The Red Sea

The Red Sea is one of my favourite diving destinations. From Europe it is our nearest tropical diving; no jet lag, low cost and lovely local people. Back in the eighties it was difficult to get to dive sites in the south, but once the airport at Marsa Alam was built, the whole area opened up to divers and winter sun holidays.

The best route is to fly to Marsa Alam, board a liveaboard then head south, the reefs are in excellent condition. If you prefer land based diving then there are some superb hotels that offer local diving and other sports, with and without sun.

The southern Red Sea offers the dedicated diver some wonderful dive sites, wrecks, caves, some of the best coral in the world, and the chance to see big pelagic animals cruising the offshore reefs.

 

Later in the year, when the sea temperature drops a little, you can see hammerheads, oceanic white tips, threshers and the usual white and grey tipped reef sharks.

There are mantas, dolphins and you could be lucky enough to bump into a whale shark. We have seen them all over the years, but don’t expect them all on your first visit.

 

Most of the wrecks are in one piece, making them great for photography, but you have to make sure the captain is aware of your desire to wreck dive. There is so much else to see, wrecks are often bypassed for the more natural beauty of the area. The caves are quite fantastic, big and widespread with a lot of natural light, soft corals, resident fish and sandy bottoms. It is possible to lose your way in the more remote of the caves, so just make sure you take a dive guide with you if you are going to do a bit of exploration.

A week diving in the southern Red Sea is an experience not to be missed. The weather is mild with light winds from the north for most of the year, so a 5mm wetsuit is the normal attire, but no gloves. We take our own dive gear, except cylinders and weights, although kit can be hired at extra cost.

Prices vary a lot, but so do the boats that cover this area which vary from good to excellent. Food is generally very good and can be described as ‘Euro-Egyptian’. Expect to pay around £850 /£1850 for a weeks boat safari.

If you enjoy good tropical diving this has to be one of the best areas in the world to dive.

If you want to go and don't have a contact, try a travel agent who specialises in diving holidays. If you want to do it on the web try one of these: www.scuba.co.uk, www.divers.com, www.explorers.co.uk, www.regaldive.co.uk, or a copy of 'Dive', or 'Diver' magazine and find one of your own, there are many choices.

 

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