IN Arabic) is not on official maps, but is used by divers to indicate the tongue of reef that juts out eastwards and supports the green beacon marking the western end of the Strait of Tiran. All the ships that come down from the ports of Aqaba and Eilat must pass between this beacon and the red and white one on Gordon Reef. The coral reef of Ras Ghamila separates a vast and rather a shallow sandy lagoon from the sea. Ras Ghamila is an interesting
a place for a fine drift dive that is not too difficult. The classic dive, which must be followed in any case when the tide is swelling, begins immediately after you have passed the hotel structures of the Conrad Resort; from this point, you dive onto
avast sandy plateau with a slight incline, staying at a depth of about 15 meters, and then continue in a sort of gliding motion northwards, parallel to the edge of the reef at a level with the beacon. On the gentle slope of the reef, which descends to an average depth of about 8 meters, there are many large colonies of Porites coral and some Giant triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens) often pass by, while on the plateau there are large Acropora corals (table corals). around which schools of pelagic fish swim.
Features • The dives here are usually easy and pleasant and allow you to observe many coral colonies and mixed fauna, both reef and pelagic. • The site is usually not crowded.
ou need not venture far from the slope of the reef to observe coral formations and the reef and pelagic species that move around the plateau. • When you are close to the beacon, go straight to the open sea to facilitate your return to the boat. The current may be strong.
27°57.809′ N – 34°24.938′ E
The name of this locality means ‘Christian Cape
in Arabic. It lies || kilometres north of Naama Bay and immediately south of Ras Ghamila. Ras Nasrani can also be reached by land: take the road leading to the Baron and Conrad resorts. However, the classic dive is usually made from boats, either as a drift or mooring dive. Start the dive from the floating pontoon close to the big hard coral ridge above a shelter that opens at a depth of 30 meters and then come up slowly towards a submersed sandy
bay. At a depth of 12.5 meters on the northern side of the bay, you can see a lovely example of a red anemone. Beyond this
point the sand gives way to the corals. You then head northwards, keeping the reef to your left and taking advantage of the current, which ranges from weak to moderate and tends to get faster near the headland. After you have passed some large gorgonians located at about 20 meters, you will come upon large colonies of massive hard corals of the genus Porites that form extensive banks; these become even more numerous beyond the headland. The dive goes through the zone between the reef slope, which has many small crevices studded with
multicoloured Alcyonarians, and the drop-off situated about 30 meters away. Ras Nasrani is the ideal spot to observe the giant clam, or bivalve mollusc Tridacna sp., as this area has the highest population density of this creature in the entire Red Sea. Sometimes the giant clams, whose mantle take on a blue or greenish colour given by their zooxanthellae, are sandwiched into hard corals of the genus Porites.
Easy diving which will allow you to observe pelagic and reef fauna. • A good spot for night diving, during which you can see many nudibranchs such as the Spanish dancer (Hexabranchus sanguineus). • You can find numerous crustaceans when looking carefully between the hard corals.
27°57.791′ N – 34°24.665′ E
Do not bother looking for this name on nautical
maps, since not even the locals are familiar with it. It was coined some years ago by some diving instructors at Sharm el-Sheikh to indicate the southernmost part of Ras Nasrani as a tribute to the underwater cameraman Bob Johnson, who worked for years in this area. Ras Bob is sheltered
from the waves and wind and usually has weak currents. The classic dive is made from your boat, moored at the shamandura on the floor, at a depth of 20 meters.
The dive runs northeast at a depth of from 15 to 20 meters until you reach the sea bad
established point of return, following the small reef ledge back. There are many small bays with light-coloured sandy floors in which you will see numerous small caves and gullies in the shallow water (3–6 meters’ depth). Crocodilefish (Papilloculicepe longiceps) and Bluespotted stingrays (Taenius lymma) often rest on the sand of the inlets. Snorkelers can skirt the reef both east and west of the fixed mooring to explore the marvellous configuration and admire the many corals, both hard and soft.
Features • Easy diving in a sheltered spot, with mixed reef and pelagic fauna. Suitable for all diving levels. • Very interesting for snorkelers. • High concentration of reef
Comments • The most interesting part of this site is at a depth of 4-12 meters. When conditions are suitable, it is possible to make an interesting drift dive reaching the shamandura of Ras Nasrani.
27°57.627′ N – 34°73 E
White Knight is a small bay bordered
by a rather well-developed reef with a large crevice that opens onto a sandy plateau from 6 to 18 meters deep. Here there is a mooring point near a colony of Garden eels (Gorgasia sillneri). On the southwestern side of the bay, at a depth of 8 meters, is a beautiful canyon with a sandy floor that descends to a depth of 38 meters. The eastern side of this canyon is composed of two hard coral buttresses on which you will see a large Acropora formation
and a Salad coral (Turbinaria mesenterina). Next to the entrance of the canyon is a tunnel that begins at a depth of 10 meters and opens into the canyon at 13 meters. If you descend to 19 meters you will see a metal drum that marks the opening of a cave, whilst at 21 meters on the opposite side, there is another cave. Lastly, at 27 meters there is a small ledge over a precipice with a veritable sand flow that inspired the name was given to this site a few years ago – Wichita Falls’. On the left-hand side of this ledge is the entrance to a third
the cave which, surprisingly, runs steeply upwards. From the overhang you can either go northwards, doubling back to the starting point, or to the southwest to see the wreck of Noose One, a diving boat that sank in 1994 after a fire and that in the summer of 2004 drifted into the blue. Today there are only a few metal pieces left over, cylinders and parts of the engine with little interest.
27°57.074′ N – 37°23.097′ E
Contrary to what you might expect, Shark’s
Bay is not frequented by sharks but only by crowds of tourists attracted to the lovely sandy beach that borders the entire bay. It seems that the name ‘Shark’s Bay derives from the fact that local fishermen once came here to unload the sharks they had caught. At the northern part of the bay is the Shark’s Bay Resort, which offers accommodation as well as a diving centre, supermarket and fish restaurants. At the southern part of the bay, we
use of Shark’s Bay as a starting point for the boats The classic dive runs through finding the beach of the Pyramisa Resort, open only to hotel guests. On that beach is an old sailing ship. Jump-About-Gib, which hit the reef many years ago and was sequestrated by the Egyptian authorities. The beach of the Shark’s Bay Resort (access with entrance fees) allows shore diving, whereas for those diving by boat there is the possibility to moor on one of the fixed shamanduras in the bay. A small jetty allows the cosa
some large coral formations that rise from the sandy floor, sadly disfigured today by numerous waste objects. Here you turn into the entrance of the deep sandy canyon on the south-western side of the bay. After following the canyon for a depth of 30 meters, come slowly up to 18 meters to explore a sandy plateau and the reef ledge, which has a remarkable variety of hard and soft corals (Alcyonarians).
Features • A perfect place for beginners or inexperienced divers, and for check dives. • You may see manta rays, especially during the summer. • Very good night diving where you may see many gastropods, echinoderms, lionfish and squids.
Comments • The bay can be very crowded. Because of widespread plankton, the water is sometimes murky (especially in summer). • The sandy floor is not very clean at several points and is covered by waste. • During your night dives you can observe the rare Conus textile, the cone shell.
27°54.924′ N – 34°21.531′ E
Far Garden is situated in the northernmost part of
a splendid bay just north of Naama Bay. Because of the many coral formations and their configuration, Far Garden is considered a veritable underwater garden. It differs from the other localities in the bay since there is a series of large coral pinnacles located between the ledge along the reef and the drop-off, which becomes gradually steeper in an eastward direction. Here you can make either a mooring dive (dive A) or a drift dive (B).
The first dive (A) allows you to explore the pinnacles, which are about thirty meters from one another and feature an extraordinary selection of both
hard and soft corals. They are frequented by a great number of reef fish, small Scalefin anthias, common lionfish (genus Pterois), Suez fusiliers (genus Caesio) and Sergeant fish (genus Abudefduf). Continue to the east until you reach a cave – the entrance of which is crowned by a colony of Porites lutea coral — that opens out at 5 meters’ depth and houses a large school of glassfish (Pigmy sweepers, Parapriacanthus ransonneti). An alternative, if weather conditions are favourable, is to make a drift dive (B) from this
cave, descending diagonally to 30 meters’ depth, where you will see, from above, the top of a majestic and vast overhang known as ‘The Cathedral that opens out at a depth of about 32 meters and penetrates the reef for a dozen meters. From this point, you can start your ascent keeping the reef to your left and you may reach a large private steel and cement jetty that marks the end of the dive.
Features. This site is usually sheltered from waves and wind. • A wealth of corals and reef fish. • Many scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis sp.) and nudibranchs, which can usually be seen at night. • A suitable site for snorkelling
The dive site has been baptized ‘Fiddle Garden’
by local diving instructors as it is situated practically halfway between Far Garden and Middle Garden. The two fixed moorings, one in the north and the other around 200 meters to the south and its sheltered position are elements that continually attract boats and scuba divers. The dive is very easy and it is possible to do either a mooring dive with the boat secured on one of the shamanduras, or a drift dive towards Far Garden a few
hundreds meter away, The seabed is sandy, flat and shallow (the average depth is around 10 meters) with coral structures contouring sandy ‘streets’ from where some massive pore corals (genus Porites) rise up. The most characteristic element of this site constitutes two coral pinnacles (A and B) which rise from the seabed at 17 meters up to 9.3 meters. Around the second pinnacle (B), which is dominated by fire corals, we can admire a big bright red Fire sponge (genus Latrunculia) highly toxic for fish and only a
few nudibranchs can feed on it. Nearby at a depth of 6.5-7 meters lies the relatively well-preserved residual of an antique big amphora originating probably from Roman times. Other remains of amphoras, but clearly not as interesting, are visible between the reef ledge and the shamandura. The drop-off starts between 20 and 14 meters but its exploration is of little interest.
Look out for
Comments • Easy dive without currents, suitable for divers with little experience or for check dives. • Possible to use the fixed moorings.
Features • Very good alternative to Far Garden when this site is overcrowded. • Ideal spot to take a break between two dives. • Some archaeological remains.
27°54.878′ N – 34°21.143′ E
As its name implies, this site lies in the central
part of the bay between Far Garden and Near Garden, more or less on a line with the impressive Hyatt Regency Resort. Totally sheltered from wind, waves and currents, you start the dive in line with the height of the central body of the hotel where there is also a floating pontoon. A vast sandy plateau stretches out onto the reef ledge ending at a depth of 5 to 6 meters and the drop-off is situated between 12 and 14 meters. After having gone a
gave rise to the name of this site. Experienced divers who have a good reserve of air can go as far as the coral pinnacles situated at Fiddle Garden. An alternative is a drift dive
few dozen meters, the sandy plateau narrows, giving rise to a beautiful road of white sand: it is bordered by hard corals, most of which belong to the genus Acropora, some massive pore corals (genus Porites) that rise up from the sand like small islands, and other coral pinnacles. Some table corals (genus Acropora) are scattered all around often creating small! sandy avenues which recall garden paths: these
heading southwest towards Near Garden; naturally, this can be done when the tide is ebbing and the current is favourable. Schools of fusiliers (genus Caesio), pufferfish, triggerfish, dominos (genus Dascyllus), pullers (genus Chromis), Bluespotted stingrays (Taeniura lymma) and also some Spotted eagle rays (ACIONS narinari) constitute tam types fauna of this site.
Look out for
Easy diving suitable for beginners and for check
Comments • Since this site is fine for a lunch break, the shamandura is often crowded with many boats, especially in the late morning.
An ideal spot when the sea conditions are not optimal elsewhere.
Here you may see Spotted eagle rays (Aetobatus narinari) and Manta rays (Manta birostris) during the summer.
27°54.401′ N – 34° 20.833′ E
This is the dive site closest to Naama Bay
and the most southerly of the ‘Gardens’. Unfortunately, because of the excessive number of divers and the debris deposited on the corals during the construction of the neighbouring hotel complexes, this locality has lost parts of its original allure. At the southwest sector of the site there is a vast whitish area with a great number of dead corals, often called the ‘dead area’. Yet Near Garden still remains today an interesting dive site and, thanks to its location, a
onto a sandy plateau at about 15-20 meters which is bordered on the edge of the drop-off by a series of hard coral heads, and then proceed along numerous gorgonians up to a ridge with four pinnacles running in a northwest-southeast direction that become deeper and deeper. After passing this underwater ridge, go northwards to explore the numerous gullies in the reef by crossing a narrow passageway between two coral formations inhabited by a colony of Cave sweepers
a good alternative for afternoon and night dives. Diving begins while descending
(Pempheris vanicolensis). If conditions permit you might turn to the north to reach the site of Middle Garden. During your dive you will come upon many Bluespotted stingrays (Taeniura lymma), Napoleon fish (Cheilinus undulatus) and triggerfish (Balistapus undulates, Odonus niger). Some small Whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus) has chosen this site as its home.