27° 21.155' N
34° 54.550' E
Qamar or "moon" in Arabic is the name of a solitary little
island bearing a lighthouse which lies about halfway to Shadwan,
9km (5.6 miles) north of Giftun and 16km (9.9 miles) from
island, approximately 400m (437 yards) in length, is positioned
at the southern tip of a very long reef stretching for a distance
of 2km (1.2 miles). Typically, lone reefs or islets tend to
attract pelagic fish, and this is clearly the case here. Pause
to look out to sea every now and then while diving, and you
might be rewarded with the sight of sharks, mantas, andeagle
rays cruising past the reef wall. The most popular diving
area lies to the southeast, where the island itself forms
a protective barrier against wind and waves. Begin your dive
opposite the lighthouse (A) . A steep wall descends to depths
of 35m (115 feet) here.
you proceed south to the mooring point, you will observe that
the sheer wall gradually becomes more of a slope. Many cracks
and overhangs mark the upper section of the reef, all adorned
with soft coral. Look out for the coral formation shaped exactly
like a rhino horn which protrudes from the reef wall (B) .
past it you will find a deep cave with openings in its ceiling
(C). This cave, home to lionfish and sweepers, is named Peter's
Cave in honor of the underwater cinematographer Peter Scoones.
use all of your film on the inhabitants of Peter's Cave: there
are other attractive photographic targets here. Make your
way to the deepest sections of the slope where you will still
be able to see and record specimens of black coral (D), a
species which has regrettably vanished from many corners of
the globe because of its popularity in the jewellery industry.
The actual coral slope is not terribly rich, so the large
coral patches scattered along it naturally enough serve to
focus the diver's attention. The area at the southern tip
of the reef has a very different atmosphere thanks to the
numerous coral formations found here. This is also your preferred
27° 21.550' N
33° 54.550' E
If seas are calm, dive the next reef in line: Sha'ab Umm Qamar.
This very vital little reef boasts a small wreck at depths
of 25m (82 feet). If conditions are unfavorable for diving,
proceed to the island of Umm Qamar itself, which lies just
2km (1.2 miles) away.
27° 11.030' N
33° 58.530' E
The best spot to anchor for the night in this region, or to
seek shelter from the strong northerly winds, lies off the
southern side of Little Giftun Island. Moor along the co-ordinates
listed above in the spacious lagoon formed here. The reef
wall just east of the mooring point is a highly attractive
27° 09.784' N
33° 59.046' E
Just to the north is a flat rocky island with a length of
1km (0.6 miles). A lone pinnacle called Erg Camel lies off
its eastern side. Its isolation in the stream of the current
produces very favorable conditions for coral growth, and many
fish species are attracted to it as if to a magnet.
27° 08.340' N
33° 57.196' E
One of the most attractive of these is the Sha'ab Abu Ramada
reef. It is located about 11km (6.8 miles) southeast of Hurghada,
and 3km (1.8 miles) southwest of its larger countepart: Abu
Ramada. This reef has earned the nickname "The Aquarium" thanks
to its enormous schools of fish. Even reef fish typically
found in pairs tend to cluster in large groups here. View
the many facets of Sha'ab Abu Ramada as you circle it in a
single dive. The reef is fairly flat, and is surrounded by
clean level sand at depths of 12-15m (40-49 feet). The moray
eels inhabiting the many caves on its western side make up
for the relative scarceness of other marine life. But fish
populations increase dramatically along the northern wall.
The enormous schools of bannerfish are particularly impressive,
although many other reef fish are well represented here. The
eastern section of the reef has a very different character.
Soft corals and rocky outcrops predominate. It is a short
way back to the mooring which lies to the center of the southern
side of the reef.
27° 18.700' N
33° 56.200' E
Careless Reef lies 5km (3.1 miles) north of Giftun, and rivals
The Aquarium in its popularity. But the splendid isolation
of Careless Reef may only be broken if weather conditions
are very mild, as it offers virtually no protection against
high seas. The extended community of moray eels which populate
this reef is largely responsible for its fame.