If you’re looking to go off the beaten path a bit while diving the Red Sea, venture south to the area around Marsa Alam for terrific results.

Fury Shoals is, despite its somewhat ominous name, a very pleasant area. It’s not so much a single reef as a system of reefs, extending from quite near the coast a good distance into the Red Sea, so there are dive sites catering to everything from fairly new to very advanced divers. Typical depth ranges from 30 to about 120 feet, though there are deeper sites for those who are into tech diving.

Among the system’s reefs, divers can find shallow, sheltered dives, wall diving along sheer drop-offs, fast drifts and even a few caves and wrecks. The area is also a good place to see hammerhead sharks.

The size of the reef system also means that there are dive sites suitable for shore diving, day-boat diving and liveaboards. Because it’s so far south, Fury Shoals hasn’t seen the same development as the areas further north, either onshore or underwater. There are fewer hotels and resorts, and nearby towns are quieter, offering a limited selection of bars and cafés. Underwater, it means that reefs are generally in much better condition than up north, with corals in many locations as close to pristine as you’ll find pretty much anywhere in the world.

The name of the system, Fury Shoals, stems from the fact that this part of Egypt can be quite windy, which can drive up the waves around the reef and make some dive sites inaccessible. However, with the number of sites available, it’s almost always possible to find a sheltered site, regardless of wind direction.

Air temperatures can be quite high in the summer, with highs of up to 110 degrees F. Water temperatures are highest in the autumn and lowest in spring, making September to November the best time to visit, as you’ll find the warmest water and manageable air temperatures.

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