- Daedalus/Zabargad/Rocky Island
- The Marine Park South Tour starts from Port Ghalib – after 2 dives it goes directly to the south to Daedalus Reef. Even seen from far is the striking lighthouse of Daedalus. The reef extends over a length of more than 1.2 km. Drop off diving in the regular existing current and shark encounters mark the dives around Daedalus.
- Now it goes on to the reefs of Zabargad and Rocky Island, the most southern islands in the Egyptian Red Sea. Countless soft and hard corals await the divers here in the Deep South.
- On the way back we can visit the places of Sataya, Malahi, Abu Diab, Shaab Maksur, Shaab Claudia, Abu Galawa and Gota Sharm, so be assured of variety! Also here with great regularity can be shark encounters – only about half a dozen liveaboards run on these far southern reefs.
- Before we return to the harbour in Port Ghaleb, the Elphinstone Reef is another treat! The northern tip offers the best conditions to meet some hammerheads at an early morning dive.
From Marsa Alam, the boat travels north approx. one and a half hours to the Elphinstone Reef – a great excursion! Depending on the water level, the Elphinstone's high plateau lies at a depth between one and three metres. Strong surface currents and lots of boat traffic make it impossible to snorkel here.
Divers however can plunge straight into some challenging fun! The reef is known for its extraordinary biodiversity and, of course, also for sighting large fish. In the north, we dive down a sloping plateau from 18 to 40 metres, and in the south, down the underwater terraces . The west and east wall plunge steeply into the deep. The Elphinstone Reef has a total length of approx. 725 metres and a width of 140 metres.
Hard and soft coral in a myriad of colours make us rejoice under water – if we could, we'd jump for joy. Joining us are also turtles, moray eels, Red Sea percidae, whitetip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks and honestly just about everything the Red Sea has to offer. If we don't see it here, then where?
With a length of 600 to 700 metres and a width of 100 to 300 metres (north to south), the Daedalus Reef is a very large reef. In the eastern section and in a depth range of 18 and 40 metres, we'll find a lagoon-like plateau from which, depending on the current, we can usually watch multiple groups of hammerhead sharks swimming at open sea.
There are usually 12 to 25 specimens in a group and it's definitely worth it to wait around at depths of 20 and 25 metres – this is a sight none of us want to miss out on. Almost all boats, which drop anchor at Daedalus, send their Zodiacs to the north in the early morning hours. The best spot to enter the water is namely in the northwest corner. It's best to quickly dive to a depth of four metres, so that you won't be carried too far by the surface current which could possibly occur.
Hammerhead sharks emerge mainly from the deep. When a shark dives past us at some distance and leans to one side, then it's trying to tell us that he rules the sea. Nevertheless, these animals are shy and if we get too close, they'll be gone at a rate of knots. Some lucky divers have even been able to observe groups of hammerhead sharks for up to 20 minutes.
Manta Point is also located nearby and is absolutely enthralling with its colourful reef wall. On the west side, we can see one of the largest colonies of sea anemones in the Red Sea. 200 examples of each species and each color have firmly anchored themselves to the reef, living in close quarters on a surface measuring just 10 metres in width.
Continuing south our breath is completely taken away: the gigantic hard coral which sits here will make you feel like a hobbit among elves when you gaze eyes upon it. Just like a waterfall, it plunges from a depth of four to 19 metres. Sadly, the first signs of damage can already be seen.
Shaab Sharm/Gota Sharm
Gota Sharm runs from west to east in the shape of a wedge and the reef's steep faces extend deeply into the world below us, which we will probably never get to know in its entirety. The two plateaus are located at 20 and 35 metres. Caution is also advised here due to the regular strong current.
On the eastern plateau, we have the pleasure of running into longnose hawkfish, lionfish under the table coral, barracudas, reef sharks, shoaling fishes and two cleaning stations: one at the centre of the plateau for young tuna, the other located close to a large block on the south side for surgeonfish. The 'cowardly triggerfish' also lives here too – however, that's a whole other story and one that is best told by the guides on site.
The western plateau is the narrower plateau where the current coincides in Gota Sharm – and it's also a spot loved by hammerhead sharks and where we might just be able to get to meet them. Reef sharks, shoals of tuna, barracudas and mackerel found here make the dive even sweeter. Wow, wouldn't it be nice to have a cup of coffee and a piece of cake to go along with this view?
Abu Galawa Kebir
We can discover the Red Sea in all its splendour at Abu Galawa Kebir – a great diving spot with some lagoons and neighbouring reefs. In addition to the Rosalie Moller and the Numidia, the Tien Hsing counts among the most lushly covered shipwrecks in the Red Sea. The harbour tugboat only served for a short period – built in 1935 in Shanghai, sank in 1943. We will find the Tien Hsing behind the channel of the west side of the reef.
Warning: The vegetation is so dense and full on the wreck's port side that we often don't even recognise it as being a wreck! 'Oops, that's a ship!' is the first thing that goes through our minds when on the starboard side. In addition to the Tien Hsing, there's also fascinating coral gardens with mountain coral and table coral for us to find at Abu Galawa Kebir. A great location for night dives during which we can also see blue-ringed octopus. They´re just wonderful, wonderful, wonderful creatures!
Abu Galawa Soraya
A sailing yacht from the US has sunken in "Abu Galawa Soraya" in 1980 and has been inhabited since this time by very many soft and hard corals. An incredible view to 17 meters deep over a length of 15 meters. But not only this great overgrown wreck is convincing here.
Garfish, Blue Spotted Stingray, Red Sea seabream, Red Sea fusiliers and free swimming giant moray we can also discover with a little luck and just marvel at this dive site. What many diver makes happy - "Abu Galawa Soraya" is also suitable for a night dive and what could be better than to visit the various inhabitants of the wreck by night !?
Equipped with light, we see inside the wreck also during daytime many glass fish, that own the yacht since a long time. Moreover, on the sandy bottom among the coral towers and blocks, there are waiting many surprises.
Sataya Gota Soraya
Soraya means 'small' and Gota stands for a circular reef. We find ourselves at the small, circular reef in the area of Sataya – the sister reef of Sataya Gota Kebir, the large circular reef. The mooring is located in a small lagoon in the south-east. Should the current suddenly change, there's also another mooring in the south-west.
A small tip: At lunchtime, there's not much going on in the waters around the south-eastern mooring, so just postpone your lunch and enjoy the coral gardens for yourself!
We usually travel north by Zodiac because of the current. From there, we then choose whether we want to dive along the east or west side. No matter which direction we choose, the dive takes a good hour.
Should we not wish to miss the small cave in the north, we can dive through it to a lagoon which is covered with gorgeous mountain coral. Sataya Gota Soraya captivates us in the first place with its large table coral, acropora and soft coral as well as gigantic mountain coral. Snappers, thresher fish, goatfish, snails, dolphins and reef sharks cast their spell over us here too.
In the north-western area behind the sand alleyway, there's another coral garden consisting of old and new coral formations and which plummets 40 metres in the north.
The boats cast anchor where the biggest offer is on hand – in the south close to the entrance of the cave located at a depth of 10 metres. Almost all species of fish can be encountered here, for example, spadefish, triggerfish, bannerfish, goatfish and also snappers. Even Napoleon wrasse show their faces here from time to time.
A current coming from the north often makes diving above the coral garden on the west side difficult or completely impossible. After a bumpy ride by Zodiac to the channel and the colony of sea anemones, you will be rewarded with a lovely drift dive from the east to the west side.
Shaab Maksur measures 350 to 400 metres in length and it shares some similarities with Elphinstone: both reefs point in the same direction and therefore also have very similar currents. The southern plateau of Shaab Maksur resembles a rice terrace with two levels – the first is located at a depth range of 18 and 35 metres, the second runs from 35 metres to 42 metres. Both are approx. 50 to 60 metres in length and 40 metres in width.
Unusual for an outer reef, Shaab Maksur also has a plateau on the west side. The indescribably beautiful lagoon – that will make our hearts race – is located right here at the centre of the plateau. We find pieces of wreckage from a safari boat that only made it to its 14th day.
Another plateau is found in the north – the east side is a steep wall – and at the northernmost point, there are two pinnacles which are separated by an eight metre-long crack in the reef ('Maksur'). Warning: Shaab Maksur is famous for its undertows!
The reef has a width of 150 m and a length of 200m. With a depth of 16m, it is one of the very shallow dive sites. The corals are mainly by lower cultures, so usually only 50cm high. The 2 to 4 m high hills are the ideal spot for damselfish.
On the west side there are two large lagoons, which are internally connected in 6m depth. They are covered with staghorn and mountain coral. On the sandy bottom you find gobies and crabs that live symbiotically there.
The north is bounded by an elongated block. On the west side, however, there are four coral hills of 2 to 8 m high.
The east side has an elongated reef wall with individual mountain coral fields and outdoor sporadically 2m high turrets. The diversity of coral and fish here is indescribable!
In the south there are some lagoons and an ancient coral that is home for bat fish, large groupers and moray eels.
This is a good night anchor place and night dive site.
Around the hill, the current changes often and forms eddies.
In the 100-metre long and 60-metre wide 'Shaab Malahi' labyrinth, it's not uncommon for one to get lost. The guide or diver's watch equipped with compass can be used in an emergency, as there's always an exit located south! Here we can dive between 6 and 22 metres; there is only a drop-off on the eastern side. The current flows mainly from the north-west around the reef and there is no current to fear at the centre.
Breathtaking blocks measuring up to 16 to 20 metres high form the beautiful reef of Shaab Malahi. They are also covered with overhangs and home to the most colourful coral. Since the diving depths often greatly vary, all those who have mastered the art of pressure equalisation may count themselves among the fortunate to enter this diving site. The dive leads through two to eight metre-wide channels and 15 metre-wide lagoons.
Erg Abu Diab
This spot is typical of the biodiversity of the southern Red Sea, but also known for encounters with large sharks. Often the diver encounters groups of hammerhead sharks, the largest number, which was observed at one time, was more than 50 animals. But the encounter with grey sharks and thresher sharks is most likely and among them, with good luck, a Longimanus.
Zabargad has two shipwrecks to offer, both located in the scuba diver friendly area. To the east you will find between 1 - 24 meters depth, a 70 m long and 10 m wide wreck, about his name and story is puzzled already for a long time. It is believed that it is a Russian engine cargo ship that was seeking protection of the island after a collision or explosion on board and sank there – a sign for it could be the damage at the rear. The growth of the wreck suggests a sinking time in the 1950s to -60er years.
Located on the south side in the upper reef there are many cave passages in which we find with a little luck, nudibranchs and flatworms. On the west side of Zabargad the remains of the safari boat "Neptuna", sunken in 1981, can be visited next to beautiful hard coral gardens. On the sandy bottom in about 24 meters you can find today scattered testimonies of doom: a generator, several suitcases, a radar and a scuba tank. However, from the wreck of the ship there is no trace. Because the reef at this point is only gradually steeper, the safari boat cannot be further slipped into the deep, so it must be somewhere near. Presumably, it drove little further, when the stern was already under water, and the said objects fell overboard. The wreck of the Neptuna could not be located until today and thus remains one of those mysteries with which the Red Sea can still come up to this day.
Safari boats mostly anchor on the south side of the island protected behind a large lagoon. Around the lagoon, which is about 10-12 m deep, it goes steeply down to depths of about 50 meters. One can reach the interior of the lagoon by numerous passages through the rock, which rises to the lagoon and is lush overgrown with colorful soft corals.
Rocky Island is a diver's paradise – with the reef lying far out at sea, we run into all conceivable types of marine life: discoveries of small reef fish and shoals of barracudas to hammerhead sharks, mantas, dolphins and even small whales have already been here made by some divers.
Rocky Island is 700 by 450 metres in size and it has a fringe reef whose south side is composed of overhangs and rock shelters which are often visited by whitetip reef sharks. Since the current comes from the north here, the shark points are located in the east and west.
In the north, Rocky Island has a deeply carved sheer wall with ledges and overhangs. The lush coral vegetation is a real treat for snails and whilst they fill their bellies, dolphins pass nearby every now and then.
The wreck of the Maiden, a luxury ship which was discovered in 2002, lies in at a depth range of 60 to 70 metres. Marine park rules apply when diving around Rocky Island and this spot is a very challenging diving destination thanks to varying currents.
ATTENTION: The tour description is merely our suggestion. Which diving places on tour are dived is determined by many factors including the wind and weather.
After arrival in Hurghada or Marsa Alam transfer to the boat.
Check in, dinner and spending the first night onboard in the marina.
Departure in the morning.
Instruction on the boat,
Diving, safety and equipment briefing.
Dives at Abu Dabab
3 dives at Daedalus
3 dives at Daedalus
Rocky Island and Zabargad
Abu Galawa Soraya
Night dive at Gota Bohar
Dive at Elphinstone reef and Abu Dabab
Head to Port.
At least 20 hour safety rest before flying would be given to all participants.
Handing trip educational material/ videos.
Breakfast and check out latest at 10:00 am.
Transfer to the airport or hotel.