Categories
Local Sharm El Sheikh Dive Sites

LOCAL SOUTH NAMMA BAY

  • 27°53.015′ N. – 34°19.724′ E

Sodfa

  • better-known and more popular Tower, on a level with a small promontory jutting into the sea, on which four large tourist villages have been built: the Tower Resort and Club, Sharm Club and, behind these two, the New Tower Club and Club Reef. The dive begins at the height of the floating jetty of the Tower Club, which is, however, only for the hotel’s guests. This is the reason why dives are usually made from a boat and are therefore of the drift variety. Two types of dives
  • are possible at Sodfat the first route (A) towards the west in direction to the dive site Tower and the second (B) towards the East in direction of Ras. UMM SID
  • Sodfa, described in the three-dimensional map beside. Both dives lead along a sandy slope at an average depth of about 12 meters, between the reef

ledge and the drop-off between 18 and 22 meters. On the sandy slope some coral pinnacles rise up whereas at the near the drop-off you will see some large gorgonians at a depth of 20–22 meters. Even if both dives share a lot of features, the route B offers a more various panorama with a higher richness in corals and fauna represented by fusiliers (genus Caesio), surgeonfish (genus Acanthurus and Zebra-

soma), triggerfish (genus Odonus and Balistapus), anthias, dominos (genus Dascyllus), parrotfish (genus Scarus, Chlorurus and Cetoscarus), glassfish (Pigmy sweepers, Parapriacanthus ransonneti), Red Sea bannerfish (Heniochus intermedius) and Common lionfish (Pterois miles). Massive pore corals (genus Porites), big table corals, gorgonians and yellow soft corals are common elements on this site.

  • Look out for
  • Comments. Before making your dive, check the direction of the current: if it is going northwards (flood tide), change the direction of your dive.
  • Features • An easy dive that allows you to observe many species of coral, both soft and hard, and a wide range of reef fauna. • This site is less frequented than Tower.

Tower

  • 27°52.948′ N – 34°19.539′ E
  • Tower is a spectacular dive site characterized
  • by a deep canyon whose walls descend vertically for over 120 meters. It is also accessible from the land (with entrance fees) from the tourist hotel Tower Resort and Tower Club. The dive is more spectacular when entering the water off the small beach in the bay by the large fossil coral tower the site was named after. If you dive from the shore, after having swum past the reef ledge that borders the bay and extends for a few dozen meters, you will find yourself over the deep
  • canyon with its crystal-clear
  • waters. By keeping the reef to e your left and descending for
  • 15 meters, you will soon reach the edge of a large, slightly
  • the inclined sandy plateau that runs at a depth of 12–25 meters and that has some coral pinnacles. You return by doubling back on the same dive, but this time swimming upwards at 12-5 meters to explore the crevices and caves, one of which has a school of glassfish (Pigmy sweepers, Parapriacanthus Sansonetti). Before resurfacing, you should explore the two interesting large caves at the beginning of the canyon towards the beach, at about 5 meters’ depth: apart from the common glassfish, they are populated by Common lionfish
  • (Pterois miles), Sabre sqirrelfish (Sargocentron spiniferum) and Common bigeyes (Priacanthus hamrur). Other elements of the local fauna are represented by parrotfish, Cube boxfish (Ostracion cubicus), and species of butterflyfish whereas in the blue there are schools of fusiliers and pelagic fish (trevally, barracudas). If diving from a boat you also have the opportunity to make a drift dive towards Sodfa keeping the reef to your left.
  • Look out for

  • Comments. If you dive from the land make sure the tide is not low because you may damage the reef. Be careful of your depth in the canyon. • A depth of 5-20 meters is the most interesting for observing the fauna of the site.
  • Features • A strikingly beautiful underwater landscape. • Rich in reef fauna, with many Parrotfish (Scarus sp., Clorurus sp. and Cetoscarus bicolor). • Various pelagic predator species. • A suitable site for snorkelling and night diving.

Pinky Wall

  • 27°52.242′ N – 34°19.389′ E
  • name even if this site is also written diversely as ‘Pinky’s Wall’ or ‘Pinkies Wall!) is the first of a long series of diving sites between Tower and Ras Umm Sid. Strangely enough, despite the sheer beauty of this wall dive site, which was named after the multitude of pink Alcyonarian corals, there are very few guides who know Pinky Wall and take divers there. The dive site is also accessible from land. If you arrive by boat you will have to make a drift
  • dive, since there is no mooring. The configuration of the reef is quite different here from the other sites because the coral platform that generally follows the shoreline is very narrow and the steep wall, which is mostly studded with soft corals (Dendronephthya sp.), immediately plunges precipitously for a depth of more than 180 meters. Dive by keeping the reef to your left and at an average depth of about 15 meters, because this is where you will see the largest concentration of soft corals.
  • Moving northeast you will note some majestic gullies in the steep vertical wall that follow one another in sequence, giving the impression of organ pipes. Along the route, there are different types of Scaridae or parrotfish (genus Scarus, Chlorurus and Cetoscarus), splendour wrasses (genus Cheilinus) and some groupers (for instance the Moon grouper or Variola louti). If current conditions are favourable you can double back with a drift dive in the opposite direction and go as far as the Amphoras site.
  • Comments • Dive only when the sea is calm. • Be careful of your depth. • This dive is rarely proposed.
  • Features • An impressive marine landscape that is unusual for the Sharm el-Sheikh diving sites. • Extraordinarily rich in multicoloured soft corals. • The site is usually not crowded.

Amphoras

  • 27°51.965′ N — 34°19.412′ E
  • The name of this site derives from 17th
  • century shipwreck of a Turkish vessel with a cargo of amphoras containing mercury. Amphoras lies southwest of Tower, on a line with the northern tip of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and is also accessible by land. The topography is quite simple: there is a sandy slope that begins at a depth of about a dozen meters and has some coral pinnacles of various shapes with a crust of a huge number of multicoloured Alcyonarians belonging to Dendronephthya
  • genus, that creates a sort of magnificent garden. The dive starts of a half
  • submerged concrete jetty situated at about a dozen meters to the north of the more visible floating pontoon. Descending to a depth of 22 meters you immediately find a big, long-chain leading to a huge modern anchor situated behind a coral pinnacle at about a depth of 25 meters. Continue to the north keeping the reef to your left and you come along some coral towers, one of them is surrounded by a school of anthias and accommodates numerous glassfish (Pigmy sweepers, Parapriacanthus
  • ransonneti) in one of its splits. You reach a huge table coral before some coral pinnacles behind which, at a depth of 23.5 meters and firmly stuck into the reef, you can still see the stock of the original anchor of the ship with inscriptions as well as fragments of the amphoras: these were part of the ship’s cargo wrecked in the 17th century whose structure has virtually disappeared today.
  • Features • Although there are not many, the remains of the Turkish vessel cargo are always fascinating. • The multicoloured Alcyonarians are beautiful. • The most interesting part lies between 18 and 25 meters of depth. • Site suitable for snorkelling
  • Comments • Sometimes the local current can be strong and visibility may be limited. • Finding the fragments of amphoras is not easy, so you must look around carefully.

Turtle Bay

  • 27°51.746′ N – 34°19.221′ E
  • This site lies immediately south of Amphoras and
  • its topographical configuration is quite similar: a slope with an average incline of 30° that runs at a depth of 10-26 meters and on which some coral pinnacles stand. The classic dive is adrift, either northwards or southwards depending on the direction of the current – even though the latter is more frequent. After a descent towards the drop-off, situated at a depth of about 26 meters (at the beginning of a vertical wall that goes down about 110 meters),
  • you explore the reef slope, circling the coral towers, among which there are some gorgonians at a depth of 15-23 meters. In the northernmost part of the dive, you cross an area rich in madrepores and Alcyonarians that form a sort of coral garden’ on the edge of which are large Salad coral (Turbinaria mesenterina) and some large mushroom-shaped coral heads made up of colonies of Porites sp.
  • Snorkelers will be able to observe beautiful and varied
  • reef fauna on the ledge that descends to about 10 meters and is a continuation of
  • the reef outcrop that borders the beach. Apart from numerous butterflyfish (genus Chaetodon), anthias, Sergeant majors (Abudefduf vaigensis) and some Royal angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus), you can also observe Common lizardfish (Synodus variegatus) and Forster’s hawkfish (Paracirrhites forsteri). When conditions allow, it is possible to reach the nearby dive site of Amphoras.
  • Look out for
  • Comments • Dive only when the sea is calm. You may come across a local current.
  • Features • A quiet, uncrowded site, ideal for the high season. • A wealth of soft and hard corals.

Paradise

  • 27°51.349′ N – 34°19.158′ E
  • Amphoras and Turtle Bay and, indeed, is common to this entire stretch of coast, Paradise differs in the taller coral pinnacles that rise on the slope between the reef ledge and the drop-off. Here these towers look like pieces of sculpture with a variety of hues due to the growth of red, pinkish and yellow Alcyonarians (genus Dendronephthya). The overall effect is a magnificent environment that is unique in its kind. This site extends between the two small
  • beaches on a line with the Royal Paradise Resort. Access can be gained from the shore by asking for permission from the diving centre there. However, the classic dive is a drift to the south from a boat if the current is favourable keeping the reef on your right. After descending for 24-28 meters, near the drop-off area and keeping the reef to your left, you can glide through the pinkish pinnacles that are sometimes crowned with Acropora sp. Other larger table corals grow on the bottom, from which some gorgonians also break loose.
  • By going through this superb marine landscape you will be able to admire a host of reef fauna, from parrotfish to the large Napoleonfish (Cheilinus undulatus), swarms of butterflyfish and the everpresent Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), not to mention some beautiful Giant morays (Gymnothorax javanicus) that dwell in the crevices of the pinnacles, especially in the southern-most part of the dive.
  • Look out for
  • Comments. Check the direction of the current. • The best time for your dive is at ebb tide when the current, which runs south, is fastest.

  • Features • Easy diving without any problem. • A varied and colourful landscape. • Large areas of soft coral growth. A wealth of reef fauna. • Suitable for night diving.

Ras Umm Sid

  • 27°50.832′ N – 34°18.833′ E
  • Ras Umm Sid is the name of the promontory with
  • a high lighthouse that marks the beginning of the Strait of Tiran on the western coast. The dive site, easily accessible by land, is immediately east of the lighthouse, opposite the famous Italian restaurant El-Fanar. It is renowned for the extraordinary proliferation of gorgonians (Subergorgia hicksoni) that create a veritable forest here, the most beautiful in all the northern Red Sea. Access from the beach, which is facilitated by a stairway, is possible only when the tide is
  • high enough to allow you to swim past the reef platform, which is quite extensive here. A shamandura is fixed on the seabed at the height of a huge
  • rocky block visible from the coast. The classic dive – whether you choose to dive from the shore or from a boat – starts from a big massive pore coral (genus Porites) inhabited by a colony of anthias and descends to 25 meters, where you pass through the famous gorgonian forest, and then an ascent to the plateau at 14 meters’ depth. Here, among numerous coral pinnacles covered with Alcyonarians, there are hundreds of reef fish, Common lionfish (Pterois miles) and parrotfish and huge Napoleonfish Colinus undulatus). From Dom it, if you
  • have dived from the shore you can return shallow, keeping the reef to your right at a depth of 5-6 meters to explore the gorges, in particular some small caves with a colony of glassfish or Pigmy sweepers (Parapriacanthus ransonneti) and Cave sweepers (Pempheris vanicolensis). If you have a boat you can continue in the direction of Paradise while crossing the extensive platform known as Fiasco Plateau
  • Features • A splendid gorgonian forest. • Rich in the reef and pelagic fauna (jackfish, barracuda, tuna). • An interesting night dive during which you can observe parrotfish sleeping in their lair. • Excellent for snorkelling.

  • Comments • There may be strong currents, especially near the cape. • It is high tide when the rocky bluff on the reef is almost completely covered by the water.

Temple

  • 27°51.000′ N – 34°18.600′ E
  • This site lies in the middle of a large bay
  • between Ras Umm Sid and Ras Katy that is bordered by a tall cliff of fossil coral on which two large tourist villages have been built – Farana King Snefro and Reef Oasis. On a vast sandy plateau at a depth of 6-30 meters there are three coral pillars that resemble the columns of an ancient temple, hence the name given to this site by the first divers in the early 1970s. A few moorings situated around the largest coral pillar, which touches the surface and
  • which has a black post fixed on it, make it easy to tie up your boat, made even easier by the total lack of wind and waves in this sheltered bay. Temple is one of the most popular sites in this area because it guarantees easy diving without any technical problems in any weather condition. Although it has certainly suffered from overcrowding, the site is still rather interesting and is particularly suitable for night dives. Furthermore, the presence of many species of butterflyfish, parrotfish, lionfish,

  • Batfish (Platax orbicularis) and some Napoleonfish (Cheilinus ondulatus) is virtually guaranteed. Since Temple is rather small, you can explore the site choosing your own diving route, however, it should include a visit to the beautiful gorgonian with glassfish (Pigmy sweepers, Parapriacanthus ransonneti) situated at a depth of around 30 meters on the edge of the drop-off.
  • Comments. During night dives you should have a compass to get back easily to your boat. Do not get too close to the triggerfish, especially during the nesting period, as they may attack you.
  • Features • Easy dive: a site suitable for check dives and relatively inexperienced divers. • An interesting underwater landscape rich in hard and soft corals. • Excellent for night dives and snorkelling.

RAS KATY

  • 27°50.838′ N – 34°18.107′ E
  • Ras Katy is a few hundred meters west of Temple
  • and in some respects has a similar configuration. Boats usually moor from the bow at the shamandura, which is located near a large outcropping coral pillar. Since this site is well sheltered from prevailing winds you can moor there without any problem. Dives are made at the coral pinnacle colonized by small table corals and Raspberry corals (Pocillopora verrucosa) which rises almost up to the surface. The sandy seabed is slightly inclined starting from an initial
  • depth of about 5 meters to 18-20 meters at a point on the line with the drop-off, where there are some gorgonians. While exploring the plateau you will see two more coral pinnacles a few dozen meters from one another that are covered by Alcyonarians with numerous specimens of Broccoli soft coral (Lithophyton arboretum) frequented by anthias and butterflyfish (the genera Chaetodon and Heniochus), Dominos (Dascyllus trimaculatus) and fusiliers (genus Caesio). In the crevices along the walls of the pinnacles you
  • will see glassfish, lionfish and bigeyes, while along the sandy bottom there are Crocodilefish (Papilloculiceps longiceps), Bluespotted stingrays (Taeniura lymma) and some scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis sp.). Sometimes, when the tide is rising, you may come upon a rather strong local current that will allow you to make a drift dive to Temple (about 400 meters away), going over numerous coral formations and large table corals.
  • Comments • Diving is best in the afternoon. • Beware of the triggerfish during the nesting period.

  • Features • Easy dives suitable for beginners and check dives. • Rather rich reef fauna in an interesting underwater environment. This site is recommended for night dives and snorkelling.