The Unforgettable Red Sea

The Unforgettable Red Sea

For Europeans, the Red Sea is as common a dive destination as the Caribbean is to US Citizens. Although the Red Sea is less frequented by US divers, it is one of the world’s gems when it comes to diving.  The crystal blue waters, abundant sea life, beautiful coral gardens and shipwrecks loaded with precious cargo make this one of the world’s best dive destinations.

Sha’ab Abu Nahas reef is famous for hosting several shipwrecks.  The reef lies just north of Hurgada.  Perhaps the reef’s most famous wreck is the Giannis D, a cargo ship which ran aground in 1983.

However, the Chrisoula K, which sunk in 1981 is full of Italian floor tile and has very interesting structure which is easily penetrated.

The Kimon M which sunk in 1978 is an exciting wreck which lies on its starboard side at the bottom of the reef and the Carnatic is a skeleton of a wreck that sunk in 1869 and offers wonderful photo opportunities.

If these wrecks don’t satisfy your appetite for wreck diving, then the SS Thistlegorm should do the trick.

Looking up the anchor chain off the bow of the SS Thistlegorm

A world class wreck, the Thistlegorm is full of World War II cargo, including trucks, motorcycles, a tank, two locomotives and lots of army boots, ammunition, and more.

The holds are easily penetrated and offer a fascinating glimpse into another time.

Further north is the marine protected area, Ras Mohammed National Park.  Just 30 km south of Sharm El Sheikh, the park has beautiful terraced coral reefs covered in fishes and other marine life.

The best dive sites in the park are Shark and Yolanda reefs.  Shark reef has steep walls with soft corals and at certain times of the year, great schools of fish.

A diver photographs a large school of Bohar Snapper

Its next door neighbor, Yolanda, is strewn with a cargo of bathroom fixtures from the ship wreck for which the reef was named.

The spilled cargo of bathroom fixtures on a wreck in the Red Sea

Within swimming distance of Shark Reef is Anemone City, a reef covered in anemones and anemone fish.

Ras Umm Sid reef offers snorkeling as well as diving, with a large shallow shelf of hard corals and a unique dive site called “Temple”.

Fish and corals under the sea with a sunset above

The Red Sea is diveable year round with the warmest months being June- August, and the coldest January-February.  The average water temperature is 74 degrees (23 c). Direct flights from London to Hurgada are available, where many live aboard operations are docked.  Divers can also fly in to Sharm El Sheikh and dive from live aboard, or the resorts based there.

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My photographs are taken with a Nikon  D810 in Sea and Sea Housing using two YS-D1 or YS-D2 Strobes.
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copyright Brook Peterson 2017

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