33 miles from P.Sudan, 29 from Sanganeb, 8 from Jumna, we find Sha’ab Ambar.
Sha’ab Ambar is a nice and very big coral barrier reef, laid from North to South along almost the whole length and towards SE in the final part.
It’s about 5 miles long, it’s not uninterrupted, sometimes fragmented. In the North part there is a well closed lagoon that offers an excellent shelter for the night.
It’s the only real lagoon of the archipelago and during one week cruises Southbound, we usually schedule daily trips towards the barriers and return to Sha’ab Ambar for the night.
Pinnacolo, Pender, Seilada, Indighidir, Logan, Kiri, Protector, Preserver, the best dive spots in the Sawakin Archipelagus, are all relatively close: from 4 to 20 miles far, between half an hour up to 3 hours of sailing for the most distant ones.
The characteristic of most Southern diving sites is that they don’t offer a safe berth for the night, due to donjons or pinnacles rising from the deep bottom and sometimes not even reaching the surface.
Sha’ab Ambar offers a nice night dive towards the front canal on the West side or the NE side where the reef stops and creates a small, narrow canal that can be ran through only by dinghies.
An interesting dive is at the extreme South part of the barrier, about 4 miles from the lagoon. You can find a big sandy tableland, at about 25 metres. On the Eastern fall it’s easy to spot hammerhead sharks, while on the tableland there are grey sharks, giant groupers, schools of permanent fish.
The success of the cruise in the archipelago of Sawakin is always connected to the tides. Sometimes the SW current brings muddy waters and therefore poor visibility. It’s absolutely unpredictable, the mud comes from the Southern seabed, probably from Eritrea, well known as very muddy floors.
In any case the ideal period to go Southbound is still between April and May. It’s important that the sea is not too rough, exactly because of the characteristic of the barriers, as some of them, with rough sea and undertow, don’t offer a shelter nor the possibility to dive. In April and May, when the weather is in general more settled and days are longer, it’s easier for this itinerary to be successful.