Reef

Red Sea DolphinsWhen the Red Sea, 2000 km in length and 2000 meters deep, opened to the south several million years ago, it gradually became populated by marine animals from the Indo-Pacific. But, as the southern opening is only a narrow connection to the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea is an almost isolated body of water with a higher temperature and salinity.

That’s why over 10% of its fish species are endemic and live mainly in sea grass beds, sand zones and especially the fringing coral reefs.

The Red Sea is teeming with an amazing spectacle of color and form. Reef sharks, stingrays, turtles, dolphins, colorful corals, sponges, sea cucumbers and a multitude of mollusks all thrive in these waters.

Coral reefs have existed on the planet for approximately 450 million years. They are the result of a remarkable relationship between coral animals and microscopic algae.

If corals are damaged, the ecological balance of the reef will be permanently disturbed!

The result would be loss of productivity and biodiversity, both would have serious consequences on this unique ecosystem

The geological structure of the Red Sea, with a narrow coastal shelf dropping off quickly into deep water, has constrained the development of coral reefs, since reef-building corals require shallow, warm water for photosynthesis by their symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae). Rather than the large, offshore barrier reefs found in areas such as Central America and Australia where there is a wide, shallow continental shelf, Red Sea reefs tend to be fringing reefs, forming a narrow band quite close to the shoreline. The Gulf of Aqaba, on the east side of the Sinai Peninsula, is also deep and has this structure, with fringing reefs along its coast.

The Red Sea - The Past

Ships have sailed, and sunk, in the Red Sea since it was the main route to the Indies for Phoenician and Ancient Egyptian traders. In those times, ships loaded with copper, cooking pots and clothing departed from el-Quseir and Berenice and returned bearing elephants, ebony, gems and spices. For centuries, the Red Sea remained a scene of shipwreck and adventure for smugglers, merchants, pirates and pilgrims. After the opening of the Suez Canal, in 1869, it continued its role as an international trade route and “Passage to India” for European travelers.

The reef in South East Asia is amazing. For example at Pulau Sipadan (Sipadan island), you can dive malaysia at it’s best.