Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dives 17 & 18 – Elphinstone Reef


About 20kms south of Marsa Alam lies Elphinstone Reef, so called because it is named after the Admiral Charles Elphistone Fleming who mapped its 300 metre length.


Currents are usually quite strong along the

Assembling as a group

reef and particularly tricky at depth at the ends. Large pelagics are common at depths of 30m plus, the reef walls are sheer and the best side of the reef to dive depends on the time of day (east early in the day because it gets the sunlight, west later in the day) and both sides around mid-day.

This is our last diving day with only two dives and instead of the final dive being an easy routine bay dive, we are diving twice on the reef. The early morning dive is to be the whole of the east side and part of the west and the mid morning last dive is to be half of the east side and the whole of the west.

Heading for reef wall

Having entered from the rib, we head straight for a cave which is shallow


before descending down to 38 metres where

Shark sighted

we sight a Grey Reef Shark patrolling just


below us. For about five minutes, the shark puts up with our presence without complaint

Tail Left

but then starts to exhibit one of the signs of shark annoyance which is large movement of its tail from the left

Tail right

to the right.

The dive is about to turn into a deco dive because of the time we have spent at depth so ascent to shallower waters is sensible for more than one reason.

Once we have levelled out, along comes a turtle.

Here comes a turtle

Turtles seem to be single minded beasts  and continue along their planned course no matter who is in the way.

Turtle 2

And so this turtle heads straight for me

Turtle 3

and passes by close enough to see every detail

Turtle 4

of its beautiful shell.

Spot the Scorpion Fish!

Spot the Fish 1

On the reef wall there is a scorpion fish just waiting for lunch to pass by.

Spot the fish 2

It is so well camouflaged

Spot the fish 3

that you have to know it is there before you can see it.

Scorpion Fish

Scorpion fishes have a sharp spines coated with venomous mucus along their back and therefore one gives them a wide berth.

Sea Cucumber

Next we meet a rather nice looking Sea Cucumber which is munching whatever it can find on the coral

Nuddibranchs Eggs

wall and then two varieties of Nudibranch

Nudibranchs eggs

egg sacks

Nudibranch Eggs  

which to me seem quite surprising for such an animal.

Tight Shoal

Fish abound both in shoals



and on their own


Fish awaits

and of course we meet a number of

Fat Moray

Morays looking for lunch

Eel passes by


This large fan coral is a most unusual colour

Fan Coral on the wall 

and at the other end of the size spectrum

Clown Shrimp 

we find a Clown Shrimp.

As a last dive, this was fantastic with all of the types of sea creatures and coral life we could want to see.

Once back on the boat, it rapidly starts to

Deck drying

Deck Drying-1

resemble a divers bazaar with every spot being used to dry equipment before packing – the temperature is around 40C so it does not take too long.

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