Red Sea Scuba Diving

Interested in scuba diving in the Red Sea? The southern tip of the Sinai peninsula has fascinated the world’s diving population for decades. Although popular, the area still hides some virtually undiscovered scuba diving gems.

Sinai weather is characterized by hot, dry summers and cool, dry winters. Temperatures may exceed 40°C (104°F) in the summer, while December/January has more moderate daytime temperatures of 20°C (68°F) or so along the coast. Rainfall is minimal to non-existent.

From the tiny, glittering jewels of basslets to the stately grandeur of a 1.5m (5ft) bumphead parrotfish, these reefs encompass the full range of coral reef fishes. Sharks abound in some seasons, with hammerheads, blacktip and whitetip reef sharks cruising along the coastal reefs, while other marine species such as hawksbill turtles and even dolphins are frequently sighted. Invertebrates such as octopus, cuttlefish and squid are also common.

Best known for its pristine walls of exquisite hard corals, South Sinai offers soft corals among its hugely varied repertoire of reefs. With reef profiles ranging from sheer, undercut cliffs to gently undulating coral fields, the area is a living encyclopedia of tropical corals. The great depth and sheer walls of the southern Gulf of Aqaba give the Sinai coast admirably clear waters for most of the year. Visibility is in the 20 to 30m (65-100ft) range.

At the southeast end of Sinafar Island is an amazing diving location. A wall that starts at the surface slopes down to a coral reef that has sandy canyons that stretch down to the bottom depths. There are many caves along these walls. One of these caves starts at 60 feet (18m) and the opening is framed by fan corals. It extends inward 50 feet (15m) and gets larger until you come to a chamber that is 10 feet (3m) high and 20 feet (6m) wide. The chamber has a large window at about 50 feet (15m) that looks out to the blue water. In the chamber, you will be constantly surrounded by sweeper glass fish that will move out of the way to let you through. The fish are so numerous that they can block the opening to the reef. As you swim toward the opening, they will slowly move aside and the blue water seems to have a curtain that is being drawn back to let you pass.

Along the sandy slope are amphoras, which are 2-handled jars with narrow necks that were used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. These are believed to have come from an ancient wreck from the Ottoman Empire. Red sea scuba diving can provide several great dives and an ancient history lesson at the same time.