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Scuba Diving at St John's, Marsa Alam, the Red Sea
Dive Site: Sha'ab Dangerous
Location: St John's Reef
Description: Reef with tunnels and caves
Depth: 6 - 25 metres (20 - 80 feet)
Visibility: 20 metres (65 feet)
Dangerous Reef is the most southerly reef currently dived from Egypt (at the time of writing) and is a medium sized, diamond shape. Surface conditions can appear somewhat confused as waves sweep down from the north and then fold in on each side of the northern most tip. Thus wave crests break directly towards each other from both an easterly and westerly direction. The southern end of the reef is more of an oval shape, as if the south tip of the diamond has been smoothed off and this is where the boats normally moor. The hard coral wall drops down to around 22m where there is a gently sloping sandy seafloor with small coral heads. A family of napoleon wrasse and free-swimming morays are common in this area.
On the most southerly part of the reef in around 8m of water are a number of fissures and breaks in the reef allowing a diver to enter a small cave or tunnel area which has a sandy floor. These crevices undulate between 4 and 10m and there are multiple entrances and exits to explore. A couple of the tunnels have a full overhead environment, but you are never far from a visible exit. Blue spotted rays and grouper are regular residents in the fissures and at the main entrances to the tunnels are huge anemones with large families of clownfish. Heading either east or west from these entrances will bring you to some lovely coral gardens, where large stony corals cascade down the reef. Soldierfish, squirrelfish, black-spotted butterflyfish and just about every type of grouper the Red Sea has to offer seek refuge amongst the hard corals here. This reef offers enough shelter for the night and makes for an excellent night dive. Any current present will normally come from the north, so the south coral gardens are quite protected and if current is strong you will be heading into it at the start of your dive, allowing it to assist you as you return to your boat. The reef is quite different at night with huge basket stars fully extended in the darkened waters. Cuttlefish and octopus tend to be night time visitors, along with free-swimming morays and the occasional Spanish dancer.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
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