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Scuba Diving in the Red Sea
Dive Site: Siyul Saghira - East
Location: 27°32.740N; 33°52.170E (North Hurghada)
Description: Reef / night dive
Depth: Mostly above 22 metres (72 feet), although it slopes away to 50 metres (165 feet)
Visibility: 25 metres (82 feet)
Siyul is the name of the island which the reef surrounds and Saghira in Arabic translates as "Small". There are two islands here, both called Siyul, and the second larger island (located to the northeast) is known as Large Siyul - Siyul Kebira. The irony here is that whilst the island at Siyul Saghira is much smaller than that of Siyul Kebira, the underwater reef itself is significantly larger, covering in the region of four times the surface area of Siyul Kebira.
These dive sites are of the lesser dived sites in the Red Sea, visited only by safari boats and then normally only on days when the weather is too rough to dive the wrecks at Abu Nuhas which is located around 20 minutes boat ride to the northeast. Never-the-less they are lovely sites.
On the eastern side of the reef at Siyul Saghira a long sliver of reef points directly out to the east and the dive boats will normally moor on the southern side of the tip. It is then normal practice to use the dive vessels tender or RIB to head around to the north side of the sliver and make a "one way" dive, with the reef on your right shoulder back to the main dive boat. It is best to avoid "out and back dives" as both the coral quality and viz are not as good on the south side. If you get dropped on the north wall slightly to the east of the island formation itself, expect a good hour long dive back to the east tip. There is not often current here, but if there is it is likely to be heading from the north and along in an easterly direction with you. If you enter the water and find the current is against you consider surfacing immediately and revising your dive plan - unless of course you fancy a swim of Olympic proportions. As you descend, the coral encrusted reef wall slopes down to a plateau which starts at around 22m, flattens out slightly before dropping away to 50m. Expect clouds of sweepers and glassfish on the upper slopes - the coral really is excellent. On the less densely covered sand plateau there are blue spotted rays and I have often seen turtles on this dive. As you approach the east tip, the reef plateau comes up and the south side of the reef has a very shallow sand bottom at around the 5 metre mark.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
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