|Surface to 40m
|Canyon/wall, sloping reef, mild current at depth, surface traffic
|Shore or boat
|Beginner to technical
|Yes, highly recommended
|Other names used
|Taiyong (technical dive site at this location)
Heading past the pinnacle and over a huge lettuce coral, a large, undulating reef spreads out before you. Reef fish are everywhere, schooling and darting between huge, ancient table corals and branches of the elusive black coral. Turtles and eagle rays cruise the reef, casting shadows below.
It'd be easy to use your entire tank here, between 10-12 m, where the vibrant reef offers macro-distractions galore. It's like an underwater kaleidoscope - Red Sea diving at its finest, with vertebrates and invertebrates healthily represented across the board.
But let's keep going. The reef slopes gradually down to 24 m, and here we come to a sudden drop to the East. This section of the reef is home to an even larger range of hard and soft coral species and larger pelagic fish, which enter this zone to feed on the reef. There's often a mild current in this area due to tide and bottom topography.
A few meters deeper, and we're over the drop into in Black Coral Valley - incredible specimens dot the underwater landscape along the wall and sloping bottom between 26 and 30 m.
Most divers head back up in a loop, making their safety stop over the reef. Just be careful on final ascent, as the area is very popular with snorkelling and glass-bottom boat tours.
If we instead carried on from Black Coral Valley, we'd leave the Japanese Gardens and head into technical diving territory - and toward a towed-barge shipwreck scuttled intentionally in 1999 after her crane's jib was literally dropped through the bottom of her hull.
Since it was too expensive to save her, only divers can enjoy the Taiyong's massive holds and marine life congregations today; she's commonly used as a staging area for decompression dives, with a maximum depth of 57 m at the tip of her stern crane and 35-40 m along her port rail (she lies on her starboard side). You'll see sponges unique to the area here, as well as impressive soft coral growth around the barge's crane and wheelhouse, and superstructure.
Please, choose one of the reefs to see its location on the map, or browse through all the reefs below