Despite having dive sites such as Shark Reef, Shark Observatory and Tiger Bay, Sharm el Sheikh is not typically renowned for its shark diving in comparison to areas like the Maldives or the Bahamas. However, does that mean that if you are a shark junkie you should rule Sharm out? In my opinion, definitely not!
Sharm was once THE spot to visit, which was close to Europe to see these graceful creatures, which is how the sites originally got their names. The great news is that the shark population in Sharm appears to be on the increase again, perhaps due to the recent years of fewer tourists and less boats (for reasons that everyone is aware…).
Here at Camel Dive Club & Hotel, one of our favourite sightings of 2019 so far, has to be the five sleeping white tip reef sharks huddled together in an overhang on Gordon Reef (the Straits of Tiran). Being one of the few sharks that does not have to keep swimming in order to keep breathing, it was a truly remarkable view.
Which other sites in Sharm should be on your wish list if you want to see sharks?
How about the Local Coral Gardens? In summer months, this small bay draws in the plankton thanks to the warmer water and currents, making the bay an ideal feeding area for the legendary, holy grail of scuba diving, the whaleshark. In 2018, this gentle giant was seen commonly grazing through and allowed divers a once in a lifetime encounter. With the daily third dive often held in this area, this is the reason why your guides tell you to “Never Skip the Third Dive!”
You must also add Jackson Reef and the Straits of Tiran in general to your list. These reefs are situated in the most northern area of Sharm el Sheikh where the water tends to be a degree cooler than the rest of Sharm. That one degree seems to make all the difference when it comes to sharks. 2018 provided divers at these sites with close up views of tiger sharks, hammerheads and thresher sharks.
Of course, do not forget Ras Mohamed National Park. This unique territory of water, which reaches depths of 750 metres and deeper, is an opportune habitat for sharks. The sheer walls and stunning visibility bring not only the spawning fish life but also encounters with mating grey reef sharks as our lucky divers at Camel got to experience last year.
We have to learn from the past when it comes to the fabulous elasmobranchs that we are now seeing and this needs to start now.
This means using every opportunity that we have to swim with a shark to educate ourselves and others that they are not a danger to us, as visitors to their underwater realm; providing that we play by the rules.
As was proved by the recent project in “The Brothers” area of Egypt, we need to stop feeding this apex predator and not interrupt their natural behavior.
It is out of necessity that we stop polluting our seas and oceans with plastics, chemicals, sewage and the like – not only so that we are still able to enjoy our regular dives with sharks, but also for the sake of humankind.
If there are no more sharks then there is no more reef, fish and ultimately us!
Inspired? Take a look at www.cameldive.com and book your trip!