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Dive Site | Jackson Reef

The reefs in th Straits of Tiran make exhilarating dives and are easily accessible from Sharm El Sheikh

Jackson is the most northerly of the four reefs in the Straits of Tiran. The straits are a busy shipping lane and several ships have come to grief on these shallow reefs – the Lara, a Cypriot cargo ship, ran into Jackson in 1981 and its rusting hulk can still be seen sitting on top of the reef.

There are permanent boat moorings on the south side of Jackson, which is calmer than the northern side. Our crew set up ropes leading
from the boat to the reef, to make it a little easier to swim to the dive site. Where we joined the reef, it was a steep wall, dotted with soft and hard corals much like Thomas; further along Jackson, the underwater topography levels out to a gentle slope.

At about 28m, there is a rare red anemone. Popular with photographers, these unusual anemones still appear red even in deep water. The reef also has a few large fan corals here. If you want to photograph the anemones, then it’s worth dropping down to 28m, but I found there was more to see in the shallower coral gardens.

This site is one of the best coral gardens in this area of the Red Sea. The clouds of redtooth triggerfish, rising and falling from the coral heads, are particularly picturesque and there was little current on our dive, so we enjoyed some macro diving, peering into nooks in search of critters. Classic Red Sea marine life can be found here, including bright orange anthias, lionfish, cornetfish, butterflyfish and anemonefish. The coral garden is shallow, between 5m and 10m deep, so we had plenty of bottom time to see it all.

On all the Straits of Tiran reefs, it’s worth keeping one eye on the blue. Pelagic species such as tuna, barracuda and jackfish are frequently spotted here, and Jackson is also known for sightings of scalloped hammerhead sharks. You’re most likely to see them on the north side of the reef. We weren’t lucky enough to see them – though a couple of tuna swam leisurely past – but the prettiness of the coral garden meant we weren’t disappointed when we finally, reluctantly, dragged ourselves back on board the boat.



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