A curse for ships is an escapade for the expeditors visiting the dreadful Abu Nuhas. While diving in the Red Sea is quite panoramic due to it’s assortment of marine life, people often douse here to watch the shipwrecks lying unwaveringly on the sea’s rimming reef. The region covered by Sha’ab Abu Nuhas, which means ‘worst bad lack reef’, is a horrendous passage for the mariners sailing toward the Street of Global near Gulf of Suez. It encompasses four shipwrecks that can be explored as a part of audacious diving, and maybe some more those are yet unexplored.
The Carnatic, built-in 1862, is a vessel 90 meters long with vapor engine and quadrangle-fixed sails. This massive mechanism sailed mostly amid China, Bombay, and Suez and was owned by Peninsula and Oriental Steamship Navigation Company (currently known as P&O). Earlier, when Suez Canal was under construction, people and goods passing through Indian Ocean were unburdened at Alexandria. There, they boarded a new vessel to Suez Canal to end their journey. On 13th Sept, 1869, this gigantic vessel submerged in the ocean with 34 voyagers, tons of copper sheets, cotton bales, Royal Mail, and currency coins, which was recovered later same year.
To explore the Carnatic, move 17-28 meters from the port. The two halves of this vessel rests in such a manner, damaged part is concealed, that it seems integral and unharmed. Underwater, it seems like the sturdy Carnatic is clutched by the vivid, beautiful coral encrustations, making it a magnificent sight for the divers. Not much damaged, the shipwreck is quite safe to explore while swimming through various levels of the ship. Shallow section of the wreck is suitable for beginners, whereas professional divers can reach the seabed.
The Tile Wreck (the Marcus or The Chrisoula K)
A 98-meter long cargo ship launched in 1954, The Chrisoula K, was sailing from Italy to Jeddah in 1981 to ship huge amount of patio-style tiles, when it hit the bottom of Abu Nuhas Reef and submerged in the water within seconds. The accident was a total loss as nothing could be recovered later on. However, the crew and the captain were salvaged by the crisis unit sent by neighboring naval base. The identity of this wreck is still under scrutiny and is sometimes identified as “Chrisoula K? and many times as “the Marcus? because an analogous ship built in Gemany and owned by Greece, sunk in Abu Nuhas in 1978.
The major part of the wreck stands straight in the reef, whereas the stern, rudder, and the propeller lie deep down 26 meters. Divers can effortlessly swim through the ship engine and the cargo, where the tile packs are still untouched. The visibility of this wreck is quite trouble free and can be seen at once, which is quite a remarkable panorama for divers. The surrounding vivid coral beds provide a picturesque site. Snorkeling here is permitted only when the water is low.
The Giannis D
Giannis D was built in Japan in 1969. It is measured 99 meters in length and had a diesel engine. This vessel was sailing from Croatia toward Saudi Arabia and Yemen in April 1983 carrying wood. The extremely serene weather that morning generated no surfs which made the reef imperceptible to the navigators. After the accident, the Giannis D was floating for a couple of weeks until a storm hit the reef, cracking the ship in two parts. Divers can watch the ship in three parts, the stern, the remnants of amidships, and the bow. The deepest tip of this wreck stretches at 24 meters, while the highest point, A-frame floor Granty crane, lies just underneath the surface. You can easily access the engine room and watch some wood cargo. Due to these wooden sightings, this wreck is also known as ‘timber wreck’. This wreck is quite suitable for neophyte divers.
The Lentil Boat (Seastar or Kimon M)
This was a diesel-powered, refrigerated vessel, 121 meters long, and built in 1952. She became a part of the easternmost wreckage of Abu Nuhas in Dec 1978, when she was cruising to Mumbai from a diminutive Iskenderun Port in Turkey, carrying lentil cargo. A similar Greek vessel named Seastar submerged in this reef, hence Kimon M is sometimes misapprehended as Seastar. The deepest point is at 32 meters and comprises of the rudder and the propeller. It is quite hazardous for divers to swim around because the metal sheets of the wreck are on the verge of disintegrating. It was a sturdy vessel when built. However, it depreciated in quality since last 30 years.
The wreck is not dived frequently. Very professional divers can reach the deepest core of the shipwreck, provided the water is calm.