DIVING SPOTS

ROCKY ISLAND, ZABARGED & ELPHNISTON

Rocky Island

With a profile ranging from inshore coral playgrounds to sheer walls and open plateaux exposed to raging currents, and a range of inhabitants from glittering tiny reef fish to massive hammerhead sharks, this site promises an amazing dive, and almost always delivers.

A quick Zodiac ride takes you beyond the southeast point of the island, from where you can drift back down the east coast. Alternatively, a five-minute swim from the mooring point on the south coast takes you past rich coral shallows to Rockys southeast corner, the setting for some amazing big fish encounters. At 25m (80ft), a shelf juts from the reef wall, forming a natural shark theatre. Hovering over this shelf, you have an excellent chance to see sharks of all species. But sharks are not the only attraction. There is a whole range of reef and pelagic species to be spotted here.

Coral growth here is lush and varied, and in a pristine state of preservation. Soft corals and delicate branching forms are particularly beautiful in the inshore shallows between the mooring point and the southeast corner. Through the site you will find a range of stony corals, including plate and cabbage corals, Acropora and fire coral, and Xeniid and Dendronephthya soft corals.

Zabarged

Zabargad is the largest of Egypt's 4 Southern Red Sea marine parks and lies just 5 km northwest of Rocky Island in the deep south, 70 km off the mainland. The island has exquisite turquoise bays, sandy beaches and a 235m high hill at its center. Zabargad means topaz in Egyptian, and you can still find evidence of an island community that mined the semi-precious stones here.

Red Sea diving is at its best on Zabargad Island's south east coast in the sheltered Turtle Bay. Here you'll find a wall to 15m then a coral reef slope down to 30m or so and then a drop off into the blue. The reef slope is a maze of coral patches and dome turrets, forming refuges to reef fish such as puffer-fish and sweet-lips, and invertebrates such as cuttlefish and octopus. The floor is home to blue spotted stingrays, scorpion-fish and crocodile-fish, and of course turtlesare found here too. Green and hawksbill turtles hatch on the beach here in the month of August.

On the northeast coast of Zabargad lies the Khanka Wreck, a 70m long USSR transport/surveillance ship that sank upright in 24m of water in the 1970s. The bow has impact damage and lies on its port side but the rest of the wreck is in good condition. The main superstructure lies just 10m below the water's surface. Although there is little coral growth here yet, there are several interesting sections of the ship to explore on a dive, such as the holds, bridge and engine room, which are filled with glass-fish and are easy to explore from the 2 large openings to be found in the bow and stern.

Large winches and heavy chains are in evidence towards the bow. You can access the engine room through the hatches in midships. The bridge is found down a narrow stairwell where you can still find the helm, chart room and control panels. The main mast is intact and is a great place for a safety stop since it rises to just 2m below the surface.

Elphniston

Elphinstone Reef is one of the most famous dive sites in the World and offers some of the best scuba diving in the Red Sea!

The Elphinstone reef is located 12km offshore and about 30km from Marsa Alam. This dive site is famous for its wonderful drift dives along deep steep walls. The coral is really great and unspoiled.

Elphinstone Reef is famous for its sharks. If you’re lucky, you will get the chance to meet an Oceanic Whitetip Shark in one of your dives.

The Elphinstone Reef is also famous for being one of the few places on Earth where you can dive with the Oceanic Whitetip Shark as well as Harmmerhead Sharks. The best chances to spot an Oceanic Whitetip Shark (also called longimanus) are from October to December. Manta Rays (mainly from May to August), Dolphins and Tiger Sharks can also sometimes be spotted. In addition to these giants, there are also plenty of pelagic fishes like trevallies, Barracudas and Tunas. The reef life is teeming with myriads of fishes all around Elphinstone.

Scuba Diving in Elphinstone reef is reserved to experienced divers as current can be very strong and you are diving in the open sea.

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