Shaab Marsa Alam is a beautiful and easy dive site 4 km east of the town of Marsa Alam. Because of its length of 790 m, the reef offers a wide range of different dives. Its proximity to the mainland and shallow depth generally attract a great number of visitors, which regrettably also has had an impact on the underwater landscape.
There are several interesting spots here: a large and magnificent coral garden A is found on the northwestern side of the reef, and a slightly smaller one is found on the eastern side A. However, you must go by RIB to get to them. If you want to dive directly from the liveaboard, you can dive to the wreck of Legend / A, which sank on 17 October 2002 (see 1-2-6). Unfortunately, its wooden planking rots more year by year, and sooner or later there will be little left of the wreck.
On the central reef tongue to the west lie the entrances to some small caverns A at a depth of 5 m, which do not lead far into the reef, and in the larger of the two ergs to the south, there is a small cave passage A with its openings at a depth of 8 and 6 m respectively. The seabed along the sheltered side of the reef is dotted with coral rocks and populated by blue spotted stingrays, cuttlefish or stonefish. Currents may occasionally flow throughout the entire site, but they are generally moderate, and big waves only form on the outer side of the reef. However, the water’s movement over the sandy seabed sometimes affects visibility.
Shaab Marsa Alam is large enough to provide a safe overnight mooring and is therefore also suitable for night dives, where you may encounter not only the common lionfish but even some octopus.
Shaab Marsa Alam
Dive Routes A
Route A: northern coral garden – caverns
Duration: about 60 min. Difficulty: ** Go by RIB to entry point above the coral garden A. Dive around the northern tip keeping the reef on your left shoulder and either dive along the reef wall, which provides safe orientation but is barren and wide, or take a shortcut by heading across the seabed at 125° to the caverns A. Pay the caverns with their entrance at 5 m a short visit and then either surface and return by RIB or dive back to the boat.
Route B: southern coral garden – Legend /
Duration: about 50 min. Difficulty: * Go by RIB to the point above the southern coral garden A and dive around the southern tip, keeping the reef on your right shoulder. Then head further north between the main reef and the erg, where you will find the wreck of Legend / A at the end of the route.
Route C: mooring – Legend / -mooring
Duration: about 50 min. Difficulty: * Descend to the two ergs straight from the boat making sure to take the compass bearing beforehand. To the south of the large erg, you will find a short cave passage A at 6 m with its exit at 8 m. Circle the erg and head to the wreck of Legend / A before returning to the ship. In case a current flows through the channel, make the dive in the opposite direction.
Tips / Hazards
The northern coral garden A and the wreck offer the best diving spots • Difficult orientation across the seabed on the sheltered
side of the reef to the southwest A-be sure to bring a compass