Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Northern Red Sea - Underground Garden of Eden

The Northern Red Sea is surrounded by the world’s largest expanses of sand. It region of Eritrea is one of the country's six regions, lies along the northern three quarters of the Red Sea, and includes the Dahlak Archipelago and the coastal city of Massawa.

Port of Massawa
Photo: livetowander

The region borders the Anseba, Central and Southern regions to the west, and the Southern Red Sea region to the east. It has an area of around 27,800 km². The lowest point in Eritrea, Lake Kulul, is in this region.

The Red Sea is considered to be 1 of the 7 Wonders of the underwater world. This forms the basis of a marine eco-system which includes 1,100 species of fish, of which about 10% are endemic, the largest number of fish species in proportion to any other body of water in the world.

The Northern Red Sea has some of the richest coral in the world. In 1980, Dr. Clark wanted to make the Red Sea and its island a National Park. Ras Muhammad has sometimes called it an underwater “Garden of Eden.” The sun makes the Northern Red Sea turn different colors such as red, yellow, orange, and light green.

bright-red lionfish
Photo: nationalgeographic.com

An amazing fish that lives on the in the water is the bright-red lionfish, it has a venomous dorsal spines, these fish usually swim near the bottom of the sea. They wait and trap fish in nooks and crannies.

Another creature that lives in the water is a beast they call “George” he is a Sea Monster, his head is in the shape of a beanbag chair. A humped head wrasse, he has cow lips, chameleon eyes and a body pattern in the form of an intricate green maze on a blue back round. In the red Sea there are over 1000 different kinds of tropical fish and 400 different types of coral. 30 million years ago the Red Sea was closed at its southern end and open on its northern end, it opened up into the Mediterranean Sea allowing Atlantic species to enter and breed there. About 10 million years later the earth shifted and closed the northern end and opened up the southern end. The Red Sea has fish and animals from both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

The Red Sea is a fine choice for diving any time of year but the water temperatures do vary significantly. From June to August the water can reach 28°C but it falls to a chilly 20°C in February. Do plan to bring an appropriate exposure suit to suit the time of year. Therefore, you could find yourself on a coral garden atop a summit and the next a sheer wall could plunge thousands of feet into dark ocean depths. The Red Sea's abundance of marine life and depths of the reef are a thrill that many divers will tell you is unbeatable.

Sources: library.thinkquest.org, wikipedia.org, dive-the-world.com

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