THE REEF OF ABU NUHAS
About 2 – 3 hours cruising time from Hurghada lies the reef of Abu Nuhas – ” by Egyptina in means The father of bad luck”, so called because of the number of ships that have hit this reef over the years. The reef is to the north of Shaidwan Island, close to the main shipping channel from Suez and usually partially submerged making it dangerous for shipping.
Among the many ships that have hit the north side of the reef, 4 remain as diveable wrecks for recreational divers. Starting from the north they are:
- Kimon M – known as the “lentil wreck”, the ship now lies against the reef with the bows pointing up the reef. The wreck starts at around 10 meters with a maximum depth of around 25 meters atthe stern. In December 1978, the Kimon M was loaded with 4,500 tons of lentils left the Turkish port of Iskenderun. On the 12th, she drove headlong with engines at full speed onto the reef. A passing cargo ship the Interasja immediately responded to the distress call and picked up all her crew and delivered them safely to Suez. With the bow section high and dry on the main reef the main section of the ship broke off and rolled over onto her starboard side.
In December 1978, the Kimon M was loaded with 4,500 tons of lentils left the Turkish port of Iskenderun. On the 12th, she drove headlong with engines at full speed onto the reef. A passing cargo ship the Interasja immediately responded to the distress call and picked up all her crew and delivered them safely to Suez. With the bow section high and dry on the main reef the main section of the ship broke off and rolled over onto her starboard side.
- Chrisoula K – the “tile wreck”, referred to in some guides as the “Marcus”, another tile carrying ship, which is now believed to lie further from the reef in 65 meters. The bow of the Chrisoula K is in 5 meters with the broken off stern in around 26 meters. This is a very easy wreck for the novice wreck diver due to the shallow area at the bow and the gently increasing depth down to the stern. The cargo of floor tiles can be seen clearly in the open holds.
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
- Carnatic – the “wine ship”, which hit the reef and sank in 1869 on her way from Suez to India with a cargo of port wine and gold and silver bullion. The wreck is broken in 2 pieces and lies on its side on the reef with a depth range of 12 to 24 meters. The wreck is known for its huge bronze propeller and the beautiful corals that cover it after over 140 years on the sea bed.
The Carnatic is one of the older wrecks in the Red Sea and after her sinking in September 1869 she lay alone on the reef of Abu Nuhâs for over 100 years before being joined by several others wrecks in the 1970’s and 1980’s. She is of iron framed planked construction and was a P&O passenger sail & steam ship, 90m in length with a beam of 12 metres.
- Ghiannis D – the “wooden ship,” which was carrying a cargo of timber bound for Saudi Arabia. Stranded on the reef, the ship broke its back during a storm and sank in two pieces. The stern section has twin masts that reach up to 5 meters from the surface with the stern at 24 meters. The engine room can be visited by suitably qualified divers.
The sinking: In April 1983, the Giannis D with a cargo of wood left Rijeka, Croatia bound for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Hoedeidah in Yemen. She passed through the Suez Canal and headed south through the Gulf of Suez, and according to official reports suddenly veered of course heading onto the north west corner of Abu Nuhas. Yet another Greek shipping tragedy where the captain found his vessel on the wrong side of the shipping channel, on the wrong side of Shadwan Island and hitting the reef from the WEST!!
In addition to the wrecks it is also possible to dive on the other side of the reef at a site known as Paradise, which has a plateau with a huge coral garden and a drop off into deeper water.