Egypt // Sinai //

The Tiran Strait

The headland of Ras Nasrani beyond Shark Bay marks the beginning of the Tiran Strait, where the waters of the Gulf of Suez flow into the deeper Gulf of Aqaba, swirling around the small islands and reefs of the Tiran archipelago. This was declared a protected area in 1992 and is now a popular spot for divers although there are no facilities (or admission charges); the only access is by boat from Sharm el-Maya or Shark Bay. The straits are not a destination for novice divers, however, as the sea can be extremely rough and chilling (bring high-calorie drinks and snacks to boost your energy). Sharks, manta rays, barracuda and Napoleon fish are typical of the deepwater sites around the islands of Tiran and Sanafir, though there are also shallow reefs like the Small Lagoon and Hushasha. The multitude of shipwrecks in the Gulf is due to treacherous reefs and currents, insurance fraud and Egypt’s blockade of the strait in the 1960s. The Jackson Reef has a spectacular seventy-metre drop-off and the wreck of the Lara to investigate, while the Gordon Reef boasts the hulk of the Lucila. Two notable sites at Ras Nasrani are the Light, with a forty-metre drop-off and pelagic fish; and the Point, with a dazzling array of reef fish.