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Scuba Diving in the Red Sea
Dive Site: El Shugarat
Location: South Dahab, 28°21.359N; 34°26.395E
Description: Reef / boat dive / drop off
Depth: 10 - 30 metres (30 - 100 feet)
Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
El Shugurat is only normally accessible by boat, as apposed to shore diving and is an hour's boat ride south from Dahab. One of the most southerly sites the highlight of this dive is the field of huge gorgonian fan corals which densely cover the sloping coral wall. If you can, make your entry above a canyon at 25m which runs down the reef wall, then drop into the canyon and exit into the blue at around the 30m mark. As you turn left shoulder to the reef wall (north) you will come to the start of the gorgonian fan field. These fan corals are some of the largest and best examples I have seen anywhere in the Red Sea. Humphead Napoleon wrasse frequent the area cruising along in the top 15 metres. As you continue north the sloping gorgonian plateau rejoins the reef wall and the wall becomes vertical. You can either continue north, or if a current is running (likely to be north to south) turn and drift south. Spend plenty of time in the top few metres, making a long safety stop part of the dive. Brightly coloured strawberry corals and small fish dance in the light rays that penetrate from the surface.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
A very nice site, mainly dived by boat (if you are bored of shore diving) and the coral remains intact. You have different ways to do the dive depending on the current. Huge gorgonians, nice canyon and nudibranchs are common there.
El Shugarat is also known as 'Little Trees' in Arabic, and you will see why. This dive is one you can only make by boat. Descend down and swim along a beautiful reef wall until you come to a sandy bottom. On the deep side of the sandy bottom at around 16m you will find an impressive open canyon. When you descend between the walls of the canyon, at around 30m two big black corals will come into view on each side, take time to look for the long nose hawkfish. Exit the canyon to the left and you will swim in to a virtual forest of gorgonian fan corals. As you are flying over this site you will see them scattered down the reef wall out of sight and into the deep. As you slowly ascend while still soaring over this forest you will return back to the reef table then enter one of the most beautiful lagoons in Dahab. You can see giant table corals and all kinds of life in and around this lagoon. Once returned to the reef wall you see the last set of gorgonians and turning back into the lagoon in search for nudibranchs, blue spotted rays, crocodilefish and many other species. On the end of the lagoon you reach the canyon so take time to throw a last look inside and to get ready for the safety stop.
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