Red Sea Classic

   

Overview of tour / diving spots

Click to enlarge

 

Start in Hurghada, end in Port Ghaleb

This tour is for “everyone” possible – experienced as well as less experienced divers. Beautiful reefs and interesting wrecks are on the program.

After starting in our marina it is a short distance to Shaab el Erg to the dolphins (if they are at home), then 2 or 3 wreck dives at Abu Nuhas.

We will continue then to the famous Thistlegorm. On the way we pass in Gubal and Siyul to admire some great reefs and explore the underwater world at night.

On our way to the south nearby Safaga we have the wreck of the 1991 sunken ferry Salem Express in the program. Then we continue to the beautiful reefs at Panorama Reef. At the end of the tour another “highlight” is waiting for us, the Elphinstone with its Longimani and Hammerheads and impressive drop offs.

 

Start in Port Ghaleb, end in Hurghada

After starting in Port Ghalib’s the famous Elphinstone attracts with its Longimani and a Hammerhead school.

Then it goes northwards to the dive sites around Safaga. Here lies the wreck of the 1991 sunken ferry Salem Express. Even the Panorama reef is on the program.

Further north we reach the wrecks at Abu Nuhas, where we dive 2 or 3 of them, before it then goes on to the wreck of the legendary Thistlegorm.

In between, there are the great reefs around Gubal and Siyul and with a little luck at the end the dolphins in Shaab el Erg.

Download Tour Information

   

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

Possible dive sites 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!



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.



A brain coral garden, a few caves, overhangs and grottos, shoals of fish - this is Shaab Sheer, an immensely exciting reef at Safaga. Shaab Sheer is over one kilometre long and offers three different diving tours from the perfectly situated mooring point.

Details

The north side of Shaab Sheer is a little less quiet, but the south side in right there like a lagoon and is usually very well protected. We can expect a strong current on the west side, which faces the 'South Safaga Channel'. Most divers appreciate the area between three and 15 metres because the brain coral garden looks almost like the landscape of the moon; despite this we find a wide variety of reef inhabitants.

Picasso triggerfish, orange-striped and yellowmargin triggerfish, parrotfish, scrawled filefish and sling-jaw wrasse are to be found here in large numbers. In the area of the north plateau and at the steep wall we can also see bream, humpnose big-eye bream, mackerels, red and black snapper as well as shoals of tuna and barracuda.

Hotspots

Brain coral garden: A bizarre moon landscape awaits us at the brain coral garden, which is particularly popular with our divers and is definitely worth seeing.

Grottos and channels: They are found at the erg and provide shelter for the most interesting reef inhabitants.

Tour 1 – the northerly plateau

Friends of big fish should choose this route. We get in at the mooring point and work our way north. Here we can keep an eye on the open waters, and that is exactly why we are here. Along the steep drop-off we can still find some reef inhabitants and explore small grooves and crevices. At the end of our drift dive we set the buoy and are collected.

Tour 2 - the west side

This is where the current is usually strongest and, conditions permitting, this diving location is definitely worth diving. With the reef to our right shoulder, we explore the coral blocks and towers and dive through the channel. After countless encounters with diverse reef inhabitants and possibly even some large fish we set the buoy.

Tour 3 - the east side

We start out from the mooring point and dive through the channel to a depth of 12 metres, which brings us to the brain coral garden. We keep to the right and explore the caves and grottos in the erg, until we arrive back at the boat at the end of the erg.



Welcome to Panorama Reef, the most famous reef in Safaga; a steep face in the open sea with a plateau to the north and to the south respectively. The current here is usually very strong. What does that tell us? We have a good chance of seeing large fish here! In addition to this, a turtle called Quasimodo has been living here for years - but to be honest, she cannot help the shape of her shell!

Details


In 60 to 90 minutes we will have reached Panorama Reef by boat. The east and west sides drop steeply; to the north and south, however, we find very interesting plateaus with a whole lot of life and, what else, but a spectacular panorama. We can see unicornfish, barracudas and giant trevally. The west side is where we are most likely to see whitetip reef sharks and, particularly in the afternoon, grey reef sharks, moray eels every now and then, flatheads, eagle rays, dolphins, silvertip sharks, humphead wrasses and the famous turtle with the deformed shell.

Wonderful hill-forming corals, large table corals and thousands of anthiinae are to be found on the northern plateau at Panorama Reef. The current comes from the north to 95 percent, which means it is often quite ‘stormy’ here. The south plateau is more protected; it begins at a depth of 18 metres and falls slowly to a depth of 30 metres. Giant gorgonians grow up the chimney. The large field of sea anemones is also part of it, as are the almost obligatory sightings of stonefish.

Hotspots

Sea anemone field: On the south plateau we are spoiled with a field of sea anemones, where a multitude of clownfish and Red Sea dascyllus feel at home.

Turtle: As everybody is talking about her, of course we want to see Quasimodo too on our dive at Panorama Reef. The turtle with the deformed shell has been living here for years and will hopefully continue to live a long and happy life.

Tour 1 - drift diving


We start out with the Zodiac at the northern plateau and explore this first. There are always surprises hiding under the table corals and we might even see our first shark. On we go then either to the east or west side in a southerly direction; it does not matter where. Perhaps we will just play “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” or dive along the side that feels right. There should be enough current, otherwise the route may be too long for us under certain conditions. When we have reached the southern plateau, we will search for another stonefish and visit the anemone field. We surface at the boat feeling happy and satisfied.

Tour 2 –the south


We dive from the boat and find ourselves at the southern plateau almost immediately, which is protected by the current. Here we explore the giant gorgonians on the chimney at a depth of 30 metres on the east side and will probably find some longnose hawkfish in there. The splendour of the corals will astound us; we keep glancing into the open waters in the hope of seeing larger fish and will definitely pass by the anemone field before we surface again. Marlin and Nemo are waiting there for us!



A relaxing, yet spectacular dive anyone? In "Ras Abu Soma" we enjoy the possibility of large fish sightings because of the drop offs, but we also just enjoy the hovering in the sea. A great spot for diving students who want to see something special and experienced divers who want just fully relax.

Details


"Ras", what means the "head" of Abu Soma, is the drop off that falls in the depth at the northern end of the bay of Safaga. In about 25 meters depth we find a plateau with many corals, especially table and hard corals.

Wind and current are at "Ras Abu Soma" not worth mentioning, so this dive spot is ideal also for rookies who want to see something more than just reef fish. In blue water there is a good chance to see barracuda, mackerel, snapper, tuna and bat and surgeonfish. From time to time even grey reef sharks or white tip reef sharks sighted at "Ras Abu Soma" - in spring as well leopard or hammerhead sharks, stingrays, violin or eagle rays and manta rays.

Should we really be dogged by bad luck, we will see just some boxfish. There are times when the big fish avoid "Ras Abu Soma". Why? This mystery was not yet to be aired.

But at the Plateau we always find interesting reef dwellers such as moray eels, octopus or cuttlefish at the reef slope and Clownfish in their anemone homes. Further south, "Ras Abu Soma Garden", a great coral garden - the turtles and milkfish love is.

Hot spots

Coral garden: It is located in the south and is known for surprising encounters. Make sure to stop by!

Table corals: they are standing powerful and magnificent on the plateau of "Ras Abu Soma" and are quasi the landmark of the dive site.

Cave: It is located at 35 meters in the reef wall near the plateau start and how could it be otherwise, thousands of glass fish make here Cave Party!

Tour 1 - Ras Abu Soma

Anchorages are there another and yet another. Although the current is not very strong, it comes from the north, and we can therefore tackle a drift dive along the reef wall. We start a few hundred meters before the plateau and let us drift towards the south, the reef at our right shoulder. In the depth of 35 meters we find a cave and then dip further upwards to explore the plateau and table corals. We dive to the shallow reef in four to five meters deep and then we find ourselves already back at the boat.

Tour 2 - Ras Abu Soma Garden

We start from the boat and explore the southern area of "Ras Abu Soma", where we find the beautiful coral garden. Some coral blocks and large, ancient table and hard corals can be found here for us to discover. The one or the other turtle can show their faces, and that's not a shark, but a milkfish, even if he is often called "tourist shark". The current makes us the "Ras Abu Soma Garden" from nothing and so we dive crisscross, howsoever we like. The boat is never far away.



 

This wonderful dive site offers a variety of hard corals and soft corals.

It's a fantastic, colorful dive, where you can discover all kind of reef fishes of the Red Sea.

If you are blessed with very good eyes, you can discover stone and scorpion fishes.

In the sand there are lying often well camouflaged crocodile fishes, besides you can be lucky to spot Napoleons, giant groupers and turtles.

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?


Auf der Südseite befindet sich ein sicherer Liegeplatz für Tauchsafari Schiffe.

 

  

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.



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 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.



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.

You will return in the afternoon (about 2 o'clock p.m.) to the harbor one day before departure, and spent the last over night either on your boat or in a 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.

TOP