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Scuba Diving in the Red Sea
Dive Site: Sha'ab Abu Nuhas
Location: 27°34'50"N; 33°55'30"E
Description: Reef with five wrecks on it
Depth: 89 metres max (292 feet), mostly around 24 metres (79 feet)
Visibility: 20 - 30 metres (65 - 100 feet)
Sha'ab Abu Nuhâs is a large slightly triangular shaped reef located around two miles to the north of Shadwan Island (also known as Shaker Island). The translation of Abu Nuhâs is "Father of Brass", Abu being father and Nuhâs meaning brass. Whilst I have never seen any brass here, it certainly deserves its other name - "The Ship's Graveyard". It's location at the edge of the Straights of Gubal make the north side open to rough conditions, particularly on the surface where a large swell can make mooring difficult if not impossible. The northeast corner often experiences strong currents which can actually sweep down from the north and in from the east, meeting at the corner. This means that on the northeast corner itself, two currents meet and a diver trying to carry out research on the reef wall formation could find themselves stuck between two non-swimable currents (trust me).
Abu Nuhâs is a wreck divers dream come true boasting four vastly different wrecks in very close proximity to each other and all within comfortable diving depths of 30 metres or less. The wrecks are located on the north side of the reef (see the Abu Nuhâs map in PDF format below) and this requires calm surface conditions for mooring. Back in the early 90's when I used to bring day boats here from Hurghada we often had no choice but to moor in less than ideal conditions, however these days most boats which come here have a RIB or boat tender. This means that the main dive boat moors behind the reef near a sand lagoon or behind Woodvalley Reef (a small reef piece on the west end). I refer to this extra piece of reef as "Woodvalley" due to the amount of timber located in the channel between it and the main reef (no doubt some of the cargo of softwood from the nearby Giannis D, washed here by the water flow. The tenders then ferry divers through this channel and out to the wrecks. If weather really is too rough to dive the wrecks, and if current allows Woodvalley Reef itself is a lovely dive. There is also the option of diving Yellowfish Reef (located on the south side of Abu Nuhâs) a reef which makes a lovely night dive.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
One of the ships in Shaab Abu Nuhas went down with a lot of brass onboard. The local fishermen freedived down, collected the brass and sold it for what for them was a fortune. That is why the reef is called the father of brass in Arabic.
Sha'ab Abu Nuhas Resources
Wreck Summary for the northern side of Abu Nuhâs
Listed from northeast to northwest:
A cargo vessel often confused with the Kimon M, due to her cargo which also consisted of lentils. She now lies in deep water with her bow at a depth of 89m. A lack of evidence of her sinking in this area and an absence of records has left many asking the question - "Is she there?"
Kimon M - click to find out more
Location: 27º34'48"N; 33º56'81"E
Also referred to as the "Lentil Wreck" due to the 4000+ tonnes of lentils she was carrying. She sank here on 12th December 1978 (joining the Carnatic after 109 lonely years) and lies in 32m at the stern. Her broken bow lay on the surface of the reef during the 1980's and 1990's where all but a small section has been pounded to pieces by the unforgiving sea.
Chrisoula K - click to find out more
Location: 24º34'53"N; 33º55'55"E
Also referred to as the "Tile Wreck" due to its cargo of tiny Italian tiles. Formerly named the "Anna B" and prior to that named "Dora Oldendorf" she sank here on 31st August 1981 and lies in 28m at the stern. Her broken bow lies just a few metres below the surface.
Carnatic - click to find out more
Location: 27º34'53"N; 33º55'32"E
Also referred to as the "Wine Wreck" due to its cargo of wine and sometimes called the "Gold Wreck" due to the £40,000 of gold it once carried. Don't confuse it with the "Wood Wreck - Giannis D" just because it happens to be constructed primarily of wood. The Carnatic is a P&O steam ship and is the "Grandfather of Abu Nuhâs". She sank here on the 14th September 1869 and lay alone in 22m to the seabed for over 100 years before being joined by the other 4 wrecks in quick succession between 1978 and 1983. She must have wondered what on earth was going on, as for a few years Abu Nuhâs turned into a veritable shipwreck party!
Giannis D - click to find out more
Location: 27º34'42"N; 33º55'24"E
Also referred to as the "Wood Wreck" due to its cargo of soft wood. Formerly named the "Markos" and prior to that named "Shoyo Maru". Note: You can clearly read the name "Maru" on the bows in letters around 2 foot high defined by raised spot welds. Sank here on April 19th 1983 and lies in 24m at the stern.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
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