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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings
South from Port Sudan is probably some of the best diving in the World. The Suakin Archipelago is made up of a group of islands offering some of the most unforgettable dives you will ever make in the Red Sea.
Southern Sudan - The Suakin Archipelago (April to June)
Wingate Reef - Umbria - Shaab Ambar - Jumna - The Pinnacle - Suakin Archipelago
South from Port Sudan up to the Suakin Archipelago lies probably some of the best diving in the World. The Suakin Archipelago is made up of a group of islands offering some of the most unforgettable dives you will ever make in the Red Sea. A lot of the reefs within this constellation have not been dived, and journeys to the area are reminiscent of early exploratory diving.
The few dive sites mentioned here are resplendent of the Red Sea at its best with dazzling reefs and an underwater universe of dense soft and hard corals and unparalleled shark activity.
Shaab Ambar, an enormous horseshoe shaped reef with large azure lagoon. The outer walls sink into drop offs, peppered with openings and crevices and festooned in of colourful soft coral; here clouds of vibrant glass fish, swoop over huge groupers and moray eels that guard the crevices. Encounters with large pelagic fish like tuna, barracuda and sharks are quite common, with sightings of large tiger sharks hunting for jackfish. Sha ab Ambar is well worth diving at the beginning and the end of your trip.
The Admiralty Chart shows Sha'ab Ambar as a very long, slightly bent line of coral just below the surface. In reality, it is a very long slightly bent collection of broken reefs with a sheltered lagoon in the north. It has a north point, west and east walls, a south wall and a south eastern plateau. The majority of this five mile long coral formation is virgin territory. The west wall drops in a series of small plateaux and gentle slopes. Here the coral is outstanding with some of the best delicate hard coral formations that can be seen in the Red Sea. As with most coral reefs, the shallower parts exhibit the larger concentration of life. From 10 metres to almost the surface, the west wall is superb and improved by the topography, which turns from steps and slopes to indentations and small pinnacles. Each indent in the reef face becomes hover zone with resident small fish and regular larger visitors. Large groupers patrol the edges wait to pound on small wrasse or fusiliers; soldier fish hide in any recess they can find. Lipstick surgeon fish abound sometimes obscuring the whole coral wall.
The South west point - the big toe that Sha'ab Ambar sticks out into the oceanic Red Sea. If Sha'ab Rumi and Sanganeb to the north can have stunning plateaus, Ambar does not disappoint. Two metre high breakers pounded the shallow, 4m deep, plateau, but in front of that was another, deeper, horizontal coral formation. The plateau 24 metres beneath was sand, coral only visible at the rim where it rose up to form a crater-like look. Starting at the south side you head deep passing the plateau where you can see white-tip reef sharks resting on the sand. These small sharks have the ability to pump water across their gills, and thus can 'rest' on the bottom. Continuing along the rim of coral looking out into the blue you see grey reef sharks and awesome passages of Hammerheads, some very large and very close. Further on, the coral rim merges into the wall of the main reef signalling the place to turn. Here spotted eagle rays descend the reef wall and glide ballerina-like over the plateau. Swimming back at 17m above the plateau towards the wall that leads to the 4m plateau, the water ahead glistens with the swirling bodies of barracuda. Shoals of 50 or more individuals spiral from depths to near the surface making this the characteristic underwater photo in the Sudan. Spotted sweetlips sway in the surge, sometimes in immense shoals. Expect to encounter large hawksbill turtles off the top of the plateau