As the Red Sea narrows at its northern extreme, a long thin arm of water stretches north towards the Mediterranean. It is the Gulf of Suez. Squeezed between the Sinai Peninsula and the Egyptian mainland, the entrance to the Gulf is marked by a treacherous finger of reef known as Sha’ab Ali.
Heading north past Sha’ab Ali the first headland, Ras Dib, heralds an area rich in shipwrecks. First, are the Attiki and the Muhansia—both visible from the surface, well salvaged and well “dispersed”. Lying in only a dozen meters of water, they are home to many shoaling fish and very large examples of the endemic species of nudibranchs found elsewhere in the Red Sea but in greater numbers and larger than text books would suggest.
Rounding the headland, we find the Elliot, her superstructure above water is well embedded into the reef, her headlong grounding evident from the attitude of her rudder. Divers can enter the hull, swim through and into the engine room and take a walk around. Half a mile offshore where the water is deeper and clearer, lie three modern merchant ships—as yet unidentified—in less than 50 meters of water. Discovered during the 2004 Geoserve/SSS Expedition, their secrets are yet to be unlocked and their stories yet untold.
At Ras Shukier, the hustle and bustle of the oil industry becomes very evident. Close to shore are two shallow wrecks, while again offshore there are several deeper wrecks.
Lying to the north of the port in a large bay with three other wrecks there is a small 50 meter motor cargo ship lying on its starboard side in 12m of water. Totally intact, light streams into the holds and bathes the entire wreck. A shoal of juvenile barracuda circles her mast, which is complete with radar array and aerials.
Just forward of the superstructure itself at the aft of the vessel is an intact crane, obviously used to service the hold. The criss-cross framework of the jib is covered with encrusting life. Superb swim-throughs from the weather deck into the holds are easily accomplished, her cargo bags of polythene granules float hard against the port hull. The fo’c’s’le is easy to access and explore, and her winch gear, like many parts of the wreck is covered in ...
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