The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. To the north lie the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez (leading to the Suez Canal).

The Red Sea has a surface area of roughly 438,000 km2 (169,100 mi2), is about 2250 km (1398 mi) long and, at its widest point, 355 km (220.6 mi) wide. It has a maximum depth of 3,040 m (9,970 ft) in the central Suakin Trough, and an average depth of 490 m (1,608 ft). However, there are also extensive shallow shelves, noted for their marine life and corals. The sea is the habitat of over 1,000 invertebrate species, and 200 soft and hard corals. It is the world's northernmost tropical sea.

The climate of the Red Sea is the result of two monsoon seasons - a northeasterly monsoon and a southwesterly monsoon. Monsoon winds occur because of differential heating between the land and the sea. Very high surface temperatures and high salinities make this one of the warmest and saltiest bodies of seawater in the world. 

The sea is known for its recreational diving sites, such as Ras Mohammed, SS Thistlegorm (shipwreck), Elphinstone Reef, The Brothers, Daedalus Reef, St.John's Reef, Rocky Island in Egypt and less known sites in Sudan such as Sanganeb, Abington, Angarosh and Shaab Rumi.

The Red Sea became a popular destination for diving after the expeditions of Hans Hass in the 1950s, and later by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Popular tourist resorts include El Gouna, Hurghada, Safaga, Marsa Alam, on the west shore of the Red Sea, and Sharm-el-Sheikh, Dahab, and Taba on the Egyptian side of Sinaï, as well as Aqaba in Jordan in an area known as the Red Sea Riviera.

See also:
⇒ Wrecks Red Sea
⇒ Hurghada 

Red Sea
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