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South Sinai Dive Sinai

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The southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, including Ras Muhammad National Park, has attracted divers for decades. However despite the large volume of divers the area still hides some virtually undiscovered diving sites. South Sinaia covers the southernmost tip of the peninsula, from Sharm El Sheikh to the western edge of Ras Muhammad National Park. As well as the huge number of shore or coastal diving sites, the area also includes the Straits of Tiran, with a string of offshore reefs. The resort town of Sharm El Sheikh forms the hub of tourism in the region, and is the base for mostvisitors to Sinai.


Dive Operators and Facilities

Sharm El Sheikh boasts a large and growing number of dive centres of international quality and, with so much competition around, there is enough pressure to keep standards high and prices reasonable.

Shark Observatoy

The site stretches from the foot of the observatory cliff in the north, across the mouth of the shallow box-shaped inlet, to the beginning of the Anemone City to the south. There two possible shore entry points, one inside the inlet and second in the small cove at the foot of the cliff.

The site is a vertical wall, sloping outward at its foot. The rugged profile is most dramatic in the northern section, where the reef face is especially contoured, with fissures, inlets and crevices to explore. Coral growth is good with lots of variety among both soft and stony species.

Quality and quantity of fish are dependent on currents and the pelagic life they encourage. Jacks, baraccuda and the occasional grey or blacktip shark appear when the current is running; snapper, surgeons and unicornscan be seen, and larger reef fish such as big grouper and Napoleons are usually present.
Location: Ras Muhammad, just south of Jackfish Alley
Access: By shore, or local or live-aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh, Naama Bay or other ports.
Conditions: Strong currents can cause problems, especially for shore access.
Average depth:20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 40m+ (130ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

White Knights

This site lies inside the bay formed by Ras Nasrani. Just inshore from the boat mooring a deep canyon extends down from the shallows, while to the north mixed sand and coral patches lead to a wide sand slope colonized by garden eels. To the south there is a wooden wreck.

Most dives begin at the entrance to the canyon, a narrow opening leading down from an inshore sand patch. The narrow, sand-bottomed canyon descends steeply, passing through a series of overhangs and two covered swimthroughs, one at around 15m (50ft) and a second, for advanced divers only, leading out to the reef face at 35m (115ft).

After leaving the canyon, there are two options – turning right takes you south along the reef to the wreck, while a left turn takes you across the reef slope to the eel garden and a series of beautiful shallow reef patches.
Swimming south and gradually ascending there are a dense assortment of species, including star and cabbage corals, staghorn and table Acropora, and several varieties of soft coral. At around 14m (45ft), south from the canyon, there is a wood-hulled wreck.
Location: Just south of Ras Nasrani.
Access: By Iocal or live-aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh, Naama Bay or other ports
Conditions: Some deeper sections require caution.
Average depth: 15m (50ft)
Maximum depth: 35m+ (115ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Anemone City

Anemone City is one of the nicest sites in the Ras Muhammad area. The reef is steeply sloping, cut by deep bays and inlets. The sharp angle profile is broken by a number of large shelves, on which densely grown pinnacles and coral heads stand. Coral growth is very rich, particularly on the portion of the reef stretching to the right from the shore entry point, in the direction of Shark Reef.
There are huge numbers of anemone, with attendant anemone fish and prolific fish life. Shore access, from a parking area at the edge of the shallow inshore bay involves crossing the shallow in the bay; the easiest route is along the left edge at the bay as you face the sea.
Location: Ras Muhammad, just inshore from Shark Reef
Access: By shore, or by local or live-aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh, Naama Bay or other parts.
Conditions: Some strong currents and mild downdrafts
Average depth: 18m (60ft)
Maximum depth: 40m+ (130ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Shark Reef/Jolanda Reef

These two reefs are actually the twin peaks of a single coral seamount rising just off the Ras Muhammad coast, separated from the mainland by a shallow channel.

Shark Reef, the easternmost of the two, boasts a sheer wall dropping to well past 50m (164ft) along its northeast and eastern sides, giving way to a steep reef slope as the reef proceeds southwest toward Jolanda. A shallow saddle lies between the two reefs at 18 to 20m (60-65ft); a second shallow patch lies south of Jolanda. This second flat patch is the site of the Jolanda, a wrecked freighter.

Coral is excellent, with good growth on the wall sections and dense coral gardens on the shallower flat areas. Big pelagics and schooling fish congregate here — the most impressive concentration is on the wall at Shark Reef. Big sharks of many species including hammerheads, greys and blacktips which can be seen in the blue, particularly off the northeast corner of Shark Reef. On the reef, hundreds at different reef fishes can be spotted including large moray eel and bluespotted and blackspotted stingrays.

As a boat dive, the two reefs are normally done as a drift, with the boat collecting you from the shallows beyond Jolanda; this alleviates many of the current-related problems common here. You can also dive the site from shore, entering at Anemone City and swimming across the channel to Shark Reef but is inadvisable if you are not a strong swimmer.
Location: The southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, at the south end of Ras Muhammad National Park.
Access: By shore, or by local or live-aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh, Naama Bay or other ports.
Conditions: Very strong currents are common.
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 50m+(164ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Pinky’s Wall

This site is exceptional for several reasons: as a wall site in a region of generally sloping reefs, as one of the limited numbers of sites with shore access, and as one of the most concentrated growths of soft coral on this stretch of coast.
Generally clear visibility reveals a beautiful sheer wall dropping to great depth, well grown with coral, particularly the pink soft coral for which the site is named.

Coral growth, especially soft corals like Dendronepthya, is the main feature of the site. Glassfish hide in the recesses and overhangs and there are good numbers of parrotfish, rabbitfish, grouper and wrasse.
Location: On the Sinai coast, between Tower and Turtle Bay sites.
Access: By shore, or by local or live-aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh, Naama bay or other ports.
Conditions: Generally easy, although shore access can be difficult at low tide
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 60m+ (197ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Woodhouse Reef

Lying between Jackson and Gordon Reefs, Woodhouse is a long, narrow reef running at an angle from northeast to southwest. From its shallow reef top, the reef drops at a sharp angle on all and the angle steepens still further beyond 25m (80ft). Woodhouse is generally dived as a drift along the reef’s eastern side.

Coral cover is excellent throughout the reef, with dense growth all over; there are a few sandy patches at depth of around 20m (65ft). Many species are present but because of the sheltered position of the reef, away from the main current, a certain amount of sedimentation has affected the coral here.

Pelagic fish include big tuna and schools of trevally or jacks. Fusiliers, snapper, surgeons and unicorns also school here, along with thousands of other reef fish.
Location: Second from the north in the straits of Tiran reef chain.
Access: local or live-aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh or other ports.
Conditions: Strong current possible
Average depth: 15m (50ft)
Maximum depth: 40m+ (130ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Ras Ghozlani

This site lies at the mouth of Mersa Bereka, the large shallow bay that nearly separates Ras Muhammad itself from the Sinai mainland. The reef follows the shoreline at the bay's northern point; a sheer but shallow inshore wall gives way to a sloping, patchy reef face below about 15m (50ft).
There is a vast diversity of coral here which probably covers the majority of corals found in the Red Sea. Fish life is abundant all across the reef and this is one of the best spots on the southern coast for small reef species.
Location: At the north edge of the mouth of Mersa Bereka, Ras Muhammad.
Access: By local or live-aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh, Naama Bay or other ports.

Ras Za'atir (Ras Atar)

The reef at this site is similar to Ras Ghozlani, but with many cracks and fissures, some forming small caves which can be entered. The coral is in a somewhat lacklustre condition due to silting and sandfall, particularly to the north. However fish life is excellent with a dense and diverse fish population that outshines Ras Ghozlani.
Location: Ras Muhammad, across the mouth of Mersa Bereka from Ghozlani.
Access: By local or live-aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh, Naama Bay or other ports.
Conditions: Generally easy, but visibility can be poor due to sediment.
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 30m+ (100ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Jackfish Alley

Fish This site is also called Fisherman's Bank or Stingray Alley, and begins on a sheer wall. The early section of the wall is very porous, with lots of small holes and crevices, and has a couple of caves, each featuring separate exit and entrance holes.
Proceeding southward, the wall gives way to a sandy plateau at around 20m (65ft), well covered with coral heads and outcrops. This plateau narrows at it’s southern end to form a small channel or alley. Further out from the wall, a second, deeper plateau can be found.
Coral growth is good overall and the fish population is excellent, with plenty of the jacks and stingrays.
Location: Ras Muhammad, just south of Ras Za'atir
Access: By local or live-aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh, Naama Bay or other ports.
Conditions: Wind, waves and currents can all be strong making access difficult.
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 40m+ (130ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Ras Nasrani

This site is a sloping wall at the point of Ras Nasrani, the steepest wall section lies south of the point, while the reef to the north flattens somewhat. Inshore, a shallow mini-wall follows the edge of the reeftop.
The reef is well covered in dense hard and soft corals, with lots of massive coral heads, some good branch forms, and a selection of colourful soft corals.

Fish life is spectacular, with a huge range of reef and schooling species. Morays hide in reef crevices, fusiliers, jacks, surgeons and barracuda school off the reef. Large turtles are also a common sight along the reef slope.
Location: Western mainland point at the southern end of the Straits of Tiran.
Access: By shore, or by local or live-aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh, Naama Bay or other ports.
Conditions: Current can be strong.
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 40m+ (130ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Thomas Reef

This site is on a generally steep sloping reef, which includes some plateau sections and a very deep canyon running along the reef’s southern section. It is the smallest of the four Tiran reefs and it is exposed to strong currents. The reef’s upper section contains some of the finest soft coral growth in the Sinai region.

Fish life is also rich, with the greatest concentration in the shallows. Lyretail cod and other groupers grow to great size, and many varieties of rabbitfish and wrasse congregate along the reef face, accompanied by box and pufferfish.
The only reason to go much deeper than 20m (65ft) at Thomas Reef is to explore the canyon; an option for only very experienced deep divers. You should not even consider this hazardous option without consulting your dive guide.
Location: Second from the south in the Straits of Tiran reef chain.
Access: By local or Iive-aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh, Naama Bay or other ports.
Conditions: Current can be strong
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 50m (164ft)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Jackson Reef

On the northern edge of the reef there is a wreck of a grounded freighter. A fixed mooring exists at the southern end of the reef; dives begin from this point and proceed generally northward along the east side of the reef.

Currents tend to run from the north, and generally pick up strength as you approach the point of the east side. Most divers will want to make this the northern limit of their dive, and turn back to the south here. Strong swimmers with good air consumption and experience in currents can round the point, after which the current slackens, and continue their dive along the reef’s north edge. This should only be done by prior arrangement with your dive guide, and great care should be taken, since divers have been swept off the reef here.

The steep-sided walls of Jackson Reef are among the finest in the Sinai region; the current-swept reef is densely grown with a profusion of hard and soft corals, with luxuriant gorgonian fans, sea whips and black corals, and vivid growth of soft coral.Fish life, not surprisingly is excellent. The strong current brings plenty of nutrients for reef and schools of barracuda and jacks are common here, as are larger predators.
Location: The northernmost of four reefs extending down the centre of the Straits of Tiran.
Access: By local or live –aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh or other ports.
Conditions: As with all Tiran sites, strong currents occur.
Average depth: 20m (65ft)
Maximum depth: 40m+ (130ft+)
Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Last Updated on Sunday 16th January 2011

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