- Between Angarosh, the mother of sharks, Shaab Rumi, the reef of Jacques Cousteau and the Wingate Reef on which Umbria is located, you‘ll find a stunning, pristine underwater world.
- Not without reason Jaques Cousteau has built his Precontinent II in Sudan. The underwater research village can still be dived and is a highlight on this tour. Although the buildings are impressive, but you should never forget to look into the blue water.
- Often one meets current, in which swarms of hammerhead sharks, grey sharks, white and black tip reef sharks cavort.
The east side
In the occasional current, nice drift dives can be carried out on this side. The reef wall drops steeply into the deep blue. At the southern end of the east side, the diver will find a narrow incline from 20 meters. Small step-like projections nestle into the slope at a depth of 30 or 60 meters. The entire wall is beautifully overgrown and huge gorgonian stretch their fans into the current. Jewel groupers and butterfly fish are close to the reef. Shoals of copper snappers and mackerel roam along the wall. Especially in the morning, large pelagic fish rise from the depths. In addition to various types of sharks, manta rays can occasionally be found on a dive. At the south end, in the area of the plateau approach, a small collection of anemones can be admired in the flat area. Due to the attractive south plateau, dives on the east side are rarely undertaken.
The north plateau
The frequently occurring north current ensures beautiful stone and soft coral growth on the three-level plateau. The first paragraph is in shallow water at a depth of 3 to 4 meters. Numerous doctor and various butterfly fish populate the sparsely vegetated reef roof. There is a sloping slope to a depth of 12 meters, which is partially populated with colonies of white and blue antler corals. At the foot of this slope is the second plateau. It descends steadily to 30 meters and is covered with numerous soft corals. The abundance of fish on the plateau is not as great as on the steep wall, on which numerous fish and other reef inhabitants fill the corals with lively life. Below a slope, the third step begins at a depth of about 60 meters, on the north end of which there is a larger coral hill. In the channel between the hill and the slope, silhouettes of hammerhead sharks can sometimes be seen. Especially in the period from late summer to autumn, they often go their way beyond the limits that can be reached by recreational divers. Shoaling fish, such as mackerel, copper snapper and Red Sea fusiliers, swim along the reef in the shallower area on the east side.
Shaab Rumi South Plateau with Precontinent II
There is a variety of colors and species that make a dive an unforgettable experience. The reef wall is very rugged on the upper 15 to 20 meters and forms numerous caves and crevices. Below this is the tongue-shaped plateau, which sinks to 30 meters. There is a small channel parallel to his approach. The outside, covered with numerous hard corals, drops steeply into the depth. At a depth of 55 meters, a narrow sloping slope hugs the southern end. The Big Boys pass this long foothill into the open water.
The southwest tip is an attraction of this place: In the open water, a school of bow-fronted hammerhead sharks often patrols. If you dive a little into the blue, with a little luck, these reserved sea creatures can be observed. However, care should be taken not to swim towards them frantically, otherwise the shy hunters will quickly disappear into the depths of the open sea. But be careful: The current can pull the diver very quickly into the open water without giving them the chance to reach the reef again on their own.
After an excursion to the southern tip, the plateau can be explored in all its splendor. In the middle is a mushroom-like, beautifully overgrown coral block. The bottom is covered with sea fans, leather and stone corals, on which dragon heads lurk for prey floating past.
At the southeast end, numerous whip corals can be admired, between which jewel flagfish scurry around. A large flock of baracudas circles over it.
An old shark cage is part of the Precontinent II project on the eastern plateau. Next to it is a plaque commemorating an Austrian diver who died in 1993. A very trusting swarm of sweet lips makes this shot a dream for every underwater photographer. With a practiced eye and a bit of luck, you can also spot a stonefish that lurks for prey well camouflaged. In the flat area, there can be encounters with gray reef sharks, which pull over the plateau together with white tip reef sharks. Sometimes dolphins visit the reef. Unfortunately, the excess of air used up too quickly limits every dive.
The south side with the southwest plateau
By far the most dives are carried out on the southwest plateau. The underwater life unfolds here a breathtaking splendor.
The south side forms a vertical reef wall down to a depth of 10 meters and merges into an inclined slope below. The slope bends vertically in the area of 35 meters. The upper area is rugged and forms numerous small caves and crevices. One encounters short-spined hedgehog fish over forests of leather corals. At a depth of about 50 meters, a small sandy step nestles against the reef before the wall below disappears vertically in the deep blue.
The southwest plateau connects to the west. Large table corals stand on its base, at a depth of 10 to 15 meters. Numerous whip corals rise from the bottom, some of which form entire forests. With such an abundance of species, it is difficult to decide in which direction the dive should continue. On the one hand, the vibrant life on the plateau attracts, on the other hand, gray reef sharks, black tip and hammerhead sharks can be found in the area of the edge, as well as on the entire outer wall of the reef. With a little luck, sea turtles or passing mantas can be spotted.
The outer edge of the plateau begins at its base at 10 meters and sinks to about 33 meters at the extreme south-west tip. The strongly jagged outer wall runs almost vertically on it and forms overhangs. The entire splendor of the Red Sea unfolds on the plateau. A number of small coral columns, some of which are beautifully decorated with purple soft corals, invite you to look at and take pictures. A large swarm of Barakudas, loyal to the location, is circling. It is so trusting that a cautious diver can swim up to the arm length of individual animals. A huge swarm of mackerel is also common. Jewel flagfish appear in this coral garden in an unlimited number. A large number of sponges, leather corals, gorgonians and fire corals settle on the bottom. At the foot of the upper reef wall, a strip of sand stretches across the plateau, on which large green giant triggerfish have dug their eggs in the sand. Care should be taken there as they aggressively defend their nests. The reef wall above the plateau is so jagged up to 10 meters that canyons have formed. They are easy to dive.
An elongated plateau connects directly to the northern tip. There is hardly any diving because the highlight on the Sanganeb reef is the southwest plateau. However, eventful dives can also be carried out at the north end.
The approach of the plateau begins at a depth of 4 meters. Due to the waves and the frequently occurring strong currents, it is rarely suitable for diving. From its outer edge, however, you can beautifully observe the many small reef fish that swim around in the game of the waves.
Below the first step there is a sloping slope very nicely covered with soft and stone corals. It flows into a canal at a depth of 25 meters. The often strong current makes it impossible to swim against it.
In the northern direction, the plateau initially rises again to 20 meters, in order to then change into a steep drop. Shoals of barbed mackerel, fusiliers and copper snappers pass by on the outside. Below them, soft corals sway in the current.
A further plateau begins at a depth of 40 meters, which descends continuously to a depth beyond 60 meters in order to drop steeply below. At this level there are good chances to spot gray reef sharks and hammerheads. The sloping slope offers a magnificent sight. It is overgrown with numerous soft corals and fan corals stretch their bodies into the free water.
In the shallower area you can encounter a swarm of baracuda or large groups of double-spot snappers.
The Island, that is sticking only a few meter out of the water, has an elongated shape and is located 2.5 nautical miles south-southwest of Abington reef.
The surrounding reef has a more triangular shape and falls at the outside steeply into the depths.
At the southern end there is a small, on the northern end a large plateau. Both places are known for possible encounters with different shark species. The number of animals is depending on the season and the water temperature.
The reef is penetrated by many small incisions, which extend deep into the reef. Because of the exposed location strong current must be expected. This is also a reason that strikingly large schools from various pelagic fish can be found.
At the whole reef the species richness of the Red Sea with its hard and soft corals and its many inhabitants is shown. The diver is provided with overwhelming abundance of underwater life.
North plateau with East Side
At the north end, pointed to the north-east, a large plateau is located. On its start at 18 meters depth there is a large cave in the reef wall which is courageously defended by two couples of clown fish.
The plateau decreases uniformly to 30 meters in order to continue after a step in 40 meters.
Beyond the sport diving limit his tip vanishes steeply in the deep blue. The sandy bottom is covered with many small, overgrown with soft corals, stone heads. Whip corals rise up and form in some places downright small forests. Frequently circles a sedentary shoal of barracuda.
Especially on the plateau top a strong current has to be expected. If the diver dares to advance to the edge, especially in the morning hours, the sea creatures encounter who have made this spot so famous:
Depending on the direction of the current you can slowly end the dive at the east side of the reef. Also on this side of the reef there is much to discover.
South of the North plateau at 10 m depth there are some caves, where swarms of glass fish are looking for protection. In 4 meters depth you can enter one of the first through a chimney and exit at the originally entrance.
Not far from the plateau edge the diver reaches a larger coral block which is overgrown with anemones outright. In shallow water unfolds the entire colorful shapes and diversity that characterizes this waters.
West wall with Southern plateau
Opposite the east side, the west side is more crossed by clefts and overhangs.
This creates a lot of hiding places for the reef inhabitants. Remarkable are the collections of anemones with their symbiotically living clown fish, which attract the attention of the diver.
Similar to the east side, the reef wall proceeds to 20 meters perpendicular. Partly it is suspended and continues in 40 meters in a small slope hill. Below the water surface cornet fish can be observed.
Towards the south plateaus blue trigger fish are paying attention, while floating in large numbers close to the reef wall. Around the south end there is a narrow flat strip of water, however, due to the motion of the sea it is too shallow for diving or snorkeling. It is populated with a variety of colorful reef dwellers.
Below this section there are larger caves in the reef wall. The small plateau falls in two stages up to 45 meters deep. At the first level in about 20 meters are some nice vegetated coral blocks. At the level of the second one the area of pelagic big fish starts. Depending on the season there are good chances to encounter various shark species. The outer wall of the plateau vanishes precipitously in the deep blue.
Qita el Banna
The southeast side
The strongly jagged reef wall overhangs in places on the upper 15 meters. Many small canyons have formed along the wall, in which soldier fish seek shelter. The outside of the reef drops steeply in waves. At 40 meters, it forms a small base to disappear almost vertically in deep blue. The diver can come across groups of giant sweet lips that pull along the slope - an attractive motif for underwater photographers.
At the south end of the wall, a sloping slope extends to a depth of 40 meters. There is a large cave below. White tip reef sharks rest on the partially sandy bottom of the cave. Colorful coral formations and the seemingly bottomless depth captivate the visitor. However, it makes you forget time and depth. Due to the numerous schooling fish, such as jewel flagfish, and the many small caves, the shallower area also has a lot of interesting things to offer.
At the southwest end of Qita 'el Banna, from a depth of 15 meters, there is a narrow plateau. This quickly reaches 25 meters to drop steeply on its outer edge. It is not an outstanding plateau, but a detour is still worthwhile.
West side with north plateau
The west side drops steeply to a depth of over 70 meters. The steep drop is interrupted at a depth of 40 meters by a small base. Similar to the east side, the reef wall on the top 10 meters is very rugged, which has created small caves. Various coral inhabitants can be discovered in these.
Shoals of reef fish, such as nose doctor fish or yellow-headed snappers, run along the entire reef wall. Large gorgonian stretch their fans into the current to filter planctonic organisms out of the water.
At the north end of Qita 'el Banna is a small plateau covered with coral heads. It begins at a depth of 10 meters, leads gently downwards and ends in a steep wall at its outer edge. If the diver gazes at this edge in depth or in open water, there are good chances of discovering large pelagic sea creatures.
On the west side you can see the remains of Freedom from afar. The Austrian safari boat ran onto the reef in October 1999 due to a navigation error. The ship was almost completely dismantled by local fishermen within a few days - now only the cannibalized hull and the sawn-off bow can be seen. The Merlo reef is frequently approached by safari boats. Because of its exposed location, current must also be expected here, although this is usually not as strong as with the Abington Reef.
The reef wall is partially overhanging to a depth of approximately 15 meters.
In this area the reef is very rugged and has many crevices. Numerous giant moray eels find a hiding place there and wait for the night to pursue their prey in the darkness. Some columns are so large that you can easily dive into them.
Inside, in the diffuse light, isolated coral inhabitants can be spotted hiding from their enemies. At the foot of the wall begins a gently sloping slope that slopes slightly downwards. It is littered with small to medium-sized blocks of coral and populated by many reef inhabitants. The coral growth is so dense that only small sand areas can be found on which isolated white tip sharks rest.
In addition to the different types of hard and soft corals, there is a larger number of table corals spread over the entire east side.
In addition, colonies of splendid and bubble anemones have settled and shoals of nasal surgeons swim on the sloping slope. At its end, the outer wall drops steeply into the depth. The ridge runs in the north at a depth of approximately 40 meters and rises in the south to the area of 25 meters. In this section, groups of Napoleons pull along the reef and curiously approach the divers swimming past.
There is a three-level plateau at the northern tip. The first stage covers the shallow water area to a depth of 2 meters. On the west side, two deep cuts can be easily dived and under a small overhang at a depth of 15 meters there is a shoal of glass fish. At the foot of a rugged reef wall, the second stage begins at 25 meters. The bottom drops down to 30 meters in order to change into a steep wall. The plateau is beautifully overgrown, but it is dominated by a large coral rock on the west side. It is beautifully overgrown with soft and stone corals and offers interesting motifs to underwater photographers. The third plateau level can be seen below.
Wingate Reef with Umbria
Despite the dangerous situation in the port entrance of Port Sudan, the "Umbria" is not recovered. A prohibition zone is pronounced around the wreck with its davits, some of which still protrude from the water, and then left to its own devices.
Nine years after its demise, the "Umbria" aroused the interest of the then 30-year-old Hans Hass. His contacts with the governor of Port Sudan finally enabled him to dive on the "Umbria".
His photo and film material contributed significantly to the myth of the wreck. The "Umbria" is now one of the most famous wrecks in the Red Sea.
Located within sight of Port Sudan, it usually forms the start or end of a liveaboard trip. Even if the collective rage of many divers has left its mark here, the old lady with the explosive cargo has lost none of her charm. The sinking point can be easily recognized by the four davits that protrude from the water on the starboard side. The sediment-rich subsoil, the immediate location to the port entrance and the low currents often contribute to reduced visibility.
The wreck is inclined 75 ° to the port side. The three front holds are connected to the intact bow. The crew quarters and the bridge can be found amidships. To the stern are two more holds and the aft deck. Both the holds and the midship superstructures can be easily explored.
Due to the extreme inclination and the dangerous load, extreme caution is required when handling objects. If you approach the bow of the "Umbria" from the open water, the steeply rising bow Steven with the flag stick appears mystically in the greenish water.
The two anchor chains run to the bottom, the "Umbria" was at anchor when it sank. The anchor winch and the railing are covered with corals.
The decking is still in astonishingly good condition. The small hatches are an indication of the age of the ship. In the first hold, the entrance of which is on the foredeck, wooden boxes, electrical material and airplane tires are stored next to the ubiquitous ammunition. In the second, somewhat larger hold there are bombs, grenades and stick grenades. The detonators, which are kept separate from the explosive devices, are scattered around in almost every hold. The third hold is one of the most visited.
In addition to cement sacks and other building materials, wine bottles and jam jars can be found here.
A narrow port or starboard passage leads to the midships area on the first loading level, where there are three vehicles.
The Fiat 1100 Lunga were specially designed for off-road use in the Italian colonies. Unfortunately, quite a few divers left their mark on the vehicles. The fine sediment quickly reduces the visibility to zero, so that if possible this part of the ship should be visited with small groups at larger intervals. The midship section with the bridge and its superstructures can also be easily explored by snorkeling. On the starboard side 4 empty davits protrude from the water. On this side there is also a single bathroom with a toilet, bathtub and a sink made of enamel.
The huge machine room can be accessed either through one of the open skylights behind the chimney or through the workshop accessible from aft. The multi-storey room is easy to dive in the upper sections, the lower ones are reserved for experienced divers.
Grates limit the numerous units. Wind scoops, loading booms, the broken chimney and a lifeboat lie on the sea floor towards the port side of the superstructure. In the direction of the rear there are two further holds. Some of them are spanned by the overturned loading booms. As in the front holds, ammunition, building materials and various war equipment can be found here. The one-story superstructure between the fourth and fifth cargo space houses the galley and some storage rooms. At the rear, the planking is missing. The red soft corals on the railing and the deck struts provide the necessary color. The rudder system and the exposed timing chain are easy to see. Below the railing, the huge rudder blade and the starboard propeller are impressive. The port screw has sunk into the floor. Under the rudder blade there is a huge artificial cave that can only be exited through two exits. The twilight contributes to a mystical mood.
More than 360,000 bombs and 60 boxes of incendiary bombs and other explosives are stowed in the 5 holds. Cars, aircraft parts as well as cement bags and other building materials.
The route leads the "Umbria" via Messina in Sicily to Port Said, from where it is to sail through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to East Africa.
After arriving in Port Said on June 3, it bunkers another 1,000 tons of coal and 130 tons of water. 23 British Navy soldiers and 2 pilots board here. In view of the impending entry of war between Italy and England, the passage of the canal is deliberately delayed. So the "Umbria" with her explosive cargo leaves Suez only 3 days later.
From now on she pursues the gunboat "Grimsby". It stops the freighter at Port Sudan on the grounds that it is in British sovereign waters. The "Umbria" anchors on June 9th at Wingate Reef.
Under the pretext of wanting to search the ship for contraband, Lieutenant Steves led 22 soldiers from New Zealand cruiser "Leander" on board. They immediately occupied the strategically important points and started a time-consuming search.
In the afternoon, Captain Muiesan in his cabin hears via radio that Italy will declare war at 7:00 p.m. and that the first acts of war can be expected from 12:00 a.m. the following day.
It is clear to Muiesan that he must not waste any more time so that the strategically important cargo does not fall into enemy hands. Together with the first officer Radolfo Zarli and the flight engineer Carlo Costa, he plans the sinking.
The inconspicuous evacuation of the crew is causing them difficulties.
Finally, Muiesan suggests Lieutenant Steves to conduct a rescue exercise, which he approves in the hope that he will be able to hold on to the "Umbria" even more. As the Italians begin the exercise, Steves receives news of severe water ingress throughout the ship on the bridge After a few minutes and with the ship's flank increasing, he realizes that he can no longer prevent the sinking.
On board the "Gimsby", Muiesan tells him that Italy was entering the war and that he had given the order to sink himself.
He then went to India with his crew before the outbreak of war in captivity.
At the north end the wreck of the "Blue Belt", which sank in 1977, was lying on the outside of the reef. The cargo of the ship was passenger cars and trucks of the brand "Toyota", hence the name "Toyota wreck ". It was on the way from Jeddah to Port Sudan - the cause of the sinking has not been clarified until now.
Unfortunately, the Blue Belt has slipped off the reef in the summer of 2013 and cannot be dived since this time. The spot where the wreck was such a long time, is identified by cargo remnants on the reef. Nevertheless, a dive in the area is worthwhile. At a depth of 5 - 40 m the reef is offering an incredible variety of colors of coral, large Napoleons and Mantas are at home here. If you dive towards the north, you can reach a beautiful coral garden with hundreds of table corals in all sizes and colors.
This lagoon is filled with large manta rays that are attracted by the extraordinary abundance of plankton. Between August and November in particular, these fascinating creatures form groups of up to dozens of animals. They gather near canals and passages where the current brings them large amounts of food. As in any area filled with plankton, visibility is not very good here. In order to get good photos, it is therefore necessary to get very close to the animals (often they swim close to the surface).
Slowly you gain depth and dive right shoulder along the reef. Encounters with white tip reef sharks can occur here.
The reef falls gently and without current you can dive around the many blocks. A wide variety of hard corals, beautiful intact table corals, beautiful vegetation and lively Red Sea dwellers will surprise every diver. Shortly before the anchorage you see a block that looks like a giant mushroom. This block is covered with beautiful soft corals that light up in violet, white and blue tones. It is worth taking a close look so that the small flatworms can be discovered from the variety of colors in the vegetation. A large barracuda school also crosses the path here and the astonishment of the robbers is that the diver can approach within a few centimeters. A big Napoleon is more likely to get to safety. Under the boat, you dive on the reef wall at a depth of 5m or stay under the boat and spend the remaining time in a swarm of black-dotted sweet lips.
The second option would be to jump off the boat and dive left shoulder north along the reef. Dive over the large block (mushroom) and start the return journey at 100 bar and end the right shoulder dive back to the boat back south.
The Abington reef has a triangular shape and slopes almost vertically on the sides. Plateaus of different sizes are connected to the corners. The largest and most lush vegetation is the western one. Here the entire biodiversity of underwater fauna and flora of the Sudanese waters unfolds. Thanks to its unmanned, 30 meter high lighthouse, the reef is easy to spot from afar. It consists of a metal frame that stands on a rectangular concrete foundation. The tower serves as a resting and feeding place for seabirds. The chopped conch snail shells at the foot of the tower testify to this. At night, the beacon can still be seen at a distance of 20 nautical miles. Due to the exposed location, strong currents must be expected. It forms the food basis for a large number of stone and soft corals. Depending on the season, different types of sharks lead to this reef.
South wall with west plateau
When the current is from the north, the south side is in the shadow of the current, and a wonderful dive can be carried out. The reef wall drops vertically on this side at depths of 20 to 25 meters and merges into an inclined slope below. In shallow water up to 4 meters, it is crisscrossed by small canyons, overhangs and tunnels. This section also invites you to snorkel.
In the lower part of the reef wall there are big groupers in columns. Shoals of jewel groupers stick close to the reef. There is little else to see in the columns, but the sun's rays often create a bizarre sight. Soldier fish seek shelter in the sometimes quite large grottos.
A drop-off begins below the sloping slope, on the vertical wall of which huge gorgonians hold their fans in the current. The west plateau stretches from 25 to about 30 meters. The end drops steeply into the deep blue. At its base is a large table coral, under which there is usually a large grouper. The bottom is covered with smaller coral blocks, between which one or two white tip reef sharks rest from time to time. The numerous whip corals are striking. A large flock of barracudas often circles above the plateau.
North plateau with west side
The plateau consists of two stages. The upper one is 5 meters, the lower one is 15 meters and quickly drops to a depth of 25 meters. It is beautifully overgrown and has larger coral heads. Patrolling whitetip reef sharks or gray reef sharks can be found on the outer edge.
Strong currents can often be expected on the plateau, which makes it difficult or even impossible to stay. In this case, the dive can be continued relaxed on the west side, which is not as flowy. The reef wall drops vertically to 35 to 40 meters. It ends in a small sloping slope below which a drop-off begins. It extends beyond the scuba diving limit. The wall is covered with numerous leather corals, and at the southern end a small group of Napoleons circles. At a greater distance, shoals of barbed mackerel pass by and offer underwater photographers a beautiful motif.
East side with southeast plateau
Due to the current occurring, a drift dive is recommended on this side. If it comes from the south, it starts at the small southeast plateau. This falls quickly to 35 meters and then merges into a vertical wall with many sea fans.
The east side of the reef is very rugged and offers its residents numerous opportunities to seek shelter. Shoals of blue-striped snappers and mackerel are in the current. However, the diver should not fail to peek out into the deep blue. Large pelagic fish such as hammerhead sharks or gray sharks pass by here.
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.
After arrival in Port Sudan transfer to the boat.
Check in, dinner and spending the first night on board in the marina.
Departure in the morning.
Instruction on the boat,
Diving, safety and equipment briefing.
Dive at Shaab Suedi and Qita El Banna
Night dive if possible
Dives at Angarosh Reff
Night dive if possible
Qita El Banna
Night dive at Precontinent II
Two Dives at
Shaab Rumi south
One dive at Precontinent II
Night dive at Shaab Rumi
Shaab Rumi south
Night dive at Umbria
Two dives at Umbria
Head to Port.
At least 20 hour safety rest before flying would be given to all participants.
Handing trip educational material/ videos.
Breakfast and departure.
Transfer to the airport.