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Clownfish at the Caves, Red Sea dive site - Courtesy of Jenny Carlton-Smith

Turtle at the Caves, Red Sea dive site - Courtesy of Jenny Carlton-Smith

Scuba Diving in the Red Sea

Reader Reviews:

Dive Site: The Caves

Location: South Dahab, 2825.001N; 3427.364E

Description: Reef / 'caves' / seagrass area

Depth: 35 metres max (115 feet)

Visibility: 30 - 40 metres (100 - 130 feet)

Rating: ****

The Caves, located south of Dahab, is a slightly misleading name, as the 'cave' is in fact more of a large overhang. This is still, however, a good dive site for the unusual rock formations and variety of sealife. The dive starts by following the gentle sloping drop-off following the shore where the sandy bed provides a home for garden eels, pipefish and wrasse, which dive into the sand as you approach. The pinnacles provide an interesting site with sealife including turtles, morays, lionfish and Napoleon wrasse. The dive finishes up in the caves, which provide shelter for several dozing puffers.

The entrance to this site is from the shore, with a stride entry into the caves area. Entry and exit can be quite tricky due the waves crashing into the shore so be prepared to be an excellent buddy, and save some energy for getting out after!

Jenny Pickles, BSAC Dive Leader

The entry to the Caves is a giant stride off the ledge and into the deep blue. The Caves can only be dived in calm conditions as jumping off the ledge can be quite tricky when there are waves crashing on the shore. Once in the water the cave is directly below you and on both the left and right side you will find a shallow reef. The reef that circles the cave is just as attractive as the cave itself with both soft and hard corals being abundant. Here you will often spot large groupers, scorpionfish and morays and a tiger shark has been spotted on a number of occasions. Enter the cave and swim to the back then turn and watch the light shine through the swarms of anthias and bannerfish swimming upside down on the ceiling of the cave, a perfect spot for your safety stop!

Start the dive from the right to left or from the left to right. There are three caves in the rock below and in front of the great rock formation there is a huge sandy slope which contains a good amount of eels at 30m. After the exit from the first cave in the right direction you'll find the red anemone with its clownfish, which is one of few on Red Sea dive sites. Next back through the cleft or small canyon to reach the sandy slope with a depth of 30-35m.

You can then stay on the sandy slope and wait for a few minutes for the eels to appear. Dive around the sandy slope and get shallower reef to see the great gorgonians and the trigger, soft and hard coral, and many different species of marine life in that spot. Return with the rocky part of the wall again to enter the 2nd and 3rd caves to sea the glassfish group, stonefish, lionfish, many anemones and clownfish of all sizes. There are the big old ones to the tiny small juveniles, from the white yellow to the white black strips as well as multicoloured starfish, and the normal Red Sea marine life like great Napoleon, parrotfish, triggers and turtles due to sea grass in the sandy slope area. You have to dive at high tide.

Abd El Rahman El Mekkawi, DM PADI Diver | Contributed: 20/02/2008

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