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Elphinstone and South Egypt

The following itinerary provides a chance to view some of the most beautiful sights in the region, offering a route winding along the stretch of coast from the north of Marsa Alam to the island of Wadi Gimal.

The departure ports are determined by the position of the boats and by the Government guidelines valid at the time.

The variety of dives make for a very pleasant cruise, these include wonderful reefs and coral walls, sand bars and small caves.

At Gotha Sharm for example, there is a large reef with a huge circular plateau which is a must for divers.

The reef descends gradually to a depth of about 30 metres, where the terrain is interrupted with rocks shelves extending to a depth of 70 metres.

There are beautiful soft coral formations where turtles feed on the abundance of marine life, entirely unaffected by the presence of scuba divers.

Huge sea fans grow on the north-east side of the plateau, here the unusual hawk fish lives and feeds amongst the vegetation. The profusion of aquatic life draws in shoals of barracudas and the ever present grouper.

From the deep blue water, shoals of hammerhead sharks as well as other shark species come to feed.

The Wadi Gimal Island has white sand beaches, here we find saltwater mangrove teaming with unique marine creatures which are important for the maintenance of the balance of the ecosystem.

Around the island there are two beautiful diving spots: Erg Wadi Gimal and Abili Wadi Gimal. The first one is also known as the “aquarium” because of the various types of barrier fishes, such as the butterfly fish, the squirrel fish, the “sweet lips” fish and many other kinds which live in groups in different areas around the two big towers that form the Erg.

The base of the tower is situated in a sandy area rich in coral, about 16 metres below sea level, surrounded by shoals of jack fish and barracuda.

Abili Wadi Gimal is a shallower area, at a depth of around, with several towers covered by beautiful soft corals and shoals of “Anthias” and other more common species of fish. At the borders of Abili Wadi Gimal grey sharks and other fish shoals are common and the rare Dugong has often been seen near the Marsas on the coast.

Elphinstone is the best dive spot in the whole Red Sea. The reef is long and narrow and runs from north to south for around 600metres. Elphinstone is characterised by very long, narrow plateaux, both at north and south at a depth of between 50 and 60 metres.

The east and west walls are steep and can reach a depth of about 70 metres and close to the reef are depths of 100 metres.

Thanks to these features Elphinstone is the ideal habitat both for fauna and flora. The plateau is completely covered by soft coral, sea fans and trees of black coral.

Big moray eels, groupers and white tip sharks live in the reef corners surrounded by plenty of barrier fish.

When weather conditions allow the best dives can be found in the north cape where there are several fish and shark species. .

The south cape is famous for the “arch” diving. This is a huge cave, which links the eastern and the western walls, with an arch of about 8 metres height by around 6metres in length and a peak at 52 metres.

Close to Elphinstone is the area of Abu Dabbab, which offers diving and over night mooring opportunities.

Worth mentioning is Abu Dabbab El Kaf, with its 3 to 8 metre caves. These make diving risk free and breathtaking, even when sea conditions are not at their best.


N.B. Please click on the fish for underwater maps
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