King Snefro

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Small Passage

(27°43.884' N, 34°05.894' E)


The Small Passage is also known as Small Crack. Two channels cut the reef system of Sha'ab Mahmud and connect the sheltered lagoon to the open sea. Coming from Alternatives this is the first, smaller crack to reach. Falling and rising tides affect the inner lagoon twice daily, thus creating strong currents that promote an impressive explosion of life.


Diving can be only from a live-aboard anchored in the lagoon. The best way is to take a zodiac through the passage and start your dive at the outside reef which is a steeply sloping coral wall reaching from the surface to a depth of about 18 m. All kind of Red Sea reef fish can be seen and with current open ocean fish are common. Drift along the reef until you reach a sandy bay near to the first crack which is wider than the second one.


Diving into the passage is only possible with no current or with a rising tide when the current is running into the lagoon. The channel is starting at about 6 m, rising to 2 m at the entrance of the lagoon. Coral growth is absolutely brilliant, hard and soft species can be found, with a very wide range of stony coral species. The passage is an explosion of colour and - if current permits - a real paradise for photographers.


It is useful to check the direction of the current before diving. Current running from the lagoon to the open sea will not allow you to swim through the passage and complicate the return to the boat since zodiac pickup in the rougher waters outside the reef can be difficult.