 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 22–23°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-31°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Depth: 100 m

Tour 1 – the northern plateau

We depart from the Zodiac approx. 30 metres north of the reef's end and dive at a depth of between ten and 15 metres. Diving with the current from the north, we continue towards the reef, search for tuna and barracudas and maybe even run into a shark, too. Should we travel here in the morning, we shall be graced with the most beautiful light on the east side as we ascend to the surface. We enjoy the dive, put out the buoy and have ourselves collected by boat.

Tour 2 – the southern plateau

From the boat, usually located in the south, we dive to two large blocks covered in hard and soft coral and inhabited by groupers. We continue past the cleaning station and to our left we see pretty purple soft coral emerge on our dive.

Having reached the coral garden, we see a huge sea fan at a depth of 22 metres, which is surrounded by longnose hawkfish, nemo fish, Napoleon wrasse, scorpionfish and snails – should we manage to tear our eyes away from this cute little community, we will find the crack in the reef – after which Shaab Maksur is named – at a depth of approx. five to seven metres. This crack however is gradually filling up with debris. We take a pleasant dive back to the boat with the reef on our right shoulder.

Tour 3 – the western plateau

We kick off the dive at the only block – it's easy for us to recognise since it reaches to the surface of the water. Here, at a depth of twelve metres, we find a colony of sea anemones and sometimes clownfish eggs – how cool is that then!? From there, we continue to the magnificent lagoon's inner area, where a new surprise awaits us in every corner and groove: drifting moray eels, glass shrimp, cleaning stations for large barracudas and ... torpedo rays as well as whitetip reef sharks sometimes! Wow! Once we've seen enough, we dive across the coral garden in the outer area and then return to the boat.

 

  

Located ten minutes east of Abu Galawa Kebir, Shaab Claudia is a great diving spot for rookies, but everyone else will also get their money's worth thanks to the unbelievable panorama. The main attraction is definitely the diveable caves – a once-in-a-lifetime experience with an incredible incidence of light. Mooring points are available.

Details

The boats cast anchor where the biggest offer is on hand – in the south close to the entrance of the cave located at a depth of 10 metres. Almost all species of fish can be encountered here, for example, spadefish, triggerfish, bannerfish, goatfish and also snappers. Even Napoleon wrasse show their faces here from time to time.

A current coming from the north often makes diving above the coral garden on the west side difficult or completely impossible. After a bumpy ride by Zodiac to the channel and the colony of sea anemones, you will be rewarded with a lovely drift dive from the east to the west side.

Hotspots

Cave: Such images are usually only known from pictures or videos, but when you really and truly see them for yourself in this cave, that's when the pure beauty will make your emotions pulse right through you, guaranteed!

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N/E at midday

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25–35 m; M, J, J, A: 30–60 m; S, O, N, D: 50–80 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 22–23°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-31°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Depth: 25 m

Tour 1 – cave and coral gardens

We find the entrance to the breathtakingly beautiful cave shortly before the only large block which is connected to the main reef. Inside the cave, the dive ascends slightly and we reach a large chamber after approx. five metres. Here, we dive straight to the end, then right through a block and finally reach an interesting side corridor which leads us to a large chamber after approx. ten metres. There are multiple exits from which we may/must/can choose – just like 'Alice in Wonderland'.

At the end of the cave towards the north, the dive continues through a large coral garden to the large channel. Should you still have 100 bar of air left, you can take a right – there's a beautiful, far-stretching panorama in the east. Sometimes you can see up to 60 metres into the blue – and maybe something large might just swim by. With the reef on the right-hand side, you'll definitely make it back to the ship.

Tour 2 – simply drift

We have the Zodiac take us to the blocks in the north-east. From here, we can embark on a lovely drift dive south along the east or west side. Make sure to discuss everything in advance with the guide and captain like a good little diver and then simply enjoy the underwater spectacle of nature!


A genial overgrown old yacht, coral blocks and canyon, many different reef fish, all in pleasant depths between seven and 21 meters. "Abu Galawa Soraya" has much to offer and the boats can moor at already set anchor lines.

Details

A sailing yacht from the US has sunken in "Abu Galawa Soraya" in 1980 and has been inhabited since this time by very many soft and hard corals. An incredible view to 17 meters deep over a length of 15 meters. But not only this great overgrown wreck is convincing here.

Garfish, Blue Spotted Stingray, Red Sea seabream, Red Sea fusiliers and free swimming giant moray we can also discover with a little luck and just marvel at this dive site. What many diver makes happy - "Abu Galawa Soraya" is also suitable for a night dive and what could be better than to visit the various inhabitants of the wreck by night !?

Equipped with light, we see inside the wreck also during daytime many glass fish, that own the yacht since a long time. Moreover, on the sandy bottom among the coral towers and blocks, there are waiting many surprises.

Hotspots

Sunken yacht: it is only small, but great overgrown, inhabited by numerous marine life and we find it in the southwest.

Tour 1 - Wreck and more

From anchorage we dive to the wreck to visit this attraction first. Continue with the reef on our right shoulder to a sand road. It leads us into the large, lagoon-like area. Here we can let off steam a bit, until we return to the southwest to the boat.

Tour 2 – The night in the sea

As already mentioned, "Abu Galawa Soraya" is also suitable for a night dive. Because the wreck is very close to the anchorage, we start from the boat, explore the reef wall and the yacht, discover all sorts of nocturnal sea creatures and dive then back to the boat to let the day end comfortably.

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The time has come for us to dive a wreck once again! The Chinese tugboat Tien Hsing sunk at Abu Galawa Kebir on 26 October 1943. Measuring approx. 34 metres in length, the stern of the wreck lies at a depth of 17 metres and the tip of the bow peaks above the waves at low tide. In addition, Abu Galawa Kebir is a popular and safe mooring point for many safari boats travelling around this area.

Details

We can discover the Red Sea in all its splendour at Abu Galawa Kebir – a great diving spot with some lagoons and neighbouring reefs. In addition to the Rosalie Moller and the Numidia, the Tien Hsing counts among the most lushly covered shipwrecks in the Red Sea. The harbour tugboat only served for a short period – built in 1935 in Shanghai, sank in 1943. We will find the Tien Hsing behind the channel of the west side of the reef.

Warning: The vegetation is so dense and full on the wreck's port side that we often don't even recognise it as being a wreck! 'Oops, that's a ship!' is the first thing that goes through our minds when on the starboard side. In addition to the Tien Hsing, there's also fascinating coral gardens with mountain coral and table coral for us to find at Abu Galawa Kebir. A great location for night dives during which we can also see blue-ringed octopodes. They´re just wonderful, wonderful, wonderful creatures!

Hotspots

Blue-ringed octopodes: With a little luck, we will discover these creatures on our night dive, namely in the coral garden.

Wreck: The Tien Hsing doesn't like revealing itself, but sadly it can't really disguise itself as a 'normal reef' anymore on the starboard side.

Blue staghorn coral: During our dive, we see this coral over and over again. This coral's wonderful reflections of light are caused by larger polyps at the branch tips.

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N/E at midday, O in the afternoon

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 20–30 m; M, J, J, A: 30–40 m; S, O, N, D: 30 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 25–27°C; A, M, J: 27–29°C; J, A, S: 30–31°C; O, N, D: 31–27°C

Depth: 30 m

Tour 1 – the west

When the weather's good and it's not wavy, the best option is to dive directly to the lagoon from the boat. The hole in the wall, dear divers, is our ticket to entering the lagoon. In the back, we'll find an erg with a circular 'hat' – admittedly, this may sound a little like something from the 'Lord of the Rings', but it really isn't that scary at all. If we dive further west, we find a channel covered in beautiful vegetation at a depth of only four metres. We travel back to the boat by taking the first fork left across the lagoon and past the coral.

Tour 2 – the Tien Hsing

It's a true underwater beauty – still in good condition and yet so wonderfully covered with dense vegetation, that it's difficult for us to stop looking, seeking and staring. It's a great place to just unwind.

Tour 3 – night diving

Various snails get all dressed up for the parties at Abu Galawa Kebir, but nobody can steal the show away from the blue-ringed octopodes on the 'coral carpet'. The best spot for us paparazzi to stake out is on the south side of the northern reef.


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Sheleniat I is a pearl among the reefs in the area of Wadi Gimal: hills full of corals and on the west side two beautiful lagoons teeming with young barracudas, turtles, octopuses and porcupine fish. A place where even leopard sharks can be met. What the diver's heart need more?

Details:


The reef has a width of 150 m and a length of 200m. With a depth of 16m, it is one of the very shallow dive sites. The corals are mainly by lower cultures, so usually only 50cm high. The 2 to 4 m high hills are the ideal spot for damselfish.

On the west side there are two large lagoons, which are internally connected in 6m depth. They are covered with staghorn and mountain coral. On the sandy bottom you find gobies and crabs that live symbiotically there.

The north is bounded by an elongated block. On the west side, however, there are four coral hills of 2 to 8 m high.

The east side has an elongated reef wall with individual mountain coral fields and outdoor sporadically 2m high turrets. The diversity of coral and fish here is indescribable!

In the south there are some lagoons and an ancient coral that is home for bat fish, large groupers and moray eels.

This is a good night anchor place and night dive site.

Around the hill, the current changes often and forms eddies.

Current: Morning N / W, N noon, afternoon N / W
Visibility: J, F, M, A 25-35m, M, J, J, A 20-35m, S, O, N, D 40m
Temperatures: J, F, M 23-25 ° C, A, M, J 26-28 ° C, J, A, S 28-30 ° C, O, N, D, 28-24 ° C
Difficulty: With current very demanding / between the hills very often changing currents
Depth: 3m to 16m

Tour 1 - The Northwest


After dropping in the north dive to the west. Then through the channel to the main reef and into the first lagoon. There are jack fishes. Follow the reef and lagoons further south. Outside you might see with a little luck a leopard shark.

Tour 2 - The Northeast


Behind the cross block we go west. On the north side of the main reef, there is a small notch with blue mackerel. Often stone fish or crocodile fish scrimmage here. The reef on the right shoulder you continue back to the boat.

Tour 3 - Night dive


Due to the current you should dive at night on the south side. From Spanish dancers to dance shrimp and batfish up to snake eels - everything is possible: shrimps and crayfish, sleeping parrot fish or rabbit fish with their toxic spines.

 

 

  

Sha'ab Sharm is one of the most beautiful steep wall reefs in the Red Sea. It plunges over 100 metres into the deep, but it luckily has two plateaus in a depth range of 20 to 35 metres and it is a real beauty to behold. Not only can we see reef sharks, hammerhead sharks and mantas, but there are also cleaning stations for surgeonfish, various cave-like depressions, unicorn fish and, of course, countless types of coral. Mooring points are available here. There is a cave at a depth of 45 metres as well as the wreck of the Oyster – a former safari boat – which at a depth of 75 metres is sadly too deep.

Details

Sha'ab Sharm runs from west to east in the shape of a wedge and the reef's steep faces extend deeply into the world below us, which we will probably never get to know in its entirety. The two plateaus are located at 20 and 35 metres. Caution is also advised here due to the regular strong current.

On the eastern plateau, we have the pleasure of running into longnose hawkfish, lionfish under the table coral, barracudas, reef sharks, shoaling fishes and two cleaning stations: one at the centre of the plateau for young tuna, the other located close to a large block on the south side for surgeonfish. The 'cowardly triggerfish' also lives here too – however, that's a whole other story and one that is best told by the guides on site.

The western plateau is the narrower plateau where the current coincides in Sha'ab Sharm – and it's also a spot loved by hammerhead sharks and where we might just be able to get to meet them. Reef sharks, shoals of tuna, barracudas and mackerel found here make the dive even sweeter. Wow, wouldn't it be nice to have a cup of coffee and a piece of cake to go along with this view?

Hotspots

Eastern plateau: On the plateau in the east, longnose hawkfish, Red Sea lionfish, barracudas, cleaning stations and reef shark welcome us.

Western plateau: The western plateau captivates us with various larger fish: reef sharks, tuna, barracudas and mackerel.

Tour 1 – cleaning stations

The best time to dive the eastern plateau with its cleaning stations is in the morning or at midday. Since the boats usually cast anchor at the western end of the plateau, we can drift with the current along the reef's edge to the plateau and then take our time descending from there. Important for us to remember here is that the current can change as soon as we reach the centre of the plateau. At the end of the plateau, with the reef on our right shoulder, we return back to the boat.

Tour 2 – drift

We travel north with the Zodiac. From there, it's time for us to soak in the fun by diving to the north-western corner of the reef. The dive descends to approx. 25 metres and, if the current is right, we can drift along the north side. We either put out the buoy and get picked up or we challenge ourselves, try to use little air and thereby make it back to the boat on our own.

Tour 3 – large fish

This tour at Sha'ab Sharm is just perfect for all fans of sharks and mantas. We have the Zodiac take us to the northern end of the plateau and dive to a depth of 25 to 30 metres. Here, we float, take out our cameras and wait. While waiting, we can also safely turn our eyes to the fascinating life in and around the reef from time to time. After we've got all our photos, we drift west along the steep face and then ideally resurface here.

 

  

This is the largest reef to Wadi Gimal Island. The two form a channel. Spectacular is the huge coral garden. One finds there large groupers, frogfish and sedentary jellyfish and a dark, almost black Spanish dancer.

Details

With a width of 350m and a length of about 3km Dahra Wadi Gimal is an elongated reef, which expires in almost independent reefs in the north for several blocks. It is a good place to stay overnight and is a 5-minute away from Shelaniat. In the south there is a small plateau at a depth between 5 and 14m with several small coral blocks from 1 to 2m height - ideal for a night dive. The plateau has a width of 30m, before it goes through several stages in the channel direction of Wadi Gimal Island. There is one of the largest parrot species, the buffalo head parrot fish.

On the eastern side, bordered by a coral spurs, pinnacles are located from 9 to 12m height and diameters of 2 to 3m. You have at the top of purple soft corals, mixed with hard corals. A perfect area for glass and lionfish, giant sea cucumbers and soles.

On the outside of a very narrow channel runs with a constriction in the middle. Eastwards you come across a huge labyrinth of all types of coral. It has an imposing height of 10-15m and consists of table corals with partly 4m diameter, ship huge mountain corals and salad corals with 2m high leaves. Must see!

Tour 1 - East outside


With the Zodiac it goes to the outside of the reef. You should begin in the south of the small canal and north dip, then through an opening on the outer side and zigzagged through the coral garden back south. .

Tour 2 - southeast side


From the boat you should eastward dip to the blocks at a depth of 12-14m. Then head west back to the plateau, so you're going to discover in every corner something else – from rays to soles, from snails to frog fish. .

Tour 3 - night dive


The reef wall in 5 to 8m depth is beautiful. There you have often seen an almost black Spanish dancer who is resident there. But the Sargassum frogfish can be found here, shrimp, stone fish and nocturnal coral scorpion fish. With a size of 4 to 5 cm and a slightly red-white coloring, he is very well protected. With a little luck you'll see squid in hunting. .

 

  

Elphinstone was given its name from a Scottish historian who almost perished here, when his ship en route from Egypt to England almost ran aground on the reef on 18 December 1827: Mountstuart Elphinstone. The locals however call it 'Sha'ab Abu Hamra'.

Details

From Marsa Alam, the boat travels north approx. one and a half hours to the Elphinstone Reef – a great excursion! Depending on the water level, the Elphinstone's high plateau lies at a depth between one and three metres. Strong surface currents and lots of boat traffic make it impossible to snorkel here.

Divers however can plunge straight into some challenging fun! The reef is known for its extraordinary biodiversity and, of course, also for sighting large fish. In the north, we dive down a sloping plateau from 18 to 40 metres, and in the south, down the underwater terraces . The west and east wall plunge steeply into the deep. The Elphinstone Reef has a total length of approx. 725 metres and a width of 140 metres.

Hard and soft coral in a myriad of colours make us rejoice under water – if we could, we'd jump for joy. Joining us are also turtles, moray eels, Red Sea percidae, whitetip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks and honestly just about everything the Red Sea has to offer. If we don't see it here, then where?

Hotspots

South plateau: The south plateau lures us in with glorious gorgonian gardens and friendly longnose hawkfish. Techies will be truly mesmerised by the irresistible archway.

North plateau: The beautifully covered reef blows us away here and so does the sight of whitetip reef sharks or hammerhead sharks. Simply brilliant!

Facts

Current: N/W in the morning, N at midday, N/E in the afternoon, Warning: sometimes from the south!

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 35–40 m; M, J, J, A: 30–60 m; S, O, N, D: 40 m

Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–24°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-28°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C

Depth: +100 m

Tour 1 – for techies: archway in the morning

From the boat, we dive south along the edge of the plateau – with the current behind us. The archway begins at an approx. depth of 54 metres. Contrary to all rumours, the stone blocks on the seafloor fell from the top of the arch and are not hand-carved sarcophagi, although this legend does certainly have its own charm. If we dive through the arch, we reach a ravine on the left that leads back to the plateau. Behind the arch, we are usually provided protection from the current – should this not be the case, it's better to turn around and take the same way back.

Tour 2 – gorgonian garden in the morning or at midday

From the boat, we reach the east side by travelling across the south plateau and come to a glorious gorgonian garden located at an approx. depth of 25 metres. Here we will probably meet the 'Longnoses' –the longnose hawkfish! The reef edge has lots of soft and hard coral. Always pay attention to the current during the dive so that we can return in good time!

Tour 3 – the north plateau at midday

We dive north along the plateau and enjoy the wonderfully covered reef. With a little luck, we can spot whitetip reef sharks or perhaps hammerhead sharks and maybe even hit the jackpot and capture one of these rare specimens with our underwater camera as they swim by with a shoal of pilot fish. Incredibly beautiful! Warning: Occasionally, there may be undertows on the north plateau.

You will return in the afternoon (about 2 o'clock p.m.) to the harbor one (1) day before departure, and spent the last over night either on your boat or in your hotel. The next day you will be transferred either to the airport or your hotel. You must be a certified diver with at least 50 logged dives for the under water National Parks (Brother Islands, Daedalus, Rocky Island, and Zabargad). ATTENTION: The tour description is merely our suggestion. Which diving places on tour are dived is determined by many factors including the wind and weather.

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