Dive Site

Elphinstone

  • Visibility: J, F, M, A: 35–40 m; M, J, J, A: 30–60 m; S, O, N, D: 40 m
  • Temperatures: J, F, M: 24–24°C; A, M, J: 26–28°C; J, A, S: 28-28°C; O, N, D: 28-25°C
  • Depth: +100 m

Overview

Elphinstone was given its name from a Scottish historian who almost perished here, when his ship en route from Egypt to England almost ran aground on the reef on 18 December 1827: Mountstuart Elphinstone. The locals however call it 'Sha'ab Abu Hamra'.

Description

From Marsa Alam, the boat travels north approx. one and a half hours to the Elphinstone Reef – a great excursion! Depending on the water level, the Elphinstone's high plateau lies at a depth between one and three metres. Strong surface currents and lots of boat traffic make it impossible to snorkel here.

Divers however can plunge straight into some challenging fun! The reef is known for its extraordinary biodiversity and, of course, also for sighting large fish. In the north, we dive down a sloping plateau from 18 to 40 metres, and in the south, down the underwater terraces . The west and east wall plunge steeply into the deep. The Elphinstone Reef has a total length of approx. 725 metres and a width of 140 metres.

Hard and soft coral in a myriad of colours make us rejoice under water – if we could, we'd jump for joy. Joining us are also turtles, moray eels, Red Sea percidae, whitetip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks and honestly just about everything the Red Sea has to offer. If we don't see it here, then where?

Hotspots

  • South plateau: The south plateau lures us in with glorious gorgonian gardens and friendly longnose hawkfish. Techies will be truly mesmerised by the irresistible archway.
  • North plateau: The beautifully covered reef blows us away here and so does the sight of whitetip reef sharks or hammerhead sharks. Simply brilliant!

map Dive Plans

For techies: archway in the morning

From the boat you dive the plateau edge to the south - so the current is behind you. The archway begins at about 54m depth. Contrary to all rumors, the stone blocks on the floor fell out of the arched ceiling and were not made by human hands (“sarcophagi”). If you dive through the arch, you will reach a ravine on the left that leads back to the plateau. Most of the time you are behind the archway in the shadow of the current, should you encounter a current, it is better to dive back.

Gorgonian garden in the morning or at midday

rom the boat you can dive over the south plateau to the east side. The gorgonian garden can be reached via the edge at about 25m. Here you can also meet the famous "LaNaBü" - the long-nosed tufted perch. The reef edge offers many soft and hard corals. Always keep an eye on the current during the dive so that you can turn around early enough.

The north plateau at midday

t is best to dive relatively shallow, but always with visual contact, along the plateau to the north. Only when you see the 40m gap should you go deep. At 40-50m, with a little luck, you will have shark contact. When diving out, it is advisable not to stay long in great depth but to dive along the beautifully overgrown reef and make the depth and safety stops there. Occasionally there is a downflow on the northern plateau.