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World | Red Sea | Diving North Hurghada:

North Hurghada (El Gouna) overview


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Emperor fish at Woodvalley Reef, Red Sea dive site - courtesy of Carina Hall
Anthias at Woodvalley Reef, Red Sea dive site - courtesy of Jenny Pickles
Brain coral at Woodvalley Reef, Red Sea dive site - courtesy of Rik Vercoe

Scuba Diving in the Red Sea

Reader Reviews:

Dive Site: Woodvalley Reef

Location: Sha'ab Abu Nuhas, North Hurghada

Description: Reef / drift

Depth: 6 - 14 metres (20 - 46 feet)

Visibility: 20 - 30 metres (65 - 100 feet)

Rating: ****

On the northwest tip of the main reef at Sha'ab Abu Nuh‚s is a second quite large piece of reef which I call Woodvalley reef. Behind this, on the southern side there is also a smaller "erg" (reef boulder) but coral growth and fish life here is sparse. I chose the name Woodvalley because of the amount of timber (wooden planks and old rope) which is strewn on the sand at 14m between Abu Nuh‚s and Woodvalley Reef in the valley created between the two reefs. This second piece of reef makes for a great dive, particularly on the north side where there is spectacular table coral, layer upon layer and therefore deserves not only its own name but to be recognised as a dive site in its own right. Diving here needs to be done with care as dive boat tenders often use this valley between the reefs as a channel to ferry divers out to the wrecks of the Giannis D and the Carnatic on the north side of Abu Nuh‚s, so make sure you surface very close to the reef walls.

If the surface conditions are too rough to dive the wrecks then Woodvalley is a good dive option. It is also possible to dive the wreck of the Giannis D and come back around the northwest tip of Abu Nuh‚s and through the sand valley back to your boat in a single dive (likely to be at least an hour long dive). There are some fantastic coral formations at around 6 metres on the northwest tip and divers rarely get to see these. This dive plan is an option if the current is really strong on the wreck. It usually runs from the bow to the stern of the Giannis D (east to west). To make this plan a viable option you will have limited time on the wreck (not an issue of the current is uncomfortably strong). You may limit your wreck dive to an exploration of the stern section only in strong current, but make sure you leave the wreck with a good 120 to 130 bar in your cylinder as you will have around 30 - 40 minutes of reef dive to come. As soon as you leave the wreck ascend to the 5 to 6m mark and drift with the current or swim with the reef at Abu Nuh‚s on you left shoulder. After around 20 to 25 minutes the reef will swing round to the left and you will enter the valley, look to your right and you will see Woodvalley Reef. Sometimes the current will sweep you nicely into the wood littered valley. If the current isn't strong or isn't running at all, and air allowing, head across the valley and out around the north side of Woodvalley Reef. The wall drops away at an ever increasing sloping angle and the occasional white tip reef shark can be spotted. The coral is outstanding. Then turn and stay close to the reef as you swim back through the valley, taking care of overhead boat traffic.

Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor



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