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Diving in Sharm El Sheikh runs from Ras Mohammed at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula to the Straits of Tiran Reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba. Diving conditions are usually calm and moderate thanks to the shelter of the land. The entire area is under the protection of the Ras Mohammed National Park and you should not touch the coral or feed the fish. There are literally dozens of dives sites in the area, but the top five must be as follows:
White Knights (Difficulty level: Beginner) a good site for the novice where the reef wall drops away to a sandy plateau at about 13m. At the centre you’ll find a gully with swim throughs at 10m and 35m. This sheltered site is home for trigger fish, groupers and the occasional manta and there is a populous eel garden to the north.
Jack Fish Alley (Difficulty level: Intermediate) there’s a big white patch on a cliff that’s a good marker for this site. It’s usually done as a drift dive there are some interesting caves at 5m full of glass fish. To the south you’ll find two ergs covered with glass fish and a great spot for underwater photography. Further south is the coral garden and the sandy gulley which gives this sites its name. Stingrays can be found resting in the sand as well as white tip sharks.
Dunraven (Wreck -Difficulty level: Intermediate) a British steamer in the Ras Mohammed National Park, it lies in two sections both of which are penetrable, however there is not always an entire route through. The large brass propeller lies to the north end of the wreck and the reef to the west. The sea life is interesting and abundant here and a swim along the reef makes a good end to the dive. Napoleon fish are common, as well as lionfish and flathead scorpion fish and you can see particularly impressive brain coral on the reef.
Shark and Yolanda (Difficulty level: Advanced) also located in the Ras Mohammed National Park, this has been in the Top 10 of the World's dive sites for many years and consists of two small ergs joined by a vertical wall that drop into the abyss. The dive usually starts at Shark reef where you’ll spot large schools of barracuda, silky sharks and snappers that gather in the strong currents just off the wall. Keeping an eye on the blue will reveal tuna, bluefish, and the occasional hammerhead. As you proceed toward Yolanda you will reach a plateau scattered with small ergs and coral outcrops filled with stone fish and scorpion fish. Continuing round the reef you will come upon the scattered remains of the wreck of the “Yolanda” complete with its cargo of toilets and baths. This is a complex and highly rewarding dive, but be sure you have a thorough briefing as the currents here can be strong and unpredictable.
SS Thistlegorm (Wreck - Difficulty level: Advanced) Located in the Straits of Gubal, this is the biggest attraction of all the Red Sea sites, generating more income for Egypt than the pyramids. It is strictly speaking classified as a war grave and therefore illegal to be dived on, but that doesn’t stop thousands from doing so every year! It was sunk in 1941, packed to the gunwales with supplies destined for the British 5th Army that included bren-gun carriers, motorcycles, jeeps, trucks, rifles, radio equipment, ammunition and (with true military logic for a desert campaign) a supply of wellington boots. The Thistlegorm is heaven for wreck enthusiasts, but is also one of the most underrated fish dives in the area, attracting schooling barracuda and providing a hunting ground for giant tuna and snapper.
Peter is an SEO engineer, whose enjoys writing about various different subjects. He has a special interest in diving holidays in Egypt and Sharm El Sheikh hotels.