Dive the Best Top 3 sites in this area: Big and Little Brothers, Daedalus Reef and Elphinstone.
In the early 90s the Salem Express, that operated as a passenger ferry, was based in the port of Safaga. On the night of December 15th 1991, the day of the disaster, it was returning from the port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, overloaded with vehicles and passengers returning from the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. The estimated number of passengers on board varies, as some reports indicate that on the boat traveled 578 passengers and 71 crew members, while other reports say the ship was carrying 1,600 people.
Near its final destination, Safaga, the Salem Express entered a midnight storm that became gale when the ship neared Hyndman Reef. The incredible force of the wind made the Salem Express hit the reef in the southeast creating a huge hole in the hull and driveway gates completely swamping the boat in seconds. In less than 30 minutes the ship sank to 89 feet deep, taking with it all who were in the inner compartments. Both the strength of the storm and the darkness of the night greatly difficulted the rescue efforts. The final death toll stood at 470.
The Brother Islands
are the pinnacles of two undersea mountains rising from the depths of the abyss and are located about 60 miles offshore. Part of the Marine Park Islands National Park, these islands offer stunning wall diving, with the walls being covered in soft corals and forests of gorgonians, creating a kaleidoscope of ever-changing colors. They attract a diverse array of marine species and large pelagic. Large tuna, jacks and snappers cruise in the blue, accompanied by occasional hammerheads, silvertips, silky and oceanic white tip sharks and mantas. Even the rare thresher shark can be found here. Sightings of the grey reef shark are almost guaranteed on the North and South Plateau of Small Brother.
For the wreck diver, the Aida II, an Egyptian supply vessel, and the Numidia, a cargo ship, lie on the walls of the Big Brother. Both are covered in a rich growth of soft and hard corals. Marine life includes a family of Napoleon wrasse and grey reef sharks.
also part of the Marine Park, is a large, oval reef with a lighthouse and is the furthest offshore reef in the Egyptian Red Sea. Its deep walls and drop-offs offer some of the most spectacular diving to be found. Daedalus has mountainous, pristine, hard coral formations. There is also a strong chance of spotting schooling hammerheads and grey reef sharks.
with its sheer walls covered in soft corals, offers a likely encounter with oceanic white tip sharks. Elphinstone Reef is one of the world’s most exciting diving destinations. A few small breakers are the only visible sign that just below the sea’s surface is the summit of a subterranean mountain, rich in colourful corals and fish species, and attracting the interest of hungry barracuda, dolphins and sharks.
It is two shark species in particular that attract divers looking for that unique once in a life-time close-quarters encounter with a big sea predator. The scarily curious oceanic whitetip and the oddly shaped hammerhead.