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Friday, October 31, 2014

Our Red Sea Wrecks and Reefs Safari 4th to 11 October 2014.

Our home and dive boat for the week. M.Y. South Moon.

The week had eagerly been awaited. It was the first time for all the divers on this trip to do a week long Safari in The Red Sea.

It was going to be a wreck feast with a wreck course also on the agenda.

We boarded our home for the week on the evening of 4th October 2014. The dives we were intending to do were made much more special as we  were planning to dive on one of the worlds best wreck dive SS Thistlegorm, and on the anniversary of its sinking. 

The much photographed stern section of SS Thistlegorm

A truck inside the hold of Thistlegorm.

SS Thistlegorm was a British merchant ship that was on secondment during world war two, carrying trucks motor bikes other vehicles, spare parts ammunition and much much more for the war effort. It was hit by two German bombers on the night of 5th October and sunk very early hours of the 6th October. The wreck is dived as a day trip, and most week you'll find some of our divers getting up early in the morning for a trip out there to dive it and loving it.

Diving it on a safari give you longer time to explore the wreck and over more dives. This time as the weather was favorable, we could moor on the Thistlegorm overnight and dive it as a night dive. This for most of the divers was the highlight of the week.

When the Thistlegorm was bombed, they say the blast lit up the night sky and gave away the position of another British cargo ship Roaslie Moller which was moored the other side of the Gulf of Suez West of Gubal Sheghir which the German air force came back the two nights later and bombed that also. That took a little longer to sink, but sink it did, in the early hour's of 8th October 1941, making a very adventurous deep dive.

As the wind was forecast to pick up during midweek, we took the advice of the captain who suggested we dived Rosalie Moller a day earlier in case we'd get caught still on the other side of the Gulf of Suez when the seas picked up, giving us a very uncomfortable crossing back in the direction of the Sinai coast where we started from, and was scheduled to finish.

The divers brought on board a good stock of beer to relax with at the end of the diving day, but half of it was taken back of at the end of the week due to the non stop diving, eating and sleeping! However there were a few quiet beers enjoyed after dinner, which was always served after the night dive. Everything in moderation and moderation in everything as a wise older diver called Roger Jones once taught me.

The Dives we done.
Day 1. 
Jackfish Alley (reef)
Dunraven (wreck)
Thistlegorm. (wreck)
Thistlegorm (wreck night dive).

Day 2
Thistlegorm (wreck - on 73rd anniversary of it sinking)
Kingston (wreck)
Ulysses (wreck)
Barge (wreck - night dive)
Day 3
Rosalie Moller (wreck - 73rd anniversary of it's bombing)
Bluff Point (reef)
Carnatic (wreck)
Lagoon (reef - night dive)

Wreck: Christola K and nick named 'The Tile wreck'.

 It's cargo of Italian tiles heading for Jehdda on The Saudi Arabian Side of The Red Sea 

The Chrisoula K was a 98m Greek registered freighter that sank on 31 August 1981, laden with floor tiles. The ship lies with its stern and propeller at 26m and its bow in shallow water at only 3m. It sits more or less upright but the stern is slowly separating. The wreck offers plenty of swim-throughs and penetration diving opportunities but beware of the numerous obstructions such as fallen beams and poles. Its superstructure is now encrusted with a layer of hard corals, and is home to flatworms, lionfish, Arabian Picasso triggerfish, and clown sand wrasse. Dolphins also pass by here occasionally.

40 meters Deep Dive on Rosalie Muller. Signal means, One minute left before DECO'. We'd better start ascending.

Glassfish in SS Dunraven

Our Wreck Speciality Divers and Boat Crew

One of the engines inside Giannis D
Day 4
Kimon M (wreck)
Kristola K (wreck)
Giannis D (wreck)

The funnel of Giannis D, a 100m general cargo vessel built in Japan but under Greek ownership, hit the Abu Nuhas Reef at full tilt on 19 April 1983. The ship, laden with timber, sank to 24m with the stern and bow still intact but amidships is now a crumpled mess. The engine room at a depth of 13m offers easy and superb penetration through clouds of glassfish.
You can investigate the multilevel rooms and passageways here for octopus and giant moray eel. The bow mast extends out horizontally from the boat, creating a great spot to search for scorpionfish, gobies and nudibranchs. To end your dive you can simply climb the main mast up to the shallows at 4m and perform your safety stop there.
The British built Carnatic is one of the oldest wreck dives in the Red Sea and is many divers favourite at Abu Nuhas. It hit the reef here on 12 September 1869, laden with gold, wine and cotton on route to India. The cargo ship initially balanced on top of the reef but after 36 hours it succumbed to the elements and its fate, snapping in two and sinking parallel to the reef at 24m. The crew and passengers managed to make use of the delay by escaping on lifeboats to Shadwan Island, 3 km to the south. However, 31 lives were lost on the island due to the cold nights whilst waiting for rescue to arrive. All the gold was remarkably salvaged some 2 months later by another British ship.
Now a century and a half later, this 90m long wreck lies on its port side in remarkably good condition. Its wooden flooring has rotted away to reveal its iron ribbed inner holds, lending the dive an eerie feeling of being inside the skeletal remains of some gigantic prehistoric whale. You can dive the entire length of the ship, looking into its holds full of sweepers, glassfish and a few batfish.
The frame is overgrown with soft corals and hydroids and is home to nudibranchs such as the Chromodoris quadricolor and Phylidiella pustulosa. Be careful when you penetrate here since many broken glass wine bottles remain on its floor. You can end your dive by either ascending up the buoy line towards the bow of the boat from 12m or make your way up the adjacent reef slope dominated by fire corals and bicolor pullers.

Ascending up the line slowly after diving Rosialie Moller.

In 1941 on its way to Alexandria the Rosalie Moller, loaded with coal, was at anchor between the islands Gubal and Queisum when it was attacked by German bombers. It was just a few days after the sinking of the Thistlegorm, when 2 bombs hit the vessel and ripped a huge hole in the hold on the starboard side. Now the 110m long wreck is standing upright, as if "parked", on the sand in about 50m depth. As there is no reef as a reference, the divers have to descend along a mooring line to reach the deck in 25m. The marine life that can be observed over there is amazing. Thousands of glass fish on the deck and around the bridge, among which large shoals of jacks, snappers and tuna can be spotted. Big groupers and huge lion fish have settled in the bow and stern section. The deck is still quite intact, it is easy to explore its deckhouses and swim up the ladders leading to the bridge. At the bow you can find the giant port side anchor still up. In the stern section the enormous propeller and rudder are worth visiting as well. Probably due to some improperly mooring of diving boats the stern mast is broken down. Meanwhile, the funnel is fallen to the port side; it bears a large "M" on it, the emblem of the shipping company Moller. 

Relaxing on the Sun Deck Lounge. 

Busy doing their homework for the wreck course!!!!


Tiered Diver. Revenge is best served any way you can!!!

Our tender

Out at sea, it's so so peaceful, especially at sunset.

A large passer buy heading for Suez Canal.

The meals on board were as good as any I've ever experienced on a boat in Red Sea.

The cabins were spacious and each had en suit and Air Conditioning.

Plenty of room on The Dive Deck

The Top Sun Lounge wasn't used much in the day (too busy diving and eating) but in the evening it lent itself for a cool place to relax after dinner.

The lounge inside was very spacious also and there were always snacks on hand 24 hours a day.

Day 5
Small Crack North (reef)
Small Crack South (reef)
Alternitives (reef)
Alternities (night dive)

Day 6
Shark and Yolanda (Reef / Wreck)
Marsa Canyon (reef)
Ras Elite (reef)
Ras Katy (night dive)

Day 7
Back to port to disembark.

It was a magnificent week with a great boat, great company, and great Diving. Also ended up with eight more divers qualified as wreck divers.

For info or to book on our next safari contact
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