Scuba Diving in the Red Sea
Scuba Diving the Red Sea

Scuba Diving in the Red Sea

The Red Sea was created by the separation of Africa from the Arabian Peninsula due to continental drift. The Red Sea is 1200 miles long and up to 10,000 feet (3000 meters) deep.
The Red Sea borders to several countries, some with more developed tourism and scuba diving resources than others. The northern shore of the Red Sea borders to Egypt, Israel and Jordan. The western shore also borders to Egypt, as well as to Sudan. Saudi Arabia and Yemen make up the eastern shore, while the southern shore belongs to Djibouti and Eritrea.

The Red Sea is famous for being a supreme scuba diving heaven. There fauna include more than 1,000 species of fish and over 500 types of soft and hard corals have been identified. The visibility is outstanding and usually better than 100 feet (30 meters). The most well known dive sites are located in Egypt and include Ras Mohammed, The Brothers, Rocky Island and Elphinstone, but other countries have outstanding dive sites within their part of the Red Sea too. Sudan for example, is home to the much less known and less frequented Sanganeb, Angarosh, Abington and Shaab Rumi dive sites.

There are more fish per square meter the Northern Red Sea than anywhere else in the world. The reefs provide shelter and breeding grounds for a huge number of different species, displaying an almost unimaginable variety of patterns, colors and shapes. While scuba diving close to a reef you will usually see incredibly beautiful fishes like the white and yellow Royal Angel fish with its zebra like pattern and the black and yellow Striped (Racoon) Butterfly fish. The Red Sea also provide chances for scuba divers to encounter sharks, rays, tuna, grouper and barracuda – just to mention a few of the larger species.

Scuba divers visit the Red Sea year round, but if you wish to dive in really warm waters we recommend July to September when the temperatures average 81° F (27°C). February is the coldest month, but even then water temperatures stay around 68° F (20°C) and a 3mm wetsuit is enough to keep you warm, 5 mm if you know that you are prone to freezing.

Most scuba divers visit Egypt when they wish to dive in the Red Sea since Egypt has a very long history of being tourist destination. Political instability also prevents some of the other Red Sea countries from becoming popular destinations. The most popular diving destinations in Egypt are Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba/Taba and Marsa Alam.

Jordan is one of the Red Sea countries that have become increasingly popular among scuba divers during the last decade, especially the magnificent coral reefs outside Aqaba – an old port town located at the top of the Gulf of Aqaba. Aqaba features more than 11 miles (18 km) of coral fringed coastline and a very calm sea. During a good day, underwater visibility can reach 164 miles (50 meters) and the place is understandably enough popular among underwater photographers and marine biologists. Popular dive sites in the Aqaba area include Oliver’s Canyon, First Bay, The Wreck, Osama’s Reef, Black Rock, Power Station, Gorgone One, Saudi Border, Blue Coral, Eel Canyon and Paradise.

Oliver’s Canyon can be reach from the beach; you just have to swim 39 feet (12 metres). The top of this reef is overflowing with scorpion, stone and crocodile fish that thrive among the table corals. First Bay is located next to a Marine Science Station and has an upwelling that attracts shoaling fish. When scuba diving at this shallow fringing reef you will encounter an abundance of marine life, including large sea bass and schools of octopus and squids. This dive is not suitable for scuba diving beginners. The dive site called The Wreck consists of a Lebanese freighter that was intentionally sunk in 1986 by Prince Abdulha to create a new attraction for scuba divers. The wreck is resting across two reefs 150 meters (492 feet) from the shore, at a depth varying from 12 to 27 meters (39 to 89 feet). She has already been colonized by soft corals and several big fishes like to reside at this artificial dive site, including a large school of barracuda.

Related Articles:

Scuba diving in Egypt - An introduction to scuba diving in Egypt.
Scuba diving in Sharm el Sheik - An introduction to scuba diving in Sharm el Sheik - Egypt.
Scuba Diving in South Africa - An introduction to scuba diving in South Africa.

Scuba Diving in the Red Sea