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World | Red Sea | Diving Safaga:

Safaga overview



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Boulder coral at Umm Hal Hal, Red Sea dive site - courtesy of Carina Hall
Octopus at Umm Hal Hal, Red Sea dive site - courtesy of Carina Hall
Ginat moray eel at Umm Hal Hal, Red Sea dive site - courtesy of Rik Vercoe

Scuba Diving in Safaga, the Red Sea

Reader Reviews:

Dive Site: Umm Hal Hal

Location: Safaga

Description: Reef

Depth: 7 - 25 metres + (23 - 80 feet)

Visibility: 20 metres (65 feet)

Rating: ****

Umm Hal Hal is a pair of small ergs (pieces of reef) located a sort distance to the southeast of Middle Reef. These are really one reef with a V-shaped gully which cuts down the centre to around 7 metres. The seabed to the west drops down to around 15m and whilst essentially of sand composition this area is covered in a beautiful hard coral garden with acropora table corals at the base of the reef and all manner of stony boulder corals. Large grouper lurk between the hard coral and pufferfish tuck themselves in the overhangs. To the north gorgonian fan corals sway in the current and I have often seen small lone white-tip sharks here. To the east of the ergs the seabed drops away a little deeper to 25m before sloping down to a wall which drops away into the depths and there is every chance of seeing pelagics here, including large groups of barracuda. South of the southernmost erg are several small coral boulders in close formation. The gully created between the reef and these coral boulders is home to large schools of goatfish and bluelined snapper, and blue lunar fusiliers cruise the reef in large numbers. The upper parts of the reef are swarming with antheas and small wrasse which stay close to the abundant soft coral.

The more exposed surface conditions (the ergs offer little protection) can make boat mooring choppy and uncomfortable, but the obvious advantage is the lack of other dive boats and therefore divers. If there is current here it normally runs from north to south or northwest to southeast, but is often far less present than you may be led to believe.

Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor

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