The Golden Route / Aqaba North Route

This is Sinai’s least sailed route, going from Sharm el Sheikh up north into the Gulf of Aqaba. This itinerary covers Sharm, Dahab and Nuweiba sites, taking in dive sites in three (!) different natural protectorates: Nabq, Abu Ghalum and the Ras Mohamed protectorate with the Straits of Tiran.

You are certain to be amazed at the pristine condition of the beautiful coral walls and gardens in northern aread, most of which are normally only accessed from the shore by jeeps or camel dive trips..

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ITINERARY:

Day 0: Embarkation in Sharm el Sheikh
Day 1: Check Dive Temple or Ras Katy, Gordon Reef, Woodhouse, Night Dive
Day 2: Gabr el Bint, Canyon, Abu Galum, Night Dive
Day 3: Blue Hole, Canyon, Gabr el Bint North, Night Dive
Day 4: Gabr el Bint, Nabq: Wreck of Maria Shroeder, Tiran: Jackson Reef,  Night Dive
Day 5: Straights of Tiran: Thomas, Gordon, Ras Um Sid / Night Dive
Day 6: Ras Mohamed National Park: Shark & Yolanda Reef, Jackfish Alley, Ras Zatar
Day 7: Disembarkation Sharm el Sheikh

 

The Dive Sites

Temple
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 Katy
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.

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 softcorals. It is possible to swim around the entire reef on one dive, unless weather or currents play against you. You can expect to see many reef fish including Angelfish and groupers as well as pelagic fish e.g. barracuda and Whitetip Reef Sharks.

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 will see huge fan coral ‘fences’, and likely jackfish, turtles, sharks and a variety of different other 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. It is also one of the finest dive sites in the northern Red Sea, all year round. Here one can expect to see an enormous abundance of different corals, and the reef is to be teeming with life. One may spot turtles here, and the sharks which frequent this area include the Whitetip and Grey Reef Sharks and Hammerhead schools, particularly in the summer months from July to September.

Wreck of Maria Schroeder
Most of the wreck is visible from above the water’s surface but the section below the surface has created an interesting home for marine life in the area.

The Canyon
The boat will drop you near one of the entrances to the Canyon. There are several entrances with the main, larger one being at a depth of 22 metres. Depending on the ability of the diving group, you may have the time to penetrate a little deeper into The Canyon, the dive will then take you up through the length of the Canyon, where you can exit it at a depth of 14 metres.

The Bells & the Blue Hole
Popular and famous, these dive sites need little introduction. The boat’s zodiac will drop you near the Bells dive site from where the drift dive will start. The dive follows the coral wall in a southwardly direction, with the reef on your right. Big colonies of Star coral, Gorgonians, soft and black corals are to be found here. You will pass anemones with their anemonefish and come across Butterfly fish and Angelfish on this dive.
Towards the end of the dive you reach the passage to the Blue Hole, a saddle in at 8m depth, which is a veritable feast for the eyes, completely covered in all kind of corals. Inside the Blue Hole itself one can often watch Freedivers doing deep dive training.

Ras Abu Galum
Ras Abu Galum was afforded National Park status in 1992. The area is difficult to reach, hence, we are very fortunate to be allowed to take boats in here. There are two dive sites in the vicinity: North Ras Abu Galum and South Ras Abu Galum both of which are situated just off the shore where there is the Bedouin village of El-Omeyid and where the boats can moor so that dives are conducted from the zodiac.

Gabr el Bint
Gabr El Bint is translated literally as ‘the Tomb of the girl’ and is an hour’s boat ride south of Dahab. Gabr El Bint falls within the protected area of Nabq National Park and upon arrival here one becomes immediately aware of the remoteness and tranquillity of the region.

Ras Um Sid
Ras Um 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 and the African Divers centre. 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.

 

Minimum Qualification
We strongly recommend PADI Advanced Open Water or equivalent with min. 25+ logged dives!

Note: This is a sample itinerary and can be changed without notice. The route will depend on sea and weather conditions, diving level and ability of guests, the number of other boats present at dive site and other conditions.

OBEN