Local Dive Sites Description
The most northerly of the local dive sites, Ras Gamilla is a large and exposed coastal bay with a green beacon marking the northern end of the site. The dive is always done as a drift and the preferred direction to dive is north starting from the center of the bay.
The shore reef drops down to around 12m and a coral garden plateau spans out gradually sloping deeper. In the shallow sandy areas, coral bommies that have small table corals are dotted all around; this area of the site is often referred to as a Japanese Garden. As divers move deeper out across the coral gardens and away from the shoreline huge Gorgonian Fan Corals can be found. They are located between depths of 18m – 30m and stand up to 5m high one after another on the open coral garden expanse. The coral garden plateau is vast and a steady current can make this an excellent drift dive.
The Japanese Garden is home to moray eels, lionfish, blue spotted rays and nudibranchs whilst out across the coral plateau large rays, groupers, turtles, and barracuda can be found. This site is also known for occasional sightings of Whale Shark and Bowmouth Guitar Shark.
This is the headland the marks the southern point to Ras Gamilla Bay. This dive is usually done as a drift with the boat dropping divers into the water 150m south of the headland.
There is a 5m – 10m shallow coral shelf that runs along the top of this site with a sloping wall below. Near the start of the dive a ridge, that begins in the shallows, runs down the wall and is covered in large purple soft corals. At 26m this ridge juts out into the blue creating an overhang and shelf below. Glassfish can be found under the overhang and potato groupers can be seen resting on the shelf. There is a distinct abundance in life around this ridge as it brings the reef life further out into the passing current. Shortly after the ridge a very obvious large lettuce coral is located at 16m along the coral wall. As divers move closer to the headland the current can speed up noticeably. A large sandy bowl spreads from the shallow shore reef to around 28m bringing an end to the wall and signifies the start of the headland. After the sand bowl, a plateau stretches out from the headland with large boulder corals in the shallows.
This dive site was made famous for its use in a Cheltenham and Gloucester TV commercial where a boy on a sailing boat dives down in the shallow blue tranquil waters to retrieve a pearl from the seabed.
This site is located along a straight stretch of coastline which is sheltered inside the headland of Ras Nasrani. As seen in the TV commercial, Ras Bob has glorious small shallow bays set into the shore reef plate which are surrounded by colourful coral walls. Some of these bays are connected with shallow swim-thru tunnels in the reef plate. From each little shallow bay undulating sandy slopes and coral gardens run down into the deep providing a diverse habit for a vary of marine species. This site is most often done as a mooring dive, in either direction depending on which way the currents are running. A large distinctive table coral is located at 12m along this site, and directly below this, spread between 20m – 30m, is a large Eel Garden on a sandy plain.
The topography of this site makes it interesting and fun to dive, and Eagle Rays and occasionally Manta Rays can also be spotted here.
The primary feature to this dive site is its canyon, from which the dive site gets its name when the white sands slide down the canyon and pour off the end into the deep. The canyon has formed between a sloping coral garden face to the south of the site and a large outcrop of coral, distinguished by a large Lettuce coral at 12m, in the center of the dive site.
This dive site is located in a bend along the coastline south of Ras Bob. It is normally done as a mooring dive, with mooring lines set into the sea floor slightly north of the canyon. A sandy seabed runs immediately along the shore reef, about 5m deep at its shallowest point. On these shallow sands, north of the canyon and slightly north of the mooring lines, is a small Eel Garden colony at a depth of about 12m. To the south of the canyon a coral garden slopes off into the blue. Typically this dive will start with a descent on the shallow sands by the shore reef then proceed into the mouth of the canyon which starts at 10m. The canyon is a couple of meters wide, so it is advisable to move along it in single file as it winds its was down to a depth of around 35m. Small caves and dark crevices can be explored along the sides of the canyon, and a little swim thru shoots off the right side of the canyon at 13m and takes you back up to the sandy shallows. Once maximum dive depth has been reached in the canyon, you can choose either to head south along the coral garden slope or north and up to the Eel Garden.
The Gardens: Near, Middle, Fiddle and Far
This is the next bay north of Na’ama Bay. The dive site names might not be very imaginative. However, the lack of creativity put into their names does not reflect the quality of these dive sites.
Near Garden is the southern headland of the Gardens Bay and can be dived either from a mooring line or as a drift. The mooring lines are on the southern side of the headland. The shore reef in front of the mooring drops down to around 7m and the sea floor here is sandy with not much coral growth, it then slopes down to around 25m where large coral pinnacles can be found, adorned with Gorgonian fan corals, soft corals and glassfish. A deep water plateau stretches out away from the headland, and lucky divers will find White Tip Reef Sharks sleeping on sandy patches at 30m, large Eagle Rays, Napoleon Wrasse and Morays are also often found here
Middle Garden is about as simple a coral garden dive as one could ask for. Located in the middle of the bay the gradient of the sloping coral garden here is very gradual. The mooring lines are located around a 12m sandy patch away from the shore reef. All around the sandy area the coral gardens gradually slopes away into the center of the bay. Slight currents can run in either direction along this dive site, which may influence how this site is dived. Essentially though, this is an easy dive site, with plenty of shallow colourful corals and lots of reef life.
Fiddle Garden is so named because it’s located between Middle and Far Garden. At this site the mooring line is set into the sand at 12m on a gradual coral slope that drops off at about 15m. A coral pinnacle that is on the edge of the drop off is home to a pair of Cleaner Wrasse that have learnt to target the ears of divers as a potential food source. There is also a glassfish pinnacle further to the north of the mooring line.
Far Garden is the northern headland to the Gardens Bay. Again this can be done as a mooring line dive or as a drift, starting on the inside of the headland and drifting out. A steep slope runs down from the shore reef to a drop off around 20m. At varying depths along this slope, coral pinnacles stand up like trees with Fire Coral hands, Gorgonian fans and soft coral hanging from them. Moving along the site the slope briefly becomes a wall then as the dive moves around the headland a wider slope opens up. Nudibranchs, Stingrays and Turtles can be spotted here, as well as Trevally, Jacks and Barracuda.
Ras Umm Sid
One of the oldest local dive sites in Sharm, Ras Umm Sid is still favoured amongst the dive guides. This dive site is the eastern headland of Temple Bay, and most easily identified by the Lighthouse that stands above it. Dived both as a mooring dive or drift dive, this site provides a variety of underwater habitats, and consequently a massive diversity of life can be found here. The mooring lines at this dive site are on the inside of the Temple Bay and are deep, reaching the seabed at 22m -30m. The coral walls near the mooring lines are steep, but on the sea bed below there are large coral bommies that are home to Cleaner Shrimp which attract Surgeon Fish, large Groupers and Moray Eels in for a clean. On sandy patches around these bommies crocodile fish and Blue-spotted Ray can often be found. Moving out of the Bay, with the reef to your left, the seabed suddenly drops away into the blue leaving you hovering next to a wall pitted with nooks and crannies. Shortly after this, as you round the headland, a gradual plateau runs from the shallows by the shore reef out and down into the open sea. Many small coral pinnacles are dotted about on this plateau providing shelter for a vast number of reef fish. Along the front edge of this plateau, on the wall, a vast Gorgonian Fan Forest has grown up over hundreds of years. Look closely on the Fan coral and you might found a Long-nose Hawkfish. In the open blue water around the plateau and the Gorgonian Fan Forest keep you eyes open for large pelagic species. Small schools of Chevron and Yellowtail Barracuda are sometimes found spiraling here, as well as Giant Trevally and Snappers. Mature Napoleon Wrasse are often seen here, along with the occasional turtle too. Lucky divers might even see Manta Rays flying around this headland, and early morning divers stand a good chance of seeing Grey Reef, White Tip or even Hammerhead Shark at this site.
This is a fabulously simple dive site. In the center of a sheltered bay stand a collection of coral pinnacles. The central pinnacle reaches all the way up to the surface and it is these pinnacles that are called the Temple. Several mooring lines are dotted around this bay and divers simply swim underwater from their mooring line into the center of the bay and circle the Temple pinnacles ascending gradually as they go. All around the Temple are coral gardens but the majority of life in the bay is congregated at the pinnacles which is why the dive site gets its name. Blue-spotted Ray, Morays, Lionfish, Crocodile Fish and Scorpionfish can often be found here.