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Scuba Diving in Safaga, the Red Sea
Dive Site: Gamul Shiwayya
Depth: 16 metres (52 feet)
Visibility: 20 metres (65 feet)
Gamul is the local name for nearby Safaga Island. Gamul is also an old Hebrew word meaning camel, so perhaps this dive site is also named after this humped animal common in Egypt. Gameel (very close in pronunciation) is the Arabic word for beautiful, so translated into English this dive site would mean small and beautiful (Gameel the Arabic for beautiful, and Shiwayya Arabic for small or little). On admiralty charts the site is called South Fairway Reef. There are 2 sites in this area named Gamul (see also Gamul Kibeer - Large Gamul).
Boats generally moor on the southern side of this small circular reef where the coral slope drops down to around 16m. In very calm conditions it is possible to moor on the 15m sand plateau slightly to the northwest of the reef. As with other nearby sites this area is ideal for all levels of diver in calm conditions. There can be current here although usually mild and if present it will normally run from north to south coming down the sides of the small reef. If your dive boat is equipped with a zodiac or RIB, the best option is to get dropped on the north side, or out on the sand plateau where there is a large eel garden. From a distance you'll see the garden eels, sometimes in their hundreds, with up to 30cm (2/3 of their body length) out of their sandy burrows. Their tails never leave their burrows and the feed on plankton which drifts by in the current. As you approach these creatures quickly retreat into their solitary homes. From the eel garden a south southeast direction bring you quickly to the north side of the reef where you can head with your right shoulder to the reef along the eastern side. There is lovely colourful hard and soft coral as well as some smaller ergs to explore. Antheas (goldfish) litter the coral growth in the shallows, with large gatherings of blackspotted sweetlips, bluelined snapper and schools of goatfish near the sand. Blue spotted rays are also common on the sandy seafloor. A very picturesque dive, good for a third dive of the day or a great night diving spot if your boat captain will agree to it in calm conditions.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor