Diving in the Red Sea
The Fury Shoals are a group of 20 or so reefs some 30 km long, lying in a northwest-southeast direction and 13 km north of Ras Banas. The region is quite diverse in that it offers something for divers of all abilities. There are some easy paced shallow reefs rich in coral, steep drop-offs with current and big fish, and even a wreck or two to keep the research and tech lovers happy.
The southern reef of Sha'ab Claudio is one of the most beautiful and colourful in the Fury Shoals and conditions are generally easy here too, with a maximum depth of 25m. The southern side has an entrance to a wide tunnel at 8m deep which you can enter and swim through to the exit on the southwest corner, after making a loop through the smaller passageways. The entranceway has schools of surgeonfish, yellow goatfish and bannerfish.
The entire western side of the reef holds a huge coral garden with Napoleon wrasse, batfish and triton clams. Many of the hard corals display colours of light blue, cream and green, often within the same colony. Here you can head north to find a small cave system entrance at a depth of just 5m. After exploring the cave follow the coral garden and reef north again and around to the east.
Eventually you'll come across some huge coral towers with a large patches of anemones and some huge groupers lurking in the crevices and under the overhangs. After spotting a nudi or two on the towers, head south down the east side to complete your full circuit of the reef.
Sha'ab Maksour lies in the northeast of the Fury Shoals. It is a narrow reef some 1½ km long and surrounded by steep walls and deep waters on all sides. Its structure and exposed location make it suitable for experienced divers only.
The most popular section of Sha'ab Maksour to dive is the southern tip where the wall drop to 18m and gives way to a coral plateau that slopes away to 40m before it plunges into the abyss. The plateau drop off is a good place to look out for patrolling grey reef sharks and hunting fish such as bluefin and giant trevally, and tuna. As you run out of bottom time, make your way back up the plateau to explore 2 coral turrets in shallower water covered in anthias, small finger corals, clasping soft corals and soft tree corals, and some deep recesses in the southwest corner of the wall at 8m.
The northern tip has a deeper challenging plateau that is also good for spotting sharks and you can drift from here down the eastern wall if the current direction allows.
Abu Galawa Kebira is one of the most famous reefs in Egypt's southern Red Sea. The main reef section has a small lagoon and a healthy and large hard coral reef running along its west coast. You could start your dive here and head south with the reef on your left. Once the reef peters out, continue south until you reach 18m where you can find the Tien Hsing tugboat wreck, lying at the bottom of a smaller reef section.
Tien Hsing was built in China in 1935 and sank in 1943; it rests at a steep angle with its bow touching the water's surface. It is one of the most beautiful wrecks in the southern Red Sea, diving conditions are very easy and night dives can be excellent here. There is a large open hold in the aft where you can see the propeller shaft leading from the engine room. On the starboard side there are some doors leading into the boat's helm and into a bathroom. The main deck and chimney are now heavily overgrown with hard and soft corals. Schools of fusiliers frequent the wreck and sweepers occupy its interior.
Along the east side of same reef at which the Tien Hsing lies, there are a series of caverns. You can explore the reef's wall here and find some interesting critters such as finger coral crabs, bubble coral shrimp and nudibranchs, before exploring the caverns at a depth of 5m.
Abu Galawa Soghayr is one of the popular shallow reefs of table corals and soft coral trees with excellent visibility and easy diving conditions. Due to the reef's orientation, it attracts plenty of light and colour throughout the whole day. You will see masked pufferfish and turtles if you are lucky.
There is a delightful coral canyon that cuts through the middle of the reef. You can access this canyon from 7m deep in the southeast; it is marked by a large hard coral outcrop. The canyon then runs to the north west and opens out onto a coral garden full of dome corals and a wall that runs from 17m deep to the sea's surface.
There is a wreck of a small sailing yacht to the south of the reef, lying in 16m. You can enter its hull, which is teeming with sweepers, through the main deck.
Fury Shoals Reef Basics: Reefs, wrecks and walls
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 20 - 35m
Currents: Can be strong at some sites
Surface conditions: Can be choppy at some sites
Water temperature: 23 - 30°C
Experience level: Beginner - advanced
Number of dive sites: ~25
Diving season: All year round
Distance: 110 km southeast of Marsa Alam (7 hrs)
Access: Red sea liveaboards
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• Southern Red Sea - Egypt
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