The Sataya reef is a marine sanctuary in the southernmost part of Egypt, around 4 hours per boat starting from Hamata.
You start diving from the middle of the lagoon. Then there are several ways to go.
I always like to go first straight to the outside of the lagoon, following the path the dolphins take when they enter. Then turning either left or right at the outside reef and enter back the lagoon at the next trench.
Inside the lagoon water has a maximum depth of 18m, while you have a steep drop off on the outside.
I saw spinner and bottlenose dolphins, hawksbill turtles and a big leatherback (in May 2017, I saw 3 days in a row a Leatherback).
I saw turtles nearly every dive I did (some turtles were longer than me + fins which would be 2,5-3m turtles), eagle rays and very rarely a black tip shark.
For macro lovers; the place is full of Christmas tree worms, flatworms, and nudibranches.
Crystal clear waters, visibility of over 35m, huge coral blocks accompanied by thousands of fishes makes me always feel like diving through a fancy-dress party with an astonishing setup.
The author: Markus Denggis is a CMAS Assistant Instructor.