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Diving Thomas Reef

Listed under Diving in Egypt.

  • Photo of Diving Thomas Reef
  • Photo of Diving Thomas Reef
  • Photo of Diving Thomas Reef
  • Photo of Diving Thomas Reef
  • Photo of Diving Thomas Reef
  • Photo of Diving Thomas Reef
  • Photo of Diving Thomas Reef
  • Photo of Diving Thomas Reef
Photo of Diving Thomas Reef
Photo by Jenny Fowler
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Thomas Reef rises steeply from the seabed, making a good habitat for corals and a hazard for shipping. I dived it in December on a dayboat from Sharm el Sheik. Water temperature was 25 C. I had a 7mm semi-dry suit and was warm enough. Some of our group used drysuits and were comfortable as they avoided windchill on this fairly windy day.

The boat dropped us to the south of the reef in a group of eight with a dive guide. The wall was covered in hard and soft corals. There was some current so the coral polyps were extended, feeding on nutrients in the water. We finned along close to the wall, round the east side of the reef. It was a very colourful dive, with clouds of orange anthias swimming over the corals. Visibility was good, varying from around 10 to 25 metres.

Along the reef wall, small fish were sheltering in between the branches of stony corals and larger hawkfish rested on top, one to each coral head. We were moving fairly quickly but I managed to photograph wrasse, parrotfish, banner fish, surgeon fish and a small triggerfish. The site is within Ras Mohammed National park so the environment is protected from fishing and there is plenty of marine life.

As we reached the north side of the reef we met the second group of divers from our boat, who had gone round the opposite way. Towards the west side there was a slight downcurrent. Our guide had told us that if the anthias are swimming upwards that's a sign of downcurrent so watch the computer and keep a steady depth.

Both groups gathered on the north side for the boat to pick us up. Making a slow ascent, for safety, gave us time to enjoy looking at the top 2-3metres of the reef where the colours show up really well.

The dayboat was comfortable with plenty of seating inside and a top deck for sunbathing. The crew served a great buffet lunch and tea or coffee during the surface interval, then there was a second dive on nearby Jackson Reef, where we saw a white tip shark out in the blue water. Dive briefings were clear and the guides were experienced in planning safely with regard to routes, currents, depth, dive time and air consumption. This trip was part of a package booked with Ocean College in Sharm el Sheik and we all felt it was good value for money.

Written by  Jenny Fowler.

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