The Red Sea is a water inlet, located between Asia and Africa. The northern section of this inlet has been named as one of the seven wonders of the underwater world, namely because of its extreme beauty and the biodiversity of marine life there.
The Northern Red Sea consists of water from the Indian Ocean, yet because it is almost a lake and surrounded by sand, the climate here has changed to support a rich variety of life. The position of the sun at various times of year is what gave the red sea its namesake, as it turns the water all shades of red, orange and yellow. The Northern Red Sea also has a climate distinctly different to that of the southern end of this inlet, as there are two bands of monsoons that move over it.
The marine life living in the Northern Red Sea is a wonder in itself. Over 1000 different species of fish, 400 species of coral (both hard and soft) and also many birds above the water live there, giving anyone who visits an eye opening experience. Many divers, both beginners and professionals, choose the Northern Red Sea because of its tranquil, warm waters (it is a tropical sea) and of course the biodiversity.
The formation of the Red Sea (and thus also the Northern Red Sea) occurred over the course of many millions of years. It’s thought to have begun as many as 55 million years ago, speeding up slowly and ending at least 23 million years ago. This formation occurred due to plate tectonics and tectonic activity below the earth’s crust, causing the two continents of Arabia and Africa to split apart (as they were once one large continent).
Even today the formation of the Red Sea continues, and at some time in the future it will become an ocean, although not in our lifetimes. At one time in ancient history the entire Red Sea was closed off at its southern end. This doesn’t mean to say that it was a lake, though, as the position of the continents at that time meant that it was open at the northern end instead.
Why it Was Chosen:
Unlike some of the other underwater wonders such as the Galápagos Islands and Lake Baikal, the Northern Red Sea doesn’t only hold marine life that is endemic. There are plenty of species of plants, fish and corals living within it that also live in other oceans, but this only adds to the level of biodiversity here.
The main reason that CEDAM International, the American Diver’s Association (Conservation, Education, Diving, Awareness and Marine-Research) chose the Northern Red Sea for one of its seven wonders of the underwater world was its beauty. The water shimmers red and orange when the sun hits it at a certain angle, and diving and snorkeling there is said to be spectacular. Due to global warming the Northern Red Sea’s marine life could be in danger of dying out and therefore CEDAM chose it as an underwater wonder to further preserve it for future generations to enjoy.
How Can it Be Seen?
If you are planning to visit the Northern Red Sea then you should not dismiss the idea of diving, or at least snorkeling. The marine life here is spectacular, with vibrant colors, unusual species and an incredible energy. Once you arrive there you will find tour operators in the area quite easily who offer all kinds of excursions, from beginners diving, to canoing and snorkeling sessions.
Although the Northern Red Sea is an incredibly popular spot for diving, snorkeling and sailing, the surrounding lands are also very popular for Safaris and there are many tour operators offering this kind of excursion in Africa. Due to the Dahlak archipelago in the Northern Red sea, it’s also possible to rent luxury yachts and travel boats to do some island hopping and simply explore the region.
To get to the Northern Red Sea you can fly to Marsa Alam airport at the southern end of the Red Sea and travel up by train, coach, cruise boat or rented car. Alternatively, you can fly to Egypt (Hurghada airport) and you are already at the Northern Red Sea itself! Taking a cruise boat around the Red Sea from Hurghada is highly recommended as you will also get to see the Southern side.