A narrow plateau starting at 20 Metres stretches out for 50-75 m then drops off at 40 m. It drops to 600 m on all sides. The best option on this dive is to head along the edge of the plateau keeping a vague eye out in the blue, but mostly looking at the plateau itself.
This is the best scuba dive place on earth and the best place for hammerheads in the Red Sea! During one dive there is a big chance to see 40-50 in front of you. Best season for hammerheads is from November till April. on the plateau also sits Jacques Cousteau’s shark observation cage. You can lie in the sand and watch the Grey Reef Shark’s cleaning Station. If you want to be surrounded with at least 3 species of shark this is the place! Also big shoals of jacks and barracuda’s waiting for you on the plateau on every dive.
Panorama is also known as Abu Alama, meaning “Father of the Mast”. This is a reference to the concrete pillar which once marked its northern shores but has now been replaced by a high-tech automated beacon. It lies 60-90 minutes (weather dependent) outside of Safaga. It is an elliptical-shaped reef on a North-West-South-East axis. On the North end is a dramatic plateau (15-25 metres) and drop-off. Down the East and West sides runs a narrow, sloping ledge at the same depth.
Location: Red Sea / Egypt / Safaga
Description: Reef / Coral garden / Caves
Depths: 3-78 meters
The journey across can get very rough, especially since your boat or liveaboards will be taking it on the beam and therefore will roll a lot. Once you get there however, the reef gives ample protection for several boats. The current comes almost always from the North. It can get very strong, howling across the North plateau (beware of up-currents and down-currents) and ripping down either side of the reef. The South plateau is usually calm.
A drift dive on the North plateau offers some of the best diving. However to get there, you will need very calm weather or alternatively, a zodiac. After investigating the plateau, you can head down either wall to your live aboard, now moored in the lee of the reef (South). This is a long swim if unaided by current. The Western wall of the reef is best and the South-East corner boasts many gorgonians.
The North plateau swarms with lots of big fish, like surgeonfish, unicornfish, barracuda, giant trevallies, whitetip sharks (especially on the West side), grey reef sharks (especially in the afternoon), eagle rays, dolphins, silvertips and even longimanus, the oceanic whitetip shark. Everywhere are turtles. On the South plateau lives a family of three Napoleonfish alongside morays, crocodilefish, scorpionfish and a turtle with a deformed shell. Also, there is a large colony (50-60) of anemones.
Sha’ab Claudia (sometimes known as Sha’ab Claude) is a small reef with lots of disturbed water at the surface and can have quite large swells in the top 5m of water. The west side of the reef has lovely hard coral formations, with stony and boulder corals cascading down to 20m like an underwater waterfall. Current will normally run from north to south and live aboards usually moor on the more sheltered south side, although surface conditions can still be rocky on the boat.
Location: Egypt / Marsa Alam / Fury Shoals
Description: Reef / Coral garden / Caves
Depths: 12 – 24 meters
There are some reef fragments to the west which also have great hard coral, and yet more reef pieces to the south. Although the southern pieces are sparser in terms of coral growth there is some nice small marine life and in the top 5 metres the reef is densely populated with antheas.
Abu Hashish is the island at the centre of a wide bay, 90 minutes South of Hurghada/Egypt. The island was once used as a drop-off point for smugglers bringing hash into the country. A tongue of reef extends about 1 kilometre South of the island. The dive site is at its Southernmost tip. There is a shelf between 15 and 22 metres outside and beyond that a steep but fairly bare drop-off, usually with superb visibility. Inside the tongue of reef is a scattering of long ergs.
Location: Red Sea / Egypt / Hurghada
Description: Reef with coral garden
Depths: 18 meters
Rough seas often make this site inaccessible from Hurghada, although the site itself is well protected. Current is mainly North to South and strongest along the drop-off.
Scuba divers leave the lagoon through an obvious channel filled with table corals, cross the shelf to the drop-off and follow it North. There are some beautiful caves in the 30-metre region. They return along the inside of the shelf and finish the dive back on the lagoon amongst the ergs.
Along the drop-off pelagics, such as jackfish, barracuda, Spanish mackerel, whitetip sharks and now and then, hammerhead sharks and feathertail rays may be seen. On the shelf turtles, bluespotted rays, Spanish dancers, morays, lunartail and leopard groupers live while in the lagoon schools of squid and baby barracuda play.