Wreck and Brothers Islands
Location: 26° 19’ 00" N, 34° 50’ 00"E. Big Brothers Island
Access: Day boat or Safari Boat from Hurghada, Safaga or Qesir
Minimum Depth to Wreck 12m (at Bows)
Maximum Depth to Seabed: 60m+ (at stern)
Average Visibility: 35-40m
The Aida was built in France and launched in 1911. She displaced 1,428 gross registered tonnes and was powered by a single 3 Cylinder triple expansion engine capable of providing a top speed of 9 Knots. Her dimensions were; 75.1m x 9.7m with a draught of 7m.
Originally ordered for the Egyptian Ports and Lighthouses Administration, she was later transferred to Egyptian Marina and used to ferry troops.
Egyptian soldiers stationed on the island for up to two months at a time. Naturally, they require a constant re-supply of fresh water and provisions in addition to a changeover of personnel every so often.
On 15 September 1957, the Captain of the Aпda was tasked to exchange military personnel on Big Brothers Island. There were heavy storms that day and it would seem that, despite the sea state, he still decided to go ahead - and in so doing he struck the rocks. Almost immediately, the Aпda began to sink and the Captain had little option but to abandon ship.
A Tugboat responded immediately and took off 77 personnel with the remainder, including the Captain, all getting safely to shore. In the meantime, the Aпda drifted a short distance to the northwest before her bows finally embedded themselves into the reef. As the stern sank, it came to rest at an extremely steep angle down the reef.
Diving the Aпda
This is an outstanding dive by any standards - with the Diver left wondering how any ship could come to rest at such an angle. One would have expected the forces of gravity to have taken over at some point and send the vessel to a much deeper resting place. But not in this case and the Aпda lies straight "up" the reef with her bows at 25m and her stern at 60m. Apart from substantial damage to the Bows, this ship is virtually intact.
After more than 40 years underwater, the Aпda is now permanently concreted to the Reef on which she has slowly become a part. There is considerable coral growth all over the ship. With decreasing intensity as one ventures deeper and deeper, the Diver will encounter a wide variety of soft corals and hard corals with the shallower parts of the wreck being a veritable living confusion of colour. Add to this an amazing selection of fish life which includes everything from large Grouper and Tuna - always found feeding at first light, and the thousands of Vanikoro Sweepers that inhabit No 1 Hold and this is a wreck that has something for everyone.
After the damaged bows, most of the main forward deck is intact. The wooden decking has rotted away - leaving a virtually intact steel framework with easy access to all parts. The forward hold is empty and, once inside, the Diver is totally sheltered from the current - which can be quite strong.
Incredibly, the forward mast is still largely intact and continues to defy the inevitable laws of deterioration as it points up from the wreck and away from the vertical Reef. Below the mast are an assortment of winches with a boom lying across the deck itself. Amidships is the raised Centre Castle with what remains of a wooden Bridge Structure. This is no more than a platform but there are still much to see - especially amongst the accommodation block below. There are many cabins to explore - most of which still have their brass portholes in place.
The ship’s funnel is at almost 50m and now lies on its side - partly rusted away. A massive steam whistle - very similar to the one found on the Rosalie Moller, can be seen on its under side - with everything now firmly concreted to the upper decks on which it lies. Immediately below is the entrance to the Engine Room - complete with the 3 cylinder triple expansion steam engine looking as though it could still drive the vessel through the water.
From here, conditions are very deep indeed. The Aпda was never salvaged so it is all still there - right down to the single propeller at 60m. The after-deck is completely intact - except for the absence of woodwork. The coral growth is quite outstanding for such depths - though nothing like the shallower reaches of the vessel where greater sunlight penetration ensures a more prolific growth. This, of course, is where the big boys hang out - and I have never seen Grouper this size anywhere else in the Red Sea.
Safari on this route are arranged only for skilled divers. "Islands-brothers" are tops of two underwater mountains rising from depth of 300 metres. They are practically unique reeves in this area of the sea, therefore here always it is a lot of fishes and, as consequence, sea predators - sharks. Two sunk ships are based at northwest wall Big Brother ("the Big brother"). Their remains disappear in dense coral thickets - an impressing show.
“ Numidia ”(has sunk in 1901). The ship lays practically vertically, beginning on 25 metres and leaving down to 80 metre depths. Egyptian military-transport a vessel"Aida-2"(has sunk in 1957) - look the description and wreck history above. It is possible to visit an operating beacon on island Big Brother, providing navigation in this area of Red sea. It has been constructed by Englishmen in 19 century. The building of a beacon and other constructions have remained up to now, the equipment is replaced with more modern only." The smaller brother "(Little or Small Brother) is located approximately in kilometre from the" Big brother ". Its walls are entirely covered by a carpet of soft corals, huge Gorgonarias, height to 3 m, sponges and thickets of a black coral. Here often meet reefs sharks, whitetips sharks, and as a shark-hammer and even fish-moon.
Site: reef Abu-Nuhas.
Depth: 15-27 m.
Length of the ship: 89 m.
Displacement: 1.776 т.
It is constructed in 1862
Has sunk on September, 13th, 1869
At 1 o'clock in the morning on September, 13th, 1869 there was a message, that steamship Carnatic under command of the captain of P.B.Dzhonsa has flown on reeves some hours later after passage of Suez canal on a way to Bombay. Onboard Carnatic was more than 230 passengers and members of crew. The ship transported consignment party of coins value more than 40 thousand pounds sterling, and also wine and the London soda water.
Travel has begun successfully. Weather was good, the sea - quiet. And, probably, all so also proceeded, if not a small navigating error because of which the vessel has sat down on a bank. Actually, good weather has transformed this history into tragedy. At a dawn it became clear, that the vessel strongly sits on a reef, and the sea is quiet. The decision which has appeared fatal to passengers and members of crew, - to spend onboard the ship was accepted the second night. Works on the evacuation organisation were developed slowly.
In 10.50 evenings the ship has unexpectedly broken up on two parts. In confusion of 27 passengers and members of crew have been taken down by fragments and have sunk. Survived have managed to drag ship boats through a reef. Setting fire to clap bales, scorching from rockets, they could draw attention of other ship - Sumatra which has accepted them aboard.
Carnatic, displacement of 1776 tons and in the length 90 m, remained motionless on a coral slope. Its forward fok-nok-yard rose over a water surface. When information has reached Lloyd, the decision to organise rescue party under a command of captain Henry D. of the grant was accepted. The expedition structure included 2 divers. In it symbolical value Carnatic for modern skin-divers also consists: on this vessel one of the first successful rescue operations with use of new technology of pumping out of air and immersings in a helmet has been spent.
More centuries ago immersing on the sunk vessel was difficult and dangerous. Eventually, one of divers, Stephen Sefferi, has managed to reach a post room where gold cargo was stored. On October, 25th, 1869 the first chest with gold has been lifted on a surface. In total it has been lifted 32 thousand pounds sterling. There is a logical question: and how the others of 8 thousand? Probably, they and are till now among fragments Carnatic! Throughout several months Carnatic remained on the place, on a reef, visited only local beduins which dragged everything, that it allowed to get the technician of free immersing. But in March, 1870 the damaged steamship has slid off on a sea-bottom. Sliding on a bottom, Carnatic has broken up into three parts.
The vessel has substantially undergone to hydrochloric corrosion. A corner formed by a stern and a sandy bottom, together with a reef on a background and picturesque small fishes on forward, represent a remarkable composition for photographing. From here is better to move towards a fodder deck and, through the deck rests, to an engine room in which there is a huge copper, and also a part of the dual engine. The nasal part which also is accessible to research has nearby settled down. Investigating a nasal part, skin-divers will have an opportunity to consider rectangular embrasures of passenger cabins...
Location: 27°34'53"N; 33°55'55"E (Sha'ab Abu Nuhâs)
Description: 3720 ton cargo vessel
Length: 98 metres (322 feet)
Depth: 4 - 26 metres (13 - 85 feet)
Visibility: 20 - 30 metres (65 - 100 feet)
The Chrisoula K was a Greek registered freighter and on its final journey its cargo consisted of Italian floor tiles heading for Jeddah. It sank August 31st 1981 after Captain Kanellis passed over control of his ship following two days of intensive navigation. Shortly after the engines were set at full speed and the Chrisoula K was driven right into the northeast corner of Sha'ab Abu Nuhâs Reef. Thankfully there was no loss of life.
The Chrisoula K now sits in a large open, sandy space. The bows used to rise out of the water, but wave action has now reduced them to a few metres below the surface. The main body of the wreck is generally upright with the cargo of tiles still in place. The stern leans well over to the starboard and is slowly separating altogether. Deep inside the stern, the engine room offers some serious penetration diving for the experienced wreck diver, although there are numerous obstructions so be careful. There is also the possibility of some much more straightforward penetration with plenty of easy swim-throughs and access to areas worthy of exploration without the danger of becoming lost inside. At the seabed, the large propeller and rudder are still virtually undamaged at the maximum depth for this dive of 26m. The Chrisoula K is now covered in an assortment of hard corals and has been made home by a variety of reef fish. This shipwreck offers a variety of different dives to cater for all levels of experience.
Dive Site: Dunraven
Location: 27°42'15"N; 34°07'30"E
Description: British steamship
Length: 78 metres (256 feet)
Depth: 28 metres max (92 feet)
Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
We had heard from a Red Sea dive guide that the Dunraven sank when the Captain went on a drinking binge having found out that his First Mate was sleeping with his wife. He would not tell the First mate how to navigate, so they hit the reef (we have since been told differently by a reader - see below). The wreck now lies in two sections next to each other, both of which are penetrable, but there is not always an entire route through. The large brass propeller lies to the north end of the wreck and the reef to the west. The engine can be found in the northern section of the wreck. The sealife is interesting here and a swim along the reef makes a good end to the dive. Napoleon fish are common, as well as lionfish and flathead scorpion fish. There is a particularly impressive brain coral on the reef as you leave the wreck that is only three metres below the surface.
Dive Site: El Mina (the Harbour Wreck)
Location: 27°13'55"N; 33°51'34"E
Description: Egyptian minesweeper
Length: 70 metres (230 feet)
Depth: 26 metres (85 feet) to top of wreck, seabed at 30 metres (100 feet)
Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
The El Mina was bombed by the Israelis in 1969 in Hurghada bay, but still has a sister ship afloat nearby which is worth looking at to compare to what you are about to dive. The wreck now lies on its side and there are a lot of small holes to peer into and penetration is possible, although tight, through a significant amount of the wreck. Sea urchins are abundant on the wreck and a very large moray was found living in one of the holes. An interesting dive.
El Mina is Arabic for "The Harbour" and the fact that this wreck lies in the Harbour at Hurghada is the only link between the name and the wreck.
The "Harbour Wreck" as it is commonly referred to, is an Egyptian owned, Soviet built type-43 minesweeper, 570 tons, approximately 60m in length and with a beam of 9m. It lies on its port side in 33m of water at the stern, 26m at the bow. Armament consisted of 2 manual dual 37mm anti-aircraft guns, 2 manual dual 25mm AA guns, 2 manual dual 12.7mm guns and 2 DC mortars. The T-43 was the NATO code name for this vessel type; standard Soviet designed ocean minesweepers, although many of the original ships were also built by the Chinese. The wreck is widely reported as having sunk in 1969 or 1970, however an eye witness account given in 1995 by an Egyptian boat captain, who had previously served in the Egyptian military, states the sinking occurred on June 6th 1967; the victim of an Israeli fighter plane. This was the day after the Israeli air force attacked airfields in Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq on June 5th sparking the Arab-Israeli 6-Day War, which lasted until June 10th when UN Security Council cease fire demands were accepted.
For maps of dive-sites thanks:
The text has been translated by means of the electronic translator. The big request! If you notice discrepancies of transfer, write, please, to the guestbook! Thankful in advance :)