Underwater Life, Marsa Alam, Egypt
Egypt is an interesting destination in many ways: history and culture buffs can explore its ancient civilization, and beach vacationers can relax in its many resorts. One of them, Marsa Alam, is considered the best place in the country for snorkeling.
The small resort located on the western shore of the Red Sea is nicknamed the Egyptian Maldives: its water area is rich in coral, fish and other underwater life. The Marsa Mubarak nature reserve, which stretches off the coast of the resort, is alternatively known as the Turtle Bay. Green turtles are the most common animals here. These giants live about 80 years, can weigh as much as two hundred kilograms (441 lbs), and their length exceeds one meter (3 ft). They spend most of their time in shallow waters, swimming at a speed of about two to three kilometers per hour (1.2-1.8 miles per hour). In their "journey", they are often accompanied by sucker fish. They cling to the turtle's ventral shield, the plastron, thanks to their suction fin. It doesn't bother the turtle at all. On the contrary, sucker fish are quite useful, they rid the "host" of parasites and detached scales.
Coral reefs are turtles' favorite environment: not only do they provide turtles with food, but also protect them from bad weather. Barely hatched from the egg, a baby turtle gains strength by eating jellyfish, sponges, and fish. However, as green turtles grow older, they become vegetarian, and there is no better place for them to find food than Marsa Mubarak, where the seagrass beds stretch for many miles. When the turtle goes down to the bottom to get something to eat, the sucker fish quickly move to the top of the shell.
The blue-spotted stingray is another local resident. It is perfectly camouflaged in the light sand, although its blue speckles give it away. But even if it is spotted by predators, the stingray can deliver powerful blows to the enemy with its tail, which has a sharp jagged spike on the end. Both sharks and humans should stay away from it!
The coral reefs of Marsa Alam are stunning in their shapes and colors. They are real underwater gardens, multicolored and full of life.
Egypt takes great care of its natural heritage: here, not only are you forbidden to break off underwater "twigs" as a keepsake, but you can't even take home any coral piece washed ashore by the waves. This fragile and unique ecosystem is home to dozens of fish species. Many of them have not only spectacular looks, but also memorable names: parrot fish, clown fish, butterflyfish, long-spined porcupine fish, and even Arabian surgeonfish!
During a season, the resort is visited by dozens of thousands of tourists, and everyone leaves with an unforgettable experience: there are not many places on the planet which have such a rich underwater world.
Photo by Oleg Gaponyuk, video by Sergey Rumyantsev
23 September, 2022
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