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Scuba Diving at St John's, Marsa Alam, the Red Sea
Dive Site: Gota Shiwayya
Location: St John's Reef
Depth: 0 - 30 metres + (100 feet)
Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
Gota Shiwayya directly translated from Arabic, means "Small Piece" and like many of the reefs which make up the system known as St. Johns it is a small circular shaped reef. Deep walls drop away vertically on all sides into the abyss and the upper reef is absolutely covered in colourful soft coral. Long pink and red whip corals stretch out into the blue and there are some magnificent gorgonian fan corals between 20 and 30m. The upper 20 metres of this reef is teeming with small marine life of all descriptions and tuna and trevallie cruise past, looking for any opportunity of a meal.
Large shoals of blue lunar fusiliers venture cautiously away from the reef only to dart back in tight formation at the first sign of danger. A whole family of humphead napoleon wrasse swim majestically around the reef perimeter. Current normally runs from north to south so if your dive boat is equipped with a zodiac or RIB the best option by far is to get dropped at the northern most tip of the reef and then spend up to an hour cruising with any current or gently swimming back to your boat mooring on the south side. Finishing the dive in the top few meters of water, there are small fissures in the reef which are well worth exploring during your safety stops.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
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