Scuba Diving the Red Sea's Deep South
This is another of Egypt's marine parks, lying in the Red Sea's deep southern section. It is a small (~500m across) oval shaped barren sand island, just 5 km southeast of Zabargad, with steep walls exposed to strong currents. It is surrounded by a short reef plateau, which makes for a convenient safety stop at the end of your dives.
The eastern point is many Red Sea diver's favourite site at Rocky Island, especially during the early morning. This is because of the exciting drift diving and intense schooling action that can occur here. Large schools of snappers and surgeonfish inhabit this area of the island, and this is an open invitation for active sharks to hunt and feed. The reef wall here is steep rather than vertical.
The southern coast is mostly protected from the Red Sea currents and its walls are interesting for their convolutions and cracks. Blackspotted sweetlips and Arabian angelfish can be found in the fissures and schooling bannerfish often cover the walls in large numbers.
The northern coastline is the most exposed area of the island and is a dive for experienced divers only since surface conditions can be rough and currents can be strong and unpredictable. But if you do manage to enter here, stay clear of the surface swells and dive deep to avoid strong surge. Drift along in the current observing the colourful soft corals, large groupers, Napoleon wrasse, and schools of rabbitfish and unicornfish.
The south side is the easiest portion of the island to dive. Hard coral shallows give way to soft corals and black corals at greater depth. Grey reef sharks patrol the depths, great barracuda roam the area in search of a snack. The wall has many convolutions and overhangs which are great for investigating with a torch. When the sun comes shines in the shallows, the dazzling spectacle of hundreds of golden anthias make for a dazzling sight.
It's important to always check the direction of the current at Rocky Island before entering the water. This is because it is variable here with currents frequently running from the south or from the northeast, meaning that you could have your dive blown out if you enter at the wrong place.
Rocky Island Reef Basics: Deep walls and drift dives
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 25 - 35m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 23 - 30°C
Experience level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: 3
Diving season: All year round
Distance: 205 km southeast of Marsa Alam (13½ hrs)
Access: Red sea liveaboards
View a map of:
• Southern Red Sea - Egypt
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