This dive site covers the south side of the bay in Dahab and is the house reef for Deep Blue Divers. Enter into the shallow sandy area which is good for confined sessions. After this it slopes down into a seagrass area to a depth of about 12m featuring a picturesque leathery anemone. Heading south at about 20m you will find some huge coral formations where you can find a potato grouper. At around 30m there is a little swim-through. Shallow up to find some big healthy table corals, and return towards the shore along a nice coral wall until you hit the seagrass again.
Lighthouse is a very popular dive site in Dahab; it’s perfect for teaching all levels, from open water to technical. As the Lighthouse is a site which has one of the easiest entries and exits and it is always sheltered from the wind, diving here is always possible. As you step in the water you will find a shallow sandy area that slowly drops off into a large grassy slope. Look out for seahorses and pegasus seamoths that generally occur in pairs. There is also a good chance to find the rare anglerfish.
On the left site the reef begins. The reef wall is similar to many that you will find in Dahab, it is common to see unicornfish and a small school or two of bar seabream. The reef wall is scattered over numerous sandy patches with enormous pinnacles rising from all directions, which disappear into the deep. Follow the reef wall and cruise over and between these pinnacles until you reach the saddle. Here you can always find some scorpion and crocodilefish and if you are lucky you might meet a stonefish.
Cross the saddle and enter a coral garden that will end with a very large gorgonian fan coral. Swim around the last pinnacle and come back towards the reef wall where you will slowly ascend to the small sandy lagoon at around 5m. At night you will find Spanish dancers, anemone crabs, nudibranchs, octopus and moray eels.
Entry to this dive site is made by walking across the reef top lagoon and then either dropping in over the top of the reef, or entering through one of the holes in the reef and swimming through. There are some lovely coral formations in and amongst the pinnacles. Look for blue spotted rays hiding under the coral whilst you are weaving through the pinnacles. It is also common to see shoals of blackfin barracuda and even the odd lone great barracuda. This is a very scenic site and ideal for a long second or third dive of the day – perfect for photographs. Diving this site can be confusing as there are so many different routes to take.
Eel Garden takes its name from the countless garden eels that carpet the sea floor not far from the entry point of the dive. After walking over the reef plate to the entry spot which is a nine metre canyon, it then broadens into a large sandy area that slopes down gradually. After diving along a jutting reef that lies perpendicular to the main reef the eels slowly come into view, waving to and fro in the current like synchronized swimmers who vanish back into the sand as you approach. Descend to about 20m where you will find a nearly flat section of reef with coral boulders and several table corals. It is quite common to find a thick congregation of barracudas regularly patrolling the area. On your way back at around 5 and 10m you will see healthy, wide range variety of both soft and hard corals and look out here for the rare seagrass ghost pipefish.
The Canyon is one of the most popular dive sites in Dahab and an essential dive for all fanatics of caves and cavern diving. The Canyon is up to 10m deep and virtually closed over at the top. It snakes its way up from the depths, to emerge in a large glassfish-filled coral dome, the Fishbowl. After an easy shore entry, you cross a sandy lagoon that opens onto a gently sloping reef marked with coral heads. The amazing and eerie canyon soon comes into view. It has three main openings.
At about 12m is the fishbowl. Below that is another large bowl, opening at about 20m. Deepest of all is a narrow exit at 52m. In between these openings the walls have grown together to virtually close over the top of the canyon, forming a tunnel. From the top it has the appearance of the fluted mouth of a clam shell. Descend into the Canyon at 20m and drop to the bottom which sits at around 30m.
Make sure you stick to a depth well within your ability. Take a minute at bottom and enjoy the magnificent view, the light coming through the crack that forms the entry of the Canyon while you sit in semi-darkness, it is an amazing sight. Finish the dive by swimming through a coral garden at about 8m where there are very good chances of finding the resident octopus.
Blue Hole is one of Dahab’s most famous dive sites. Located about thirty minutes jeep ride from Dahab, it is accessible from shore with entry into the blue water just a few meters from the rocky shoreline. Bedouin type facilities surround the main entry / exit points, with toilets, seating, food and drinks available. Whilst entry into the Blue Hole pool is one option, quite a nice alternative is to make a short walk to the north, along the rocky coastal path and enter through a gap in the shoreline rocks.
This is done one diver at a time. Divers can then drop down an enclosed chimney in the reef exiting at 30 meters or so onto the sheer wall. The reef is near vertical at this point and as you head south (right shoulder to the reef) you’ll come around an outcrop which makes for some fantastic silhouette photographs looking up towards the sunlight. The reef wall is home to lots of clownfish anemones and the blue backdrop makes a great viewing point for trevallies, jacks, barracuda and possibly white-tip and grey reef sharks.
As you travel south and ascend you will come to a colourful hard coral slope at around 10 metres, which leads up and over at 6 metres into the blue hole pool. It is best to spend most of the dive on the outside of the reef as the inside pool has little in the way of coral. Use your safety stop to either swim across the pool or around the edge (left shoulder to reef) until you reach the small wooden jetty and exit. Currents can be strong, usually north to south, on the outside of the reef so the northern entry point is often a good option, then drifting down to the pool with the current. Take care not to miss your exit, although if this does happen simply find a safe exit further down the shoreline and be prepared for a walk in full kit.
Lionfish Rock is located in the south of Dahab. It is the first dive site in the Southern Oasis and can only be dived in calm conditions. Entry is over a slope of small stones to a unique dive for Dahab. Descend and cross a large seagrass area, which has small pinnacles scattered across the clearing. Swim slowly around the blocks and be amazed at the amount of marine life; you can find masses of red tooth triggers, cleaner shrimps, morays, nudibranchs and as the name suggests plenty of lionfish. Descend a little further at you will reach a beautiful coral block at 5 metres. Circling the area you will drift through anthias, anemonefish and giant morays. At 18 metres go to the right and you will come to a group of blocks known as ‘the Lionfish Rock’ where you will find numerous lionfish floating. Turn back and ascend to the 5-metre block where you can complete your safety stop while watching the glassfish, flatworms and if you are lucky you can see turtles or the occasional eagle ray.
Golden Blocks is a mix between coral gardens and sandy areas with almost all coral species represented. It has a coral slope with three sandy alleys in it. The first one starts at 10m and drops down to 30 – 40m. Here lies Dahab’s only real wreck, a paddle boat at 20m. The second slope is like a small canyon with a beautiful little island of corals. At the third slope you will find an impressive gorgonian fan at 22m and beside it is a small cave. Shallower you have sandy areas with the ‘Golden Blocks’. These are large coral blocks that go from 10m to the surface and are covered with anthias. Also in the shallower part you have beautiful table corals and small coral blocks where there is always a good chance to find big groupers or colourful nudibranchs. There have also been sightings of manta rays in this area. This site can also be recommended to do drift dives towards Moray Garden.
Umm Sid features abundant fish life and a variety of reef structures which are all in exceptional condition as the site was not dived as frequently in the past as others in Dahab. Entry is through a wide corridor carved into a steeply sloping reef. Dive around and beneath a massive coral tongue until you reach a sandy slope inhabited by garden eels. Follow the slope down into a beautiful coral garden, for advanced divers descend down to 30 metres and view the spectacular giant gorgonians. Here you can spot small longnose hawkfish. Ascend up to 18 metres and end the dive by a slow excursion over the table corals and along a reef wall which is covered in soft corals and anthias, look closely and spot the number of nudibranchs of all varieties.
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!