North – Straits of Tiran

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The SS Thistlegorm is probably the most famous wreck in the Red Sea. The British cargo ship was on its way to bring military equipment of all kinds for the British troops in North Africa. But then on the 6 th of October 1941 a German bomber attacked the Thistlegorm. The wreck is lying upright on the sea-bottom at 32m depth. Especially interesting is the cargo: Tanks, trucks, motorcycles, weapons, railway carriage and two railway engines.

The Reef at Abu Nuhas is famous for wrecks. There are 4 wrecks, which are today an attraction point for divers all around the world. For example the Greek cargo ship GIANNIS D, which ran aground the reef on 19 th April 1984 and sank a short time afterwards. It is now lying in a maximum depth of 27 m and is overgrown with hard- and softcorals. The ship cracked down in the middle. The better part of the two halves is the stern section. Here it is easy to dive inside the wreck, because there are a lot of entry and exit points. Because the wreck is leaning on a 45° angle you will find yourself swimming up a stairwell which your mind tells you are heading down. This effect is very special. The steamship CARNATIC struck the reef in September 1869. She sank the following day as the weather worsened. She lies in about 26m depths. She has broken up amidships, leaving her bow and stern intact. The decking has fallen away to be replaced by a thick growth of tube sponges, alcyonarians and occasional table corals, making her very photogenic. She is also laid open to light from above and is easily penetrated.

The Dunraven, a steam and sail-powered vessel used to transport spices and timber, ran aground the reef Shaab Mahmoud in April 1876 during a voyage from Bombay to Newcastle and sank quickly. The ship broke in two, and her two halves came to rest on the sea floor. The wreck lies upside down with the stern at a depth of 28 m and the bow at 18 m. At the stern you find the propeller and the rudder, which are overgrown with corals. Inside the wreck you see thousands of glassfish.

The marine park Ras Mohammed offers dreamlike diving spots. For example SHARK REEF and JOLANDA REEF. Both reefs are standing on a plateau, which is between 10m to 20m deep. The edges of the plateau fall down to more than 200m. At the reef you will find nice hard and soft corals, plenty of fish in all kind of sizes. With luck you can see sharks during your early morning dive. At Jolanda Reef you can see the cargo of a Cypriot freighter “Jolanda” which ran aground in 1980: a large quantity of household pottery such as toilets, bath and shower tubes, bidets…

Starting from the North on the Eastern side of the Sinai Peninsula are the Straits of Tiran, also one of the most famous diving areas in the Red Sea. Situated in the middle of the straits are four coral reefs: Gordon, Thomas, Woodhouse and Jackson Reef. The Gordon Reef is marked by the wreck of a large commercial freighter. The reef composition is quite varied, with patchy sections, sand beds and full-fledged coral gardens. In the centre of the reef slope, a shark amphitheater or bowl dips to 24m; with luck a variety of shark species can be seen sleeping on the sandy bottom. The site boasts a very good range of corals, with lots of branching varieties. All of the corals are well preserved, in densely grown patches that often show a remarkable mix of different species. Fish life is not the most profuse in the Straits of Tiran, but there are some notable surprises including a huge moray eel with a body as thick as a small divers waist. Triggerfish abound while surgeons and jacks swim in moderately large schools, and angels, parrotfish and small wrasse are all present in good numbers. Large Napoleons wrasse can often be seen along the reef. The Thomas Reef includes some plateau sections and a very deep canyon running along the reef’s southern section. It is the smallest of the four Tiran reefs. The reef’s upper section is a riot of color, encompassing some of the finest soft coral growth in the Sinai region. Huge, densley packed fields of Dendronephthya of every imaginable hue are spread across the reef, along with antler corals, fine Stylophora, some Acropora and many other stony coral forms. Fish live is also rich, with the greatest concentration in the shallows. Lyretail cod and other groupers grow to great size, and many varieties of rabbitfish and wrasse congregate along the reef face, accompanied by box and pufferfish. The only reason to go deeper than 20m at Thomas Reef is to explore the canyon. The Woodhouse Reef is a long, narrow reef running at an angel from northeast to southwest. Woodhouse is generally dived as a drift along the reef’s eastern side. Coral cover is excellent throughout the reef, with dense growth all over; there are a few sandy patches at depths of around 20m. Many species are present but because of the sheltered position of the reef, away from the main current, a certain amount of sedimentation has affected the corals here. Pelagic fish including big tuna and schools of jacks, fusilieres, snapper, surgeons and unicorns also school here, along with thousands of other reef fish. On the northern edge of the Jackson Reef, the wreck of a grounded freighter stands as a warning to the shipping in the busy straits; most of its hull has been salvaged for scrap, leaving only a skeletal hulk. The steep-sided walls of Jackson Reef are among the finest in the Sinai region; the current-swept reef is densely grown with a real profusion of hard and soft corals, with special accents provided by luxuriant gorgonian fans, sea whips and black corals, and vivid growths of soft coral. Fish life, not surprisingly, is excellent. The strong current brings plenty of nutrients for reef and schooling fish; current and profile combine to tempt pelagic fish in from the open water, and large schools of barracuda and jacks are common here, as are larger predators including several species of shark. The smaller reef species on which these pelagic visitors feed are profuse.

The tour descriptions (dive sites) are samples. Depending on the weather conditions and the quality of the divers other dive sites can be choosen.

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