Ask most divers about where they've dived in Egypt and they'll tell you they stayed here. Considered the diving mecca for the entire middle-east Sharm El Sheikh is considered a jewel for the country's diving industry.
From this small but dive-centralist city you can locally access a multitude of dive sites that are close-by, however if the Thistlegorm is your goal then be-aware that it's a 12 - 14 hour trip and that the area can get very rough:
The Thistlegorm Wreck
Directly around and in the bay of Sharm El Sheikh are these dive sites:
Most northerly of the reefs of Tiran and the northern limit of day boats from Sharm El Sheikh. The wreck of the "Lara" lies at the northern end. There is superb wall diving along its entire perimeter, with numerous buttresses and gullies. Sightings of sharks, turtles and other big fish are not uncommon and you will find a huge diversity of different corals and sponges as well as clouds of trigger fish, masked puffers and banner fish. At the point you may be lucky and spot a Hammerhead in summer.
Between Gordon and Woodhouse reefs, smaller round reef with walls plunging deep and fully covered with soft coral, gorgonians and colourful fish life. It is almost possible to circumnavigate this reef in one dive. The east wall plunges dramatically to great depths with a mass of brightly coloured soft corals. The west wall is darker with overhangs and caves but is a great drift dive with sightings of Trevally and Tuna in the blue and schooling reef fish close to the reef.
Ras Nasrani (9km north of Naama Bay)
This site can be accessed by four wheel drive vehicle as well as boats. The reef drops from the shallow bays to a wall down to 60m+ with many caves and overhangs. The best diving is among the big coral heads (or ergs) in the shallow areas. A good spot for Spanish dancers and coneshells in the sandy gullies.
The reef wall drops away to a sandy plateau at about 13m, at the center is a gully with swim throughs at 10m and 35m. There is an eel garden to the north. This sheltered site is home for trigger fish, groupers and the occasional manta.
The Gardens (just north of Naama Bay)
Really three "gardens" near, middle and far. The most seaward of the gardens (far), is a colourful fringing reef with a slope to 25m and dotted with small "ergs" At the top of the drop off there is a few pinnacles frequently visited by pelagics. Glass fish caves are in the reef wall at 12m. "Near" garden is just a few minutes from Naama Bay and is a great spot for a night dive with a sandy ledge sloping away to 25m. Look out for flashlight fish at night and napoleons, blue spotted stingrays and the odd grey reef shark in daylight hours.
Northern side of Ras Umm Sidd wall, fully decorated ergs rise from a gentle slope, home to schools of glass fish against a colourful background of soft corals.
Ras Umm Sidd
The south side of the headland offers a superb gorgonian forest on the drop off. The plateau is bursting with life and swarms of reef fish. The possibility of spotting whale shark or manta exists at the corner.
At the center of the Ras Umm Sid bay a huge coral pillar extends skywards, the reef wall drops to 15m. There are lots of pinnacles which are well worth exploring, this is a good spot to see octopus. The rest of the site is featureless and it is easy to get lost so don't forget your compass. Look out for Spanish Dancers, free swimming Moray Eels and other incredible life on a night dive here.
At the Northern Tip of Marsa Bareika, Ras Ghazalani rates as one of the most beautiful dive sites in the Ras Mohamed area. Having been closed to divers for many years, this site has an extraordinary array of beautiful table corals, glass fish covered pinnacles and an overall stunning landscape. Keep your eyes open for the huge Blackspotted Pufferfish, Malabar Groupers and the occasional Eagle Ray. A very gentle drift dive, this site makes a perfect end to your diving day.
Most northern dive of Ras Mohammed National Park, it is the southern entrance to the bay of Marsa Bareika. This is where the steep wall of Ras Mohammed, with caves and overhangs, meets the gentle slope of the bay of Marsa Bareika, and is scattered with colorful coral heads. Head north along the wall amongst big overhangs and dark gullies, the wall is swathed in sea fans, gorgonians and the odd sprig of black coral. Just before the corner look out for the chimney at 15m, home to malabar grouper. Look closer and find the cleaning stations with the wrasse and shrimp in attendance. Don't forget to check out the blue for schools of barracuda and jacks or the odd eagle ray cruising by.
The white patch on the cliff is a good marker for this site, usually done as a drift dive there are some interesting caves at 5m usually full of glass fish. As you move south you find two ergs again covered with glass fish, this is a great spot for photographers. Further south is a coral garden and the sandy gulley, which gives this site its name. Stingrays can be found resting in the sand as well as white tip sharks. In late summer beware of Titan trigger fish guarding their nests.
Really several dive sites, Ras Mohammed has earned itself a reputation as one of the top diving areas in the world, here at the tip of the Sinai where the vast bodies of water, the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba meet has created an ecosystem like no other and wall diving is at its very best.
The site is not aptly named as it is not noted for its shark sightings, however, it is a fantastic dive. Beneath the towering cliffs that continue below the surface to disappear into the deep abyss the wall is covered with soft coral and honeycombed with numerous gullies and canyons that are home to hoards of glass fish and hatchet fish herded by red mouth grouper. An overhang, fringed with sea fans at 10m, is a great place to watch the Trevallies, Jacks and Turtles passing in the blue. At the southern end Anemone city is worth a visit.
Shark & Yolanda Reefs
Situated right at the tip of the Sinai this site is world renowned, the two small ergs are joined by a vertical wall dropping into the abyss. Start your dive at Shark reef and use the prevailing current to explore the wall abounding in multihued soft corals. At 30m large schools of barracuda and snappers gather in often-strong currents just off the wall. Swim through the schools to the outside as silky sharks usually gather there, but be careful not to lose your orientation to the wall. As you proceed toward Yolanda you will reach a plateau at 15-25m scattered with small ergs and coral outcrops where stone fish and scorpion fish wait for a meal. Continuing round the reef you will come upon the scattered remains of the wreck of the 'Yolanda' complete with its cargo of toilets and baths. The whole of this area is big fish territory so keep an eye on the blue for the action with tuna, bluefish, and the occasional hammerhead. Ensure your dive guide gives you a thorough briefing as the currents here can be strong and complicated.