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.
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.
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.
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.