Itinerary

Highlights

  • The area of Abu Fendera is located close to the border from Egypt to Sudan. It is possible to do this tour in one week, but there will be just 3 dives in Abu Fendera. That’s why we recommend a 10 days trip or even 2 weeks.
  • The main reef is around 6 km long. Discoverer natures will find a vast area with lovely coral landscape. The attraction of this reef is the lonely location – sometimes you don’t meet other boats during a few days.
  • The main reef cannot be described as spectacular. However, a piece of jewelry is the “passage” between the reefs. In front of the reef there are numerous ergs, overgrown by beautiful soft corals. At this dive sites you can meet very often Napoleon fishes in all sizes.
  • Very impressive are also large schools of buffalo head parrot fish and the sighting of a sailfish can take your breath away. An outstanding experience!
  • After leaving Abu Fendera to the North you will make another break in St. John’s, continue with famous dive spots like Habili Ali, Abu Galawa, Sataya with its Dolphins, and so on…..
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Expect to see

Elphinstone

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?

Shaab Shona

Shaab Shona's lagoon originates from a wadi (a dried-out river) and is five to 45 metres deep in some places. We can still recognise the former river in the form of a channel ascending from the north to the south. A high plateau can be made out in the northern area of Shaab Shona.

From glassfish to crocodilefish, from Indian mackerel and ghost pipefish, we will find everything that a diver's heart wants to see in the Red Sea. Many different kinds of coral brimming with life can be found on the reef's edge down to a depth of around 20 metres.

A seagrass bed is located in the inner area and where there's beds of seagrass, then ... that's right ... there's probably dugongs there. With some luck, a few of these fine specimens can be seen here. An eye should be kept out for lionfish and large turtles, too.

Whoever is still not happy and wants to see a few sand eels and different kinds of rays, should make their way over to the southern edge to the sand pile at a depth range of 20 to 40 metres.

Dangarus Reef

Dangarus is the southernmost reef of St. John's and it offers us plenty of variety – whether it's the small cave systems on the main reef, the carpet anemones with their rainbow crabs, coral formations with giant moray eels and Napoleon wrasse or the sight of hammerhead sharks.

The caves are located on a small high plateau at a depth of nine metres and don't lead up any blind alleys. Towards the east, we find a very beautiful coral garden with mountain coral in all different colours. Night dives are also possible in Dangarus; under certain circumstances, however, the morning current can push us out into open water. With good guides, however, we're always on the safe side.

Shaab Marsa Alam

Sha'ab Marsa Alam has a reef length of approx. 400 metres and a width of 50 to 80 metres. The reef also has a few blocks and a lovely shipwreck which can be found behind the largest block. Many different types of fish such as moray eels, crocodile fish or snappers bustle in and around the shipwreck and are just as excited about this playground as we are.

We should take a closer look at the large block in the north-west located next to the wreck; here it's all about exploring and diving the cavern system. We dive to a depth of between 12 and 15 metres, which is why Sha'ab Marsa Alam is the perfect location for check dives.

A gorgeous coral garden can be found in the north and in the west respectively. Both cleaning stations here are permeated with sandy areas and hide sand eels, shoals of goat fish, snappers and other reef fish. We can also see octopuses, snails and cheeky nemos. Both spots can be reached with the Zodiac; the trip back to the boat can be dived however. Or we can just be picked up by the Zodiac again. Hello! We're on holiday!

Shaab Sharm/Gota Sharm

Gota Sharm runs from west to east in the shape of a wedge and the reef's steep faces extend deeply into the world below us, which we will probably never get to know in its entirety. The two plateaus are located at 20 and 35 metres. Caution is also advised here due to the regular strong current.

On the eastern plateau, we have the pleasure of running into longnose hawkfish, lionfish under the table coral, barracudas, reef sharks, shoaling fishes and two cleaning stations: one at the centre of the plateau for young tuna, the other located close to a large block on the south side for surgeonfish. The 'cowardly triggerfish' also lives here too – however, that's a whole other story and one that is best told by the guides on site.

The western plateau is the narrower plateau where the current coincides in Gota Sharm – and it's also a spot loved by hammerhead sharks and where we might just be able to get to meet them. Reef sharks, shoals of tuna, barracudas and mackerel found here make the dive even sweeter. Wow, wouldn't it be nice to have a cup of coffee and a piece of cake to go along with this view?

Shaab Claude

The boats cast anchor where the biggest offer is on hand – in the south close to the entrance of the cave located at a depth of 10 metres. Almost all species of fish can be encountered here, for example, spadefish, triggerfish, bannerfish, goatfish and also snappers. Even Napoleon wrasse show their faces here from time to time.

A current coming from the north often makes diving above the coral garden on the west side difficult or completely impossible. After a bumpy ride by Zodiac to the channel and the colony of sea anemones, you will be rewarded with a lovely drift dive from the east to the west side.

Paradise Reef

Paradise Reef and Cave Reef are connected via multiple blocks, whereby the later constitutes the southernmost point of the reef. Drop-off edges, plunging more than 50 metres into the deep, are also found here just as much as enchanting coral gardens in the west. If we're fortunate, we encounter eagle rays and reef sharks in this area of paradise.

Close to the sea anemones in the south, an entrance to a cave with two chambers can be found. Each chamber has an opening at the top through which heavenly light shines down. In addition to the spectacular plays of light, the large number of snails is the cave's second highlight.

Both lagoons are a true paradise. Gobies and pipefish hustle and bustle in the sandy flats. Towards the east, a coral which grew top-down and stops just 30 centimetres above the ground can also be found. A colourful coral garden begins just right behind it.

Habili Jaffar

At the top of Habili Jaffar's plateau or reef top, measuring approx. 120 square metres in surface, there's enough room for an underwater single-family home, completely made out of glass – wow, now wouldn't that be something!

There's also room for a garden and a pool house on the two reef spurs of Habili Jaffar: one is located at a depth of 15 metres and the other at 18 metres. Barracudas and snappers as well as cornetfish, bannerfish and angelfish travel these waters. Grey reef sharks, silky sharks and whitetip reef sharks can also be found in the blue.

Whitetip oceanic sharks and mantas, not domestic to these parts, also like frequenting this area. The coral vegetation ranges from acropora and soft coral in various shades of mint to fire coral and staghorn coral. Sea fans can also be found scattered around in the deep.

The underwater plot for our single-family home is the perfect place to resurface – here however we have to take the current and motion of the waves into account. Only when the weather is good Habili Jaffar can be approached by boat, since it lies just below the surface of the sea and therefore a large wave can easily be formed here. If this is the case, getting in and out of the boat can range from difficult to impossible.

Habili Ali

This reef is the most north-easterly from the central region of St.John's. It is a drop off reef, which is depending on the season between 0 and 4 meters under water. The reef is everywhere permeated with grooves, notches and overhangs. Everywhere there is to see beautiful and abundant vegetation with soft and hard corals and huge gorgonians and black corals. In addition to the large fan corals you can certainly consider the favorite of all divers - the Longnose Hawkfish.
Habili Ali has a width from north to south of around 20 to 25m in length from east to west 150 to 200m. In the south it falls from 10 to 15m and then goes into a narrow plateau. The eastern and western sides drop well over 40m in depth.

Unfortunately, the reef can not always be approached, because the roof is so nearly under water that can form pretty decent breakers even at small outer shaft.

Since Habili Ali is an outer reef, the current can be strong and come from all directions. A current check is indispensable.

St.Johns Gota Soraya

Gota Soraya is a steep wall reef extending far more than 100 metres into the deep and it has a chimney in the south at a pleasant water depth of only nine metres. Diving the chimney is not recommended due to falling objects.

The west side is a wall featuring deep grooves and vegetation. A block which looks as if it is growing out of the reef can also be found here – it reaches from 22 metres all the way up to nine metres. Here, grey reef sharks occasionally pass by in the deep.

In the north, St. John's Gota Soraya has a reef spur measuring approx. 15 metres, which further slopes down more than 70 metres. It is adorned all over with gorgonians and whip coral as well as with huge fields of soft coral. Grey-black snappers and reef sharks can also be frequently encountered here.

We can find shoals of snappers and goatfish in the wide depressions on the east side. We are also visited by mantas sometimes with the current hitting the reef here.

Habili Radir

The main blocks of Habili Radir extend almost to the surface. Towards the east, the reef continually slopes down to a depth of between 37 and 43 metres, before the drop-off edge can be found. Hard coral have colonised the upper area and the reef wall is mainly populated by soft coral.

Whoever wants to cast anchor here, must wait until the waves have calmed. One of the reasons why there is not as much diving activity present in Habili Radir as in other spots. Ever seen a blue sea fan before? We'll find these beauties of nature in the eastern area. Whitetip reef sharks, eagle rays, snappers, snails, fusiliers or mackerel – all of them feel at ease here.

Even squirrelfish, which tend to swim solo, stick to groups here. There are also emperor prawns (perhaps on a secret mission on behalf of the Roman Empire) resting on whip coral or branching coral – the hiding places for reef life here are infinite. Seek and you shall find: Countless dragonfish perfect their incredibly good camouflage among the coral.

Again, you should avoid swimming and snorkeling, due to the currents and sometimes the wave.

Cave Reef

Measuring 400 metres in width and 1.5 kilometres in length, the Cave Reef is truly a 'huge rock' and a really exciting one at that too! The diving area on the reef stretches along a distance of 400 metres and a width of 190 metres, and as already mentioned, it is a great labyrinth. Here, at a depth of five to twelve metres, we dive through many caves and channels and see many sea fans, sponges and soft coral.

Whoever doesn't want to focus on finding the 'exit', but rather on the marine life, is better advised to dive with a guide. He or she will know exactly where we can easily fit through with our diving gear as not to damage the reef.

Once we've gone through the labyrinth, we can still explore the beautiful lagoon with its large garden of mountain coral. This area's got a very special resident – the seamoths – unbelievable creatures, although usually well-camouflaged and only approx. 10 centimetres in length.

Fasma Abu Fendera

The boat anchors in the lagoon. One can be brought with the Zodiak through the canal and be dropped close to the ergs (coral heads). With the reef to the right shoulder, it goes towards the canal, where you can find a few meters from the entrance, within 15 - 20 meters depth, a series of madrepore blocks that are beautifully covered with corals.

Also in the mouth and in the canal an extraordinarily beautiful coral region has emerged. The towers are completely covered with soft corals in all colors. Here you should take the time to look for slugs. Time flies here and you don`t know where to look first.

Towards the end of the dive you cross the canal towards the boat and can comfortably end the dive in the shallow area.

Around the ergs are found batfish, boxfish, in the sandy bottom crocodile fish and blue spotted stingray hide away.

Due to the low depth the visibility can be affected sometimes by waves and currents.

Gota Wahed/Etnien Abu Fendera

The blocks are not very far apart on a huge plateau, but you should plan definitely 2 dives. Around the two blocks there is mostly sandy bottom in about 18 meter depth. The Zodiac brings you out of the lagoon and drops you in the different places.

Beside Gota Wahed located on the west side within 15 - 20 meters depth, there are several small coral blocks that are well worth seeing. There the dive should start.

Back at the big block, you continue with the reef on the right shoulder until you are picked up by Zodiac between the two blocks.

The second dive then begins where the first left off - between Gota Wahed and Gota Etnien - where again there are small coral blocks that you should closely examine. It continues then with the reef on the right side to the east.

Farcha/Habili Abu Fendera

At the edge of the plateau there is a drop off, which drops to about 50 meters. The more interesting part is, however, on the plateau in about 25 - 30 meter depth. One encounters there numerous different sized coral blocks (ergs).

At each end of the "horseshoe" there are 2 triples habilis - so the ergs are called, which are below the water surface. Since the two groups apart quite far, you should plan 2 dives here.

The zodiak will drop you above the ergs and you make a round between the beautiful overgrown blocks.

Shaab Sataya

The anchorage of most boats is in the north at the entrance of the lagoon. The lagoon is not so interesting, as there is only sandy bottom.

But there is a huge lagoon that leads to the "Dolphin Reef", where you can often meet dolphins. Usually a small detour is made in the lagoon, to give the divers the chance to snorkel with dolphins after the dive.

The current at the reef comes mostly from the north. From time to time there may be turbulence at the coral garden. Mostly, however, the current comes from the north on the east side of the reef and continues along the reef to the west.

In Shaab Sataya South there are 3 possible routes, but only 2 of them are interesting - the third is rather an exception.

Entrance of the lagoon: Night dives are often made in the 10 m range under the boat. A nice area are the blocks north of the boat at the entrance of the lagoon. The diving in the lagoon is not recommended, as there is just sandy bottom.

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival

After arrival in Hurghada or Marsa Alam transfer to the boat.
Check in, dinner and spending the first night onboard in the marina.


Departure

Departure in the morning.
Instruction on the boat,
Diving, safety and equipment briefing.
Dives at Abu Dabab

Day 2

Day 3

Habili Ali-Dangarus

Dives at Habili Ali and Dangarus
Night dive at Dangarus


Fasma Abu Fendera

Dive at Fasma Abu Fendera
Shaab Abu Fendera

Day 4

Day 5

Gota Kebir

Dives at Gota Kebir
Night dive at Umm Aruk


Umm Aruk - St.Johns

Dive at Umm Aruk
St. Johns Cave reef
Sataya South

Day 6

Day 7

Shaab Maksur

Dive at Shaab Maksur north
Shaab Maksur south
Shaab Claude
Night dive at Gota Bohar


Elphinstone Reef

Diving at Elphinstone reef
Night dive at Abu Dabab

Day 8

Day 9

Return

Two dives at Abu Dabab
Head to Port.
At least 20 hour safety rest before flying would be given to all participants.
Handing trip educational material/ videos.


Check out

Breakfast and check out latest at 10:00 am.
Transfer to the airport or hotel.

Day 10