El Gouna - Dive Sites
- Dive area with one or more sites - Wreck(s) - Special Trip.
Click each dive site for more information.
Zoom out to see the location of the Thistlegorm.
Click each dive site for more information.
Zoom out to see the location of the Thistlegorm.
Siyul Kebira (Big Siyul)This is a small low lying island around one and a half hours north of El Gouna. The island has a reef completely surrounding it and has two main dive sites:
- Siyul Kebira - a beautiful dive at the north east corner of the island where there is a chance to find leopard sharks sleeping on the sandy bottom. Turtles, giant puffer fish, lion fish and moray eels can often be seen here. The highlight of the dive is a small pinnacle at the turning point of the dive, which has lovely soft corals and is home to thousands of glass fish and small moray eels. The return to the boat is like swimming in an aquarium due to the abundance of marine life. When there is a strong north current this dive can be done as a drift, passing the pinnacle en route to the moored dive boat.
- El Gilwa - on the south side of the island is El Gilwa, so called because the reef here is not contiguous and has sandy patches between large coral blocks. There are 3 separate mooring points here allowing 4 different dives depending on the direction of the current, or a drift along the whole area. The reef blocks are very beautiful with a wide variety of hard and soft corals and a huge variety of marine life. The central mooring allows access to a beautiful pinnacle covered in wonderful corals and vast numbers of glass fish. The observant diver has the chance to find the elusive sea-moths in the sandy areas around this pinnacle.
Siyul Soraya (Small Siyul)Although, as its name suggests, this is the smaller of the two Siyul islands, it has a much larger reef surrounding it. A dive can be made on the south side of the reef, either a drift or from the moored dive boat. Alternatively the dive boat enters the lagoon through a narrow channel in the reef and the divers make their way back through the channel and dive on the outside of the reef.
Shabroah Siyul (Blind Reef)The name means that this is a reef in the middle of the sea, but close to the island of Siyul. It is also known as Blind Reef because at high tide it is submerged and can be difficult to find. The sea around the reef reaches depths in excess of 50 meters, the reef gently sloping down to around 20 meters before dropping more steeply into the blue. There is the chance to see larger fish such as tuna and barracuda passing in the blue here. Small pinnacles along the drop off abound with smaller fish and there is a good chance to see lion fish and moray eels and maybe a crocodile fish hiding in the sand.
GhaynaThis dive site to the north east of El Gouna features a shallow plateau with many pinnacles, coral formations and a large coral garden. Only visited in calm weather, it is sometimes possible to see reef sharks here because of the infrequent boat traffic.
Shaab El ErgLiterally this means the corals and the pinnacles. This is horseshoe shaped reef over 5 km long directly east from El Gouna. The lagoon behind the reef is home to a large number of Bottlenose Dolphins and although they roam throughout this area of the Red Sea, this reef system is the best chance for divers and snorkelers to see them in the wild. There are seven or more dives possible here the most common being:
- Dolphin House - situated at the northern end of the reef the dive site consists of the main reef the large coral block, or gotta, next to it and the channel between them. Two dives are made here every Thursday on different parts of the site. The channel is used by dolphins travelling in and out of the lagoon and a memorable underwater encounter is the highlight of a dive here. In addition this dive site is home to turtles, moray eels, napoleon wrasse, crocodile fish, rays, large shoals of goat fish, cornet fish, scorpion fish and many colorful corals can be seen on the reef, gotta and the small pinnacles found here.
- Poseidon Garden - this dive is on a large coral block in the lagoon behind the main reef. There is a very large coral garden next to the reef consisting of huge table corals and brain corals. Between and on the corals, clams of many sizes and colors can be seen, plus large numbers of masked puffer fish. Large shoals of banner fish and butterfly fish can always be seen here. This dive is also often done as a drift so that more of the coral formations can be visited.
- Manta Point - this dive site is on the outside of the reef close to the lighthouse at the centre of the reef. Turtles, moray eels and most types of Red Sea fish can be seen here, possibly even a reef shark, as well as the possibility of Mantas in season.
Abu NugarAbu Nugar means the father of the holes, or the pools and refers to the holes in the main reef here. There are also some larger blocks of coral, or gottas, in this shallow water area. There are many possible dives in this area, the most common being:
- Erg Abu Nugar - this dive site consists of a series of pinnacles with a gotta at one end and a very large pinnacle at the other. The dive boat can be moored at either end of the site. This is a shallow dive site, max depth 14 meters, but there is a great variety of marine life to see. The pinnacles are covered in beautiful corals and smaller reef fish, with cornet fish, tuna, jackfish and occasionally barracuda hunting them. In the coral garden around the pinnacles there is a chance to see rays, puffer fish and maybe a turtle. Dolphins are often visitors to this dive site.
- Gotta Abu Nugar North - this dive site is known for the ledge running out to sea, which divers cross in about 6 meters on their way to and from the large coral garden. The ledge is covered in very colorful hard corals and clams in varying sizes and colors. The coral garden is more like a coral landscape than the traditional coral garden and there is a chance to spot an eagle ray, barracuda or even dolphins out along the ridges.
Abu GalawaAbu Galawa means the sweet father and is named by the fisherman as the reef provides a safe haven in rough seas. The reef system lies to the south of El Gouna towards Hurghada and has several well visited dive sites:
- Marsa Abu Galawa - marsa means the port and describes the mooring area, which is a sheltered lagoon between the main reef and a large gotta. The dive site features a shallow sandy plateau, a drop-off going down to 40+ meters and a shallow reef wall. The site also has 2 eel gardens. Because of the reef topography, after leaving the lagoon divers find that they have the current with them on both outward and return legs.
- Sacqua Abu Galawa - Sacqua means the fisherman's box and describes the small lagoon cut into the reef where the boats moor. This dive can be done as an out-and-back from the moored boat, or a drift dive down the reef ending at the moored boat. Another small lagoon, with large flat pinnacle, further up the reef is visited on both types of dive and is a haven for all types of Red Sea life including possibly a turtle.
- Shaabaha - "the female ghost", so called because it is large reef plate lying about 5 meters below the surface and seems to appear out of nowhere to an unsuspecting boat skipper. The maximum depth here is around 13 meters making one circuit around the reef. The reef is covered in hard and soft corals and all kinds of reef fish, moray eels, rays, scorpion fish, crocodile fish, turtles and possibly dolphins can be seen here.
- Anchor - Named for the large anchor resting near the pinnacle where the dive boat is moored. Moving away from this pinnacle, divers cross a coral garden to a series of pinnacles with great corals and large number of reef fish etc.
El FanadirLiterally the islands, named for the small rocky islands at the north end of this long reef situated just outside Hurghada. This is a long reef that can be dived at either the North or South ends. The topography of both dives is similar with a sandy plateau next to the reef leading to a drop off to over 40 meters. The dive sites harbor most of the marine life seen in this area, especially lion fish and moray eels and the chance to spot jack fish and tuna passing in the blue.
Umm GamarThe Mother of the Moon, so called because this small island to the south east of El Gouna is crescent shaped when viewed from above. The sea bed in this can be 100 meters down and most of the dive takes place on a sloping drop off. Umm Gammar is famous for the chance to spot free-swimming moray eels in daytime. There is also the chance to see large tuna, great barracuda and possibly an eagle ray out in the blue.
Shabroah Umm GamarThis is a piece of reef in the open sea close to Umm Gammar. The topography of the dive site is similar to Umm Gammar, but has the added attraction of a wrecked patrol boat starting at 24 meters. The two engines are easily seen and other small pieces of wreckage are scattered over the reef.
Careless ReefThis is the furthest dive site to the south of El Gouna, in the open sea and unprotected in bad weather. There are 2 large pinnacles standing on a plateau starting at 10 meters and drop offs on all sides. There is the chance to see all types of marine life on the pinnacles or the smaller pinnacles on the plateau and the possibility of spotting a reef shark on quiet days.
Special Trips from El Gouna
Special TripAbu Nuhas
About 2 hours cruising time from El Gouna lies the reef of Abu Nuhas - "The father of bad luck", so called because of the number of ships that have hit this reef over the years. The reef is to the north of Shaidwan Island, close to the main shipping channel from Suez and usually partially submerged making it dangerous for shipping.
Among the many ships that have hit the north side of the reef, 4 remain as diveable wrecks for recreational divers. Starting from the north they are:
- Kimon M - known as the "Lentil Wreck", the ship now lies against the reef with the bows pointing up the reef. The wreck starts at around 10 meters with a maximum depth of around 25 meters at the stern.
- Chrisoula K - the "Tile Wreck", referred to in some guides as the "Marcus", another tile carrying ship, which is now believed to lie further from the reef in 65 meters. The bow of the Chrisoula K is in 5 meters with the broken off stern in around 26 meters. This is a very easy wreck for the novice wreck diver due to the shallow area at the bow and the gently increasing depth down to the stern. The cargo of floor tiles can be seen clearly in the open holds.
- Carnatic - the "wine ship", which hit the reef and sank in 1869 on her way from Suez to India with a cargo of port wine and gold and silver bullion. The wreck is broken in 2 pieces and lies on its side on the reef with a depth range of 12 to 24 meters. The wreck is known for its huge bronze propeller and the beautiful corals that cover it after over 140 years on the sea bed.
- Ghiannis D - the "wooden ship," which was carrying a cargo of timber bound for Saudi Arabia. Stranded on the reef, the ship broke its back during a storm and sank in two pieces. The stern section has twin masts that reach up to 5 meters from the surface with the stern at 24 meters. The engine room can be visited by suitably qualified divers.
Transfer time: just over 2 hours by boat, depending on weather.
Depth: Between 10 - 30m
Minimum qualification: Open Water (Advanced recommended)
Supplement: 25 Euro (includes 3rd dive)
Special TripRosalie Moller
Built in Glasgow in 1910, this 108.2m long vessel started life carrying cargo around Europe, before being re-registered in China in 1931. In 1938 the Rosalie Moller was requisitioned by the Royal Navy, transporting 'Best Welsh Coal' to a variety of UK Naval Ports. After joining the War effort - and a full overhaul - in July 1941 'The Rosie' set sail for Alexandria laden with 4680 tons of coal. A collision in the Suez Canal meant that she was unable to pass through, and was directed to 'Safe Anchorage H' until the way was cleared. On 5th October 1941, German Intelligence had reports of the Queen Mary being sighted in this area, and dispatched 2 Heinkel HE111's on a search and destroy mission. The Queen Mary was never found, but the merchant ship 'SS Thistlegorm' was, and was bombed and sunk on October 6th. The explosion from the Thistlegorm was so massive, that it lit up the night sky, exposing 'Rosie' in Anchorage H. 48hrs later on 7th October, the same fate was delivered to Rosalie Moller.
Today the Rosalie Moller sits upright on the seabed with the main deck at 30-32 meters. Apart from a hole in the port side near the stern, where the bomb exploded, the only other major damage is the collapsed funnel and the stern mast, which was broken off more recently due to dive boats tying onto it. The wreck is home to large groupers and lion fish and a huge number of glass fish. Large tuna and jack fish patrol the wreck in search of smaller fish.
Transfer time: just over 2 hours by boat, depending on weather
Depth: Between 16 - 50m
Minimum qualification: Experienced diver certified to dive to 40m
Supplement: 30 Euro
To most divers familiar to the Red Sea, this iconic wreck needs no introduction. It is a must-dive on quite a number of peoples to-do list, and whether you like wreck diving or not, the Thistlegorm is just incredible. Sunk in the same way as the 'Rosalie Moller' - just 48 hours and a few miles apart - The Thistlegorm truly is one of the best dives in the World. The Thistlegorm was carrying cargo for the War Effort in North Egypt, and every dive is a visit to an underwater museum, a place in time where the clocks stopped. Locomotives, various ammunition and Lee Enfield rifles, Bedford trucks, Triumph motorbikes and even airplane wings can still be found in The Thistlegorms cavernous holds.
Now we can offer you a trip to this iconic WW2 wreck from El Gouna. We spend one dive touring around the ship; visiting the massive anti-aircraft gun on the stern, posing for photos next to the propellers, gliding over the upturned tanks and ammunition shells and visiting the bows section to see the huge locomotives and anchor. Another dive is spent exploring the cargo holds; stuffed with motorbikes, jeeps, trucks, guns and aeroplane wings with a quick tour around the crew bathrooms thrown in too!
Minimum qualification: PADI AOW or equivalent (Nitrox recommended)
Supplement: 60 Euros not including breakfast, lunch and hot/cold drinks