The Thistlegorm, on the west coast of the Sinai Peninsula and 40 km from Sharm El Sheikh, is the best known and most popular wreck dive in the Red Sea. The 125m long British army freighter sank after just 18 months of her launch in April 1940. Her last voyage commenced on the 2nd of June 1941 as she sailed to Alexandria and was loaded with wartime supplies during World War II. A long list of inventory includes tanks, aircraft, armored vehicles, Jeeps and Bedford trucks.In spite of being privately owned and operated, the HMS Thistlegorm was nevertheless fitted with a 4" anti-aircraft gun and a heavy caliber machine gun when she was drafted for war duty. But it was never to be. In the early hours of 6th October 1941 the Thistlegorm was split in 2 and sank almost instantly after being hit by 2 bombs from a German long range bomber. The hit only blew a hole in the port side of Hold no. 5 but then cargo tank ammunition ignited, causing the bulk of the damage.
The Brother Islands one of the best diving spots in the world. The Islands – the Big Brother and the Little Brother – are two small exposed promontories that just come out of the water in the middle of the sea at around 60km from the Egyptian coast line. The Little Brother has a very high concentration of life in a much reduced area. The walls are covered literally with sponges, anemones and all sorts of hard and soft corals in an astonishing variety of colors and shapes. Of course you will find here plenty of fish. It is not unusual to see sharks: hammerheads, thresher sharks, grey reef sharks, silvertip and whitetip reef sharks. About one km north of the Little Brother lays the Big Brother. Situated, in the middle of the island, is a lighthouse. When it is not too windy, you can proceed to dive the wreck NUMIDIA which lies upon the reef on the northern side of the island between 5m and 80m. This 150m long ship sunk in 1901 and is now completely covered with both hard and soft corals and gorgonias. At the NW side of the island you will find the other wreck: the AIDA. This 82m long steam ship sunk 1957. The remaining pieces of the wreck are scattered all over the reef and just the back side of the hull can be found between 34m and 60m. It is nicely overgrown and worth to visit. Because of strong current and may be high waves it is not easy to dive at the Brother’s. This safari is only for experienced divers.
The marine park Ras Mohamed offers dreamlike diving spots. For example SHARK REEF and YOLANDA REEF. Both reefs are standing on a plateau, which is between 10 m to 20 m deep. The edges of the plateau fall down to more than 200 m. 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 Yolanda Reef you can see the cargo of a Cypriot freighter YOLANDA which ran aground in 1980: a large quantity of household pottery such as toilets, bath and shower tubes, bidets
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 19th 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 soft corals. 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.
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 rabbit fish and wrasse congregate along the reef face, accompanied by box and puffer fish. 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.
In the night of December 14, 1991, while on route to the Egyptian port of Safaga, the Salem Express ran aground on Shaab Sheer reef during a storm and struck a leak. The ship had large open decks and sank in minutes. The passengers, mostly pilgrims returning from their Hajj to Mecca, were caught sleeping. It is still unclear why the captain deviated from the safe shipping route. <br/>The Salem Express is now about 1.5 boat hours southeast of Safaga at a depth of between 11 and 32 meters on the starboard side. The wreck can be dived from the outside. Since not all bodies could be recovered from inside the ship, the Salem Express was officially declared a grave. In the meantime, the tailgate has been opened to dive in, but the cabins are still not allowed to be entered. <br/>