The Red Sea is an extension (or inlet) of the Indian Ocean, located between Africa and Asia.
Entrance to the sea in the south is through the Gulf of Aden and the somewhat narrow Bab el Mandeb (strait).
In the north the sea is accessed from Middle Eastern countries via the Gulf of Aqaba (or Gulf of Eilat.) The Mediterranean Sea provides a conduit south through the Suez Canal and Gulf of Suez.
This salty sea is just over 190 miles (300 km) across at its widest point, and about 1,200 miles (1,900 km) in length.
There's a measured maximum depth of 8,200 feet (2,500 m), and an estimated average depth of 1,640 feet (500 m). Much of the immediate shoreline is quite shallow.
With hot sunny days, and the lack of any significant rainfall, desert dust storms are known to sweep across the sea. High heat combined with the lack of precipitation facilitates high levels of evaporation - thus the sea's high salinity.
Regardless, the consistent sunshine, as well as white sand beaches, pristine coral reefs and a scattering of shipwrecks are currently major attractions for scuba divers and sun worshipers. Resorts like Sharm al-Sheikh and others in Egypt's "Red Sea Riviera" along the Gulf of Aqaba and Gulf of Suez are fast becoming major tourist destinations.
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