Scuba Diving Hurghada
One of the 2 islands that comprise Giftun National Park, Small Giftun is the more frequently featured on liveaboard itineraries and diving daytrips from Hurghada. Where the land dips underwater, the wall drops to great depths of over 100m and there are 2 plateaus which you may visit depending on your dive plan.
There are several ways to dive Small Giftun depending on the current. The southern end of the island features a shallow wall to a plateau and is a popular spot for night dives. Otherwise you will explore the east side (featuring 2 plateaus) or the west side (featuring only the southern plateau). In either case the dive will feature a drift along a healthy wall which give way to the southern plateau where the current eases giving you time to explore the area in detail.
Jumping in on the east coast of Small Giftun Island during the day time, you will begin what is one of the best drift dives in the Hurghada area along a beautiful coral wall. You will drift along, allowing the changing colours and topography of the wall to pass before your eyes. The current brings with it a lot of nutrients and therefore makes it a site rich in underwater life. Keep one eye on the blue as barracudas and trevallies can be seen hunting their small prey. Napoleon wrasse and hawksbill turtles can also be seen, often on your safety stop.
When you come to the southern plateau, you will see that it is bedecked in vibrant hard and soft corals. Where the plateau drops away to the depths you can see gorgonian sea fans at their most magnificent. These sprawling red beauties have a diameter of more than 2m and look out for longnose hawkfish lurking in their protective folds. Healthy acropora corals, brain coral and leaf corals abound all over the plateau. Fast swimming schools of fusiliers may dash past your eyes glinting flashes of silver which contrast amazingly when they meet even bigger schools of blue-striped snappers.
After sunset, the reef comes alive with some of the favourite nocturnal creatures of visitors to the Red Sea. Spanish Dancers, cuttlefish, squid, lobsters, sole and shrimps make this one of the top Hurghada night diving spots.
In the shallows you may see, particularly on the west side of the island, broken and dead coral mixed with the healthy hard corals. This is due to the proximity of Hurghada harbour, meaning the site is much visited by day trip boats. If you have ever witnessed a boat full of Hurghada daytrippers you will not be surprised to hear that these snorkelers and first-time divers tend not to be shallow coral's best friends.
When ending your dive you would be well advised to deploy a surface marker buoy and watch out for the zodiacs and daytrips boats whizzing around picking up their punters.
Small Giftun Basics: Drift dive, wall diving, night dives
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 20 - 25m
Surface conditions: Normally calm
Water temperature: 22 - 28°C
Experience level: Beginner - intermediate
Number of dive sites: 3
Diving season: All year round
Distance: 10 km (½ hr) east of Hurghada
Access: Daytrips and Red Sea liveaboards
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