Ras Mohamed: Shark and Yolanda Reef

Location: Sinai
Description: reef/vertical walls/wreck
Depth: 10 – 40m

One of the most visited sites in the Red Sea – Ras Mohamed. It received National Park status in 1989 to protect its unique marine life. In the underwater coral gardens among giant corals swim grey sharks, barracudas, snapper fish, mackerel, tuna, morays coral fish and dozens if other school if fish. Thanks to the currents from Akaba Bay, large oceanic species also find food and shelter here.

There are many dives you can make here – all of which are drift dives – and they can be varied, depending on different factors. The most classic and most complete dive will allow you to visit not only Shark Reef, but the other two sites, Anemone City and Yolanda Reef, in one.

The dive begins northeast of Shark Reef on a line with a plateau commonly known as Anemone City, which lies at a depth of 12-20 m and just out like a large balcony  over the blue. After explore the Anemone City you must swim in the blue for a few minutes at a depths 20 m, which will lead you directly to Shark Reef, clearly recognizable by the unmistakeable profile of some gorgonians.

If you observe the blue you will easily spot schools of batfish, walls of jackfish, snappers and emperors and bluespine unicorn fish. After going a few dozen meters more, you will reach the sandy  and shallow saddle that connects Shark Reef and Yolanda Reef which silhouette takes shape right after a big gorgonian situated at a depth of 20 m and a second gorgonian at 14 m.

After having crossed this garden you will see – at a depths between 25 and 10 m – the remains of the cargo of Yolanda, a Cypriot merchant ship that sank here on the night if 1 – 2 April 1980 while on its way to Aqaba: containers, bathtubs, sanitary fixtures, wallpapers, cases of whiskey and even a BMW automobile that belonged to the ship captain.

 

The Brother Islands

Location: middle of the Red Sea
Description: reef/steep vertical walls
Depth: 25-40m

The Brother Islands are two small islands in the middle of the Red Sea. The Big Brother can be easily identified by its lighthouse that was built by the British in 1880. A big military ship wreck, the Aida II, rests on the Northern side of the island. She sank in 1957. The western side of the island provides home to large schools of barracudas, surgeonfish, mackerels, snapper fish and of course sharks, sometimes even tiger sharks. An abundance of colourful soft corals and gorgonian fans and the rich diversity of marine life and large pelagics make the dives at Brothers Islands an unforgettable experience.

Big Brother Island - Egypt

The Small Brother has a nearly round shape, lake a rain drop, falling from the north west to south east. It’s walls, packed with soft and hard corals and gorgonias show a vibrant marine life and are famous for their shark population. The northern plateau is one of the best places in the Red Sea for diving with sharks. Silvertips and grey reef sharks frequent the area and great hammerheads sometimes rise from the deep for a quick inspection before descending into the deep blue once again.

Small Brother Island - Egypt

To dive at the Brothers, and other Egyptian marine parks, you need to have: logged at least 50 dives, have valid insurance, have a surface marker buoy and a torch.

Angarosh Reef

Location: Red Sea / Sudan / North
Description: Reef / Outside walls
Depth: 10 – 55 m

In the local language, “Angarosh” means “Mother of Sharks”. An appropriate name for this reef where grey sharks are regularly observed on the drift dives along the outside walls. The top of the reef is at 10 meters deep and the deeper flat area is at 40 – 50 meters. The site consists of two plateaus located respectively at 25 and 45 meters in depth that manta rays particularly appreciate. Rings formed by schools of barracuda are also visible from the blue. Angarosh reef suitable for intermediate divers. Start the dive away from the reef towards the blue and look for sharks. Return and swim along the reef, where you can find lots of reef fish and fantastic corals. The average visibility is 10-20 metres and access to the dive site is by boat.

Angarosh Reef

Diving the Wreck Umbria

The wreck Umbria has a cargo of 360.000 bombs that makes the exploring of the wreck still more exciting. The Umbria is one of the most famous sunken ships in the world. The Umbria was built in Hamburg in 1912 and started life as a freighter. It’s big enough to give you plenty to explore but small enough to cover in one dive.

The central part of the ship can even be explored without breathing apparatus and there is much to be said for getting a general impression of the wreck with just musk and fins. Corals and fish are plentiful in this area. The fish which have made the Umbria their home are use to divers and let them come to close quarters, almost posing for photographers.

The depth it lies in means you get plenty of bottom time and there is plenty of easy penetration to be done. For those who want to, it is possible to get to the engine room, in the holds, the bakery and thoroughly explore the interior of the wreck. The cargo of fiat lagunas, wine bottles and munitions provide interest and the wreck is festooned with coral and fish life. Even just swimming the length of the wreck and observing the holds from a distance is an excellent experience.

Be sure to head around the stern of the wreck to the propeller, and there is a nice swim through underneath the large rudder, which is home to lots of snapper and some featherstars. On one of the gangways towards the collapsed funnel midships live some tiny cleaner shrimps, and if you put your fingers on the handrail they will come up and begin to ‘clean’ you, which is very entertaining. We did 3 dives on the Umbria whilst in Sudan; I could have happily done three more. It really does deserve its reputation as one of the world’s best dives.

Dangerous Reef

Location: Red Sea / Egypt / St. John’s
Description: Reef / Coral Garden
Depth: 8 – 26 m

Dangerous reef is the most southerly of the St. John’s reefs dived from Egypt. This is one of the few dive sites in the Southern Red Sea that offer a reasonably shallow flat bottom. This makes it good for an overnight anchorage and night diving. This is a medium sized, diamond shape reef. The hard coral wall drops down to around 18 meters where there is a gently sloping sandy bottom with small coral heads. A family of napoleon wrasse and free-swimming morays are common in this area. The topography here makes for great swim-throughs. There are many breaks in the reef shallows that allow easy and safe penetration.

Small Gota

Location: Egypt / St. John’s
Description: Reef / Coral Garden
Depths: 60+ metres

Small Gota is a small circular shaped reef. Deep walls drop away vertically on all sides into the abyss and the upper reef is absolutely covered in colourful soft coral. Long pink and red whip corals stretch out into the blue and there are some magnificent gorgonian fan corals between 20 and 30m. The upper 20 metres of this reef is teeming with small marine life of all descriptions and tuna and trevallie cruise past, looking for any opportunity of a meal.

Large shoals of blue lunar fusiliers venture cautiously away from the reef only to dart back in tight formation at the first sign of danger. A whole family of humphead napoleon wrasse swim majestically around the reef perimeter. Current normally runs from north to south so if your dive boat is equipped with a zodiac or RIB the best option by far is to get dropped at the northern most tip of the reef and then spend up to an hour cruising with any current or gently swimming back to your boat mooring on the south side.

Finishing the dive in the top few meters of water, there are small fissures in the reef which are well worth exploring during your safety stops.

Abu Fendera: Virgin reefs in Egypt

A long chain of reefs, about 6 km long, with a diversity of bays, wonderful canyons and labyrinth of underwater reefs. Marvelous big and undamaged corals with fantastic colors.

Heading further south to the Sudanese border is an unexplored region which has a few surprises in store for divers. This is the true deep south and this is virgin territory. The charts are fairly inaccurate and many non-marked reefs suddenly appear out of nowhere, making navigation particularly hazardous.

The first immediately noticeable fish are the huge humphead parrotfish.

Among the hard corals are a profusion of brightly coloured chromis and damselfish. Every now and then a huge expanse of hard coral is broken by clumps of red-footed anemones and the attendant clownfish. In deeper water there is the usual Red Sea life, with nothing particularly different. A noticeable exception, however, is the sea bed, where cone shells appear to be thriving.

The main dive sites are about a day’s steam away from St John’s Reef with the season virtually all year round, but the challenge lies in persuading a like-minded group to join you on a trip with so few certainties.

The presence of sharks in this region is unique with encounters of some species not usually seen in the Red Sea such as the Mako. It shows that this unexplored region still has a few surprises in store for divers.

Umbria Wreck in Sudan

UMBRIA, an old italian freighter that provided war material for the italian troops in Eritrea in 1940. When the British entered the vessel, the Captain decided to sink his own ship. Now it´s a terrific place for diving.

If you want to Read more about scuba diving in Sudan click the link: http://www.sudan-diving.com/
In russian: http://sudan-diving.ru/ 

To read more about diving the wreck of Umbria click the link: http://cassiopeiasafari.com/umbria/

To read an article about the wreck of Umbria: http://cassiopeiasafari.com/the-wreck-of-umbria-in-sudan/

To read more about scuba diving holiday in Sudan: http://cassiopeiasafari.com/sudan/

 

Shaab Maksour

This horseshoe-shaped reef lies in open water to the northeast of Ras Banas. The eastern side of the reef has a steeply sloping wall profile, giving way to a sandy slope scattered with coral heads and pinnacles toward the reef’s southeast corner. To READ MORE about diving at Shaab Maksour click here…

 

Diving at Abu Galawa

Location: Egypt / South
Description: Reef / Coral garden / Wreck
Depths: 18 meters

Abu Galawa Shiwayya is a crescent shaped reef with a turquoise blue lagoon or pool enclosed within the reef towards its leeward side. Galawa is the name which refers to this turquoise colour of the blue pool. To READ MORE about scuba diving at Abu Galawa click the link…