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Elphinstone … “cigar-shaped” reef in the Red Sea

01-08-2017
Port Ghalib News

Elphinstone Reef (also known as Sha'ab Abu Hamra) is a standalone reef in the Egyptian Red Sea situated about 30 kilometers north from the town of Marsa Alam in Egypt. It was named after Admiral George Elphinstone, a British naval commander who served in Egypt in the Napoleonic wars at the beginning of the 19th century. This dive site is famous for its wonderful drift dives along deep steep walls. The reef can be accessed from Marsa Alam by boat, and is included in the route of many liveaboard dive safaris in the Red Sea.

The Elphinstone Reef is also famous for being one of the few places on Earth where you can dive with the Oceanic Whitetip Shark as well as Harmmerhead Sharks. The best chances to spot an Oceanic Whitetip Shark (also called longimanus) are from October to December. Manta Rays (mainly from May to August), Dolphins and Tiger Sharks can also sometimes be spotted. In addition to these giants, there are also plenty of pelagic fishes like trevallies, Barracudas and Tunas. The reef life is teeming with myriads of fishes all around Elphinstone.The northern and southern tips of Elphinstone have 100m wide plateaus between 20-40m deep, covered with soft corals, huge gorgonians, sponges and sea whips.

The currents are variable and usually (but not always) run from North to South. They are often quite strong - two knots or greater - and  this can benefit those skilled in drift diving as they can start with a dive off the northern point, which is possibly the most likely location for shark encounters, and go with the flow southwards along the reef and have the boat meet them at the southern end. Scuba Diving in Elphinstone reef is reserved to experienced divers as current can be very strong and you are diving in the open sea.

This is a cigar-shaped reef holds one of the best diving experiences you will ever have ….

 

 

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