Whoever wants to see grey reef sharks in Hurghada should strike out to Shaabruhr Umm Gamar, especially in the afternoon. A great reef but rather challenging dive, due to the strong current on the east side. Shaabruhr Umm Gamar is the summit of an underwater mountain and, as is not hard to guess, it is located not far away from Umm Gamar, only one kilometre south.
Those of us who know a little Arabic know that "Shaabruhr" means "narrow reef". However, the narrow reef of "Umm Gamar" has a lot to offer: many caves, overhangs, a sandy plateau in about 15 to 30 meters and at the southernmost point even remains of an old Egyptian patrol boat.
Two other boats have already fallen victim to "Shaabruhr Umm Gamar", a safari boat and the "Colona IV", one of the first liveaboard charter boats from Hurghada, which ran aground here in bad weather at the end of April 1995 and is now resting at a depth of 66 meters.
The sandy plateau of the reef is much wider on the west side than on the east side and also the current is much stronger on the east side - therefore we are just right here for a drift dive and sighting of big fish.
On the west plateau we make acquaintance with moray eels, napoleons, big groupers and blue spotted rays. The east is the right place for fans of whitetip reef sharks, mackerels and big tunas - and at snack time in the afternoon, gray reef sharks may pass by here.
- Patrol boat: Shipwrecks are always a highlight, although only half of the old boat is left, which was used by the Egyptian army to cross to "Shadwan Island".
- Tour 1 - Drift dive
- "Shaabruhr Umm Gamar" literally calls out to be explored in a drift dive. We start at the boat and look briefly at the shipwreck of the old Egyptian patrol boat, then continue east with the reef to our left shoulder. We then continue north with the current, knowing that the "Colona IV" lies deep below us. Once we have seen enough whitetip reef sharks, mackerels and tunas, it's time to set the buoy and get picked up - and maybe a grey reef shark will dare to come near us during the waiting time.
- Tour 2 - From the boat to the Erg
- We start at the boat and explore the patrol boat that served the Egyptian army many years ago. We take care not to dive too far north, otherwise the current will catch us and we can only wave goodbye to the west side. Once we have explored the wreck and tricked the current, we work our way northwest over the sandy plateau with the reef to our right shoulder, passing many beautifully overgrown and inhabited overhangs and caves before diving out at the mushroom-shaped erg. Here we let the Zodiac pick us up.