This is probably one of the most agreeable liveaboard itineraries anywhere, thanks to a choice of the finest reefs and one of the most famous wreck dives in the world and all within a relatively short distance, with short sailing distance between the dive sites.
Ras Mohamed with its world-famous Shark & Yolanda reefs, the amazing Straight of Tiran, plus the wreck of the SS Thistlegorm plus many more gems make for an exciting route. The short sailing times allow for maximum relax time and enjoyable hours on a quit boat; swimming, snorkeling or just lounging!
Day 0: Embarkation in Sharm el Sheikh
Day 1: Check dive at Temple or Ras Katy, Ras Mohamed, Beacon Rock, Night Dive
Day 2: Dunraven, Small Crack, Wreck of the Thistlegorm, Night Dive
Day 3: Thistlegorm, Shag Rock, Alternatives, Night DiveDay 4: Ras Mohamed National Park, Straights of Tiran - Gordon Reef, Night Dive
Day 5: Straights of Tiran: Jackson, Woodhouse, Laguna, Night Dive
Day 6: Thomas Reef, Gordon, Ras Um Sid
Day 7: Disembarkation in Sharm el Sheikh
Ras Katy is located at only few minutes from Travco Jetty, the main harbor of Sharm el Sheikh, and from where all our boats in Sharm are departing.
Is a very nice and easy shallow dive, ideal for the first dive in the Red Sea. It is ideal as well for night dives.
Just around the promontory of Ras Um Seid lies Temple dive site. Temple is so-named because here you will find three coral pillars resembling the columns of a classical temple. The pillars descend to a depth of 30m. Reef fauna commonly seen here include butterfly fish, parrot fish, bat fish and lionfish. You may also see a Napoleon Wrasse.
Ras Um Sid
Ras Umm Sid is the name of the promontory with a high lighthouse that marks the beginning of the Strait of Tiran on the western coast. The diving site, easily accessible by land, is immediately east of the lighthouse, opposite the famous Italian restaurant El-Fanar. It is renowned for the extraordinary proliferation of gorgonians (Subergorgia hicksoni) that create a veritable forest here, the most beautiful in all the northern Red Sea.
Ras Mohamed National Park
Ras Mohamed is a peninsula of land jutting out into the Red Sea at the southernmost point of the Sinai Peninsula. Most of the Ras Mohammed Peninsula is, in fact, a raised reef plate, indicating that the sea level was once higher than it is today. In 1983 Ras Mohammed was given National Park status, the area the park covers was increased in 1989 to include much of the surrounding seas. There are some 1,000 species of fish and 150 species of coral to be found in the waters here, hence the need for preservation.
There are several amazing dives within the National Park of Ras Mohamed:
Ras Mohamed - Shark & Jolanda Reef
This dive is a Must in Ras Mohamed, for some it is THE Ras Mohamed dive site, and surely one of the most exciting experience for a diver, specially during the summer.
Shark and Yolanda are in fact 2 pinnacles originating from a single pinnacle which rises almost vertically from a depth of 800 metres. The Yolanda has been named after the Cyprian freighter which hit the reef in 1980; its cargo - Ideal Standard ceramics- still lies on the western side of the reef. Divers usually perform a drift dive from Shark’s reef to the Yolanda wreck; the sea floor is littered with toilet bowls and sinks, remnants of the Yolanda cargo.
The site is teeming with varied fish species including hammerheads, reef sharks, barracudas and huge tunas, in addition to smaller species such as jackfish, batfish, unicorn fish, snappers and many kinds of stingrays. You’ll also find amazing corals.
Ras Mohamed - Shark Observatory
This site takes its name from the piece of headland that overlooks this stretch of water. It is a great wall dive and you can enjoy the Alcyonarians and caves and gullies with all their reef life, while still keeping an eye on what may be lurking out in the blue! Whale sharks have been spotted in this area.
Ras Mohamed - Ras Za'atar
Ras Za’atar is a rocky outcrop of land which plunges almost vertically into the sea. You can descend at the start of your dive to around 28 – 30 metres to enjoy some gorgonian fan corals. There are also some colonies of black coral. Rising back up to a depth of about 15 metres, you will see the reef wall covered with red and pink Alcyonarians. You will also see two splits in the coral which give rise to rather impressive chimneys in which you will find the likes of Lionfish and Glassfish.
Ras Mohamed - Jackfish Alley
A dive at Jackfish Alley will give you the opportunity to see some caves and watch the fantastic light effects they produce. As well as Jackfish, you may well see Bluespotted stingrays, Triggerfish, Whitetip Reef Sharks and Manta rays.
Dunraven - Beacon Rock
Built in Newcastle in 1873, this British steamer met her end in 1876 while bound for Bombay with a cargo of timber and cotton, which were lost in the ship wreck when the ship caught fire. She lies upside-down in 15 – 29.5 metres depth. The dive starts at the stern and takes you inside the hull where you can see Crocodilefish. You can also expect to see some groupers, Lionfish and schools of Glassfish. Above the bow you can enjoy a coral garden at 10 – 5 metres as you ascend from your dive.
Small Crack is a small break in the Sha’ab Mahmud reef system and is navigable by small dive boats only. The passage is 6m deep and 2-3m across with reef walls on both sides. Both hard and soft corals abound here – you can see Gorgonian fans, porites, salad coral and Acropora as well as anemones and their omni-present anemonefish. There is also a small eel garden at a depth of 19m and many species of reef fauna. Pelagic fish also frequent the site.
Wreck of the SS Thistlegorm
Lying some 31 miles from Sharm El Sheikh, the Thistlegorm is a popular site often visited by divers on day trips as well as liveaboard boats. Built in 1940, the Thistlegorm was a sizeable British transport ship. Early one morning in October 1941 while moored at Sha’ab Ali, she was struck by German bombers and sank. She was carrying a cargo of munitions, anti-tank mines, motorcycles, Bedford trucks, spare parts, tyres and medicines amongst other things for the British troops in North Africa. She lies at depths of between 16 and 33 metres and both the ship and her cargo are very well preserved, making her arguably the best wreck dive in the Red Sea. Not only you will you enjoy seeing a ship and cargo so amazingly intact, you will also see plenty of marine life in and around the vessel making the Thistlegorm, effectively, an artificial reef!
Shag Rock - Kingston
The Kingston was a small British cargo ship built in Sunderland in 1871. She ran onto the northern face of the reef, known as Shag Rock, on 22nd February 1881, whilst en route to Aden with a cargo of coal aboard. The intact propeller at the stern of the ship lies at a depth of 15m and the dive usually starts here, after which you can move inside the ship to see the engine room, followed by the boilers. The bow section, lying at around 4m depth, has mostly disintegrated. However, lying alongside the ship you will see the remains of the mast. Since the wreck is quite small, there will be time to explore the reef while you are here, too. You can expect to see surgeon fish, rabbitfish and nudibranch. Larger fauna frequently encountered here includes jackfish, groupers, turtles and Whitetip reef sharks. You may even come across a pod of dolphins.
Some 3 miles west of Ras Mohammed lies a fringing reef (a chain of coral pinnacles) within which you will find a sheltered lagoon with maximum depths of between 10 and 15m. The area has been named The Alternatives as it serves as an alternative for diving when the seas are rough at the more exposed dive sites in the vicinity. There is a mooring (shamandura) on the sheltered side of two of the middle pinnacles so dives are usually conducted around here.
Straights of Tiran - Gordon Reef
The most southerly in the Strait of Tiran, Gordon Reef is known for the Lovilla wreck which ran onto the reef in 1981. There is a fixed mooring on the southern side and a rather shallow and wide plateau over which you can dive, making this site easier and safer than the other reefs in Tiran. At this dive site you can expect to see a variety of coral species, Nudibranches, Whitetip Reef Sharks, Hammerheads and spotted eagle rays.
Straights of Tiran - Thomas Reef
Believed to be one of the best dive sites in the northern Red Sea, only drift dives are possible here as there are no moorings. Here you will see a variety of corals including gorgonians, colonies of black coral and large Alcyonarians. It is possible to circumnavigate the entire reef on your dive, weather and currents, permitting. You can expect to see many reef fish including Angelfish and groupers as well as pelagic fish e.g. barracuda and the Whitetip Reef Shark.
Straights of Tiran - Woodhouse Reef
This is a long narrow reef with no fixed moorings so only drift dives can be performed here and in good weather. You are likely to see jackfish, turtles, sharks and a variety of different corals. The sharks to be seen here include Whitetip and Grey Reef Sharks, Leopard and Hammerhead Sharks.
Straights of Tiran - Jackson Reef
This is the most northerly reef in the Straits of Tiran and is easily identifiable from the visible wreck on its surface of the merchant ship, Lara, which sank in 1985. Here one can expect to see gorgonian and fire corals. One may spot turtles here and the sharks which frequent this area include the Whitetip and Grey Reef Sharks and Hammerheads, particularly in the summer months from July to September.