Deep South Red Sea Scuba Diving

St. John's

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The St. John's reefs lie on the Tropic of Cancer in Foul Bay, directly south of the Peninsula (Ras) Banas, near Hamata and close to the Sudanese border. They cover an area of sea of roughly 290 km² and offer a great diversity of diving environments. They are now a top drawcard for Red Sea liveaboards searching a little further off the beaten track for new attractions.

Red Sea scuba diving with manta rays - photo courtesy of Matthias Schmidt

The highlights of diving the Red Sea's Deep South include some terrific coral walls and gardens, including a mix of both soft and hard coral formations - probably the best in the Red Sea, plenty of tunnels, caverns, overhangs, swim-throughs and caves, and great visibility - ideal photographic opportunities. Reef fish life is abundant and the deep walls and brisk currents at some of the sites attract grey reef, hammerhead and thresher sharks, and other predator fish such as mackerel, barracuda and jacks.

Habili Ali is a small oval shaped submerged reef and is the easternmost dive site in the St. John's reef system. You'll likely cover half of the entire reef wall on one dive, exactly which section will depend on the current and sun direction. Reef predators such as jacks and grey reef sharks are commonly seen when scuba diving here as the current is often strong. Pods of bottlenose dolphins can be seen at any moment as they hunt in search of food. Hammerhead sharks and manta rays are also encountered less frequently. Best time for an oceanic white tip encounter at Habili Ali is in May and June. Show more


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St. John's Reef Basics: Turrets and walls
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 20 - 35m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be choppy
Water temperature: 23 - 30°C
Experience level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: ~20
Diving season: All year round
Distance: 210 km south southeast of Marsa Alam (14 hrs)
Access: Liveaboards

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