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Liveaboard Diving in Ras Mohammed
What to Expect on A Ras Mohammed National Park Liveaboard
Liveaboards to the Ras Mohammed National Park in Egypt offer some of the most outstanding diving in the Red Sea. Covering an area of 135 km² over land and an amazing 345 km² of water the area has been protected since the 1980´s against fishing and any damage to the wildlife and corals. The Egyptian Environmental Agency declared this a marine reserve largely in reaction to dynamite fishing in the area. The resulting reefs in Ras Mohammed are some of the best in the Red Sea with hundreds of different species of hard and soft corals. The park also has the advantage of being only 20 km/ 12 miles along the coast from Sharm el Sheikh. A wide choice of Egyptian liveaboards to Ras Mohammed are available, from budget to luxury and something inbetween.
The park is named after the shape of the cliffside which according to folklore looks like a bearded head, resembling the prophet Mohammed. The reefs are spread all along the coastline of the park and vary in size from a few meters to several kilometres. The depth is varied but most of the reefs are shallow although in some areas dive sites can reach 40 meters/130 ft.
The wildlife in Ras Mohammed is incredibly rich and varied with thousands of different species of reef fish as well as sharks and turtles. The reefs themselves are home to over 200 different corals and the visibility can be up to 40 meters/130 ft. making Ras Mohammed a spectacular place to dive. Calm waters and shallow reefs also mean that the area is highly accessible even for less experienced divers.
Morning - Whether the boat is sailing overnight from another Northern dive site or leaving harbour at the crack of dawn from Sharm el Sheikh you should wake up already at Ras Mohammed. Liveaboards try to start early to have the reef to themselves before the day boats arrive later on. That means a 6 am start is fairly standard, with a quick snack and a briefing. Then it is straight to the dive deck to analyse Nitrox and set up the gear before either jumping straight in from the deck or from a tender boat.
Afternoon - After breakfast there will normally be a second dive before heading to another nearby dive site, four dives a day is normal but visitors should note that night diving is not permitted inside of marine parks in Egypt, including this one.
Ras Mohammed Underwater
With miles of tropical reefs, crystal clear water and a rainbow of colourful fish, Ras Mohammed represents everything people associate with diving in the Red Sea. Add to that the chance to see sharks and turtles and it is easy to see why this national park is one of the most popular sites in Egypt.
The jewel in the crown of the park is Shark & Yolanda reefs, which can be visited in one dive. They are both aptly named. Shark reef offers the chance to dive with grey and blacktip reef sharks as well as occasional hammerheads out in the blue. It is also home to huge numbers of reef fish and some larger pelagics such as tuna passing by.
Yolanda reef is named after the shipwreck which once sat on its South West. The wreck came off the reef in a storm and was rediscovered at 160 meters. Only the cargo remains in situ which has led it to be nicknamed the ´toilet wreck´ for the pile of porcelain toilet bowls on the sea bed.
There are also a number of other excellent sites with a great variety to choose from. Anemone city is a wonderful shallow dive around 12 meters/40 ft. humming with clownfish. The Shark Observatory and Jackfish alley are also great for shark lovers with plenty of white tip reef sharks and huge barracudas.
Top Tips for Ras Mohammed
- Be sure to wear adequate protection on your skin as there are a lot of fire corals and anemone around.
- The water temperature varies greatly between seasons so those going with their own equipment should know that the water can be 20 degrees/ 68 F in the winter.
- This area is very popular with day boats and snorkelers so an SMB can be useful when surfacing.
Getting to Ras Mohammed
Being that it is so close to Sharm el Sheikh and has ideal diving conditions Ras Mohammed is a very popular dive site. As with most high traffic sites a diving liveaboard offers the chance to hit the water and enjoy the reefs before everyone else has left port. Liveaboards that visit the national park usually depart from Sharm el Sheikh or Hurghada. Both of these resorts have their own international airports with direct flights to mainland Europe and connecting flights further afield.
Egyptian liveaboard itineraries that include diving in Ras Mohammed from Sharm will normally also visit other sites in this area such as The Straits of Tiran and the Thistlegorm shipwreck. Those leaving from Hurghada will usually stop at shipwrecks between the port and Ras Mohammed such as the Abu Nuhas as well as the Thistlegorm.
Most of the liveaboards will anchor and drop divers directly from the main boat where possible but in some areas a small skiff or tender will take them to the site. Smaller day boats will normally depart Sharm el Shiekh early in the morning, it takes between one and two hours to reach the park depending on which dive site you are visiting.
Ras Mohammed Diving Reviews
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