North Red Sea October 2014
Five club members spent the last week of October aboard the liveaboard Whirlwind
on the Wrecks and Reefs itinerary taking in the Straights of Tiran, Ras Mohammed National Park, Sha'ab Abu Nuhas, Gubal Island and the Thistlegorm, 22 dives in all.
After a check dive in Ras Khaty, we moved to the Straights of Tiran, where we dived the 4 reefs - Thomas, Gordon (night dive), Jackson and Woodhouse - that lie across the opening of the Gulf of Aqaba, posing a hazard to shipping as evienced by the wreck of the Lovilla, high and dry on Gordon reef. Thomas and Gordan reefs completed Day 1.
The weather was warm but windy making the ride from the "big boat" a little rough - brought back memories of the North Sea!
Day 2 began with the early morning dive on Jackson reef and, after breakfast, Woodhouse reef. After lunch, the boat moved down to Ras Mohammed National Park where we dived Jackfish Alley as a drift dive from the Whirlwind and had a night dive on "the Alternatives", a group of small reefs so called because dive boats often use them as an alternative site if the weather makes other dives in the National Park difficult. The Alternatives also provide mooring which is not allowed in other parts of the park.
Day 3 saw us diving SS Dunraven at 6:30 followed by breakfast and then a crossing of the Gulf of Suez to Sha'ab Abu Nuhas where we dived the wreck of MV Chrisoula K, otherwise known as the Tile wreck, from a Zodiac. The wreck gets it alternative name from the fact that it is filled with ceramic tiles all clearly stamped "Made in Italy" which can be clearly seen as you swim inside the wreck. After lunch we dived the famous wreck, SS Carnatic follwowd by a night dive on Abu Nuhas reef.
The early morning dive was on MV Ghiannis D, an impressive wreck with great smim-throughs to the engine room and crew quarters, with many fish, corals, etc. After breakfast, the boat moved north to Gubal Island where we dived the Barge. This is a small shallow wreck filled with corals, fish and other creatures. We also swam onto the reef and into the lagoon, which at 4m depth, is a quite light pool filled with sea life. Later in the day, we dived the wreck of SS Ulysses and, coming off the wreck, drifted along the reef to be picked up by the Zodiac. The day ended with a night dive on the Barge.
Day 5 began with a drift dive at Bluff Point at the Western end of the reef and one of the highlights of the trip - we were joined by a group of dolphins as we descended from the Zodiac. The dolphins swam around us for several minutes before going on their way to more important things than playing with humans!
After this encounter, and breakfast, of course, the boat moved back across the Gulf of Suez to Sha'ab Ali and the world-famous wreck of the Thistlegorm where we made 3 dives, including the night dive. The first dive, in quite a strong current, was around the stern, rudder and propellor. The second took us through the holds, a museum of WWII trucks and motorcycles. The night dive was around the bow.
The early dive was an exploration of the bow and holds whilst we had the wreck completely to ourselves before the day boats arrived from Sharm el Sheik. Following this dive, the boat moved back to Ras Mohammed, where we dived Shark reef and Yolanda reef with the wreck of the Yolanda - the Toilet wreck - and Ras Ghozliani before returning to Sharm el Sheik.