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Scuba Diving in Sharm El Sheikh, Red Sea
Dive Site: Thomas Reef
Location: Straits of Tiran
Description: Offshore reef
Depth: 0 - 50 metres (0 - 165 feet)
Visibility: 25 - 35 metres (80 - 115 feet)
It is possible to dive the whole of this reef if your air consumption is good and the currents are kind. Can be a challenging dive as there are currents and counter-currents here with it being sandwich between Gordon and Woodhouse Reefs. At 35 m there is a canyon but that's another story for tekkies. When the current picks up just let it take you because the counter-current will hit and slow you from 2 or 3 knots to a dead stop. Fin hard and you will get through it for an exhilarating dive. Keep close to the reef and shallow for the last part of the dive around the back and surface for you pick up.
Ian Higgins, Dive Guide
The canyon is indeed a challenge and not recommended for those without deep or technical training. The three "arches" are at depths of 44, 51 and 61 meters. During my dive to the 51 meter arch I found myself on ascent with serious symptoms of nitrogen narcosis and a feeling of "I am not going to make it"!! I am revisiting Thomas Canyon next month, only this time will be prepared with twin set and a clear head!!
Paul Rosendale, PADI Divemaster
I guided for Camel from 1994 until 1998 and this was the best dive in the Gulf of Aqaba. We used to dive the Canyon on Thomas to 60m on air when we had days off. But we were diving a lot - 18 to 24 dives per week. Yes guiding for bucks! Very peaceful site in the summer, I have also seen more hammerheads on Thomas than anywhere else north of Naama Bay.
I dived Thomas reef last week. An excellent site and the underwater canyon is great... did the first arch at 44m. Brilliant!!
Anthony Carnell, MSDT 485985 | 08/04/2009
The day after I we dived there a container ship has run aground on the reef. The accident happened on New Years Eve. The ship laden with containers and owned by the China Shipping Company was coming down the Gulf of Aqaba. Due to a navigational error (possibly the result of confusion between the captain and the coastguard) the ship has gone onto the western side of the reef. Due to the currents it will be a very difficult job to refloat the container ship or salvage the containers. No dive boats or divers were luckily involved in the incident.
Kevin McIlwee | 04/01/2010
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