Diving has only one problem: when you are not underwater, you miss being there. Same thing with travelling, when you are not travelling, you miss it, and you end up spending most of the time thinking about the next time! Oh well, to cure this longing of mine and of other divers out there, I have put together my favourite dive sites of Marsa Alam, Egypt.
For those of you who had no idea that diving in Egypt can be so much fun, yes it is! Marsa Alam is still an unspoiled region of the country, which means less divers than… lets say, the famous Sharm-El-Sheik (where I also want to dive). So if you are thinking about learning how to dive, here is a wonderful place to do that, and if you are already a diver, you must know that here you can find dive sites, which are among the best in the World.
Ras El Torfa
It was my first dive in the Red Sea, and I was impressed how colourful it is around here. Not only the vast variety of corals but also of fish. Our guide said it was her favourite dive site in Marsa Alam – it was not my favourite, and you will know why by the end of the post – and that a turtle male lives here, so practically every time people go dive there he comes by and say hello. For our disappointment he decided not to welcome us this day.
Dive: boat dive
Highlight: how colourful and how rich in life it is.
This was my most waited dive and it certainly did not disappoint! The Hamada Wreck is found 2 hours by car from Port Ghalib – the center city of Marsa Alam. The beach area around is completely remote, there is only a small place where you can put your dive gear. However, I can only tell you that this place is worth the time and every penny, the wreck is simply gorgeous, and you will be surprised by how much life can be found around it!
The Hamada Wreck was a cargo ship that got stuck in the shallow waters and sunk in 1993. The ship was carrying very tiny plastic balls’ pellets, which are found until nowadays around the beach sand. The great news about this wreck is that it is found at 18m depth and it is suitable for all levels of divers.
Highlight: apart from the wreck itself? The life found there is amazingly abundant, where it is possible to see giant barracudas, lionfish, octopus, several species of fish, scorpionfish, crocodile fish and much more.
Just so you know: it is a remote area, which means no bathrooms. Yes you read it right, no bathroom facilities, no restaurants, NOTHING. If you need to do your #1 and #2 here, it has to be behind a bush. In terms of food, the diving center provides lunch, drinks and snacks, and of course you can bring your own stuff.
One of the animals I was dying to see on my diving trip to Egypt was a Sea Cow, or Dugong. This dive site is very famous for having them, however, for my great disappointment I did not see one there, and nor in any other dive site I dove.
What I mostly saw here was several turtles and the usual beautiful corals and fish. Apart from my disappointment regarding the Dugong, I was also bothered by how many snorkelers there were here. Don’t get me wrong, I also snorkel and I love it, what I am trying to say is that there were soooo many people in the water that day, that if I was a Dugong I would swim away…. just saying!
All in all, I had fun diving here and seeing all the turtles around… I love them! It was only a bit hard do get out of the water with all my gear on, the waves were a bit crazy that day.
Highlight: the turtles!
Marsa Shouni Kebir
What a wonderful place to dive! I got to say that this place made me smile underwater several times, because it is simply beautiful and also because I was lucky enough to see 2 moray eels swimming for the first time – they are normally hidden and you can only see their heads or tails. Not to mention that I saw a puffer fish blown up, a not-shy-at-all turtle eating something and an amazing little cave filled with marine life.
Dive: boat dive
Highlight: moray eels, turtle and a little cave.
This dive site is very special for divers who take day trips, because it is normally on the way of a Liveaboard/Safari boat, as it is very far from Marsa Alam. However, this day we got very lucky because the wind was not strong and our boat was able to reach it, even better: not only we got to dive there, but do 3 dives!
Ras Trombi is a very beautiful place, from above and from underwater. It is practically untouched, and that is what makes it so special.
Dive: boat dive
Highlight: look at the picture below…
Now we are talking about a dive site among the best 50 in the World. Yup! And why is that? Because here you can see hammerhead sharks, as well as the Oceanic White Tip sharks! And of course I was crazy to go there, because if there is something I love is sharks. Crazy huh?
The only problem about Elphinstone is that before I got in Marsa Alam, I had no idea the stories I would hear about this place. People would say it was dangerous and insane… ok it is, but enough of the drama. Most people just exaggerate a bit.
Elphinstone is in the middle of nowhere, is a deep dive where it is hard to control your depth because you certainly will be more worried about the current. If you enjoy drift diving, here is your place. I liked it!
Diving in Elphinstone might be scary, not because of the sharks – they are the best part – but because of the deep blue you see around you, looks more like an abysm. It was certainly a crazy feeling for me, W loved it! The only thing I liked about Elphinstone was seeing an Oceanic White Tip shark coming in my direction. If I weren’t underwater, my mouth would have dropped… still, I managed to smile!
For your information:
- The diving centers require at least 30 logged dives – some require 50 – in order to dive here.
- Because of its location, the currents can be very strong at Elphinstone. That is why, depending on the weather conditions – especially in terms of wind – the day trip to the dive site can be cancelled once in a while.
- Depending on the season, it is not guaranteed that you will see sharks. When I was there – November – everyone who went days before I did, couldn’t see any shark.
Dive: boat dive
Highlight: this little guy…
You might think that what I am about to say it is strange, but you will understand my reason. I never felt so bad in my life during a trip like this day… I was on antibiotics because I had a very bad sore throat when I arrived in Egypt. I avoid taking these medicaments at all costs because they give me nauseas and make me feel awful! So let’s see if you can picture this…
I had nausea the entire day, and it was a very windy, which means that being on a boat with nausea was not a great idea… for anyone, also not for me. Even so I decided to dive… as the name of the dive site suggests, here you can find dolphins, so I really wanted to see one!
The thing is, even though I was very sick and did not see one dolphin – sadly – this was the most beautiful dive site I have ever been so far, and this cave below made me forget about my nausea and anything else in the World…
Dolphin House is a protected area, and this happened not long ago. Before, divers and snorkelers could go where today is protected, where the Dolphins can easily be seen. However, nowadays they only allow people to be around it, as well as boats, who have to follow some guidelines. That is the main reason why seeing a Dolphin around here is not always guaranteed, and snorkeling certainly increases your chance to see some, because they don’t really like bubbles!
Dive: boat dive
Highlight: the cave!