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Scuba Diving in the Red Sea
Dive Site: The Canyon / the Fish Bowl
Location: North Dahab, 28°33.294N; 34°31.257E
Description: Reef / shore dive / technical dive site
Depth: 100 metres + (300 feet)
Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
Please note that the Fish Bowl has been closed on request from the National Parks. Exiting the Canyon through the Fish Bowl is not allowed.
Statement from the Nabq Protected Area Authorities:
Closing the Fish Bowl has not been an easy decision to make but after many surveys, mappings and visual reports, it has been found that the deterioration of the site has taken place and a closure decision should be taken to allow the fish bowl to recover and to be inhabited again by the marine creatures. It is well known to divers who have experienced this dive, even as recently as 10 years ago, that the exit/entry points now can be walked through [at an angle]. In the past it was difficult to safely exit or enter moving through a narrow gap. This loss of supporting material is unacceptable to the health of the structure and to the lifeforms it supports [glass fish no longer occupy this site]. As well, the greater risk of a diver being hurt from a collapsing piece goes beyond any argument to keep it open.
The site will be monitored and reports made to Protected Area Management Unit.
A fantastic dive for all levels. From a shore entry you can level off at about 30m along the gradual drop-off which continues for hundreds of metres. The canyon is a natural tunnel in the seabed which can be penetrated at several points along the rift. Once in the canyon, you can ascend up through and come out in the fish bowl, a natural cave teaming with glassfish. There is about space for six divers to rest on the sandy bed, whilst the glassfish swirl around you and cleaner wrasse will inspect masks and regs. Watch out for lionfish which guard the entrance and exit from the fish bowl.
Jenny Pickles, BSAC Dive Leader
Again a shore entry dive, made by walking into a sand lagoon and then swimming at 3 metres out over the sloping reef wall. Head northeast down to around 18 metres where you can drop into the canyon. The canyon is a reef tunnel with several entry points. It drops down to around 30 metres at the first entry point and you can follow this down to almost infinite depths. Once you have explored the canyon head back west where it turns vertical at the 30 metre mark. Divers then ascend one at a time up a chimney which finishes in a small cave at 15 metres. There are several small entry points from the chimney top, and this cave is home to shoals of glassfish and sweepers, as well as lionfish. Once back on the gently sloping reef wall you can head north for a while before turning and returning in the shallows. There are some beautiful coral formations and the waters are literally teeming with life. Cone coral and raspberry coral covers the upper slopes and there are Indian tubeworms, pufferfish & lionfish. A stunning dive.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
This is a great dive. We did the first swim through and immediately saw two scorpionfish. We also saw a large Napoleon wrasse, pufferfish, boxfish, lionfish, an octopus that changed colour from brown to white as we approached it and a spotted moray eel.
Anna Wright, Advanced Open Water
My favourite dive site in Dahab. Easy shore entry suitable for all levels. An abundance of marine life and the drop into the Canyon is wonderful. Take a camera as there are many types of fish and nudibranch along with coral pinnacles, and of course the canyon caves. Don't miss it if you dive in Dahab.
Mick Hatswell, MSD
The Canyon is one of the most popular dive sites in Dahab and an essential dive for all fanatics of caves and cavern diving. The Canyon is up to 10m deep and virtually closed over at the top. It snakes its way up from the depths, to emerge in a large glassfish-filled coral dome, the Fishbowl. After an easy shore entry, you cross a sandy lagoon that opens onto a gently sloping reef marked with coral heads. The amazing and eerie canyon soon comes into view. It has three main openings. At about 12m is the fishbowl. Below that is another large bowl, opening at about 20m. Deepest of all is a narrow exit at 52m. In between these openings the walls have grown together to virtually close over the top of the canyon, forming a tunnel. From the top it has the appearance of the fluted mouth of a clam shell. Descend into the Canyon at 20m and drop to the bottom which sits at around 30m. Make sure you stick to a depth well within your ability. Take a minute at bottom and enjoy the magnificent view, the light coming through the crack that forms the entry of the Canyon while you sit in semi-darkness, it is an amazing sight. From here you exit through the Fish Bowl. Finish the dive by swimming through a coral garden at about 8m where there are very good chances of finding the resident octopus.
I love this dive site so much, it is the best of all dives for me. I've been diving here for 13 years in which time it has deteriorated because no body takes care of it and because of the hotel. The hotel owner Hussin is a good man, I just ask how we can give him some facility to make the place good again.
I dived this site in Jul '08 and they've closed off the Fishbowl part to divers (not physically but you're not allowed to enter it). This is because the exhaled air was weakening the cavern roof. You can still dive the rest of the Canyon.
Simon Kay, PADI DM
Fantastic site, especially on mixed gas. You can follow the Canyon all the way through to the exit where it spits you out at 54m, then continue dropping down to 'Neptune's Chair' - looks like a giant throne made of rock at 73m. Behind this there is a cave, it goes back around 15-20m, with a max depth of 75m. Take a torch! It's a dead end so no need to lay line or anything.
Derek Watts, TDI Tmx | 28/06/2009
Great site for tek divers! Here is my video on 2 canyons ('Big' Canyon and 'Secret' Canyon). Sorry, the VO is in Russian.
Vadim Malysh | 02/10/09
Love it! Will be back after a few days to do it again! Lots of golden fish and some nice puffers. We even saw stingray. Look inside the rocks and you will see some moray eel... so keep your distance.
Luc | 23/11/2009
Oh my god this dive is the best by far, 40m metres into peace and tranquility, once inside the canyon you wait and observe your surroundings on your return you spot your bubbles coming through the top of the canyon, you can see much of the unspoiled corals and plenty marine life, I can’t wait to do this one again.
Heidi Marney | 28/04/2010
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