Connect with us
background

Blogs

Top Five Snorkeling Sites in Sharm el Sheikh

Published

on

One of the best things about Sharm el Sheikh is that not only is it a short flight from Europe and the UK, it also boasts some of the best marine life in the world combined with 30 metre plus visibility. Sharm is already well known for top-class diving and year-round sunshine but there is also a plethora of sites that are ideal for snorkeling.

Water temperatures in Sharm seldom drop below 22 degrees Celsius even during the coldest winter months (January, February, and March). This allows you to enjoy your snorkeling in a rash vest and shorts or a thin wetsuit at any time of year.

With over 1200 species of fish and 250 different species of hard and soft coral and the majority of the reefs starting at only half a metre under the surface, this jewel will not disappoint even the most experienced snorkeler. Furthermore, as most snorkeling is guided you will not feel like a second-class citizen when compared to divers.

Without further ado, let’s jump straight in and discover five of the best sites for you to snorkel during your next visit to Sharm el Sheikh.

1) Jackfish Alley

Experience level: Medium

This reef system in Ras Mohamed National Park explodes with colour as you place your face in the water. It is one of the only areas in Sharm where you can clearly see the hard Porites corals from the surface ― which look like sacks of potatoes covered in velvet.

It is also possible to view a barracuda cleaning station at a depth of only five metres ― which is fascinating to watch as the smaller cleaner wrasse work their way in and out of this substantial fish’s mouth and gills.

As you work your way along, you are greeted by carpets of soft pink corals that look just like a duvet cover. In the sandy alley itself, it is sometimes possible to catch a glimpse of free-swimming moray eels, eagle rays, white tip reef sharks, and of course, jackfish. The current strength in this area can be reasonably strong and usually runs parallel to the reef. However, I would strongly recommend staying with the guide to see all the best features.

2) Gordon Reef

Experience level: Medium

Located in the Straits of Tiran protected area at the beginning of the Gulf of Aqaba, this is a fantastic place if you adore a reef that is just plain pretty. The coral begins at about half a metre under the surface and gently slopes down to around five metres where it is met by a white sand bottom that reflects the sunlight, before progressing to the outer, deeper reef at around 18 metres.

There are many of the Red Sea usual suspects here, such as masked butterfly fish, yellow bar angelfish, and even crocodile fish basking in the sunny sandy areas. If you are lucky, you may even spot one of the resident hawksbill turtles.

Currents on this reef can be strong at certain times of the tide, so be sure to follow your guide’s instructions for a safe and enjoyable experience.

3) Ras Katy

Experience level: Medium

This snorkel spot never seems to receive the recognition that it deserves, with most water lovers requesting to visit the Straits of Tiran or Ras Mohamed instead. However, this site is definitely one that you shouldn’t miss. It is one of the locations where you can jump in and see anything from fully grown curious eagle rays to scalloped hammerhead sharks.

Whilst it can be accessed from the shore, the steps are steep and the gates are sometimes locked ― so better not to chance it and visit by boat instead. Another bonus of reaching this area by boat is that you can enjoy a drift snorkel ― allowing you to cover a larger distance and perhaps see the schooling Red Sea bannerfish.

Similarly, to Gordon, the reef plate starts at only half a meter before progressing down to a sandy area which leads to deeper corals. Once again current strength can be strong, especially when reaching the corner.

4) Ras Nasrani

Experience level: Medium

As one of the most beautiful areas, this is like three sites rolled into one and the first time I ever snorkeled here, it reminded me of a magical wonderland. Typically done with the reef on your left as a drift snorkel from the boat, it starts with a drop-off, then a sandy area and finishes with a magnificent coral plateau.

As you swim along the wall, there is a good chance to spot large-sized napoleons, tuna, and trevally jackfish. In the sandy patch, you are almost guaranteed a snoozing pufferfish or a blue-spotted stingray. When you finally reach the flatter coral pasture, there are stunning gorgonian sea fans to enjoy.

As this snorkel starts in a sheltered bay, current in this area is minimal until you reach the corner. It is also usually sheltered from any wind. If you are fortunate enough to visit between May and September, plankton tends to get funnelled into this area ― meaning that there is also a good chance of spotting manta rays and whalesharks.

5) Na’ama Bay

Experience level: Easy

If boats are not your bag, or you are looking for a half-day of in water fun, then Na’ama Bay itself will not disappoint. Although many of the hotels have private beaches in this area, there are some public beaches where you can pay for day use ― giving you access to a sunbed and the sea.

This area is slightly different from the other reefs in this top five as it features one of the only sandy entrances to the Red Sea. Once you have simply walked into the water, you are greeted by small patch corals. One of the best things about this less publicised location is it acts as a nursery to a whole range of creatures ― including many fish that you will not see elsewhere.

Juvenile fish life can be found here in abundance, including eagle rays, network pipefish, angelfish, snapper, and tobies. Of course, if you look hard enough you still have car-sized napoleons, lionfish, and anemone fish as well.

There is rarely any current in this area, and as it is accessed from the shore, it is usually an unguided swim. There can be some boat traffic so if you are snorkeling with only a buddy, make sure to stick to the marked off snorkel and swim zones.

Continue Reading
Comments

Blogs

Ten Sensational Spots to Snorkel or Learn to Dive!

Published

on

A guest blog by PADI

Snorkeling has long been a beloved way to explore the underwater world. With vibrant coral gardens, large schools of fish and a vast underwater topography to explore, snorkel excursions are a great way to experience both your own backyard and create memorable holiday memories to last a lifetime.

But often these sensational snorkel spots are an equally a great place to make your first ocean dives. Whether you participate in a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience or take the PADI Open Water Diver course to become a certified diver, you’ll be guided by a trained PADI® Professional who will be looking out for you the entire time as you take your first breaths under the ocean. This experience allows you to have an intimate connection with the location you are exploring as, oftentimes, you will have the opportunity to see even more marine life than you would from the surface of the water.

To help you plan your next ocean adventure— whether it be down the road or on your next overseas adventure (whenever that may be!) —we have rounded up ten sensational spots where you can both snorkel and learn to scuba dive!

  1. Kohala Coast, Kaanapali, Maui, USA

Not only does Hawaii come with beautiful scenery above water, but the island chain equally boasts some of the most incredible underwater landscapes in America. One of the best places to experience this is along the Kohala Coast in Kaanapali, Maui—whose calm and clear waters make it a favorite spot amongst snorkelers. But it makes for an equally exceptional scuba experience, where you will get to do either do a boat or shore dive and get amongst the turtles, tropical fish and dramatic underwater landscapes.  

Photo Credit: PADI

  1. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Be delighted by one of Australia’s most beloved underwater gems—the Great Barrier Reef. Featuring a rainbow of colorful coral gardens and hundreds of tropical fish species, there is plenty to explore here. It is an ideal spot for groups that want varied experiences as tour operators can cater for those that want to snorkel, those that want to learn to dive and those that are already PADI certified. And when you’re not in the water you will get an enriching reef talk where the experts, who will take you though ways in which you can play a part in conserving the reef system.

  1. Sharks Bay, Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt

For those that don’t want to spend the whole day out on a boat but still want to have a memorable experience on the Red Sea, Sharks Bay in Sharm-El-Sheikh is a great option. With stunning house reefs and wrecks in a marine protected area, the colorful underwater experience is beloved by both those that snorkel or do a discover scuba through the area. The boat ride to the house reef is a short one and the memories will certainly last you a lifetime.

Photo Credit: PADI

  1. Poor Knights Island, Northland, New Zealand

Have the perfect day out at one of New Zealand’s first marine reserves. Dubbed by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, Poor Knights Island offers something for everyone. You can easily spend hours swimming through the dense kelp forests and archways full of fish! And in between snorkels you can sign yourself up for a PADI Discover Scuba® Diving experience, where the chances are high you will encounter nudibranchs, long-tailed stingrays, devil rays, sea turtles and even an occasional orca!

  1. Stingray City, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

With unique marine life and spectacular underwater topography, Stingray City in Grand Cayman is a stunning spot to explore the ocean. It is famous for the large of stingrays that come through in search of a meal and offers water enthusiasts a special encounter with them. Those lucky enough may even get a kiss on the lips from these friendly sea creatures. Whether you are snorkeling or doing a discover scuba experience here, make sure you also have your camera in hand, as this spot is extremely photogenic and you’ll want a keepsake of you and your new underwater friends.

Photo Credit: PADI

  1. Great Astrolabe Reef, Kadavu, Fiji

One of the most intimate places to snorkel and also have your first diving experience is in the Great Astrolabe Reef. A few seconds underwater and you will quickly discover why Fiji is regarded as the soft coral capital of the world. It is a great spot to have your “Finding Nemo” moment and chances are high that you will also see manta rays and resident white tip reef sharks while you’re in the crystal-clear warm waters. With only small groups exploring the reef at a time, it is the perfect spot to have a special moment amidst the pristine nature.

  1. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, Florida, USA

With this state fully re-open for business (at the time of writing), ditch the crowded amusement parks and beaches for Florida’s underwater park at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which was the first of its kind in America! What makes this an equally great place to snorkel and learn to dive are the shallow waters that have an immense landscape for you to explore. You’ll see abundant sea life with over 650 types of fish, 40 types of living coral the famed 12-foot submerged statue of Jesus.

  1. The Blue Hole, Gozo, Malta

Whether you are snorkeling or diving for the first time in Malta, taking a giant stride into their blue hole is a must-do bucket list item. It’s no surprise this is a favorite spot amongst ocean lovers, as Jacques Cousteau rated this spot one of the best in all of Europe. Be amazed as you watch the natural light rays bounce off the beautiful reef—illuminating the unique topography of the area. For those that try a dive here, it will certainly set standards high for future dives to come!

Photo Credit: Manuel Bustelo

  1. Robberg Nature Reserve, Plettenburg Bay, South Africa

What’s cooler than snorkeling with seals? Diving with them! Plettenburg Bay in the Western Cape is home to some of the friendliest seals who are keen to play all day long. Sign up to snorkel with them for the day during an ocean excursion or do a discover scuba experience— where you learn to dive in the pool first and then head to the ocean to find your furry friends! Either way, it is only a short boat ride out to find the seals, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to play with them in their natural habitat.

  1. Crag-y-Mor, Wales, United Kingdom

Explore the cooler (literally) places in Wales by going on an underwater snorkeling or diving adventure! There are both half-day snorkeling and diving trips that give you a new perspective of the coastline—where both seals and historical ruins are in abundance. While there are magical marine life encounters in these waters all year long, summer offers a chance to see the water sparkle from both moon and blue jellyfish. And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll swim passed walls that are covered in red sea squirts!

Photo Credit: PADI

Ready to dive in? Visit padi.com or contact a PADI Dive Center or Resort to start planning your snorkel or scuba trip!

Continue Reading

Blogs

Photo Gallery: Snorkeling in Abaco in The Bahamas

Published

on

Abaco in The Bahamas, has a lot to offer both keen snorkelers and divers, with beautiful coral reefs, historic wrecks, stunning caves as well as plenty of marine life (including their own swimming pigs). All this in clear, blue, warm, water surrounding a tropical Caribbean paradise.

Just after our visit Abaco was hit by a powerful hurricane that caused devastation. As the islanders were recovering from this the COVID19 pandemic caused travel chaos, but now, after an incredibly challenging time, Abaco is getting back on its feet and it is will worth visiting.

We spent a day out snorkeling with Brendal’s Dive Centre, based on Green Turtle Cay, and got to enjoy encounters with swimming pigs, as well as Nurse Sharks, sea turtles and rays swimming over a healthy sea grass habitat.

For more information about snorkeling in The Bahamas, visit the tourism website by clicking here.

Accommodation: Bluff House

Snorkeling: Brendal’s Dive Centre

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Competitions

Facebook Feed

Facebook Pagelike Widget

Popular