Diving in the Red Sea
Diving in the Red Sea
The Red Sea is considered to be one of the 7 Wonders of the underwater world, harbouring more than 1,000 species of invertebrates and over 200 species of soft and hard coral. This forms the basis of a marine eco-system which includes 1,100 species of fish, of which just under 20% are endemic to the Red Sea, i.e. these fish species can only been found here. The high level of endemism here is one of the main factors that makes Egypt scuba diving so interesting.
The Red Sea dive sites offer you unobstructed opportunities to spot tropical marine life in crystal clear waters, ranging from sharks and dolphins to gorgonian fans and feather-stars. Variety is in no short supply either and depending on where you choose to dive. Your diving holiday can include shallow patch reefs, drift dives and walls, or a collection of some of the most interesting wrecks you are likely to find anywhere. In other places vibrant reefs stretch out far into the sea and form intricate labyrinths of plateaus, lagoons, caves and gardens.
One moment you could find yourself on a coral garden atop a summit and the next a sheer wall could plunge thousands of feet into dark ocean depths. The Red Sea's abundance of marine life and depths of the reef are a thrill that many divers will tell you is unbeatable.
Diving Seasons in the Red Sea
Egypt is a fine choice for diving any time of year but the water temperatures do vary significantly. From June to August the water can reach 30°C but it falls to a chilly 22°C in February. Do bring an appropriate exposure suit for the time of year - northern hemisphere winter = 5 or 7 mm full length, northern hemisphere summer = 3 mm shortie to long.
Air temperatures in Egypt can reach a high of 40°C (104°F) in August and fall to 20°C (68°F) in the winter (December to February), which may also dictate when you travel.
Whale shark season occurs from the end of May until the end of July when this majestic creature can be spotted mainly in the northern Red Sea but also here and there in the south. These warm summer months tend to be the best time for a range of creatures. The plankton blooms bring manta rays in to feed and turtles also nest at this time. The summer months are also the best for spotting hammerhead sharks throughout the Red Sea.
The winter months have the benefit of less extreme air temperatures, superior visibility and, for many visitors to the Red Sea, often mean escaping the cold climate of Europe. Many creatures including grey reef sharks, dolphins and dugongs can be spotted year round, with some preferring the cooler water such as thresher sharks.