Jackson Reef is Tiran’s most famous dive site, visited annually by thousands of divers from all over the world. This vast, round-shaped reef offers various possible itineraries with variable conditions, some of which suitable for beginners but generally recommended for intermediate and advanced divers. For a relaxed, colourful dive, stay on the south side where you can take a picture of the stunning red anemone, or swim while surrounded by anthias and fusiliers. Look for some action close to the corners that are populated by spotted stingrays, turtles, and the occasional tiger shark. Head to the north side and to Ras Goma to meet the legendary colony of hammerhead sharks, but be cautious: the current can be unpredictably strong.
Jackson is the northernmost reef in the Strait of Tiran. It is sometimes confused with Gordon Reef, which shares with it the rounded shape and similar “furniture” - the remains of the Lara, a cargo that ran aground in 1981 and today rests partially on the reef’s top.
Underwater, Jackson Reef presents a different morphology compared to Gordon. The dive usually starts on the southern side of the reef, where the boats will often moor. In this area, the reef creates a very colourful coral wall dropping from a couple of metres below the surface down to 35 metres and beyond, almost vertically.
It is important to control the descent, to equalize often, to adjust the buoyancy, and to keep a close eye on the depth metre: it is easy to lose track of depth when the luminosity and visibility are as good as in the Red Sea.
Right at the beginning, divers reach 27m to admire a stunning red anemone that seems to be glowing with ruby bioluminescence and boasts bright-red iridescence, despite the depth. From there, they swim toward the western or eastern corners, where the wall gives way to a "garden-like" seascape.
Jackson’s corners are rich in coral, sea fans, and colourful alcyonarians. Turtles are often seen snacking on the sponges or resting on the sandy patches. Sometimes a chubby tiger shark called Obelix passes by and kindly reminds divers who the landlord is. If that happens, mind your manners and enjoy the sight.
Next, the group makes its way back to the mooring point or they continue past the corners to reach the northern side, where they will be picked up by the boat. That is IF the conditions are good and IF divers signal their presence with the indispensable SMB (surface marker buoy).
This text is for information purposes only. It has been written by members of the website and can be inaccurate. Always contact local professional divers before diving.