Because of Egypt’s accessibility and proximity to Europe, the Red Sea suffers from over exposure. Many of the reefs are showing signs of too many annual visitors. Therefore, it has become increasingly important to explore new dive sites in order to relieve the pressure put on those around Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh. This search has resulted in the discovery of several diveable wrecks in and around Ras Gharib. Today, these historically interesting wrecks are frequented by liveaboards with divers who are eager to explore virgin dive sites.Currently, four major wrecks have been mapped in the region, but dive masters believe there are many more. Of those already discovered, the SS Scalar is the most famous. This Shell Oil tanker was sunk by German war planes while it was anchored in oil production area. Today, the bow and the stern are at a bright 30-38 feet (10-12 meters). The ship’s three boilers are still visible in the aft compartment. In addition, divers of all levels will also enjoy exploration of the SS Turkia, the MV Aboudy, and the MS Bakr. The SS Turkia and the MS Bakr both met their fate at the hand of warplanes while the MV Aboudy sank in a violent storm. All of these wrecks sit above 60 feet (18 meters).For those interested in a winter escape, diving in Ras Gharib is year-round. This part of Egypt experiences warm winters and very hot summers. However water temperatures can vary significantly in the Gulf of Suez. Expect the warmest water temperatures to occur in August with an average of 82°F (28°C). The coolest water temperatures are recorded in February (72°F/22°C) when a 5mm wetsuit may be necessary to dive comfortably. Visibility is generally more than 60 feet (20 meters).Technical and new divers alike will love the wrecks of Ras Gharib. They certainly offer an accessible alternative to the busy reefs of the Red Sea.
Ras Gharib Sea Life
As of yet, Ras Gharib has not been fully explored by scuba divers. Because of this it is hard to know what marine life is commonly seen, but it can be reasoned that the area’s fauna is similar to Hurghada and El Gouna. The few dive reports we’ve seen seem to confirm this theory.Divers can expect a few soft corals that have grown on the area’s wrecks. These play host to plenty of reef fish including napoleon fish, humphead wrasse and trumpetfish.Lucky divers might be rewarded with a turtle, leopard shark, reef shark or even a hammerhead at the more exposed sites. Barracuda, tuna and mackerel can occasionally be seen patrolling the wrecks and stonefish, mothfish and lionfish stalk their prey among the underwater growth. On the smallest side of things, nudibranchs and pipefish are plentiful.
How To Get There
Most diving in Ras Gharib is completed by live aboard with boats departing from Hughada or Sharm el-Sheikh, both of which host international airports. For independent travelers wishing to make their own way to Ras Gharib, the closest airports are Hurghada International Airport and Cairo International Airport. Either city would require about a three to five hour bus journey or private transfer to Ras Gharib.