North & Strait of Tiran 

   

Overview of tour / diving spots

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This tour takes you to the famous wrecks and reefs in the northern part of the Red Sea, and on top of that the interesting reefs in the Strait of Tiran.

The “Die hards” of old sunken ships wrecks “ will be stunned on this liveaboard. Guaranteed a great value for your money.

First it goes to Shaab El Erg (Dolphin House), the wrecks of Abu Nuhas (Carnatic, Chrisoula K., Ghiannis D.) are also on the program. The next wreck on the “menu” speaks for itself: The Thistlegorm, one of the most famous wrecks in the  Red Sea, with its motorcycles, trucks and off-lying locomotive.

You will reach then the Strait of Tiran with the beautiful dive sites at Jackson, Thomas and Gordon Reef. If permitted by the weather and current conditions, you will visit the Rosalie Moller, a wreck that sank in the same night as the Thistlegorm and lies in the middle of the Strait of Gubal. Also at the island of Gubal fascinating dives are planned.

After arrival in Hurghada, transfer to the boat in Hurghada, dinner and departure the next morning.

 

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

Possible dive sites on this tour:



After 90 minutes drive from Hurghada, you can reach Shaab el Erg, the first dive site on the Safari. Shaab el Erg is an extensive reef, in the shape of a horseshoe. This formation is open to the south with a shallow lagoon, which is full of ergs. The whole lagoon can be dived.

Very popular are the northern tip, the eastern wall or the southwestern tip - Gota Shaab el Erg.

Between Gota and the main reef is a small canal; on the south and west side is a large sandy plateau with innumerable towers and coral heads. The domiciled dolphins pass several times a day this channel. They can be seen all year round here.

Mantas can be observed from January to March on the northern tip.

On the plateau that surrounds Gota, you can find scorpion fish, groupers, snowflake moray, blue spotted stingrays and many triggerfish. .

Under the table corals you can see from time to time white tip reef sharks.
In the sand you find cone snails, shells and sole. Along the shallow reef you find frolicking nose unicorn fish, angelfish, bream, snapper and turtles.

The diving on Gota Shaab el Erg is dreamlike.
For photographers especially the coral heads are likely to be interesting. They are not part of illustration and are in a southerly direction at 16m depth.

 

  

The reef Abu Nuhas is famous for its wrecks and is also called "ship graveyard".
At this reef 4 ships have declined, which are an attraction for divers from all over the world.

Who has not heard of the 4 wrecks lying on the north side of Abu Nuhas on sandy seabed?

 

 

  

Sha'ab Mahmud is a large lagoon about 10 meters deep, closed at the western side by a very interesting long coral reef.

The lagoon interior is a very good mooring and safari boats often spend the night here. Usually the anchor is thrown on the sandy bottom of the lagoon, close to a break in the reef, the Small Passage.

This break, that can be crossed only by a zodiak, offers the perfect occasion to visit the wonderful reef outside the lagoon.

Depending on tides, the current can flow into or out of the lagoon. The best condition is when the current flows into the lagoon, thus giving the opportunity to dive along the reef and then enter the Small Passage and be pushed towards our mooring by the current.

During this dive turtles may be encountered. Moreover, one encounters certainly trevally and barracuda.

As part of the Safari also Beacon Rock is visited. This reef is located at the southernmost point of the vast coral reefs of Shaab Mahmoud.

In an unhappy night of the year 1876, the cargo ship Dunraven who was traveling from Bombay to Newcastle, hit the reef. After the massive collision, the ship sank immediately and broke into two large parts, which are today on the reef Beacon Rock in 18 and 28 meters depth.

 

  

A long, long time ago in September 1981, the 'Loullia' ran aground on the northern slope of the Gordon Reef and hasn't sunk any further ever since. Although we can't have the pleasure of diving this wrecked cargo ship, we can find other pieces of wreckage such as drums or cables. Yet the easiest reef of the Tiran group with mooring sites also harbours hazards – please never underestimate the current!

Details

The Gordon Reef – the southernmost reef in the Straits of Tiran – measures approx. 900 metres in length and the top of the reef is just half a metre below the water's surface. This is also the reason why we cannot visit the 'Loullia' cargo ship which was stranded here on its way from Panama on 29 September 1981. But who needs sunken cargo vessels when there are whole treasures waiting for us to discover all over the Gordon Reef.

An unmanned lighthouse still stands in the southwest and in the north the barely recognisable ruins of a lighthouse offer the perfect object to search for, presenting one or two challenges. Sandy mooring sites with depths of two to ten metres exist in both the south, the east and the west.

In the southern part, it's all about the pleasure of diving, as the drop-off ledge ranges between 25 and 30 metres before plunging to 50 metres. In the remaining area of the reef, the dive suddenly proceeds steeply downward, all the way down to depths of 300 metres.

And now we finally come to the colourful part of the tour: in the 'amphitheatre' (a sandy basin), if we're lucky we might just run into scalloped hammerhead sharks that at first sight will leave us utterly speechless. Unlike their counterparts, the 'kind' whitetip reef sharks, also grant us an audience here time and time again. It's not for nothing that this sandy basin is also called the 'shark pool'. As a general rule, the blades of grass emerging from the sand are Red Sea garden eels offering further highlights other than just fire coral and gorgonian.

Hotspots

Cable and drums: To the west of the amphitheatre, the current has done its work, washing up drums and cables which the ocean and its inhabitants have in the meantime made their own. The scattered pieces of metal to be found here are fragments of an old lighthouse.

Barrels: To the east of the amphitheatre, huge sunken barrels can be found which small fish like to use to play hide-and-seek.

Sandpit: It doesn't sound spectacular, but you'd be mistaken: it's the Gordon Reef's sandy plateau. Due to the shallow waters here, this area is teeming with garden eels and one or another snorkelers. It's precisely here, where you might feel safe, that you must pay the attention to the current.

Facts

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

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 25 m; M, J, J, A: 20 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: 26°C

Depth: 10 m to 50 m

Tour 1– drifting with the zodiac

Depending on the current, we start at the wreck and then work our way towards the southern plateau either on the left or right shoulder of the reef. We float past a myriad of vibrant-coloured coral, spot garden eels on the sandy sea surface and perhaps even some tuna, whitetip reef sharks, masked puffers and ... dolphins! Decompression takes place over the plateau.

Tour 2 – from boat to boat

We leave the boat and stay on the outer edge of the plateau, at around 30 metres, until the plateau narrows. Here drift diving is also possible towards the north; the Zodiac crew will let you know in advance if this is possible. Otherwise, it's time to head back, floating over the barrels and the shallow sandy area. Big fish can be encountered in the blue water, but also eagle rays exist in the sloping plateau area. Nudibranchs and eels can be found in the shallow sandy area and the adjacent small blocks.

Tour 3 – southern plateau

Here, we can also make a round-trip dive from boat to boat and dive south to the sandpit. Take the turn to the 'amphitheatre' or 'shark pool', take a selfie with a scalloped hammerhead shark or eagle rays, dive west at the drop-off, say 'hi' to three garden eels and then take a turn back towards the boat past the fire coral.

 

  

The Thomas Reef is honestly one of the best diving spots in Northern Egypt, but the strong current can be quite challenging. With speeds of up to 12 km/h on the reef's edge, there's hardly enough time to say 'hello' to all the reef inhabitants. The Thomas Reef has no mooring points; drift diving is also recommended for the sake of protecting the coral. Warning: Undertows!

Details

Whoever likes diving in caves will burst with joy in the Thomas Reef which will win them over with its steep vertical slopes, many crevices and spectacular canyon. However, this dive is only for experienced divers: depending on the tides, the currents fluctuate greatly especially on the side facing the Woodhouse Reef. Not only are they fast, but they also cause undertows to occur.

Whoever's gutsy enough shouldn't waste any time and book the tour immediately. The Thomas Reef is simply a brilliant and unique place to dive. It's just 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'! With its three rock arches, the canyon can rightly show off what it's got: fields of gorgonians and black coral regularly put on a show for their visitors and lionfish, reef sharks, barracudas, moray eels or other family members of the 1,200 other fish species living in the Red Sea often make cameo appearances. Underwater cinematography at its best!

Hotspots

Canyon: Diving sites such as the ones located in the Thomas Reef give us the necessary motivation to keep honing our diving skills. A very challenging dive that is rewarded with a rarely found underwater world. Scuba divers start off the first section by diving shallow and then traverse the first archway.

Gorgonians: Indonesia, Algeria, Tunisia ... gorgonians! At the southern corner of the Thomas Reef, the home of an infinite number of gorgonians – otherwise known as horn coral or sea fans – can be found. We can enjoy this lavish sight in depths of approx. 30 to 35 metres.

Western side: We can also find gorgonians and soft corals on the Thomas Reef's western steep faces. A very special highlight is the cave located approx. 25 metres below – not only do divers love it, but so do whitetip reef sharks.

Facts

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

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 30 m; M, J, J, A: 25 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: 26°C

Depth: 2 m to 80 m

Tour 1 – classical tour starting off on the southern corner of the Thomas Reef

The dive kicks off from the boat heading north to the sandy plateau at around 25 to 30 metres deep. Longnose hawkfish come out to greet us at the thickets of gorgonians. Aside from this the entire plateau is populated by majestic whip coral and black coral. A slight slope leads directly down to the canyon which plummets to depths of 35 metres and opens up to the eastern side.

Many are interested in knowing how deep the canyon goes and what can be found down below: the canyon extends downwards up to 90 metres. Awe-inspiring arches can be found between 40 and 80 metres and the floor is covered in sand.

Whether above or below the canyon, the classical dive continues on northwest to the western side. With strong currents existing divers are often forced to return back to the boat. There is one more highlight on the eastern side to briefly mention: the caves at a depth of five metres are actually a dental practice – barracudas and tuna come here every day for a dental cleaning. The toothbrushes in the Red Sea are known as 'cleaner fish'.

Tour 2 – drifting on the western and south-western side

A great tour if the current permits: we let ourselves drift down the western side, coming across large predators, turtles and shoals of fish in the open sea, until we reach the 25-metre deep caves along the first third of the way.

 

  

The human eye can see anywhere from 200 to 300 shades of colour. Whoever wants to see them all at once, simply needs to take a dive in the Woodhouse Reef! The reef has no mooring points and is situated in the Straits of Tiran north of the Thomas Reef and south of the Jackson Reef. Woodhouse Reef and Jackson Reef, however, are connected by a shallow bridge.

Details

The Woodhouse Reef is the longest of the four reefs in the Straits of Tiran. The reef top is approx. 1.2 kilometres long. In the saddle region, extreme precaution is to be taken as divers can be confronted by harsh currents pulling them down. The locals call this place the 'washing machine'.

Diving is mainly done on the eastern side where a plateau and canyon are located as well as ... interesting wreckage remains which aren't exactly a sunken wooden house! If we avert our gaze from this site, we might just get the chance to catch hammerhead sharks, grey reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks, leopard sharks or eagle rays.

The canyon is too narrow to dive in with air; it's best to stay at the top. In the past, the curiosity of some divers has also been their undoing. But of course a snapshot for the kids can be taken – now where did Nemo live? That's right, in a sea anemone! They are located here too!

Hotspots

Canyon and plateau: The canyon area (please do not dive in here!) and the plateau itself offer the most to discover. The Woodhouse Reef is well-known for offering encounters with large fish – so keep your eyes peeled!

Facts

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

Visibility: J, F, M, A: 30 m; M, J, J, A: 25 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: 0 m to 40 m

Tour 1 – from the boat to the canyon

In the northern third to the eastern side, the dive begins from the boat to approx. 28 metres below. During our visit, keep one eye on the plateau and the other on the blue waters, as not to miss any hammerhead sharks, reef sharks, leopard sharks or eagle rays. From here, the dive continues north to the face of the reef and the sandy ledge. Resurfacing slowly begins above the wreck remains. And remember not to forget to pay attention to the current during the entire dive.

It's best to head out early in the morning when the sun's rays first hit the eastern side and the sea anemones dazzle our eyes with the brightest colour red. Shoals of mackerel and tuna are often nearby for breakfast, too.

Tour 2 – drift diving

The best spot for us to drift dive in the Woodhouse Reef is in the less-often visited areas: in the southern part of the eastern face and on the west side of the reef. The steep faces are beautifully covered with vegetation and are usually where we can hope to come across large predators.



Whether it was Michael or maybe Samuel L., we don't know who gave the Jackson Reef its name. We can say with certainty, however, that 'Jackson' is the northernmost reef of the four reefs of Tiran and that it became famous when a Cypriot cargo ship ran aground at full speed on 4 December 1981. The Jackson Reef is very popular among divers, but above all for the great likelihood of catching sight of hammerhead sharks during the summer months. However, this dive can be quite challenging when there is a current. Mooring is available.

Details

The Jackson Reef resembles a triangle whose apex points north. It is exactly here where the famous shipwreck 'Lara' ran aground and sunk in 1981. Close to the 'Lara', hammerhead sharks can frequently be spotted swimming around the waters – and at pleasant depths of 10 to 30 metres.

The highly frequented diving site is not only a treat for divers, but for snorkelers can also get their money's worth at the 'Jackson Reef' since there are two shallower plateaus: the perfect choice for an underwater excursion with the whole family. In addition to the 'Lara', the remains of an old lighthouse also count among the reef's highlights.

With a little luck, reef sharks and hammerhead sharks can't only be seen, but also magnificent coral gardens, red sea anemones, clownfish, horsehead lookdowns, eagle rays, Napoleon wrasse, groupers or swarms of tuna. Watch, marvel and enjoy!

Hotspots

Plateau in the west: The plateau in the west is home to marvellous coral gardens which couldn't be anymore colourful. It's here where we will find bright-red sea anemones – and at a depth of only 28 metres.

Plateau in the east: In the eastern plateau, the remains of an old lighthouse can be visited and hundreds of species of fish in a variety of shapes and colours can be enjoyed.

Shipwreck and sharks: Upon visiting the 'Lara', repeatedly scanning the open sea is recommended to experience the pleasure of beholding hammerhead sharks.

Facts

Current: S in the morning, S at midday, N 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: 0 m to 50 m

Tour 1 – drift from the northern tip

We start at the shipwreck 'Lara' and depending on the current either drift with the reef on our right or left shoulder. Upon reaching the south side, special attention should be paid to the current.

Parts of the wreckage 'Lara' are scattered up to 30 metres below where we can linger in the blue water – the probability of sharks are swimming around here is very high. Afterward, a detour south can be taken and the west and east face of the reef can be observed. Jackson's steep face is like something out of a storybook, thanks to vibrant coral, countless shimmery fish, turtles, aquatic predators and numerous other marine dwellers. Due to the strong southern current, always remember to take the buoy with you and if necessary arrange a pick-up.

Tour 2 - southern area

From the shipwreck located at the heart of the southern area, the journey continues 30 downward to the large sandy channel at approx. 30 metres. Here the first groupers can be seen; some small sharks might also pass by. Further down, at a depth of 45 metres, a sand eel colony exists which can also be seen from above at 40 metres.

With the reef on our right shoulder, the outing continues to the home of the clownfish and red sea anemones. It's possible to dive right up to the corner of the west side, but then we have to watch that the current doesn't carry us too far. Otherwise, we might not make it back to the boat under certain circumstances.

The upper, shallower area is perfect for decompression and is adorned with countless fire coral. Damselfish, rabbitfish as well as surgeonfish and one or two turtles can also be seen here. With the reef on our left shoulder, it's time to slowly head back to the boat.

Tour 3 – from the mooring point to the east

Ever heard of the 'Oxycirrhites typus'? No? Well then certainly of the longnose hawkfish! From the boat, with the reef on our left shoulder, the dive carries on over the sandy plateau at up to 20 metres in order to visit the longnose hawkfish before the drop-off to the gorgonians. Fire coral pave the way into depths of 38 metres.

The remains of the old lighthouse and the exquisite blocks of hard coral can be found in the eastern plateau between eight and fifteen metres. Here, too, attention must be paid not to dive too close to the corner in order to safely return to the boat again. At the end of the plateau, barracudas and turtles can be encountered.


laguna


Here are the wrecks Cormoran and Million Hope. Both wrecks are located north of the Laguna Reef and it must be good weather to dive it.

Named is this reef by its magnificent coral lagoons.

The Northern Lagoon is located in the area of the green/white lighthouse.

North of the lighthouse there is the wreck of the Italian bulk freighter Kormoran. The ship was built in 1963 in the Neptun shipyard in Rostock for the Italian shipping company "Compagnia Montemare di Navigazione". In 1976 the ship was renamed in Adamastos and 1980 in Zingara.

The ship was 82.4 meters long and 12.6 meters wide with a tonnage of 2,730 gross tons. Coming from Aqaba, the with phosphates loaded ship ran on 21 August 1984 at the reef and sank. .

In general the southern lagoon is been dived.
The target is not the lagoon itself, but the Western outside of the reef, which surprises with beautiful table corals, gorgonians, fire corals and soft corals, as well as occasional white tip reef sharks and leopard sharks in the southern lagoon.

 

  

Ras Mohammed is the southernmost point of the Sinai, dividing the sea waters between the Tiran Strait to the east and the Gobal Strait to the west.

The cape takes its name from the steep rocky coast a little to the east, where you can recognize the face of a bearded man sculpted into the rocks by the elements: the Head of the Prophet

Ras Mohamed is one of the world's most famous dive sites, located at the tip of the Sinai. Two small reefs are connected by a vertical sloping wall.
Near the Shark Reef, located slightly north, there is Anemone City, an extended, flat Reef zone with numerous anemones and their Red Sea anemone fish and three-spot Prussia fish.

From Shark Reef you can go with the current at a steep wall that drops several 100 meters, along to Jolanda Reef. The wall is completely covered with colorful corals. On the way to Jolanda Reef you reach a plateau with small blocks and coral islands. Arriving at the reef you can see the scattered remains of Jolanda wreck: Container Sanitary way for construction, which are now taken completely in fog from the life of the coral reef.Yolanda-Wrecks

Ras Mohammed has everything united what the Red Sea has to offer for diving, because of its exposed location, current and flow of abysmal depths. One can find here more than 1,000 different species of fish and 220 species of coral.

The area around Ras Mohammed has been declared a national park in 1989.

 

  

The Thistlegorm is probably the most famous wreck in the Red Sea.

The British ship was on its way to Egypt, to supply the English Africa Corps with reinforcements, when she was attacked on 06/10/1941 by a German bomber and sank.

The wreck lies at a depth of 30 m upright on the seabed.
Especially interesting is the cargo: Tanks, trucks, guns, motorcycles, railway carriages and a locomotive.

The Thistlegorm is a must for every Red Sea diver. It is a pleasure for wreck friends, not least because of its spectacular charge.

And also offers a variety of fish, schools of barracudas or big tunas and snapper are not uncommon here. As an artificial reef, it also attracts countless coral fishes.

Worth seeing are the stern with its cannons, the midship and fore ship, the bug and the charge, as well as the vehicles, the two locomotives, the tender and the water truck.

The current on the wreck is moderate, sometimes strongly. Visibility is generally moderate and often are a lot of boats on site.



The Bluff Point, which is displayed by the same automatic lighthouse, is located on the northeastern end of the island Small Gubal. This is separated from the island of Big Gubal by a short isthmus that is partially flooded by the tides or partially out of the water.
Bluff Point forms part of the long Straits of Gubal, which closes the Gulf of Suez in the south.

This dive starts at the north-eastern point of the tip and then goes along the coral wall to the south to the arcuate protected bay at the north side of the island Small Gubal. A strong current drives the diver in a southerly direction, so you should stay as close as possible to the wall.
Along the rounded tip, where the dive begins, large Napoleon fish can be found, and not infrequently even turtles.

The wall drops down to 35 meters deep and is heavily rugged in the first few meters and interspersed with ravines, which are populated by dense groups of scorpion fish.
Beyond the tip to the south the wall is soften and goes in 15-20 meters into a platform, which expands further to the protected bay side - the usual anchor point for cruise boats.

On this small roof large moray eels can be found, in some cases outside their caves. Once inside the bay move to the middle, where you find in about 10 m depth a small, 20 m long wreck of a modern vessel.

A pleasant, little demanding dive, which can be performed even at night. The darkness unites around the wreck crowds of scorpion fish, mollusks, Arab Emperor, including rather unusual figures as the partridge-ton screw.

 

 

  

The Rosalie Moller sank on the same night as the Thistlegorm.

To drive to the wreck, the weather conditions have to be right, that means, not too much wind. The diver should bring some experience, because the visibility and flow conditions represent quite a challenge.

The wreck lies in the Gubal Island in a depth of 28 - 50 m.



Shaab Umm Usk is a crescent-shaped reef, open in the south, enclosing a specially protected lagoon in its interior. This makes a good base for one-day stay during the cruise.

The lagoon is known for domiciled bottlenose dolphins, which, if they are not scared and swim away, can be observed as they perform interesting maneuvers.

The lagoon is protected in all weather conditions, not least because of the scattered coral formations at the southern tip that curb the wave motion.

The most appropriate place for the dive is in the southwest, beyond the coral reef.

The most interesting part, however, lies in the southeast, but is only recommended for good sea conditions.

The dive described here is the second of two: After anchoring in the lagoon you need a zodiak, with which you can be brought to the outside.

After leaving the lagoon, you start the dive counterclockwise around the coral ring. If you reach the half of the east side, the reef drops down to a flat area. This is the first step, situated in 18-20 meters depth. It follows a second step in 60 meter depth, which falls to greater depths. The dive takes place on the easily gradually sloping wall to the first step in 20 meters.
The current prevails to the south; therefore it is necessary to stay always close to the reef, which is also particularly blessed with life wealth.

 

  

Umm Gamar is a small, crescent-shaped island north-east of Hurghada. The name means mother of the moon, probably due to the shape of the island. It is easily recognizable by its light house located on the north side.

The island is surrounded by an expanded coral reef up to 2 km to the north direction. The way to the Island can be a bit rough sometimes, but on the south plateau the boat will find enough protection from the wind.

The typical dive at Umm Gamar takes place on the eastern side of the island. The Zodiak will drop you at the desired site and you can dive on the eastern drop off to the south until you reach 3 coral towers that mark the beginning of south plateau. Two of the coral towers are hollow and filled with glass fish. The third has a large, sandy cave at 27m. All three are covered with purple red soft corals and clouds of glass fish cavort in the cavities.

It would be worthwhile to take a look at the number of smaller coral blocks or caves - there can be found lionfish, crocodile fish and a lot of any "small animals". There are also many scorpion fish, as well as the extremely toxic real stonefish. If you look into the blue, sometimes an eagle ray or Manta is coming along.

Once on the plateau you will find certainly Napoleon, moray eels, flute fish, bat fish and schools of butterfly fish.

 

  

Carless Reef is one of the best known Hurghada dive sites, that can take place on the classic 20 meter deep reef or, less frequently, on the eastern wall which drops to 70 meters depth.
The reef is composed of two semi-exposed coral towers that reach 3-5 meters depth. They are clearly visible in the transparent water of this unprotected area that in some weather conditions make the mooring impossible.

Its notoriety comes mostly from the giant morays that inhabit this zone, often swimming freely out of their dens. If not disturbed they are not dangerous.

This area can be easily explored admiring the richness of soft corals, hard corals and gorgonians covering the towers. Different kinds of table corals grow abundantly on this reef. On the bottom, as well as the giant morays, many reef fish: Butterfly fish and Red Sea bannerfish gather in unusually large groups among soft corals where puffer fish can also be met.

This richness of middle sized fish often also attracts pelagic fish, generally white tip reef sharks and mackerels.

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. 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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