Abu Helal - Abu Talha

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Abu Helal - Abu Talha

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Ras Abu Helal, also known as 'Little Canyon' translates as, 'Headland of the Crescent Moon', referring to a crescent-shaped reef south of Abu Talha. Abu Helal and Abu Talha can only be dived at high tide in perfect conditions which leads to them being dived much less than other sites making the corals in pristine condition. This site has everything for both technical and recreational diving. The reef encircles a shallow lagoon at about 12m. Outside is a gently sloping bay and on its northern side a broad ridge. The start of this ridge features one of the finest coral garden in the Dahab area and this is the main focus of the dive site. Alternatively there is a deeper canyon dive in 30 - 40m at the end of this ridge. This is a serious dive option due to the distance from the entry point. Typically, divers will swim out in the blue at around 10m until they spot an extremely slender crack before descending so that both air and bottom time are conserved. The canyon twists in a unique pattern that offers very limited exit points, therefore entry into the 'Little Canyon' is only for technical divers. The density and variety of both soft and hard corals and aquatic life here is spectacular. Among the multitudes of reef species, notable inhabitants are big grouper or rock cod, big starry puffers, unicorns, wrasse, triggerfish and lionfish. Sea turtles are also a common sight.

Abu Talha is a northerly site accessed by jeep from Dahab, a journey that takes approximately 17 minutes. Entry is slippery on a sandy bottom and fins must be donned before the edge of the reef table as there are many holes of various depths. It is advisable that divers do not descend until over the shallow saddle unless perfect neutral buoyancy can be achieved in shallow water. Once out of the reef table the diver will find a beautiful coral shafted like an amphitheatre. The hard coral drops to 50m in the centre and to the left at 25m a sink hole can be found. Deeper holes also exist, this being located at the far end of the 'little canyon', starting at Abu Helal making this site also perfect for technical divers. Turning to the left the coral becomes more scattered with sandy patches and table corals. Here a school of red tooth triggers can be found as well as rays and nudibranchs. Returning to the exit between 10 and 15m swim along the reef wall and watch the hard and soft corals while a turtle and small schools of yellow tail barracuda can often be found.