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.
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!
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.
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.