Home Dive Spots Why Dive the Southern Red Sea?

Why Dive the Southern Red Sea?

Sharks, Dolphins, Mantas, Jacks, Nudibranchs and Clownfish, the list goes on and on. If you are after variety then The Southern Red Sea is the place to be. Underwater nature is forever changing with the seasons; it is a spectacular, full of surprises, unforgettable image.   

Where is the South? Where does it start and where does it finish? Over the last few years, a coastline of hotels and hotel construction has been developing, appearing out of the desert, marching south, towards Sudan. The hotels and numerous liveaboards have made Fury Shoal, the Marine parks of Zabargad and Rocky Islands, plus St. John's Reef, close to the Sudanese border, trendy and accessible places to dive.
The Egyptian Red Sea has been divided up into three main areas; The North (north of Hurghada), The Brothers (including dives around Hurghada, Safaga and Marsa Alam) and The South (Marsa Alam and beyond). To see all the wonders of the Southern Red Sea you need more than a two week holiday, so plan a few visits at different times of the year and you will see The South in its true glory. It has so many secrets to reveal; take your time and let nature show you the quality, not just the quantity of what waits below the surface. That's why I love to dive the Southern Red Sea, and that's what I search to find and share with our divers.

The dive sites themselves vary greatly, from big walls that drop away below you, to coral gardens with feasts of colors, tunnels and caves to explore, then plateaus and pinnacles to visit. In the Red Sea, like the rest of the world, the weather patterns have been changing over the past few years. August and BECOME A STATISTIC.

September remain the hottest months with the warm winds, providing some cooling moments. Summer and autumn remain the most popular times to come on holiday, so if it is fish watching that you are after, not people watching, then you should try a different time of the year, the variety in nature is still there; you just need to team up with a good boat, experienced crew and professional dive guide to take you.

Those of you who are new to the idea of treating themselves to a liveaboard safari, it's now time for you to experience this enjoyable way to live on the sea.
Liveaboard life gives you more time to relax between dives and can take you to places out of normal reach. Life on board falls into to regular routine, often starting early with a dive before breakfast! The pattern of “dive, eat, and relax” is soon established and enjoyed. Evenings are spent reviewing the day's events, reading, watching films, playing games or just partying.
Then the next day you could find yourself hanging out on the walls, watching the mesmerizing view of the deep blue around and below you, waiting with your buddies to be the first to spot the white belly of a Hammerhead cruising sideways along the reef walls, then those signals of joy before checking again in the blue for another possible surprise sighting.

In the afternoon explore the reef, with its variety of corals, overhangs, caves and coral gardens. Take your time to stop, watch and wait. There is a lot of satisfaction gained searching for a camouflaged scorpion or stone fish and succeeding in your challenge.

The Southern Red Sea brings plenty of great moments to remember, you just never know what's next. In the New Year we were diving on St. John's Reef. On the second day we did an 11a.m dive on Shaab Mahrous, a big wall dive site (80m plus deep). We were dropped by zodiac on the north side and followed the reef round and back to the boat.

Fifteen minutes into the dive we could hear ultrasound squeaks and looked up to see a mother dolphin with her baby playing above us. Mum had a fish in her mouth and was showing her baby how to deal with the two silver tip sharks that were following them! She was happily dropping the fish then picking it up again swimming in circles, all the time being shadowed by the frustrated sharks. It was stunning to watch nature at work. We already assumed that it would be the best dive of the trip, all of us cheering to each other underwater. However, if we had not been looking around us we would have missed the 5m Manta that cruised past below us! A reminder to all divers, never think you have seen it all! Time to finish the safety stop and head on back to the boat.

People often think that being last in or out of the water is bad and that you do not get to see anything........well...... the last two people surfaced ten minutes after the rest of our group in awe of what they had just been part of.... as they had swum back to the safety line, a swirling shoal of sardines appeared from the deep, surrounding the pair as they moved carefully towards them to get pictures. Suddenly, they were engulfed in the bait ball with six silver tip sharks darting past them feeding! You never know what you will see, and when you will see it!

If you are looking for peace and tranquility, photo paradise, adrenaline rushes and adventures, put a date in your diary now and come to the Southern Red Sea.

 

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John Kean is author of 'SS Thistlegorm, The True Story of the Red Sea's Greatest Ship Wreck'. He is also a board member of Sharm El Sheikh's SSDM
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During our northern “classic wreck tour” we visited approximately 18 different wrecks in one week. The Ulysses, one of the most popular wrecks
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There is no doubt that every skin diver enjoys the magnificent abundance of life on the coral reefs. The sad fact is that this extraordinary
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