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Sharm El-Sheikh

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Sharm El Sheikh is a popular tourist site located on the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, between the Gulf of Aqaba in the southeast and the Gulf of Suez in the southwest with the Red Sea to the south. It is known for its underwater activities, particularly scuba diving. Several coral reefs teeming with colorful fish are only a few feet from the shore.

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The Coral Bay HotelThe Coral Bay Hotel in the early morning hours. The hotel is part of a large complex that is beside a private bay, almost 2 kms wide, and some 11 kms north of Sharm el-Sheikh with a view of Tiran Island. The Red Sea and the protected United Nations Ras Mohamed Marine Natural Park are popular with divers and snorkelers. The Hotel has three small swimming pools close to the coral reef where you can swim among the colorful fish.

Blue Spotted StringrayBlue Spotted Stingray seen while scuba diving in the Near Garden. We went on two dives; one to the Near Garden and another to the Far Garden.

Angelfish and CoralAn Angelfish swims amidst the colorful Coral in the Gulf of Aqaba. There is pink soft coral (top middle) and some Gorgonian fan coral in the foreground.

Coral GrouperA Coral Grouper swims near some Net Fire Coral (Millepora dichotoma). Nearby is a small fish that may be an Anthias Squamipinnis.

Colorful Coral ClumpA colorful coral clump that we saw while scuba diving.

Giant ClamWrasse

While snorkeling at the Coral Bay Hotel, a wrasse became my best friend when I picked up a vacant giant clam shell.  An "occupied" Giant Clam (Tridacna maxima) shell is shown at right.

Sohal TangA red sea Sohal Tang (Acanthurus sohal). Notice the orange 'tang' on the caudal peduncle just in front of the tailfin and the fluorescent blue fringe on the edges of the fins. This fish is also called the Zebra Surgeon, Majestic tang, Majestic Surgeon, Zebra Tang, and Arabian Tang. It is found in the Red Sea, to the Arabian Gulf, and the Arabian Sea, sometimes in large aggregations, but usually in solitude. These Tangs commonly inhabit the reef plateau just before the slope, and are generally found in depths of less than 20 meters (65').

Lion fishLion fish seen while snorkeling at the Coral Bay Hotel. This brightly colored fish is usually found in coral reefs, especially in shallow waters hovering in caves or near crevices. They are among the few fish that will lay in wait for its prey and then engulf it with its very large mouth. Lion fish have venomous fin spines that can produce painful puncture wounds. Fatalities, however, are rare. The fish have elongated dorsal fin spines and enlarged pectoral fins and each species has a particular pattern of zebra like stripes.

Cornet fishA cornet fish seen while snorkeling at the Coral Bay Hotel. The cornet fish is a pipe-shaped fish up to 160cm long often seen hunting along the reef in flotillas, ready to dash in at great speed to grab unwary prey. It is not to be confused with the trumpetfish, which is much stubbier in appearance. The cornet fish, Fisttilariapetimba, belongs to the family Fistulariidae with the characteristic extremely long tube-like snout and a caudal fin with the middle rays drawn out into a long filament. 

Assorted FishAssorted fish including a Masked Butterfly Fish and several Sergeant Majors seen while scuba diving in the Gulf of Aqaba.

Royal (Regal) AngelfishA Royal (Regal) Angelfish (Pygoplites Diacanthus) seen in the Red Sea near Sharm el Sheikh. The royal angelfish belongs to the family Pomacanthidae and to the subspecies of angelfish. They are mostly yellow with vertical white bands edged with blue. Royal angels are found ranging widely over rich coral areas, ducking in and out of crevices. They grow to about 25-30 cm.

Scrawled FilefishA red sea Scrawled Filefish (Aluterus scripus). The scrawled filefish drifts over reefs, and is often seen in open water. Their name comes from the first dorsal spine, which locks into place and can only be released by the second dorsal spine. Filefish eat small fish and shrimp. The filefish are closely related to the triggerfish. Thanks to Joshua for tracking this fish down for me!  This poor little guy was unidentified for years!

Two-Band AnemonefishTwo-Band Anemonefish

Several Two-Band Anemonefish (Amphiprion Bicinctus), swim safely amongst the venomous anemone, including the  Bubble-Tipped Anemone (right) and the Leathery Sea Anemone (left). Anemonefish, aka clownfish, are a very specialized species of damselfish that flutter in and out of anemone's poison-tipped tentacles in a dance that would kill almost every other fish on the reef.  They live in symbiosis with the anemone in which they make their home.  They clean the anemone of unwanted matter in return for the protection from predators that they get from living amongst the anemone.


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All pictures are Copyright 1998 - 2001 Grisel Gonzalez

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