Diving the Red Sea can be one of the most inspirational experiences of your life. The Red Sea is a spectacular ecosystem formed millions of years ago when the Arabian Peninsula broke off from Africa as a result of the movement of the Red Sea Rift. Closed on the North by the Sinais connection to Egypt, Israel, & Jordan, the Red Sea is open to the Indian Ocean through the Mandib Strait and the Gulf of Aidan to the South. About 2250 km (1398 mi) long and 355 km (220.6 mi) wide at its widest, the Sea is rather large, and is the northernmost tropical sea. Being surrounded by desert climate makes the Red Sea warm and pretty salty, since it receives minimal waterfall each year, and much evaporation occurs as a result of the heat. This also means that the Red Sea is relatively warm, with average water temperatures in February being 22C (72F) and reaching 30C (86F) in June August.
The great conditions of the Red Sea also include good visibility, due to calm waters and increased light penetration resulting from its close proximity to the Equator. These factors make the Red Sea great for both the growth of underwater wildlife, and also great for diving to see this wildlife.
The water conditions of the Red Sea have helped to nourish more than 1200 species of fish, of which about 10% are native only to the Red Sea. These fish are supported by about 2000 km (1240 mi) of coral reefs along the coast, some as old as 5000 7000 years old. Among these reefs can also be found dolphins, turtles, and approximately 44 species of sharks. Though there are a few species that are harmful to humans, most species are actually harmless.
Diving the Red Sea also offers something for everyone. Not only is there plenty of nature to enjoy, but the further North you go, there are also many wrecks that are quite beautiful and worth a visit to. Among them are the Thistlegorm and the Kingston. Since the Red Sea has had ships traveling through it as an important trade route for centuries, some of these ships have gotten caught on rocks and sunk, and some have even been sunk during World Wars I & II. Needless to say, these wreckage sites offer sine stunning views, having been populated by some coral and fish in the years since their sinking.
Yet another beautiful attraction in the Northern Red Sea is the Ras Mohamed National Marine Park. This is truly a gem of the Red Sea. Located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, only 12 km from the resort town of Sharm El Sheikh, Ras Mohamed was declared a marine reserve in 1983 to protect the stunning wildlife from the ruin of fishing and overdevelopment. The park contains the islands of Tiran and Sanafir, Shark and Yolanda Reefs, and many more beautiful formations. The area is so rich in nutrients brought in by currents from either side of the Sinai, that underwater life is abundant, with barracuda, unicorn fish, batfish, and sharks. Jacques-Yves Cousteau even ranked Shark Reef as one of his top 10 dives.
A bit further south is Marsa Alam, a great diving destination. Marsa Alam enjoys pleasant water temperatures year round, with winter temperatures being about 24C (75F), and summer water temperatures around 30C (86F). Being located further south, Marsa Alam enjoys less pollution and crowds, making the water clearer, though in April and May visibility isnt at its best as a result of a seasonal boom in plankton. Overall, Marsa Alam is so wildlife friendly with its warm waters, its common to see bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and even a dugong. Life is so peaceful here, and so are the waters, it allows divers and snorkelers a great opportunity to experience the colorful coral and some its friendly inhabitants.
While there are plenty of great dive sites worldwide, the Red Sea really is amazing in that there is such a vast variety of marine life, and the conditions are just right, so youll be able to experience a sea teeming with unique life & sites, while also being able to visit some of the most historically significant regions in the world. Dive by taking a day boat or a live aboard. Either way, diving the Red Sea has never been easier or more worthwhile!
The currents in these areas vary from no current to very strong, so it is strongly advised to dive or snorkel with guides or with experienced divers who have dove in the area before and are familiar with the conditions. In the following pages, you will find descriptions as to the expertise required for the various dive sites. The following definitions of the diving skill levels should help you evaluate the required skill for each dive site.
Snorkeler - a person who is a good swimmer and is skilled in ocean snorkeling.
Novice diver - a person who is in good physical condition and recently completed a basic certification diving course, or someone who has been certified before but has not been diving in a while or has no experience in similar conditions.
Advanced diver - a person who has logged many dives under similar or rougher conditions and is in good physical condition.
Dive master or instructor - a person who has advanced training as a dive master or an instructor who has logged over 100 dives in similar conditions and is in excellent physical condition.