Diving the Red Sea


Author and Photographer: Brook Peterson

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.

An over under split in the Red Sea

There are dozens of reasons to visit the Red Sea and it can be dived year-round, but the warmer months from June to August produce some of the most exciting experiences.  As the sea temperatures warm in the Northern Red Sea, large schools of fish gather to spawn.  Around Shark and Yolanda Reef in Ras Mohammed, great schools of Bohar Snapper congregate during the months of June and July.  They are there to spawn, though no one has ever seen it happen.  Because the Ras Mohammed National Park is closed to night diving, it is assumed the spawning event happens at night.

Bohar Snapper aren’t the only fish that gather.  Schools of Bat fish, Unicorn fish, Barracuda, Snapper and others are also twitterpated during the warmer months.

A school of Batfish in the Red Sea
A school of unicorn fish hover over the Yolanda wreck

Titan Trigger fish dig nests in the sand where they lay their eggs, then defend them fiercely.

A Titan Trigger Fish aggressively defends it's nest of eggs in the sand.

If you tire of big schools of fish, Yolanda and Shark Reef’s are just a few meters away from Anemone City, a site known for hundreds of beautiful anemones.  Anemone city is home to a variety of anemone fish.

An anemone fish outside a closed anemone

Ras Mohammed National Park is home to beautiful terraced coral reefs covered in fishes and other marine life.  It is not uncommon to see a hawksbill turtle munching away on some of the beautiful soft corals.

A Hawksbill turtle pauses on a coral reef

At Yolanda reef, the spilled cargo of bathroom fixtures is strewn along the reef, although the ship itself slipped down the shelf into deeper water inaccessible to recreational divers.

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

If shipwrecks tickle your fancy, the SS Thistlegorm–perhaps one of the most famous world class wrecks in history—is open to divers daily.

The stern section of the SS Thistlegorm

The Thistlegorm is full of World War II cargo, including trucks, motorcycles, a tank, two locomotives and lots of army boots, ammunition, and more.

A diver explores the Thistlegorm wreck with its cargo of Military Equipment

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

One of the trucks in Hold One of the Thistlegorm

Further South, at Sha’ab Abu Nahas Reef, there are four ships to explore.  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.

Ras Umm Sid and Ras Katy offer snorkeling as well as diving, with a large shallow shelf of hard corals.  The hard and soft corals offer surprising color amid the desolate desert environment.

Snorkelers entering the sea via stairs at the end of a pier

One of the most beautiful reefs in the North is called Jackson Reef.  Covered with beautiful soft corals and lush coral gardens, there is also an abundance of Hawksbill turtles and a variety of fish.

A Hawksbill turtle peeks through a hole in the reef

Diving the Red Sea is one of the most satisfying experiences as the Red Sea has a little bit of everything.  Big animals such as sharks are also on some itineraries and dolphins can delight divers who are looking for a bit of a thrill.  The best way to dive the Red Sea is by liveaboard, although many dive sites are accessible by day boat from Sharm el Sheikh.

A pod of four dolphins swim playfully near a popular coral reef in the Red Sea

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Scuba Diving Resource makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. Please note that regulations and information can change at any time.

July 18, 2018 |

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