Place Category: Safaga
3-4 miles north of Ras Abu Soma, or 45 minutes by boat, is a prominent headland with the name Ras Umm Hesiwa. On its eastern side is a wide sloping plateau between 15 and 30m. To the north a long, deep tongue of reef stretches seawards starting at 25m and finally dropping off at 40m +.
The angle of the headland means, it gives very little protection from the waves, so you can only get here in calm weather. The current tends to come from the northwest, so most of the east plateau is current free. Only when you reach the corner will you feel it, like a slap in the face. This current howls across the tongue (or ridge), keeping it out of hounds most of the time.
This site is renowned for its extremely large and immaculate Table Corals, so start your dive along the plateau at about 20m. The drop-off is quite deep and nothing special, so give it a miss. It’s worth saving your air for a little sortie past the corner and down the ridge, though be carefully, not to be swept off. The shallow reef is quite interesting for your return journey. The southerly storms of ’96 gave it quite a pounding and large blocks of coral have been ripped off and scatter the slope.
As you head out across the plateau take a look under the odd Table Coral, they often shelter sleeping White Tip Sharks. There are also cleaning stations for some of the big Morays. Above the plateau are clouds of small Red Fang Triggerfish and close to the corner lives a school of Bannerfish and plenty of Boxfish. Its proximity to the open sea and its frequent strong currents mean Ras Umm Hesiwa has been the scene of many Shark sightings. Several reports of Thresher Sharks have come from here.