Egypt's Red Sea

First, I would like to give you a little information about visa. Be sure your passport is valid for at least six months, and has at least one empty page to be stamped. Even though, you can obtain a visa at airport, I strongly advice getting it from an Egyptian Consulate. The visa would valid for one month, but extensions of up to 6 months and multiple entry visas would be applicable.

The Red Sea has one of the world’s most exotic, colorful, abounding marine life. The Red Sea is located between Asia and Africa. Sinai peninsula resides at the north. The Red Sea goes over approximately 1600 kilometers south to join the Indian Ocean. There are desert plains in the north and west. The Red Sea contains vast variety of living creatures, reefs, and coral formation.

The Red Sea’s water temperature remains constant year round, approximately at 22 degrees Celsius (71 degrees F) in the summer. To give you more idea, the water temperatures vary from around 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees F) in the southern Red Sea in the summer to nearly 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees F) in the northern Red Sea in the winter. The coldest month is January (I went there in January and there was excellent warm weather, only nights are little bit breezy). The warmest months are July and August. Thus, one can wear a 5 mm. or 7 mm. wetsuit during winter months and a lycra or 3 mm. wetsuit during the summer.

There are more nearly 200 known coral types and thousand species of fish; such as, butterfly-fish, surgeon fish, jellyfish, Napoleon fish, and so on. Colors of corals and their closeness to one another makes reefs of the Red Sea so beautiful. Because of these attributes, the Red Sea attracts divers, photographers, marine scientists, and many more from all over the world. One can encounter with caves, lagoons, and plateaus. Some of the marine animals are dangerous to touch; such as the Lion Fish, and some are dangerous to come face to face with; for example, sharks. However, since spear fishing and feeding is prohibited there is a little danger that might come from the sharks.

Your options are endless; you can participate in daily diving, live aboard safari trips, shore, wreck, reef, wall, drift, technical, and so on. You can even get certified. One usually leaves by boat between at 9 and 10 am, does 2 dives or more, has lunch and returns around 4 or 5 pm.

For those who like live aboard, it should be known that mini safaris are available for 2 to 3 days, and the standard trips range between 7 and 14 days. Many sites; such as, Brother Islands, Daedelus Reef, Rocky Islands, Zabargad Island and St Johns Reefs can be dived by live aboard boats. Many dive centers execute shore diving excursions to reefs along the coast. On the other hand, you may try shore diving desert safari, which you can get your tent and accommodate on the beach and do the diving. Cool isn’t it?

There are lots of shops specializing in dive equipment sales, rental and repair. You can even take a photo course or hire a cameraman to capture the highlights of your dive. It would be cheaper if a group hires one cameraman. Actually, it’s what we did in Safaga. Most dive centers offer TDI, SSI, NAUI, and PADI courses. Courses range from inexperienced level to instructor level.

Hurghada

There are frequent flights between Cairo and Hurghada. Shaab El Erg is a large lagoon and locates north of Hurghada. Manta Rays gathers at this point in spring. You can see giant morays, the whitetip reef sharks and schooling reef fish at Careless Reef, east of Big Giftun Island. A reef called Erg Somaya, east of Small Giftun Island; shelters reef sharks and sized groupers. Abu Ramada Island consists of two little islands surrounded by a single reef. You may encounter with big groupers during a drift dive along at the eastern wall. Gota Abu Ramada, otherwise known as Aquarium, has abundant schools of butterflies, banners and snappers.

Safaga

You should take a bus to go to Safaga from Hurghada. Safaga locates at a few kilometers from Hurghada. Ras Abu Soma is a reef lying in front of the Soma Bay shore and it slopes gently. You may watch sweepers, schooling reef fish and eagle rays. Tobia Arba rises from a sandy bottom and it contains soft corals, glassfish, gorgonians, giant puffer fish, blue spotted rays and octopus as well. Tobia Kebira, another reef, shelters schooling fish, morays and groupers. Tobia Soraya is a chain of pinnacles with a sandy bottom in between. Our group made "S" between those pinnacles and we saw triggerfish and gorgonians. Panorama Reef is far away from the shore and is coral formation with walls dropping to over 200 m. You’ll see gorgonians, soft corals, jacks, barracudas and the White tip reef sharks. Abu Gafan is a 300 m. long narrow barrier. You can see soft and black coral, gorgonians, jacks, barracudas and reef sharks. Wreck of Salem Express was a ferry carrying pilgrims returning from Mecca. It sank in 1992 after hitting the reef and 300 people died. Surprisingly, our guide didn’t want to dive there and said the wreck is bewitched and added that there were still skeletons!

Sharm El Sheikh

There are again frequent flights between Cairo and Sharm El Sheikh. Jackson Reef offers superb wall diving along its entire perimeter. You can see sharks, turtles and other big fish. Ras Umm Sidd locates at the south side of the cape and you can see lots of gorgonians. Shark Observatory locates at southern end of Sinai Peninsula. Its towering cliffs continue beneath the surface and fade into the deep waters. It has equipped with soft corals. Jacks and turtles visit it. Shark & Jolanda Reefs are the two small pinnacles covered by soft corals. You may see large schools of fish during strong currents.

If you would like to surf on the net, check these out:

Red Sea Diving College

Sharm-el-Sheikh.com

The Dive Tribe

Sinai Services

Sinai Divers

Live aboard options:

Sunshine Diving Center

Wildcat

DivingTravel.com

Safari options:

M/Y Cyclone

Egyptian Diving Safari

Red Sea Diving Safari

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