Place Category: Safaga
On the admiralty charts it’s known as Hyndeman Reef (that name is not used locally) and the name Shaab Sheer is attributed to Abu Kafan. These are fishermen’s names and are older than the admiralty itself. So forget the charts. Abu Kafan is Abu Kafan and Shaab Sheer is Shaab Sheer. The reef is a horseshoe shape over 1km long. It is an excellent anchorage with three excellent dive sites close at hand and 6 others within easy reach by zodiac. The illustration shows the east end of Shaab Sheer where three ergs form a channel with the main reef. Outside is a vast Brain Coral garden with a lunar atmosphere and in the three ergs arc some superb caves and grottoes.
The exposed north of the reef can get rough, but the south is always well protected. It’s almost a lagoon. The current can also run strong along this north side, splitting in the middle and running east and west. The west side is on the deep South Safaga Channel and tends to run strongest although the shallow channel between the three ergs and the east end of the reef can also get a little lively.
You have three choices: drift dive the north plateau and drop-off dive the west side from the moorings, or dive the east side and the brain coral garden. Leave the moorings and head out through the channel at 12m. Cross the brain coral garden on your way to the northern reef – the drop-off (30m) is too far away to be worth visiting but the plateau is very photogenic with schools of Bannerfish, Redfangs (Red-Tooth) and occasional Jacks. Turn back with enough air to spend time in the grottoes and swim-through’s of the ergs. The middle one is best.
This site is dived for its unique lunar landscape, not for its fish life. Nevertheless, you will still see all species of Triggerfish – Picasso, Redfang, Orange-striped, Titans and Yellowmargin Triggerfish. Bicolour Parrotfish, Scribbled Filefish and Slingjaw Wrasse are also abundant. On the northern plateau and drop-off Bream, Bigeye Emperors, Jacks, Black and Red Snappers are common. Spanish Mackerel, Tuna schools and Barracuda schools are also seen.