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The Straits of Tiran
The famous Straits of Tiran lie just 7km north-east of the harbour of Sharm el Sheikh and feature world class diving – the Red Sea at its best! The Straits are actually named after the Island of Tiran which is of volcanic origin and is a part of the African Trench, making this area of the Gulf of Aqaba, which is over 1000 metres deep, one of the deepest parts of the entire Red Sea.
Four main reefs form the top of an underwater bridge that does not break the surface and offers, due to strong south-westerly currents, a huge amount of soft corals and big pelargic fish.
Starting from the north the first reef is JACKSON REEF. On its northern edge lies the wreck of a freighter and the south-eastern end, where the currents are weaker, is the perfect mooring place for all the different diving vessels. If you start your dive here and go northwards you will come across a forest of awesome Gorgonia fan corals dancing in the current at about 20 to 30 metres as well as many different kinds of reef fish.
The long, narrow WOODHOUSE REEF, which you dive as a drift dive from north to south, is home to reef sharks and eagle rays. At 40 metres you can find a small "Satellite Reef" 18 metres in length; with its numerous caves and outstanding underwater landscape this is the most interesting section of the dive.
THOMAS REEF is the smallest of the 4 reefs but be aware! This location is for experienced divers only and it is always recommended to make a "test dive" to check out the direction of the extremely strong currents! Drift dive with the current and you will find some of the most colourful soft coral gardens anywhere in the gulf.
GORDON REEF with its Lighthouse is the most eastern point of the Straits; another freighter wreck sits here on the reef table, almost parallel to the one on Jackson Reef. A huge variety of reef fish and big schools of groupers can be seen here and on the sandy bottom at 4 to 5 metres, lots of Garden Eels are sticking out of the sea bed moving gently in the currents. It is also a popular habitat for eagle rays and reef sharks who mainly cruise at greater depths but are often spotted popping up for lunch and a look at the divers.
On the way to and from Tiran always watch out for dolphins - they love to swim along with the boats and act as models for enthusiastic photographers!