Dive sites South of Port Sudan: 7 & 14 Nights
7 & 14 Nights Cruises
Shaab Ambar, an enormous horseshoe shaped reef with large azure lagoon. The outer walls sink into drop offs, peppered with openings and crevices and festooned in of colourful soft coral; here clouds of vibrant glass fish, swoop over huge groupers and moray eels that guard the crevices. Encounters with large pelagic fish like tuna, barracuda and sharks are quite common, with sightings of large tiger sharks hunting for jackfish. Sha ab Ambar is well worth diving at the beginning and the end of your trip.
The Admiralty Chart shows Sha'ab Ambar as a very long, slightly bent line of coral just below the surface. In reality, it is a very long slightly bent collection of broken reefs with a sheltered lagoon in the north. It has a north point, west and east walls, a south wall and a south eastern plateau. The majority of this five mile long coral formation is virgin territory. The west wall drops in a series of small plateaux and gentle slopes. Here the coral is outstanding with some of the best delicate hard coral formations that can be seen in the Red Sea. As with most coral reefs, the shallower parts exhibit the larger concentration of life. From 10 metres to almost the surface, the west wall is superb and improved by the topography, which turns from steps and slopes to indentations and small pinnacles. Each indent in the reef face becomes hover zone with resident small fish and regular larger visitors. Large groupers patrol the edges wait to pound on small wrasse or fusiliers; soldier fish hide in any recess they can find. Lipstick surgeon fish abound sometimes obscuring the whole coral wall.
The South west point - the big toe that Sha'ab Ambar sticks out into the oceanic Red Sea. If Sha'ab Rumi and Sanganeb to the north can have stunning plateaus, Ambar does not disappoint. Two metre high breakers pounded the shallow, 4m deep, plateau, but in front of that was another, deeper, horizontal coral formation. The plateau 24 metres beneath was sand, coral only visible at the rim where it rose up to form a crater-like look. Starting at the south side you head deep passing the plateau where you can see white-tip reef sharks resting on the sand. These small sharks have the ability to pump water across their gills, and thus can 'rest' on the bottom. Continuing along the rim of coral looking out into the blue you see grey reef sharks and awesome passages of Hammerheads, some very large and very close. Further on, the coral rim merges into the wall of the main reef signalling the place to turn. Here spotted eagle rays descend the reef wall and glide ballerina-like over the plateau. Swimming back at 17m above the plateau towards the wall that leads to the 4m plateau, the water ahead glistens with the swirling bodies of barracuda. Shoals of 50 or more individuals spiral from depths to near the surface making this the characteristic underwater photo in the Sudan. Spotted sweetlips sway in the surge, sometimes in immense shoals. Expect to encounter large hawksbill turtles off the top of the plateau.
Jerrycan Point at Sha'ab Ambar is marked by big breakers over the shallow plateau calling for a negative entry. In and down are the best rules for that sort of surface and once under you can drift slowly to the bottom. White-tip reef sharks rest peacefully on the sand clearly visible as you make your way across the plateau to the coral rim where you descend to around 30 metres and look. Here large white-tip reef sharks share the territory with more curious grey reef sharks. These will cruise at a respectable distance if you keep your bubbles low, sometimes sweeping across your head within touching distance. At the end of the rim large hammerheads can be seen in the distance. Eagle rays, barracuda and huge shoals of massive humphead parrotfish are also common here. The coral wall though is something to behold with densely packed hard corals punctuated with soft corals and sponges. Reef fish, of course, are in good numbers, exceptional numbers actually, rounding off an unforgettable dive once again.
Sha'ab Quisier, a narrow slice of reef which rises up from the depths and has just made the surface. A lonely place, surrounded by ocean and chattered about only by the seabirds that rest on the exposed coral. The reef lances up from a 60m deep plateau and then drops off into the abyss. The chart says 560m, but the real answer could have been much more. Rainbow runners, skipjack tuna , eagle rays, and much more come in from the clear blue turning at the last minute when they see divers. Here too giant humphead interact with reef sharks in a territorial game. Shoal of big eye travelly
Nakhalat al Qaseer is a little to the west and a tiny speck of light blue in the dark blue of the Red Sea; here you see coral with a dazzling concentration. Every millimetre was covered in coral life. Above, in front and below swarms of reef fish - antheas, wrasse, emerald green triggerfish, damselfish, clownfish and butterflyfish – all shrouding the reef out to around a metre, but never straying very far into the intermediate zone patrolled by travelly, tuna, jacks and filled with fusiliers. Below, a 55 metre deep ledge provides a resting place for large white-tip reef sharks.
At around only 100 metres in circumference, Qaseer is easily explored in one dive, which allows divers to see both north and south points. And almost immediately on reaching depth on the south point grey reef sharks appear. As you follow the east wall more sharks come in for a look and then turned northward and disappear, but not for long. Grey reef, hammerheads and white tips abound on this dive.
sooner than you start a decent on Sha'ab Pender you will not miss
the large hammerhead cruising above in a slow arc before heading out
to sea and then the reef kicks off for real. The coral concentration
is just as intense as on Nakhalat al Qaseer and the fish life stands
even better. The north wall has more prolific life, but the south is
no slouch and at times your field of vision will be simply full of
fish. Moving down the wall, a shoal of skipjack tuna come in from
the blue, increasing in numbers everytime showing an inquisitive
nature to divers. Big eye travelly too exhibit the same nature.
Sha'ab Jumna or north Jumna Shoal. Stuck way out on its own, the corals on this site are only shadowed by the shoals of hundreds of scalloped hammerheads. The shoal her can sometimes be enormous and densely packed, and, quite extraordinary for hammerheads, inquisitive. Some swimming straight at you breaking off only a couple of metres from a collision. The others too, although a little more wary come into the reef for a look.
The Pinnacle, is a shallow area in the form of a large tower rising up from the depths of around 10/12 metres. It is very exposed to strong currents and a meeting point for hammerheads, oceanics, grey sharks, large tuna, sea eagles and rays. The Sudanese waters always offer excellent visibility, sometimes crystal clear, which is difficult to find elsewhere. The reefs are deeply coloured and vibrant, with pink, yellow and red soft coral, large brightly coloured anemones, and marine life is vibrant wherever you look.
Dahrat Ghab is rated by the few that have dived there as the best dive site in the
Day 1: Arrive Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from Europe or beyond. Fly from Dubai to Port Sudan direct. Transfer on arrival to Liveaboard check-in and overnight at Port.
Day 2: Sail to Wingate Reef diving the wreck of the
Day 3: Dives at sha ab ambar for the full day then sail onto Silada Kebir
Day 4: Dives at Silada Kebir the full day
Day 5: Dives at Gabra Musa Kebir and Gabra Musa Seghir
Day 6: Dives on The pinnacles between Gabra Musa and the Suakin Archipelago, sailing at night into Suakin Archipelago
Day 7 to 12: Suakin Archipelago: Up to 5 days will be diving the unique sites in this Archipelago Masamarit, Kasam Masamarit, Dahret Gharb
Day 13: Diving will include Shaab Ambar , Wingate reef and Sanganeb sailing back into
Day 14: Morning at leisure with optional excursion to
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