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North Sinai Dive Sites

North Sinai Dive Sites

North Sinai covers the northern coast of the Gulf of Aqaba. The north Sinai coast stretches from Taba, the Israel border post, to the northern section of Ras Muhammad national park at Nabeq; it encompasses the towns of Dahab and Nuweiba, and includes some of the Gulf of Aqabas finest dive sites.


Dive Highlights

Here you will find some of the least spoiled reefs on the Egyptian coastline. Luxuriant coral gardens and sheer offshore canyons attract a dense population of fish, and the clear waters bring superb visibility.

Dive operators and Facilities

North Sinai hosts a number of professional dive operations; the bulk of these are clustered in Dahab, the area’s main resort town, and Nuweiba and Taba.

End of the Road Reef

Onshore winds make entry very difficult and even highly experienced divers are often injured during entry and exit. Also bear in mind that a serious injury this far from civilisation could be life threatening.

The dive is on a submerged ‘island’ about 10-15m (33-50ft) offshore, with its top in about 3m (10ft); a deep canyon extends down the southern side of the island to depths beyond 65m (213ft), while a narrow sandy channel with a bottom at 10m (33ft) separates the reef from shore. This channel broadens into a sandy plateau north of the reef, while the east side of the reef is a steep sloping wall to 50m (164ft) and beyond.

Coral cover it excellent throughout, with an amazing variety of species. All the corals are dense and profuse, and in a pristine state making this one of the healthiest reefs in the region. Fish life isequally good with one of the widest ranges of wrasse species in the Sinai area.
Location: At the extreme end at the Nabeq coastal road north of Sharm El Shekh.
Access: By jeep from Sharm El Sheikh.
Conditions: Reeftop entry may be hazardous, especially in windy and wavy conditions.
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 60m+ (197ft+)
Average visibility: 30m (100ft)

Over the Hill (Ras Atantur Bay)

A rich and welI-preserved site, with a phenomenal density and diversity of fish and coral Iife. Located in the centre of a small bay, just beyond the bluff of Ras Atantur, the dive is on a small reef promontory extending into the bay. This is probably the best site for hard corals in the entire region.
Location: 23km (14.4 miles) north of the Bedouin village, on the Nabeq coastal road. About 1.6km (1mile) south of ‘End of the Road’.
Access: By jeep from Sharm El Sheikh, then shore entry from reeftop.
Conditions: Access is difficult, as at End of The Road.
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 60m+ (197ft+)
Average visibility: 30m+ (100ft+)

Nabeq

This site is a large group of coral heads and pinnacles in shallow water off the coast at Nabeq. The site is intricate, with plenty of scope for exploration among the scattered coral blocks.

Sitting on a flat sandy bottom well grown with eel grass, the blocks, heads and pinnacles range from 1m (3ft) to close to the surface.
These blocks, comprise a wide range of reef fishes. Jacks, grouper, triggers, rabbitfish and turtles are all present, and the isolated nature of the individual heads seems to concentrate the fish.
Location: About 20km (12 miles) north of Sharm El Sheikh.
Access: By car from Sharm El Sheikh, then shore entry.
Conditions: Easy and sheltered, but involves a long walk through shallow water to entry point.
Average depth: 10m (33ft)
Maximum depth: 8m (60ft)
Average visibility: 15m (50ft)

The Caves

This site centres on a large, open-fronted chamber, or cavern, deeply undercutting the reef table close to the shore. A small semicircular shelter or windbreak by the track marks the entry point.

Entry to the site involves throwing yourself off the reef edge into deep water at the top of the cavern. On exit, you will need to judge wave pattern and allow yourself to be carried onto the reef top by the swell. Divers should make a personal judgement as to whether the entry/exit is within their scope.

Once in the water, the cavern is directly belo. The undercut sections can be entered on either side of the sandhill; on the right, or south, side, is a contoured shallow reef section, with many inlets and surf tubes, leads into sloping body of the main reef, while to the north, a deeply undercut extension of the cavern leads down the side of the sandhill to the northern continuation of the reef slope. The reef sections have good cover of hard and soft corals, and a lively population of reef and schooling fishes.
Location: On the Red Sea coast, 5km (3miles) south of the Dahab southern military checkpoint.
Access: By car from Dahab, then shore entry.
Condition: Entry and exit can be tricky, especially in strong surf.
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 50m+ (164ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Gabr El Bint

Part of the attraction of this site is the novelty of the commute by a train of camels, driven by Bedouin in full regalia and loaded down with high-tech dive gear along the inaccessible coastline between Dahab and Nabeq to the north of Sharm El Sheikh.
The site is a sheer wall running around the north part of a curving bay. Following the coastline, the wall drops to depths well past 50m (164ft).

Within the bay, the wall begins at depths from 8-20m (26-65ft), above which a gently sloping reef flat leads to shore, dotted with sand flats and acropora. North around the point, the upper reef slope widens, encompassing a forest of soft coral which blanket the reef completely in places, as well as numerous huge gorgonians in the 2 to 3m (7-10ft) range. Inshore, a large sandy lagoon dotted with coral heads lies just past the points, an excellent place to spot rays and numerous large crocodilefish. There are abundant soft and hard coral formations. Most species of fish are sparsely represented.
Location: On the coast south of Dahab, several km/miles beyond The Caves
Access: A ten-minute car ride, then one hour by camel from Dahab.
Condition: The site’s position is sheltered by the bay arm from the north swell.
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 50m (164ft)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

The Canyon

This site takes its name from a long, narrow and very beautiful canyon which runs north to south from the shallow reef just offshore to depths of around 50m (164ft) on the reef slope further out. Access to the site is through a shallow (3m 10ft)) lagoon lying a few steps from the shoreline.

The entrance to the canyon is marked by a large coral mound lying some 10m (33ft) out from the reef face, in around 12m (40ft) of water. A man-sized opening in this coral hummock gives on to the top chamber of the canyon, a fishbowl-like enclosure filled with glassfish.From here the canyon drops through various twists and twists to a depth of 50m (164ft). Open water is visible along most of its length through the narrow opening n the ceiling, but there is no opening large enough to exit through until 30m (10Oft) depth. Outside the canyon the reef has good coral cover but inside the canyon there is little coral growth to see.

Among the large range of reef fish here, some notable residents include pufferfish, unicorns, snapper, grouper, basslets and rabbitfish. Jacks can often be seen along the reef, and beautiful, jewel-like schools of glassfish inhabit the canyon.
Note that only divers with considerable deep diving experience should consider swimming through the canyon to exit at depth and even very experienced divers are strongly discouraged from proceeding beyond the 30m (100ft) exit. This deeper section is one of Dahab’s diving fatality blackspots.
Location: several km/miles north of Dahab, about halfway to the Blue Hole, and just in front of the Canyon dive centre.
Access: By car from Dahab, then shore entry.
Conditions: Entry can be complicated by wind and waves. Divers entering the canyon should take standard cave diving precautions.
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 50m+ (1 64ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Abu Hilal /Small Canyon

This extensive site features an inshore reeftop dropping steeply to 10-12m (33-40ft). The entry point gives onto a sheltered sandy lagoon with a bottom of 12m (40ft). Swimming straight out from here, divers will cross a shallow coral bar or threshold at around 4m (13ft), descend to the maximum depth along the rolling slope, then turn north and slowly ascend. The canyon for which the site is named begins at a depth of more than 30m (10Oft). It is narrow and twisting, with severely limited exit points; beginning as it does at considerable depth, and reaching much greater depths before an exit is possible, it lies beyond the scope of sport diving, and penetration should not be considered.

Beyond the canyon, a large uprising leads the way back to shore. A second large sandy area lies between the site’s northern edge and the reef spit sheltering the entry point; swim either around the base or over the top, and you will arrive back at the entry lagoon.

Coral throughout the site is excellent, both in density and variety - all are in excellent condition. Fish life is equally diverse: among the hundreds of reef species, notable residents are unicorns, wrasse, big grouper or rock cod, triggerfish, lionfish and big starry puffers. Sea turtles are also a common sight.
Location: Between Dahab village and The Canyon dive site.
Access: By car from Dahab, then shore entry.
Conditions: Wind and waves can make entrydifficult.
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 50m+ (164ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

The Island

The Islands is dense concentration of coral pinnacles and patch reefs in a sheltered location along the Dahab shore with a range of peaks, valleys, corridors, sand patches, bowls, amphitheatres, deep wells and coral peaks.

This intricate seascape is densely covered with pristine corals. The range, condition and density are awesome - probably the most diverse and well-preserved selection of corals in the Sinai area. Every conceivable hard coral is present, with a diversity of soft corals to match.

Fish life is equally spectacular - huge schools of barracuda, snapper, surgeon and unicornfish vie with brilliantly coloured reef species. Sea bream, emperors, big triggerfish, birdnose wrasse and the occasional turtlecan all be seen. One particular highlight is a large, sand-bottomed amphitheatre halfway along the reef, where giant schools of immature barracuda congregate.
Location: On the Dahab coast, next to the Lagona Hotel.
Access: By car from Dahab, then shore entry.
Conditions: Entry can involve a long walk on the reef top at low tide.
Average depth: 12m (40ft)
Maximum depth: 16m (52ft)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Blue Hole

A pleasant but not outstanding site, with the greatest attraction lying not in the Blue Hole lagoon but on the sloping reef outside.
Entry to the site is through a large lagoon in the reeftop, about 50m (164ft) across. This lagoon is the blue hole that give the site its name. It is the top of a vertical shaft which is reported to descend over 300m (984ft) straight down. A shallow lip at about 6m (20ft) leads from the lagoon to the outer reef. Deep within the hole an arched passage also links the reef face with the hole.

The reef slope is fairly rich in hard corals particularly the reef section to the south of the lagoon, which has acropora, brain and star corals and, to a lesser degree, in soft corals. Triggerfish, jacks unicorns, parrotfish, angels, grouper and surgeonfish are all part of the variety of fish life on the outer reef. Within the lagoon, with its sparse coral growth, there is little marine life of any kind.

Last Updated on Sunday 16th January 2011

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