Beneath the Waters of the Red Sea

By Bjurstrom, Erik | The Middle East, May 1997 | Go to article overview

Beneath the Waters of the Red Sea


Bjurstrom, Erik, The Middle East


Dr. Erik Bjurstrom, a Swedish doctor employed at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, explores the underwater diving possibilities of the Red Sea.

Rich in marine life, the warm waters washing the vast swathes of the Arabian peninsula offer excellent diving. But the Red Sea in particular, lapping the shores of Saudi Arabia, offers a diversity of beautiful and fascinating life forms that make it a natural destination for dive enthusiasts.

Divers have been attracted to the Red Sea ever since the success in the 1950s of films such as Under The Red Sea made by the Austrian divers Hans and Lottie Hass and by Jacques Cousteau's memorable The Silent World.

The Red Sea possesses the most perfect physical conditions for the growth of coral reefs, It also has ideal conditions for diving, namely stable weather, warm water and good visibility.

Different areas of the Red Sea are known for certain attractions. Visited by thousands of European holidaymakers, Sinai, at the head of the trench, is known for its vibrant coral reefs and the great diversity of moral fish.

Off Sudan, big mountains of coral shoot up from the depths through crystal-clear blue water to the surface, The balance of light end salinity here sees abundant coral growth with names such as Sanganeb Reef, Shaab Rumi and the Suakin archipelago being legendary among Red Sea connoisseurs.

Off the shores of Sudan you are certain to encounter all kinds of sharks including tigers, schools of hammerhead and the ponderous whaleshark. Big manta rays, often two metres across, also congregate off this coast. With the increasing popularity of dive tourism several Mediterranean charter boat companies now winter profitably in Port Sudan, offering scuba-diving trips.

The southern end of the Red Sea lies amid some of the most isolated territory in the world, with wild, barren countryside on both shares. Offshore, however, ties a rich and varied underwater world with a mixture of fish characteristic of cooler seas as well as warmer waters. …

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