Red Sea  A-ZE-L

KEY : Marine Life Wrecks Dive sites or centres

Egypt The country bordering one third of the Red Seas western coastline. The northern part has well-developed tourist facilities.
Eilat Holiday resort and Red Sea port of Israel. Although it has only a few miles of coastline, it boasts some famous dive sites and bristles with dive centres. Millions of divers enjoy their first underwater experience here and it is a firm favourite as a destination for holiday divers. Eilat is often used as the gateway to the Sinai and many shore-based diving safaris start from here.
Elba Reef Close by the northern Sudanese coast, a virgin reef where you will find the upturned wreck of the ss Levanzo in 30-60m and a full catalogue of Red Sea marine life.
Elphinstone, The A famous Egyptian reef well-known for dramatic encounters with wild life. Situated close to the port of Marsa Alam, the Elphinstone is one of the few inner reefs of southern Egypt that offers high-quality diving.
Eritrea Formerly part of Ethiopia, this country, re-established in 1991, occupies about one-third of the western seaboard of the Red Sea. Although its ports and harbours may be used as a base by live-aboard dive boats in the future, the diving here is usually disappointing (see Dahlaks) apart from at Fawn and Saunders Reefs near the border with Sudan.

Fairy Basslets The jewel fairy basslet is a diminutive fish very common to Red Sea reefs. Often referred to as goldfish or anthias, they are the confetti that decorates every coral head.
Fishermans Bank Also known as Jackfish Alley, this takes in some of the most beautiful diving in the Ras Mohammed region. It features caves, walls and extensive coral growth.
Farasan Islands An archipelago off the coast of Yemen situated on the sandy Farasan Bank (see Dahlaks).
Flights Air flights to the northern resorts of the Red Sea have never been cheaper nor more available. There are weekly charter flights from Gatwick.

Gardens (Near and Far) Two areas of coral reef just north of Naama Bay that make a favourite dive site with day-boat operators.
Garden eels Found in communities of several hundred, garden eels each live in their own individual burrow, into which they withdraw at the first hint of danger. The best- known place to see them is at the dive-site called the Eel Garden near Ras Mohammed.
mv Giannis D The wreck of a Greek freighter, which sank in 1983 at Shaab Abu Nuhas. The stern section with its superstructure intact is at a jaunty angle in 27m and it makes an interesting and reasonably safe wreck-penetration dive. Although it was well salvaged at the time of its loss it is now starting to be colonised by coral and other marine life. The bow section is nearby, along the reef.
Giftun The Giftun Islands provide the main dive sites for day-boats from Hurghada. Although they endure a lot of boat and diver traffic they still provide some good diving, notably in the Giftun Drift, a current between the two land masses.
Groupers There are more than 30 species of grouper to be found in the Red Sea. They vary from the little blacktip, the jewel grouper, and the redmouth, commonly seen on the reef, to the enormous jewfish, sometimes weighing in at over 500kg and encountered by divers at less well-visited sites. Groupers are territorial and hunt alone.
Grunt A species of fish often called sweetlips, these are found lurking in the shade of coral overhangs during the day. Their name derives from the sound they emit.
Gubal A large island that gives its name to the Straits of Gubal at the junction of the Gulf of Suez and the main body of the Red Sea.
Guitar fish Sometimes called a guitar shark, this fish is of the same genus as the rays and has a shape that makes its name obvious.

Hanish Islands Located at the southernmost part of the Red Sea, these feature numerous 19th century wrecks, most of which fell victim to the seductive power of steam in an age in which there were few navigational aids. Many of these wrecks make nothing short of fantastic dives. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, ownership of the Hanish Islands is being disputed by both Yemen and Eritrea and military action precludes visits by leisure vessels.
Hepatitis A It is probably worth getting vaccinated against Hep. A before visiting this part of the world.
Hodeida Red Sea port for the Yemen. An uninspiring, modern Middle Eastern town that makes a good point of embarkation for the Hanish Islands or the Suarkin Archipelago of the Sudan.
Hurghada Originally a fishing port on the Egyptian Red Sea coast, Hurghada has developed into a bustling holiday resort with an international airport. Hurghada has a lot of dive centres but because the reefs are off-shore, all the sites are available only by boat. Many liveaboard dive boats set sail from here too and it makes an ideal port of embarkation for those wishing to visit the Brother Islands or Shaab Abu Nuhas.

Indiscriminate anchoring by dive boats has undeniably caused damage to the most visited reefs in some areas of Egyptian waters. However, steps are now being taken to install permanent moorings.
Iraq US warships operate stop-and-search procedures against vessels moving north in the Red Sea to Aqaba, which is often used as a port for cargo intended for Iraq. But although these warships have the capability to launch missiles against Iraq from the Red Sea, the troubles of that country are a long way away. Do not confuse the Red Sea with the Persian Gulf!

Jack A fast-swimming species of pelagic fish that often feeds in groups on the reef, surprising unwary damselfish. They vary from the small yellow-spotted jack to larger trevally and the giant jack (up to 2m long).
Japanese Gardens A preserved area of reef at Eilat that forms a nature reserve. Divers may visit the Japanese Gardens but need to obtain a permit in advance from a recognised dive centre.
Jolande Reef A reef at Ras Mohammed named after a freighter that came to grief there. For many years the wreck was dived regularly, until it fell off the reef during a storm into 600m of water. You can still come across traces of the Jolandes cargo of pipes and plumbing materials.
Jeddah Although Saudi Arabia owns the major part of the eastern coastline of the Red Sea, its government does not encourage tourism and diving from its port is restricted to those expatriates who can get permission.
Jordan A country that has a coastline bordering the eastern side of the Gulf of Aqaba.

Leopard shark Often inaccurately called a spotted nurse shark, the leopard looks similar, is equally docile and feeds on crustaceans and molluscs.
Lionfish One of the most often photographed Red Sea fish (above) and one of the most poisonous. Its flamboyance, feathery fins and patient stalking techniques disguise a voracious predator of small fish. Often seen in association with glassfish, their main prey.
Liveaboards The more remote sites of the Red Sea are best visited by vessels which do not need to return to port each night (see separate feature).
Luxor A favourite haunt of Egyptologists is Luxor, and a visit can be combined with a stay at either Hurghada or Safaga. Luxor has an international airport.

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