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Anthias at Abu Helal / Abu Talha, Red Sea dive site - Courtesy of Rik Vercoe

Zebra Lionfish at Abu Helal / Abu Talha, Red Sea dive site - Courtesy of Jenny Pickles

Masked Pufferfish at Abu Helal / Abu Talha, Red Sea dive site - Courtesy of Dan Begent

Scuba Diving in the Red Sea

Reader Reviews:

Dive Site: Abu Helal / Abu Talha

Location: Dahab, 2832.543N; 3430.988'E

Description: Reef / drift dive / technical dive site

Depth: 60 metres + (200 feet)

Visibility: 30 - 40 metres (100 - 130 feet)

Rating: ***

A fairly energetic dive for good air consumers; you need to reach the other site to avoid surface swimming, which was not possible for all in our party, in fact was difficult to keep the whole group together. Good distance traveled though over nice corals with lots of life.

Jenny Pickles, BSAC Dive Leader



Unless great on air, it's best to dive this site shallow (max 10m), to make it from site to site and avoid surface swims. It's also best to start at Abu Talha to take advantage of usual north-south current.

Also a beautiful site to dive a little deeper, making both entry and exit at Abu Talha. A turtle and eagle ray hang-out!

Fiona Morrison, PADI Instructor



Ras Abu Helal, also known as 'Little Canyon' translates as, 'Headland of the Crescent Moon', referring to a crescent-shaped reef south of Abu Talha. Abu Helal and Abu Talha can only be dived at high tide in perfect conditions which leads to them being dived much less than other sites making the corals in pristine condition. This site has everything for both technical and recreational diving. The reef encircles a shallow lagoon at about 12m. Outside is a gently sloping bay and on its northern side a broad ridge. The start of this ridge features one of the finest coral garden in the Dahab area and this is the main focus of the dive site. Alternatively there is a deeper canyon dive in 30 - 40m at the end of this ridge. This is a serious dive option due to the distance from the entry point. Typically, divers will swim out in the blue at around 10m until they spot an extremely slender crack before descending so that both air and bottom time are conserved. The canyon twists in a unique pattern that offers very limited exit points, therefore entry into the 'Little Canyon' is only for technical divers. The density and variety of both soft and hard corals and aquatic life here is spectacular. Among the multitudes of reef species, notable inhabitants are big grouper or rock cod, big starry puffers, unicorns, wrasse, triggerfish and lionfish. Sea turtles are also a common sight.

Abu Talha is a northerly site accessed by jeep from Dahab, a journey that takes approximately 17 minutes. Entry is slippery on a sandy bottom and fins must be donned before the edge of the reef table as there are many holes of various depths. It is advisable that divers do not descend until over the shallow saddle unless perfect neutral buoyancy can be achieved in shallow water. Once out of the reef table the diver will find a beautiful coral shafted like an amphitheatre. The hard coral drops to 50m in the centre and to the left at 25m a sink hole can be found. Deeper holes also exist, this being located at the far end of the 'little canyon', starting at Abu Helal making this site also perfect for technical divers. Turning to the left the coral becomes more scattered with sandy patches and table corals. Here a school of red tooth triggers can be found as well as rays and nudibranchs. Returning to the exit between 10 and 15m swim along the reef wall and watch the hard and soft corals while a turtle and small schools of yellow tail barracuda can often be found.



Unless great on air, it's best to dive this site shallow (max 10m), to make it from site to site and avoid surface swims. It's also best to start at Abu Talha to take advantage of usual north-south current.

Also a beautiful site to dive a little deeper, making both entry and exit at Abu Talha. A turtle and eagle ray hang-out!

Fiona Morrison, PADI Instructor



Abu Talha was probably my most favourite site in Dahab. The quality of the coral was just astounding. If you're lucky enough to get high tide on a perfectly calm day you would be mad not to check it out.

Dale



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