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Scuba Diving in Marsa Alam, the Red Sea
Dive Site: The Nursery
Location: St John's Reef
Description: Cavern / night dive
Depth: 20 metres (65 feet)
Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
Just as we were kitting up a pod of 8 dolphins swam past our boat. We quickly got ready and jumped in to see the dolphins glide off into the distance. We then descended down to a sandy bottom at around 20m. There was a lot of reef fish cleaning action going on. I followed the reef round until we came to a school of around 30 Red Sea bannerfish and they clearly marked the cavern entrance just above at around 12m. This is a really exciting swim through to explore, it cuts through a large part of the reef in many directions where inside it leads to a number of larger caverns. It is reasonably safe during the day as light pretty much shines through in all places and you'd find it hard to get lost in or not to be able to find a means of exit. On the bottom look for blue spotted stingrays, as well as baby white tips in small crevices and moray eels. We exited the cavern to find ourselves in an Anemone City. I was amazed by the sheer mass of anemones and anemone fish that occupied them. Nemo would love it here! The viz was amazing which enhanced their orange bodies as they stood out in all beauty against the blue sea. I could have spent hours playing with them.
I had heard a lot about this night dive before coming on this trip and I was really excited. The evening after exploring the cavern in the day we did our night dive here. As soon as I entered the cavern the atmosphere was really different to that of the day, it was really tranquil and a little spooky. I looked up, around and everywhere and after a few minutes I was lucky enough to see a sleeping bumphead parrotfish. He was so still and calm hanging at the top of the cavern. These fish are becoming increasing rare and to me this, along with their uniqueness, makes me find them more then beautiful. They are perceived by some to be ugly; they can grow up to 1.5m, dark green with pinky red cheeks, they have a big protruding bump on their head and a massive beak for crushing up coral.
We continued exploring the cavern and we saw two more slightly smaller bumpheads further down. You have to be really careful not to shine your torches at them as this could give them a shock and suddenly wake them up. We also came across one more on our exit from the cavern. I was filled was satisfaction after this dive. I find it amazing that these fish have set up home in this particular cavern and come here every night to sleep - I was told that they are a family of 10-12.
Carina Hall, PADI Divemaster
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