The famous Straits of Tiran lie just 7km north-east of the harbour of Sharm el Sheikh and feature world class diving – the Red Sea at its best! The Straits are actually named after the Island of Tiran which is of volcanic origin and is a part of the African Trench, making this area of the Gulf of Aqaba, which is over 1000 meters deep, one of the deepest parts of the entire Red Sea. Four main reefs form the top of an underwater bridge that does not break the surface and offers, due to strong south-westerly currents, a huge amount of soft corals and big pelargic fish.

Strait of Tiran Reefs Sites

Jackson Reef

Location: the northernmost of four reefs extending down the centre of the strait of Tiran

Access: by local boat from Sharm El Sheikh or other ports

Conditions: as with all Tiran sites, strong currents are very real possibility

Average Depth: 20m (65ft)

Max. Depth: 40m (130ft+)

Average Visibility: 20m (65ft)

On the northern edge of the reef, the wreck of a grounded freighter, the lara, stands as a warning to shipping in the busy strait. Most of its hull has been salvaged for scrap, leaving only skeletal hulk. A fixed mooring exists at the southern end of the reef dives begin from the point and proceed generally northward along the east side of the reef current tends to run from the north, and generally picks up strength as you approach the point on the east side, most divers will want to make this the northern limit of their dive, and turn back to the south here.

Strong swimmers with good air consumption and experience currents can round the point , after which the current slackens, and continue their dive along the reef’s north edge this should only done with prior arrangements and with the help of your dive guide , and great care should be taken since divers have been swept off the reef here . Fish life is excellent. The strong current brings plenty of nutrients for reef and schooling fish, large schools of barracuda and jack fish are common here as are larger predators including several spices of sharks.

Woodhouse reef

Location: second from the north in the strait of Tiran

Access: local boat from Sharm El Sheikh Conditions: strong currents possible

Average Depth: 15m (50ft)

Max. Depth: 40m+ (130ft+)

Average Depth: 20m (65ft)

Laying between Jackson and Gordon reefs woodhouse ia a long, narrow reef running at an angle from northeast to southwest. From its shallow reef top, the reef drops at a sharp angle on all sides although it is less than vertical throughout the reef’s length, the angle steepens still further beyond 25m (80ft). Woodhouse is generally dived as a drift along the reef eastern side. This is usually moderate, but can pick up speed at certain phases of the moon, particularly toward the northern channel between woodhouse and Jackson. Care should be taken not to get pulled around the point here, as be swept off the reef into the main shipping lane.

Thomas reef

Location: second from the south of the strait of Tiran ref chain

Access: by local boat from Sharm El Sheikh or any other ports

Conditions: current can be strong

Average Depth: 20m (65ft)

Max. Depth: 50m (165ft)

Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

This site is on a generally steep sloping reef, which includes some plateau sections and a very deep canyon running along the reef’s southern section it is the smallest of the four Tiran reefs, and its position in the chain leaves it exposed to some vigorous currents Fish life is also rich, with greatest concentration in the shallows lyre tail and other groups grow to great size and many varieties of rabbit fish and wrasse congregate along the reef face, accompanied by box and buffer fish

Gordon Reef

Location: southernmost of the tiran reefs

Access: by local or live aboard boat from sharm el sheikh or any other ports

Conditions: as with all strait reefs, can be swept by current

Average depth: 15m (50ft)

Max. Depth: 35m+ (115ft+)

Average visibility: 20m (65ft)

Like Jackson to the north this reef is marked by the wreck of a large freighter, the loullia. At the southern end of the reef there is also light bacon to keep other ships off the reef. A permanent mooring point lies just offshore near the light.

The dive site encompasses a wide, oval, sloping patchy reef which extends to the south and east of the shallow circle reef top, rather like the sloping brim of a baseball cap. The reef composition is quite varied, with patchy sections, sand beds and fully fledged coral gardens. In the centre of the reef slope, a shark amphitheatre, a verity of shark species can be seen sleeping on the sandy bottom.

Fish life is not most profuse in the strait of tiran but there are some notable surprises including a huge moray eel. Tigerfish while the jacks swim moderately large schools.

The reef slope is suitable for relatively inexperienced divers and more experienced divers make the most of an incredible experience to be enjoyed in the shark amphitheatre.