Red Sea Ras Mohammed – One Day, Two Dives!
I have been travelling to Egypt for many years, and Shark and Yolanda reef proves to be a spectacular dive every time. It is definitely one of the best dive sites in the Red Sea and personally my favorite.
Shark and Yolanda Reef consists of two pinnacles rising up from a depth of 800m, with the second pinnacle (Yolanda) being named after a freighter that hit the reef in 1980.
I can still remember my first dive in 1999 when we were lined up on the deck fully kitted up as the liveaboard reversed slowly towards the reef. Once the divemaster had given the signal to the skipper, it was 1,2,3 GO. We all shuffled towards the edge of the deck and dropped in the water one by one,like a group of penguins.
We descended slowly into the blue abyss with no sign of the reef or the ocean floor. I made sure to focus on the divemaster (him being my only point of reference) and swam after him as he headed in the direction of the reef. There was a silver flicker in the water and before I knew it we had swum into a massive school of snappers which where suspended off the sheer wall that drops off for hundreds of meters.
The reef was teeming with fish life including tuna, jackfish, batfish, schools of barracuda and a grey reef shark in the blue. As we glided around the reef we swam to the right onto the saddle in between the two pinnacles. The walls were lined with sea fans and millions of antheas darting around in the current. It was wonderful to explore the outcrops on this sandy area as we saw moray eels, turtles and stingrays buried in the sand.
Towards the end of the dive we came to the remains of the Yolanda wreck lying scattered on the ocean floor. The rubble included toilets, tiles and baths. Almost every diver had their photo taken sitting on a toilet seat before finally having to say good-bye to this amazing dive site and head back to the surface.