Egypt: Red Sea - Dive Sites - The Small Crack

The Small Crack



By Boat

By swimming

By Live-aboard

All Divers







Halfway along the Shaab Mahmud reef system, northwest of Beacon Rock and the Dunraven


By day or live-aboard boat from Sharm El Sheikh or Hurghada

Average Depth:

15m (50ft)

Maximum Depth:

22m (65ft)

Average Visibility:

20m (65ft)

This site is a crack or passage in the extensive Shaab Mahmud reef, which separates the Sinai coast from the open water of the Straits of Gubal. It is one of two navigable passages into the sheltered lagoon behind the reef, and is thus a popular spot with live-aboards anchoring for the night in the lagoon's calm waters.

The main reef at the small crack runs from northwest to southeast, and is a well-formed, steeply sloping coral wall reaching from the surface to 18m (60ft), with a sand slope and scattered coral beyond. The crack bisects this reef and forms a shallow channel to the inner lagoon. This channel is a maximum of 6m (20ft) deep, and averages 2 to 3m (7-10ft), with reef walls of about 2m (7ft) on both sides.

Coral growth throughout is excellent, particularly on the outer reef wall. A mix of hard and soft types can be found, with a very wide range of stony coral species making up the reef walls, and exceptional formations of soft corals. The full range of Red Sea reef fish species can be seen at this site. Pelagics are common, particularly when there is a current running.

Given that most dives will be from a live-aboard anchored in the lagoon, the best plan is usually to take a zodiac through the passage to a point upstream from the passage's outer mouth, then drift with the current along the outer reef and through the passage toward the lagoon. This, however, assumes a rising tide. A falling tide will complicate matters, since zodiac pickup in the rougher waters outside the reef can be difficult.

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Last Updated: May 29th, 2011