Wreck-special: Carina, Carnatic, Giannis D, Ulysses, Rosalie Moeller, Thistlegorm, …

The wreck-special cruise combines the best of the most famous wrecks in the northern Red Sea with some stunning reef and wall diving.

Leaving from Hurghada, we aim to dive all the wrecks in the area including:

El Mina, an Egyptian mine sweeper lying just outside Hurghada's harbour; the ‘Wine Wreck’ Carnatic, the ‘Tile Wreck’ Chrisoula K, the ‘Lentil Wreck’ Kimon M and the ‘Timber Wreck’ Giannis D, all at Abu Nuhas; at Gubal islands the Barge, the Ulysses and the Rosalie Moeller; the Kingston (or Sarah H) lying at Shag Rock; the Carina (sunk in 1926) lying close to Sha’ab Ali and, of course, the Dunraven (sunk 1876) at Beacon Rock situated in the Ras Mohammed National Park and the most famous wreck in the Red Sea, the Thistlegorm, which lies at Sha’ab Ali.

In between wreck dives you will also visit the reefs of the Straits of Gubal, Gulf of Suez and those to the north of Hurghada. A variety of deep walls and hard coral gardens with an abundance of reef fish make them well worth a visit (for more information click on the classic tour).

Note: A minimum of 50 logged dives is recommended. All wrecks are subject to divers' experience and weather conditions.


Dive sites Wreck-special tour

Abu Nuhas

This great reef, also known as the "ships graveyard", emerges two miles to the north of Shedwan Island at the mouth of the Strait of Gobal. On the seabed of the surrounding area lie no fewer than seven sunken ships from different eras. It is often only possible to dive the wrecks from a zodiac due to the heavy sea swells. On the sheltered south side of the reef are two beautiful ergs known as Yellow Fish Reef which offers an excellent night dive.

Carnatic

The Carnatic was a splendid 90 metre long sail and engine steamer launched by P&O in 1862. Carrying a cargo of wine and "London soda water" in distinctive oval bottles, it was sailing the Indies route with a destination of Bombay. It struck the reef in 1869 and remained aground a number of hours before sinking Sha'ab Abu Nuhas’ Reef. Despite the length of time (it sank in 1869) it is remarkably intact. She lies on one side with the stern at 24 metres and the bow at 16 metres. The decking of the hull has fallen away exposing blackened support structures which are now draped in hard and soft corals. The very photogenic wreck is now home to a number of morays, large grouper and octopus.

Dunraven

A popular wreck is the Dunraven, a Victorian steam- and sail-ship that was carrying spices, gold and timber from India which sunk in 1876 on its way from Bombay to England. The legend says that she hit the reef after an drunken dispute involving the Captain, his wife, and the First mate, and sunk soon after near in the Gulf of Suez. Although she was stripped of her cargo by a team of archaeologists in the early eighties, the Dunraven still makes an interesting dive.

The wreck of this 72 m long English steamer lies at the southern point of Sha’ab Mahmoud, amongst the series of shallow reefs and lagoons. Her hull lies upside down at a maximum depth of 29m. Completely covered in corals, the wreck has become home to a wide variety of marine life including glass fish, morays, groupers, goatfish and napoleon.

Giannis D

The Giannis D (built in 1969), a large Greek freighter – known for its cargo of timber – hit the reef of Abu Nuhas in1983 and slowly sank over six weeks, lying at a maximum depth of 28 metres. The wreck is broken up in the centre, but the bow and stern remain intact. At the stern on the sea floor there is a point where penetration allows you to travel up towards the top of the wreck to a pocket of trapped air. You will need to leave by the same hole which you entered. At the bow you can see where the boat had been renamed, with the old name just visible under a layer of paint. Expect to see glassfish, scorpion fish, angelfish, bump head wrasse and a napoleon fish. The dive can be finished by traversing the reef, or by climbing up the mast, which rises up to only four metres below the surface.

Ras Mohammed National Park

Ras Mohammed National Park occupies one of the world's most extraordinary settings: a slender, dramatically arid peninsula at the very southernmost tip of the Sinai, rising to a dramatic promontory that looks out over some of the most gloriously rich coral reefs. The Ras Mohammed peninsula marks the nexus of the shallow Gulf of Suez and the deep intercontinental chasm of the Gulf of Aqaba, itself a small portion of the Great Rift Valley that stretches deep into Africa.

Coral reef ecosystems found in the National Park are recognized internationally as among the world's best. This recognition is based primarily on the diversity of flora and fauna, clear, warm water devoid of pollutants, their proximity to shorelines and their spectacular vertical profile. The reef exists as an explosion of colour and life in stark contrast to the seemingly barren desert adjacent to it.

Thistlegorm

The Thistlegorm was discovered in 1956 by Jacques Cousteau and is probably the most famous wreck in the world. It sank in 1941 when it was hit by a German bomb that blew a hole in the port side, igniting tank ammunition that was in the hold. The explosion ripped the roof of the ship backwards, rather like opening a tin of sardines. The stern section of the wreck lies almost horizontal to the sea bed; the remainder of the wreck is nearly upright. Inside the wreckage, tyres, tanks, motorbikes, Bedford trucks, waders and Wellington boots can be seen. Penetration is possible around the bridge and blast area. The large prop is still in position and the guns on the stern are in excellent condition. Artillery litters the blast area. A bath tub can be seen towards the bow and a toilet near the stern. The sea life is impressive with possibility of seeing tuna overhead the resident turtle. Expect this to be very busy, especially once the day boats have reached it.

Barge (Bluff point)

The Barge sunk not far from Bluff point which offers a steep wall dive that follows the coastline. There are plenty of small passages and inlets in the rock that hide away life. The reef is full of glassfish, butterfly fish, crocodile fish and a flat-headed scorpion fish. The wreck itself (an Egyptian gunboat which probably sunk during the 6 day war) – which is at about 20m - isn't much to look at, but it serves as an attraction for sea life. Keep an eye out for turtles.

Carina

This shallow wreckage lies on the northern side of one of two large pieces of reef which are known as Shag Rock. Shag Rock is actually the name of the more southern reef, however in the absence of a name for the northern piece this is often grouped as Shag Rock also.

What is clear from the wreckage is that it was a large sail and steam ship from around the 1880 era and a large number of household bricks scattered amongst the wreckage suggests that this was her cargo. The stern area still houses the propeller making it barely discernable from the rest of the wreckage.

This is a shallow dive with the majority of the wreckage in 10m or less and the edge of the reef at a similar depth of 12-14m but the current can be very strong. The corner of the reef where the wreckage lies slopes gently up with table coral after table coral overlaid and really does have some of the best examples of hard coral in the area. The east side of the reef floor is also covered in coral.

Chrisoula K

The Chrisoula K was a Greek registered freighter and on its final journey its cargo consisted of Italian floor tiles heading for Jeddah. It sank on August 31st 1981 after Captain Kanellis passed over control of his ship following two days of intensive navigation near the northeast corner of Sha'ab Abu Nuhas’ Reef.

The Chrisoula K now sits in a large open, sandy space. The bows used to rise out of the water, but wave action has now reduced them to a few metres below the surface. The main body of the wreck is generally upright with the cargo of tiles still in place. The stern leans well over to the starboard and is slowly separating altogether. Deep inside the stern, the engine room offers some serious penetration diving for the experienced wreck diver, although there are numerous obstructions so be careful. There is also the possibility of some much more straightforward penetration with plenty of easy swim-throughs and access to areas worthy of exploration without the danger of becoming lost inside. At the seabed, the large propeller and rudder are still virtually undamaged at the maximum depth for this dive of 26m. The Chrisoula K is now covered in an assortment of hard corals and has been made home by a variety of reef fish. This shipwreck offers a variety of different dives to cater for all levels of experience.

El Mina

El Mina is Arabic for "The Harbour" and the fact that this wreck lies in the Harbour of Hurghada is the only link between the name and the wreck. The "Harbour Wreck" as it is commonly referred to, is an Egyptian minesweeper, approximately 70m in length and with a beam of 9.5m, it lies on its port side in 33m of water at the stern, 26m at the bow. The reason for the absence of a name is not a missing identity for the ship, but rather the fact that Egyptian minesweepers have numbers, not names.

It sunk by Israeli fighters while lying at anchor in 1969. The current here can be strong from the north and the visibility poor. There is a large debris field which contains a lot of 'LIVE" munitions, worth a look. By the blast hole on the starboard side, you can penetrate the boat but it is not recommend due a increasing amount of silt building up. There is not much in the way of coral growth on the wreck but it does have its resident fish life. The blast hole gives shelter to shoals of glassfish and a lone anemone and resident clownfish are also in this area. Above the wreck are shoals of jacks and small barracuda.

Since November 2006, you may combine this dive with a visit to a wooden fishing boat of about 35m, which sunk during a heavy storm late 2006. Take care for oil lingering on the deck of the vessel.

Kimon M

The Kimon M was an in 1952 German built cargo vessel of 3,714 tonnes. In December 1978, loaded with 4,500 tons of lentils, she drove hard onto the northeast corner of Sha'ab Abu Nuhas’ Reef. A passing cargo ship, the Interasja, immediately responded to the distress call and picked up all the crew and delivered them safely to Suez two days later.

The initial impact drove the Kimon M hard onto the top of the reef where she stayed for several days, allowing the recovery of some of her cargo. Wind and currents pushed the ship onto her starboard side until the remainder of the ship fell into deeper water, coming to rest at the base of the reef. Later a large hole was cut into the vessel in order to salvage the majority of the engine.

Kingston

The wreck of the Kingston lies on the eastern side of the southern of two large pieces of reef which are known as Shag Rock. Shag Rock is the name of the southern reef; however in the absence of a name for the northern piece these two are often grouped as Shag Rock, part of the much larger reef system - Sha'ab Ali. Incidentally Shag Rock gets its name from the cormorants or "shags" which used to perch on an old light frame which was visible in the early 1990's on the southern reef. At very low tide these birds can still be seen sitting atop protruding bits of reef.

The Kingston is a twin mast steamship, 80 metres in length with a beam of 10m and she ran into the reef at shag rock on Feb 22nd 1881. As with many of the wrecks in the Red Sea she did not sink immediately and it took 2 days for her to finally accept her fate before she settled upright in only 18m of water (at the stern) on the gently sloping reef wall.

The wreck is fairly intact, although her twin masts and funnel have long since gone. The prop makes for some great photographs with the sunlight penetrating the relatively shallow waters. Amidships there is a second prop which for some reason was being transported along with her cargo of coal. Despite her shallow location diving the Kingston can be challenging. Her position on the edge of the Gubal Straights means that the area can experience extremely strong currents.

Ulysses

The Ulysses is another "grandfather" wreck of the Red Sea. Travelling from London to Penang and under the command of Captain Arthur Bremner, she struck the reef on the east side of Small Gubal Island on August 16th 1887. She was carrying a mixed cargo, much of which was manually unloaded by the crew of the HMS Falcon, which came to her assistance. This was done whilst she was stricken on the reef top. Some of her cargo of large drums of cable was not salvaged and now lies on the coral slopes amongst the wreckage (from where the nickname ‘Cable Wreck’. After a valiant fight she finally slipped beneath the waves in September 1887. Very similar in construction to the Carnatic she was a British sail and steamship, steel hulled and of "iron framed planked" construction. 95 metres in length she had a beam of just over 10 metres making her sleek in design for that time.

Today, well over 100 years later, the Ulysses is a stunning dive site. Her location means that she is not one of the most dived wrecks in the area - in fact to the contrary, very calm conditions are required to dive her. The outside east side of Small Gubal Island is located on the edge of the Straights of Gubal facing directly into the oncoming north to south current. The current here can be very strong and the surface swell is often large making boat mooring near impossible.

With a maximum depth here of 28m you will see distinct similarities between the Ulysses and the Carnatic. Her deck planking has long since gone, opening up her rear section like a giant rib cage. Glassfish and sweepers have congregated here in their hundreds making for some lovely photographs. It is easy to swim into the stern section (take care as soft corals cover the wreck) and the missing decking means that exit points can be easily found. As you head amidships most of the ship is badly broken and you will see a number of large cable drums. The bow (as shallow as 6 metres) is very broken having been constantly battered in the shallow waters, however a multitude of Red Sea fish, such as antheas, banner fish and hoards of butterfly fish drift lazily around the wreckage. The coral reef here is also impressive with layer upon layer of stone corals, acropora table coral and raspberry coral.


Mirette Hotel, Villa n°1
Hurghada, Red Sea
Egypt


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