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Grunts at Gota Abu Ramada, Red Sea dive site
Eagle ray at Gota Abu Ramada, Red Sea dive site
Diver and sweetlip at Gota Abu Ramada, Red Sea dive site
Stonefish at Gota Abu Ramada, Red Sea dive site

Scuba Diving in the Red Sea

Dive Site: Gota Abu Ramada ('The Aquarium')

Location: Hurghada

Description: Wall dive

Depth: 100 metres (300 feet)

Visibility: 20 - 25 metres (65 - 80 feet)

Rating: ****

An excellent dive site if you are on a liveaboard as you can drop in at the far end of the reef a long way from all the day boats. The shallow reef has plenty of coral outcrops away from the main reef to explore around and there is an abundance of life wherever you look. Because of the shallow depth there is plenty of light making it an excellent dive for taking photos. There are a couple of eagle rays that have made this reef there home and are often come across by divers. Crocodilefish and stonefish are also something to look out for and underneath where the day boats moor there were some nesting triggerfish to steer clear of!

The try dives going on at this site led to plenty of amusement for us with one person being led around by a dive guide holding their pillar valve, doing what could only be described as doggy paddle through the water. Unfortunately we also saw a guide seating a try diver on a coral mound before swimming backwards to take their photo. The poor beginner was struggling to stay on the coral and I'm sure the coral disliked it even more.



This dive is also known as 'the Aquarium', as are several dive sites in the Red Sea, and with good reason. Many fish types are here, sweetlips, clownfish etc...I haven't seen try dives done here but they probably are! The guide was probably after a big tip from the Russian guest!!!

Ian Higgins



Gota Abu Ramada is a medium sized, oval-shaped reef with a shallow, flat, sandy seabed surrounding it. This is one of the most popular sites for your first dive from the day boats in Hurghada. The shallow depths (around 10 metres to the seabed at the base of the reef) make it an ideal spot for dive guides to bring divers they have not dived with before and give a picturesque dive whilst assessing dive capabilities for dive planning purposes later in the week. There is something here for all levels of diver, whilst giving an easy introduction to Red Sea diving. Don't be put off if you're an experienced diver (there's plenty of time for the deep walls). I've swum for 10 minutes, just a few inches above an adult eagle ray in just 8 metres of water here and recently (Aug 2006) saw 2 eagle rays, one baby, which apparently are current residents of the reef. The coral and fish life is vibrant in colour and great for photographers.

Current is not normally a consideration here, however if it is running it is likely to run from the north towards the south. Off the north east side of the reef is a separate erg, which is covered in orange fire coral and huge shoals of yellow snapper often congregate here. This is likely to be the furthest part of your dive if you are diving out and back from your boat along the east side of the reef, but it's well worth the swim. The north eastern side and north western side both have lovely coral gardens with dozens of small coral encrusted blocks out on the sand seabed, so don't just stay on the reef itself. Boats moor on the mooring ropes on the south side of the reef and then the dive plan is normally to dive either the west side or east side of the reef by doing an "out and back dive". If your boat does happen to have a zodiac or RIB then definitely get dropped on the north side where the coral and fish life is more pristine and then make a "one way dive" back to your boat. This site can get really busy, so it's a good idea to take a look up at your boat after entry to establish any unique characteristics for identifying it upon return. This one tough little reef - dived relentlessly 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year and often with up to 20 boats tied in, the continued quality of coral and diversity of marine life never ceases to amaze me. If there is a prime example of how the reefs of the Red Sea are standing up to the amount of divers visiting them, then this has got to be it. For all the diving and boat traffic, Gota Abu Ramada continues to thrive as a marine environment.

Ian Higgins



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