SNORKELING AND DIVE SITES

GORDON REEF

Gordon reef is most famous for the wreck of the “Lovilla” which ran aground on the northern end of the reef in 1981. This dive can be done as either a drift or a mooring dive, mooring on the southern side of the reef.The dive starts with a sandy plateau which you follow out to the drop off which begins at 20 meters. Descending down the drop off into turquoise blue water you could be lucky and see hammerheads or eagle rays which often frequent the blue waters here. The wall is abundant with big gorgonians and a multitude of reef fish. Leaving the drop off and heading back into the reef over the sandy plateau you will come across many metal drums filled with tar which are scattered on the plateau. You can either turn back on yourself to finish the dive or in good weather drift around the northern side of the reef.

THOMAS REEF

The smallest reef in the straits of Tiran. A spectacular drift dive starting on the southern corner of the reef and drifting along the eastern side. A reef wall rich in multicolored coral descending to a sandy plateau at 25 meters.Impressive gorgonian fan corals home to the long nosed hawk fish and colonies of black coral. This dive site is famous amongst the technical divers for the striking canyon which opens out at a depth of 35 meters and runs parallel to the reef plate.In good weather conditions it is possible to circumnavigate this reef in one dive. The east wall plunges dramatically to great depths with a mass of brightly coloured soft corals. The west wall is darker with overhangs and caves but is a great drift dive with sightings of Trevally and Tuna in the blue and schooling reef fish close to the reef.

WOODHOUSE REEF

Located between Thomas and Jackson reef, Woodhouse reef is the narrowest and longest reef in Tiran. With no moorings this dive is always done as a drift. A sheer wall dropping down to a sandy ledge at 30 meters and dropping away into the abyss. The most interesting point of this dive site is the famous canyon that opens out at a depth of 30 meters and runs parallel to the main axis of the reef. A great dive for spotting black coral at a depth of around 22 meters and lots of pelagic fish cruising past in the blue.

JACKSON REEF

This is the northern most reef in Tiran and is well known for the Cypriot merchant ship “The Lara” which sank here in 1985, some remains of the wreckage can still be seen on the top of the reef plate. Diving here is usually on the southern side which is sheltered from the wind and waves. The reef wall descends steeply to the sandy floor at approx 50 metres.
Going westwards you will see a splendid red anemone at a depth of 28 meters followed by some spectacular gorgonian fan corals. Ascending up to 15 meters on the southwest corner of Jackson you will pass over the most spectacular, colorful coral garden. It is not uncommon to see turtles feeding on this spectacular coral and the chance to see white tip, grey reef and hammerhead sharks from July to August especially if weather conditions permit diving on the northern sides of the reef.

TEMPLE

The three large coral pillars rise from the reef floor at 15 meters is the main feature of this dive site. At the base of the coral formation grow large gorgonian fans. Morays, butterfly fish, emperors and napoleons can all be found around the pinnacles. A swim through at 17 meters and a sandy plateau that gradually drops off into the abyss. A very popular local site ideal for check dives. Good night dive site and a good chance of seeing Spanish dancers.

RAS UMM SID

The lighthouse marks this fantastic local dive, usually done as a drift with reef to the left shoulder. This dive site is famous for it’s amazing gorgonian forest at 15 meters leading to a sandy plateau packed with soft coral, home to many species of fish. The currents at the corner trap great quantities of plankton which attracts a lot of pelagic fish, good chance to see Napoleons, Eagle Rays, Manta and Shark.

RAS NASRANI

The name of this site means “Christian Cape” in Arabic. A drift dive that starts on a sandy plateau around 6 meters. The reef cuts away in a series of shallow bays where the sandy flows originates. At 12 meters you can see a lovely red anemone in the middle of an impressive coral garden. This dive is best kept shallow to admire the spectacular coral heads.
Ras Nasrani is the ideal spot to find the giant clams, deep purples, blues, browns, being the area with the highest population density in the Red Sea.

SHARK AND YOLANDA REEF

Two emerging reefs which rise from a sandy seabed some 20-30 meters deep are the most distinctive features of this world famous dive site. Starting your dive on shark reef wall which is covered in multi colored soft corals, shoals of barracuda hang out in the strong currents at 30 meters and during July and August silky sharks can be found in the middle of the barracuda. Following the wall you will pass hundreds of grey snapper. A shoulder at 14 – 30 metres joins Shark to Yolanda you will see schools of batfish. Keep your eyes out to the blue for the big pelagic fish that swim by on a regular basis. The dive changes from a deep wall to a sandy plateau with lots of sightings of moray eels, stonefish, scorpion fish, napoleon wrasse as well as a stunning coral garden.The mast of the wreckage of the Yolanda marks the corner of Yolanda reef and as you move around the corner onto the sandy plateau you are greeted with the site of hundreds of British Standard toilets and bath tubs, the cargo of the wreck of Yolanda and probably the most photographed toilets in the world.

THISTLEGORM

Some say the best wreck site in the world, all would agree certainly in the top 10. The Thistlegorm, a merchant ship requisitioned to assist the allied war effort, was on route from Glasgow to Egypt fully loaded with military supplies. Having had to go round Africa, as the Mediterranean was in the control of Germany, she lay at anchor in Sha’ab Ali waiting for the entrance to the Suez canal to be cleared of the wreck of the Tynefield that had been attacked earlier.Journey time to the wreck is usually around 4 hours for a 2 dive day. The first dive circumnavigates the broken stern with her two aft guns and huge single propeller, crossing over the remnants of hold number 4 to the bridge, forward deck cargo and bows. The second dive concentrates on the bows and cargo holds 1 & 2.
Diving the Thistlegorm is a trip back in time. The anticipation is electric, the dives enthralling and the whole trip memorable.