Panorama is called Um Alama by Egyptian seamen. This means mother of signals and refers to the two beacons (Fanous) on top of the reef. At the south end of this oval shaped reef you will find the classic Red Sea Plateau stretching out from a depth of 16 metres to about 35 metres where the drop off plunges into the abyss. You can plan this dive as a drift dive. In the morning you would roll in some distance up on the east side and follow the reef with the wall on your right shoulder. This way you can get your depth in the beginning of the dive, have a look around the plateau in the middle and finish off around the shallow part on the south-west side. Here you find an anemone city with clouds of anemone fish creating a perfect backdrop for underwater photography. The alternative is to go from the mooring, follow the edge of the plateau and continue up the east side until you reach 100bar. There is an interesting feature on this rout and that’s a canyon on the east side of the plateau with big gorgonians and colourful soft corals. On the way back you follow the main reef which has hard coral formations in mint condition. As you turn around the south-west corner you have the anemone city to your right and the boat to your left.
This dive is best made as a drift. Make sure you know what the current is doing and plan the dive accordingly. Often the current comes from the north east. Roll in over the east end of the plateau and descend slowly along the absolutely stunningly gorgeous hard coral garden that cascades from the top of the reef to where it curves off and merges with the drop of between 14 and 20 meters. Keep an eye out in the big blue since larger pelagic species like dog tooth tuna and sometimes sharks patrol this area. Follow the edge of the plateau as it gently curves around the main reef. After a while the fully coral covered shelf is sprinkled by sand patches that increase in size before a sandy bottom takes over. About half way there is beautiful coral block and then a small “dent” in the plateau in which there is an absolutely gorgeous pinnacle to be found right next to the drop off. After this slightly deeper part of the plateau it continues on the same depth as before with another two pretty coral blocks. Here it’s probably time to start thinking about progressively shallow the dive out before the sheer wall again takes over and you will find the boat in a few minutes.
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