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Liveaboard Diving in Gordon Reef
What To Expect On A Gordon Reef Liveaboard
Liveaboards to Gordon Reef, in the Straits Of Tiran, Egypt, will usually incorporate diving here on a Northern Red Sea itinerary. Much like Jackson Reef to the north, Gordon Reef can be located by a large wreck, this time the Louilla, a Panamanian cargo ship who ran aground in September 1981. Gordon Reef is situated squarely in the middle of the Straits of Tiran, the channel of sea that separates the Gulf of Aqaba from the famed Red Sea.
Similarly to Jackson Reef, a permanent mooring for liveaboard vessels can be found near a light beacon to the south, sheltered from prevailing winds and therefore the waves. This provides a very safe point from which to descend, and is also a suitable site for snorkelling. To the west of Gordon Reef lies an extremely deep channel, aiding navigation for the handful of large ships that use the Straits of Tiran.
What you can see
Liveaboard diving at Gordon Reef is perfect for those seeking a wide variety of species from great, big hammerhead sharks to tiny, brilliantly coloured nudibranchs. The very same feature also lends itself as an ideal reef for someone looking to refine their photography skills. There will be ample opportunity to take anything from high detailed macro shots, to landscape shots of fantastically vibrant coral gardens, with the occasional shark wondering into view! All this is made possible by having great visibility, upwards of 65 feet (20 m).
Upon descent, you will land close to The Amphitheatre at around 75 feet (23 m); a sandy depression thatís very often occupied by sharks who use the sheltered spot as a place to rest. Oceanic whitetip sharks, hammerhead sharks and even spotted eagle rays can be seen here.
Drifting to the west at a maximum depth of 115 feet (35 m), youíll swim along the Drop-off, beyond which is a sheer-vertical wall that descends to around 623 feet (190 m). As far as the eye can see, the wall is covered with huge, purple sea fans, complex branching fire corals, and shrub-like black corals, attracting an assortment of pelagic species, enticed by the prolific numbers of smaller reef fish.
Drifting northwards, further around the island, the depth begins to shallow over an area known as Barrels. Large metal drums have created an artificial reef in depths ranging from 65 feet (20 m) just beyond the Drop-off zone, to 33 feet (10 m) towards the northern Sandy Plateau. This reef attracts many other exciting species such as octopus and several varieties of moray eel, including giant moray eels, the beautiful, white snowflake eel and gold edged eels. Large schools of bannerfish, triggerfish, surgeon fish, and crown butterfly fish can also be seen, along with well-hidden scorpionfish and pairs of Red Sea clownfish defending their associated anemone. The incredibly large humphead wrasse, one of the largest reef fish in the world, can also be found swimming among several kinds of angelfish, parrotfish and sabre squirrelfish, the largest of the squirrelfish species.
The dive is often turned before reaching the eastern point to avoid any danger with strong currents, which brings you over the Sandy Plateau at 33 feet (10 m). This often gives people a truly satisfying end to a dive, with slightly warmer water, and a fantastic light show created by the rippling sea. Inquisitive green sea turtles can sometimes be found here, feeding on sea grass and algae brought by the currents, who sometimes follow the group all the way to the boat.
Getting to Gordon Reef is possible by Egyptian liveaboard which deliver a more leisurely voyage to The Straits of Tiran; the bigger liveaboards providing a smoother journey on what can be choppy water. Boats tend to set off from either Sharm el Sheikh or Hurghada. Conveniently, both ports are located within a stoneís throw from Sharm el Sheikh International Airport and Hurghada International Airport respectively.