Place Category: Safaga
Hal-Hal is a fisherman’s expression, meaning «restless sea» and its true, the sea is almost constantly choppy here. Two ergs push up from the edge of a plateau to about 3m short of the surface and offer no protection. They lie about 400m southeast of Middle Reef. On the inside (west), the plateau has 16m depth, whilst on the outside it drops to a wide ledge at 22-24m. This ledge has a drop-off about 80m cast which is vertical, if not overhanging and starts at 30m. Hal-Hal is also known as Shaab Quais (meaning ‘Nice Reef’) but then so is any reef in the Red Sea that your skipper has forgotten the name of.
You’ll need exceptional conditions to reach Hal-Hal and even then, nine times out of ten, the current will be too strong to even get in the water.
If you’re lucky enough to make a dive here, you’ll find the most vibrant, colourful, lively reef you’ve ever seen. The fish don’t sleep here, they constantly’ twist and turn in a game of eat or be eaten. The site is so compact, you can circle it 2-3 times at ascending depths, but don’t go with a plan – the current will make your mind up for you. Visit the drop-off to look for pelagics, but only if you’re very good on air and have a strong sense of direction.
The reef is a blaze of Soft Corals and Gorgonians, with a sizeable table or two. As far as fish life goes, you’ll see the normal stuff but tons of it. Leopard Groupers, Turtles, Goatfish, Scrolled Filefish, Unicornfish, Longnose Unicornfish and White Tip Sharks, to name a few. On the top of the ergs, Red-Mouth Groupers line up to snatch at the clouds of Anthias instead of their normal prey, Glassfish. A school of Bannerfish hugs close to the reef for protection. On the drop-off, you’ll see Snapper schools, Surgeonfish schools, schools of small Tuna, large Solitary Tuna and, at certain times of year, a school of Spanish Mackerel that stretches as far as the eye can see.