Aquarium Reef is a place where millions of divers have had their dreams come true! A great pride for Hurghada locals and an amazing dive site for everyone who visits.
Aquarium is a shallow 10 - 15 meter dive and can literally be explored for years! Diving close to the reef will guarentee encounters with all the colorful fish you can find in a good book and venturing further off the reef will treat the diver to un-imaginable surprises!
Aquarium Reef has 3 faces! North, East and West :) There is a totally different eco system on either side and each is equally enjoyabe. Rent a scooter for great adventures on this amazing reef!
"Aquairum is a miracle even to the most skeptical evolutionists" ~ Ahmed Adly 1993
El Akhawein is the Arabic name for these two islands which means just the same “The two Brothers”. This is one of the classic dive sites that everybody is talking about. In the middle of the ocean, from great depth two tiny islands emerges, encircled by a reef so pristine it takes your breath away. As this would not be enough the chances of shark encounter top the list and you can dive two of the absolute best wrecks in the Red Sea.
Conditions can be fierce here. Anyone who’s got a little brother knows what they are like and this one is no exception. Wicked currents, strong wind and waves that easily drag you on top of the reef if you don’t know what you’re doing are a few things that dictate the dive plan. It is essential to make a good current check in order to know where to start the dive. Find the split point and hang there for a while, look at all the sharks and then follow the wall with the current.
One good spot for shark encounters is the north plateau. Though, it’s not so much a plateau as a bump in the wall pointing north. Here you often find thresher sharks (left) circling the bump together with grey reef sharks that come in to take advantage of the cleaning-station. They can often be seen in an almost vertical position with jaws wide open and cleaning wrasses whisking about, brushing up teeth and gills.
A few fin kicks south-west from this cleaning station you find shelter from the current in a narrow canyon. Here you’ve got front-row seats to another merry-go-round of grey reef sharks.
October to January is season for oceanic white tipped sharks whereas May, June and July is the time to look for silky sharks, both often seen circling boats just under the surface and to a depth no greater than 8 to 10m.
For the first dive of the day it’s best to take the east side because of the sunlight. You spend the time you want at the cleaning station and then you follow the northern wall to the east. All along you find the reef profile going in and out, giving you shelter from the current. As you approach the east end the wall gives way for a slant stretching south. In this area huge gorgonians cover the wall at 20m and deeper. Here is another place where you often see grey reef shark but mainly in the afternoon and if the current is strong enough.
Second dive of the day is likely to be at the south side. Here the reef is rapidly slopes deep and soon out of reach for recreational diving but the area above the “bottleneck” at 40m is beautiful and most of the time the current weakens somewhat in this area though it sometimes can be ripping here as well. The main wall is covered with soft corals and makes a perfect back drop for photographs. Large napoleon wrasses linger majestically along the wall and thresher sharks often patrol at around 40m. At the west corner where the current is likely to pick up grey reef sharks circle in the blue. For people who are tiered of bumping around in a zodiac a dive from the boat, along the plateau to the gorgonian forest on the east corner, starting at around 20m is an excellent choice. Here also the grey reef sharks sightings are common and it’s easy to swim back to the boat again.
Further down south-west you may meet hammerheads patrolling the wall or a group of dog-toothed tunas chasing schools of sardines. When rolling in from the Zodiac, do not make the mistake thinking that the plateau is stretching out as an extension in the same direction as the top of the reef. Then you will end up on the south-west side. The plateau is heading straight north from the top end of the reef (see birds view diagram). With a strong current this dive can be finished in 10 minutes so use the reef profile to slow down the speed if this is the case. There are a few “bays” and sticking-out overhangs along the wall that suits perfectly for this.
For third dive of the day an alternative is to jump from the boat and explore the deeper part of the south end as you on the previous dives probably have been reaching a shallower depth at this point. There is not as much of a plateau here as a slight interruption in the steeply sloping reef. As you descend you start heading towards the east corner where you will find a few ridges from the depth of 20m slanting down towards deep water. In this area a virtual forest of gorgonians sway in the water movement and grey reef sharks often circle just outside. Threshers also hang around in this vicinity and in the winter time you can spot the distinctive silhouette of the oceanic white tipped shark above you. When it’s time to turn around, you go progressively shallower with the reef on your right shoulder. On your way back you’re likely to meet a huge napoleon wrasse that normally hangs around the south end. If you’ve got NDL time and air left head out to the west corner and check for more grey reef sharks and spend your safety stop under your SMB next to the reef.
Normally it’s a good idea getting back to a shallow depth after a visit to either of the two plateaus right away. For nitrogen level related reasons as well as air consumption. Make sure you spend your safety stop- and surface under an SMB and try to stay out of the area with the most mooring ropes. There it’s difficult for the Zodiac to pick you up, especially in rough conditions. Another reason to stay out of there is that Zodiac drivers don’t always pay attention to bubbles and if the wind change or one boat is leaving there is mayhem of propellers right above you.
Widely known as Daedelous; Abu Kizan is one of the Red Sea's pearls and maybe the ultimate pearl at that.
Abu Kizan is basically a reef (A HUGE REEF) smack daddy in the middle of nowhere! The immense size of the reef has made it possible for large family of Hammer Head sharks to live there permanently and can be seen on almost every dive when one is seeking them out.
The Hammer Heads are but one of Abu Kizan's many wonders. The best way to see it is to spend a few days at this amazing and giving dive site.
"What can I say? In one dive we saw 20 Hammer Heads, 2 White Tipped Oceanic Sharks, a Thresher Shark, a Manta and a pod of Dolphin. Diving anywhere else this week is simply madness" ~ Ahmed Adly 2012
The Elphinstone Reef or locally known as Abu Hamra is a world known dive site for it's well known shark population.
The site covered by colossal currents which must be planned for careful and by skilled and experienced local guides.
Other than the sharks, Elphinstone also offers pretty reef life including some very friendly Trumpet Fish!
Another main attraction for the more adventurous divers are the Arches. The most famous "South Arch" at a depth of 50m and the less known and less accessible "North Arch" at over 100 meters.
Zabargad Island is home to 2 main dive sites which are the "Heaven Gardens" and the mysterious "Soviet Spy Ship".
The Heaven Gardens is a delight of bright and multi colored Soft Corals, fish of all shapes and sizes and a shallow network of coral caves that one can spend hours in.
Dive here again and again and then bask in the colorful memories!
"Heaven Gardens is a dive site worth living in" ~ Ahmed Adly 2010
Rocky Island is so called because it is a…. rocky island :)
This dive site is visited for it's seasonal shark population and also for the famous ship wreck of the Maidan at a deep depth of 80 - 120 meters.
Otherwise, a couple of dives to explore the caverns and are always satisfying.
The Saint Johns Plateau is an area of the Red Sea well known for it's under water reefs (Habilis) and amazing marine life. Home to about 10 dive sites, it is an excellent place to visit.
(Specific dive site details are prevelant in the Deep South itinerary)
Fury Shoals AKA Sataya is described by artists as "The Kingdom of Hard Corals" This amazing area of the Red Sea is again, in it's singularity, one of the most amazing places on earth. Visit the reefs and gaze upon the colossal Brain Coral like colorful sleeping giants and the amazing coral caves which have formed in the shallows over hundreds of millions of years.
Also enjoy the famed Dolphin Reef and visit 1000's of happy Spinner Dolphin!!!!
(Detials of dive site can be found on the Deep South itinerary)