- 21+ DIVES on some of the best reefs and iconic wrecks in the northern Red Sea
- Explore the wreck graveyard at Abu Nuhas
- Stunning reefs and marine life Ras Mohamed and Tiran
- The infamous wreck of SS Thistlegorm
- Ulysses and so much more
This itinerary presents the best of both worlds, where you visit famous wrecks in the northern Red Sea along with some stunning reef diving. As a 21+ DIVES cruise, there’s a good chance to enjoy 21 or more dives on a 7-day safari if you choose to.
The famous horseshoe shaped reef of Shaab El Erg is a perfect example of the reefs on offer on this cruise with its beautiful hard coral garden and the chance to see dolphins.
Abu Nuhas has four well-known wrecks: Giannis D, Carnatic, the Chrisoula K (’tile wreck’) and the Kimon M (‘lentil wreck’), all offering spectacular dives and plenty of fish life.
In between wreck dives you will also visit the reefs of the Straits of Gubal, Gulf of Suez and those to the north of Hurghada. A variety of deep walls and hard coral gardens with an abundance of reef fish make them well worth a visit.
Night dives can be superb as Gubal Island offers protected anchoring for the night. A small wreck at 8-10 metres makes for a spectacular night dive with lionfish, scorpion fish and its resident giant moray eel as well as the wreck of the Ulysses. Next onto the Kingston lying at Shag Rock, the Carina lying close to Sha’ab Ali and the Dunraven at Beacon Rock.
Ras Mohamed lies on the southernmost tip of the Sinai and is one of the best kept National Parks in Egypt with waters full of nutrients, steep walls going down to a depth of 1000 metres attracting a large amount of big fish and earning itself a reputation as one of the top diving areas in the world. Whilst here, you may have the chance to dive at Shark Reef, a sheer wall falling into the blue, as well as the wreck of the Yolanda.
Jackson Reef, locally named the ‘Aquarium’, is Tiran‘s most popular dive with the ‘Jackson Drift’ being Sharm’s fastest and most exhilarating drift dive past a stunning wall bursting with prolific coral growth. Occasionally, in the summer months, a school of scalloped hammerheads can be seen. Thomas Reef gives you plunging walls covered with soft coral, gorgonians and colourful fish life. The west wall is darker with overhangs and caves full of glassfish and sweepers. A night dive at Gordon Reef promises various species of coral, small nudibranchs hidden in the crevices and the soft corals and a chance to see white tip reef sharks, eagle rays, octopus and different types of eel such as moray, peppered and gold edged morays.
Finally the most famous wreck in the Red Sea, the SS Thistlegorm, at Shaab Ali including a night dive on Thistle. The Thistlegorm was sunk in 1941 after being bombed by the German Luftwaffe while on a mission to deliver a cargo of ammunition and other war materials to the British troops in North Africa.
From here the boat heads back towards Hurghada.
All dive sites are subject to divers’ experience and weather conditions.
Click dive site markers for detailed descriptions.
Dive sites & areas that we may visit are subject to weather conditions.
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:
- 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.
- Chrisoula K -
Also known as 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.
- Giannis D
- Kimon M -
Also 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.
Ras Mohamed National Park
Ras Mohamed, declared a National Park in 1983, lies on the southern most tip of the Sinai and it is one of the best kept National Parks in Egypt. The sea near Sharm El Sheik is full of nutricients and therefore attracts a large amount of big fish. Steep walls covered in coral, going down to depth of 1000 meter, is the nature of diving in Ras Mohamed. It has earned itself a reputation as one of the top diving areas in the world.
- Ras Ghozlani -
One of the most beautiful dive sites in the area. Having been closed to divers for many years due to the turtle laying beach close by, this site has an extraordinary array of beautiful table corals, glassfish covered pinnacles and an overall stunning landscape.
- Shark and Jolanda Reefs -
Situated right at the tip of the Sinai this site is world renowned. Shark Reef, covered in stunning hard and soft corals, is a vertical wall dropping to charted depths of nearly 800m. Yolanda Reef has a wide plateau with a coral garden and masses of pinnacles, each one a cleaning station teeming with fish. Between Jolanda reef and the main reef lies the cargo of the wreck of the Yolanda. A 74m long cargo ship, she was transporting bathroom supplies and a BMW to the port of Aqaba when she struck the reef in 1980. She lay on her side until 1987 when she slid into the abyss, during a heavy storm, leaving her cargo behind for divers to explore today. Currents can be quite strong here, creating a kind of rollercoaster ride around these reefs in one direction or the other, depending on the prevailing current. Most of the year, divers enjoy looking out for scorpionfish, crocodilefish, groupers, turtles, tuna, huge morays and napoleons that frequent this dive site but in the summer, all focus changes to the water away from the reef where schools of fish collect together for mating; Twin spot (Bohar) Snapper, Red Snapper, batfish, unicornfish, barracudas and more which of course sometimes attracts the predators. Silkies, grey reefs, black tips and even tigers have been seen at this dive site.
- Shark Observatory -
The site is not aptly named as it is not noted for its shark sightings, however, it is a fantastic dive. Beneath the towering cliffs that continue below the surface to disappear into the deep abyss the wall is covered with soft coral and honeycombed with numerous gullies and canyons that are home to hoards of glass fish and hatchet fish herded by red mouth grouper. An overhang, fringed with sea fans at 10m, is a great place to watch the Trevallies, Jacks and Turtles passing in the blue. At the southern end Anemone city is worth a visit. Entry fee: 5 Euro (paid locally).
Shaab El Erg
Literally 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Kingston and Shag Rock
Shag Rock is situated about a mile south of Sha'ab Ali and 6 miles away from the wreck of the Thistlegorm. Being so close to its famous neighbour this large circular reef is often overlooked. It offers excellent diving on pristine coral from any location on its perimeter. The sheltered southern point is the most dived location offering the opportunity for drifts along the west or east sides.
On the northern side of the reef lies a wreck which for a long time had been falsely called Sara H, an imaginary name that in reality does not apply to any ship. The wreck in fact was the British cargo vessel Kingston built in 1871 in Sunderland by Oswald Shipbuilding Co. which ran aground on the 22nd February 1881 whilst en-route to Aden, located in Southern Yemen with its cargo of coal. 78m long and 10m wide this wreck lies in water of 4m down to 15m. It is easily accessible and offers spectacular opportunities for photographers. There is an abundance of soft and hard corals and numerous and varied reef fauna.
Divers need to be aware that this wreck should only be dived when conditions are good as strong currents are possible. (The wreck of the Kingston can be part of a Thistlegorm overnight trip).
On the 16th August 1887 the Ulysses had left Suez and entered the Red Sea. In the early hours she struck Island of Gobal Seghir, in the busy Straits of Gobal. The damage at first seemed slight and another ship was asked to send for assistance from Suez. The Ulysses was grounded on a coral reef just north of Bluff Point. However, it was not until the 20th that help arrived and by then the reef had inflicted major damage on the ship and it had to be abandoned. The Ulysses is 91 m long. Her stern is at 27 m and bows in the shallows.
Today, well over 100 years later, the Ulysses is a stunning dive site. Her deck planking has long since gone, opening up her rear section like a giant rib cage. Glassfish and sweepers have congregated here in their hundreds making for some lovely photographs. It is easy to swim into the stern section (take care as soft corals cover the wreck) and the missing decking means that exit points can be easily found. As you head amidships most of the ship is badly broken and you will see a number of large cable drums. The bow (as shallow as 6 metres) is very broken having been constantly battered in the shallow waters, however a multitude of Red Sea fish, such as antheas, bannerfish and hoards of butterflyfish drift lazily around the wreckage. The coral reef here is also impressive with layer upon layer of stone corals, acropora table coral and raspberry coral.
The Carina was a large sail and steam ship from around the 1880 era and a large number of household bricks scattered amongst the wreckage suggests that this was her cargo. This is a shallow dive with the majority of the wreckage in 10m or less and the edge of the reef at a similar depth of 12-14m. The corner of the reef where the wreckage lies slopes gently up with table coral after table coral overlaid and has some of the best examples of hard coral in the area.
This historic wreck was a 79m British steam sail ship which was built in Newcastle and struck the reef in 1876 en route from Bombay to Liverpool. Soon after she slid off the reef and turned upside down and is now covered in so much coral growth, it is hard to tell where the reef stops and the wreck begins. After taking a look at her rudder and propeller, divers are taken through the hull of the wreck. Swimming inside Dunraven is like swimming through a Cathedral with beams of light pouring through her portholes. Old Hessian ropes and the remains of wooden cargo boxes bring this ship alive and the sight of her enormous boilers are a reminder of the magnificent age of steam engines. A safety stop on the reef brings schools of yellow goatfish, baby barracudas and a numerous of stonefish.
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.
Straits of Tiran
- Gordon Reef -
Gordon Reef is known and easily identified by the wreck of the Panamanian cargo ship Loullia (3461 tonnes) which ran aground in September 1981. Best done as a drift dive you have the opportunity to observe various species of coral, small nudibranches hidden in the crevices and the soft corals, White Tip Reef Sharks and Eagle rays. Half way along the reef you will spot many metal drums which have formed into an artificial reef and homes Octopus and different types of eel such as Moray, Peppered and Gold edged morays. Divers need to be careful of strong current at the north and southern ends of this reef.
- Jackson Reef -
Superb wall diving around its entire perimeter. The locally named "Aquarium" is Tiran's most popular. 'Jackson Drift' is Sharm's' fastest and most exhilarating drift dive past a stunning wall bursting with prolific coral growth. In August, September and early October, divers dive off the back of Jackson hoping to glimpse the school of scalloped hammerheads which are often sighted there.
- Thomas Reef -
Tiran's smallest reef with plunging walls covered with soft coral, gorgonians and colourful fish life. The west wall is darker with overhangs and caves full of glassfish and sweepers. Residents include a school of large barracuda, and in summer months, some of the largest tuna we have ever seen!
Check Dive & Depart Hurghada
Once onboard there will be a safety briefing, crew introduction, complete and check dive paperwork, cabin allocation and boat orientation. Our boats moor in port on arrival day departing early next morning. The first dive is a check dive near port.
Return to Hurghada
On the last diving day, 2 dives are available in the morning whilst observing the rule of no diving within 24 hours of reaching altitude. We return to port at approximately 1pm and moor here overnight. Evening-time pack up diving equipment, visit the marina and settle any outstanding bills ready to depart for the airport or hotel the following morning.
Beginner, 20 dives
We recommend that you have 20 logged dives to join this trip and you should be comfortable diving in drifts and currents as they can vary from gentle to strong. Many dives are below 18m therefore we recommend having advanced experience or taking your PADI Advanced Open Water course on board. Divers may find some dives challenging and may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives that are not suitable for their diving experience. Diving is from zodiacs to give precise entry and exit points.