This route is for less experienced divers who have logged at least 20 dives. By sailing up the Gulf of Aqaba and diving the reefs around Dahab and the coast of Abu Galum, divers can enjoy quiet dives and discover the wreck of the Marie Schroeder.
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Diver will visit the following dive sites in the course of the 6 day safari:
Gulf of Aqaba: a deep fissure in the Earth’s crust, reaching a depth of 1850 m; the Gulf of Suez is wider but reaches only 100 m in depth
Ras Abu Galum: a National Park since 1992; difficult to approach by land while access by sea is restricted which makes it a quiet place to start your diving; expect to find Fire corals, Raspbery corals, small table corals and Salad coral; Butterflyfish, Angelfish, Anthias, Glassfish, Lionfish, Grey Eels, Snapper, Batfish and Pufferfish.
The Bells and the Blue Hole: rich in corals, anemone and reef fish, but most famous for its coral architecture; the two are usually combined in a drift dive; you start at the Bells which is a bell shaped hole at a depth of 30 m within a coral wall that drops more than 800 m; with the wall to your right and the Blue to your left, you drift south to the Blue hole, a circular break in the reef surface popular with snorkelers and accessible to divers at about 7 m; the hole is over 100 m deep with an arch at the bottom allowing an exit out through the reef wall; to dive to the bottom and exit through the arch is a challenge for very experienced technical divers, but many have died in the attempt and we won’t be trying it.
The Canyon: another stunning piece of submarine architecture with caves and canyons lit by blue light shafting through the water; a chance to see octopuses, glassfish and seamoths.
Gabr el Bint: appreciated for its remoteness and tranquillity; the reef is rich in Gorgonian Fans, Table corals, Alcyonarians, black corals and salad corals; reef fauna include Parrotfish, Anthias, Crocodilefish, Triggerfish and Blue Spotted stingrays; out in the blue schools of Trevallies, Snapper and Emperorfish are common.
Marie Schroeder: an impressive wreck whose bows still rise tragically above the water surface; built in Norway in 1920, it escaped the German invasion of 1940 to join the allied fleet and participate in many wartime convoys only to wreck itself in 1956 while on route from Aqaba; its underwater hull is now home to rich reef colonies.
Straits of Tiran: a narrow passage at the southern end of the Gulf of Aqaba where a string of reefs have risen up between the Island of Tiran and the Sinai Peninsula; as the tides change, strong currents surge through the straits bringing barracudas, snappers and sharks
Jackson Reef: a visible wreck marks the reef with large numbers of gorgonian and fire corals; expect to see turtles and sharks, particularly in the summer months from July to September.
Woodhouse Reef: a long narrow reef with no fixed moorings so only drift dives can be performed, and for that, the weather needs to be good; an opportunity to see jackfish, turtles and sharks.
Thomas Reef: once more, only drift dives are possible but the reward is some of the best diving in the Red Sea with varied coral: gorgonians and Alcyonarians; reef fish: Angelfish and groupers; as well as pelagic fish: barracuda and the Whitetip Reef Shark
Gordon Reef: a shallow, wide plateau providing easier and calmer diving; expect to see a variety of coral species, Whitetip Reef sharks, Hammerheads and spotted eagle rays.
Sharm: within close proximity of the port of Sharm
Ras Umm Sid: the most beautiful colony of gorgonian soft coral in the northern Red Sea
Ras Mohamed: the tip of the Sinai Peninsula where currents bring large pelagic fish past plunging coral walls
Ras Za’atar: magnificent reef wall and chimneys with gorgonian corals, black coral and pink Alcyonarians; glimpse Lionfish and Glass fish lurking round the coral and schools of Jackfish and Barrcuda out in the Blue
Jackfish Alley: fantastic caves and passages, alternating shadow and submarine light with Jackfish, Blue spotted stingrays, Triggerfish, Whitetip Reef Sharks and Manta rays.
Shark Observatory: a great wall dive and a chance to see Whale sharks passing in the Blue.
Sharks & Jolanda Reef: a very varied dive with a large colony of anemones and their Clownfish, Gorgonian fan coral, moray eels and schools of barrracuda, Batfisha and Jackfish. In 1980, a Cypriot ship foundered here and added its cargo of sanitary bathroom ware, cases of whisky and a BMW car to the ecosystem.