Shark & Yolanda Reef is the most famous dive site in Sharm and one of the most spectacular dives in the Red Sea. It is well known for it’s abundance of stunning coral and huge schools of jackfish, barracuda, and batfish that thrive on the nutrients brought in on strong currents.
This map displays a classic dive pattern: dropping in at Anemone City, following the current over the drop off to Shark Reef. The wall at Shark Reef plunges to more than 700 meters. Swimming along the sheer wall of Shark Reef you may encounter huge schools of jacks, barracuda, and batfish. Swimming with the reef to your right you’ll approach the saddle which connects Shark to Yolanda Reef.
Yolanda Reef is blessed with a stunning coral garden and an abundance of life. Rounding Yolanda you will find the remains of the Yolanda, a merchant ship carrying bathroom fixtures, cases of whisky and a BMW that belonged to the ship’s captain. The ship crashed into the reef in 1980 and sat half exposed out of the water until 1987 when it slid down to a depth of 50 meters due to wave action. Later that year during a violent storm, the ship sank to 200 meters, where it rests today.
Depending on air, the dive can end after the exploration of the wreckage. We typically continue on to Satellite Reef and explore it’s nooks and crannies while doing our safety stop. This dive site is one of my personal favorites because of it’s variety, stunning coral gardens, outrageously colored soft corals on the Yolanda wreckage and it’s many inhabitants. The usual suspects include moray eels, scorpion fishes, blue spotted rays, napoleon wrasse, grouper, reef sharks (if you’re lucky), and many more.
The downside to this site is that it can get crowded. The best dives here are in the early morning before the other boats arrive or in the late afternoon when they are gone. Currents can be very strong so the dive plan described above may not be practical. Your dive guide will assess the current and determine the best way to dive the site. You can dive this site dozens of times and it will still be interesting and stunning.