Place Category: Safaga
90 minutes to two hours outside Safaga, Middle Reef is a very large circular reef with dozens of small, shallow ergs on its southeast corner. On the north and west sides are coral gardens that drop off at approximately 30m. To the south is a lone erg standing in 20m water. On the east side a wide plateau stretches out as far as Hal-Hal nearly 500m away. It is covered by one of the most scenic hard-coral gardens in the Red Sea. It too has a drop-off, but a long way to the northeast of the main reef.
On the way out you are crossing the weaves so the boat will roll a lot. However, once out there, the mooring site is extremely sheltered. A current runs almost constantly from the north and varies from mild to howling.
You can drift dive north, west or east drop-offs (your best chance of seeing big fish) provided the sea is calm. Most people dive from the moorings, taking in the Brain Coral garden and east plateau. It is a labyrinth of sand patches and coral ridges. Be careful here. People have been lost by surfacing in open water above the plateau and being swept away, unseen, by the current. Carry a delayed SMB or better still a compass.
Middle Reef is dived more for its picturesque corals than for its fish life. However, all kinds of Parrotfish and Triggerfish can be seen in abundance. On the drop-offs, Tuna, Spanish Mackerel, Giant Trevallies and schooling Surgeonfish are usually seen, plus occasionally Grey Reefs, White Tips and, in late summer, Hammerheads. Near the moorings, you can find Turtles, Morays, a school of 300-400 juvenile Barracuda and a school of Black Snapper.