Elphinstone Reef was named by Commander Moresby (charting the Red Sea), in honour of the Lord Elphinstone, the last governor of Bombay for the East India Company. Lord Elphinstone met Commander Moresby on the ship that returned him and his wife back to the UK. Lord Elphinstone was dismayed at the lack of accurate maps of the Red Sea, which was known for the many shipping hazards and was instrumental in raising awareness and finance to get the Red Sea chartered. Commander Moresby was assigned to chart the lesser known hazards in the South and in reference to Lord Elphinstone efforts, the reef was named in his honour.
The reef is close to the shore and the shoreline is easily seen. However, the reef shows all the characteristics of the typical deep water reefs. The reef is about 400 long lying nearly north to south. There is a large reef plateau on the northern side, with a prevailing current pushing water from the north along the reef. The strong currents make it a perfect drift dive and its isolated nature means usually no night diving.
Most boats will do two dives on it, a morning dive along the eastern side and western dive in the afternoon - optimising the light conditions from the sun. However, there is also a lovely third dive usually near the boats mooring area on the southern side of the reef. The dives are not overly difficult but some care needs to avoid dropping to deep along the the steep walls.
The RIBs / Zodiacs tend to drop you off at the northern tip, somewhere along the large northern plateau (about 150m to 200m in length), an area about 20m deep. A negative entry and dropping down is easist way to escape any stronger current that might push you on the reef (approx. 50m away). Try looking into the blue as you might be lucky and see some large fish including sharks swimming along the deeper plateau (ca. 60m deep).
Depending on your brief, find the right depth along the wall and drift leisurly up until you reach approxiamtely 15m in depth. This depth will allow you to drop on the smaller plateau in on the southern end of the reef (ca. 100m in length). As the boats are usually moored up there, you are likely to find that any Oceanic Whitetips Sharks will have congregated around there, swimming between the boats. The last time we swam there we had three Oceanic Whitetip circling the two boats.