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Scuba Diving in the Red Sea
Dive Site: Giannis D
Location: 27°34'42"N; 33°55'24"E (Sha'ab Abu Nuh‚s)
Description: Japanese freighter
Length: 100 metres approx (300 feet)
Depth: 4 metres to mast (13 feet), 24 metres to sea floor (79 feet)
Visibility: 20 - 30 metres (65 - 100 feet)
The Giannis D sank with its cargo of timber in 1983 and lies next to a coral reef. The entire wreck can be seen from either end because of good the visibility. It is broken up in the Center, but the bow and stern remain intact. At the stern on the sea floor there is a point where penetration allows you to travel up towards the top of the wreck to a pocket of trapped air. You will need to leave by the same hole which you entered. At the bow you can see where the boat had been renamed, with the old name just visible under a layer of paint. Expect to see glassfish, scorpionfish, angelfish, bumphead wrasse and a napoleon fish. The dive can be finished by traversing the reef, or by climbing up the mast, which rises up to only four metres below the surface.
Giannis D Resources
The Giannis D was built in 1969 in Japan and was originally called the Shoyo Maru. She was a general cargo vessel of 2932 tonnes with two forward cargo holds and an engine room at the stern. In 1975 she was sold and renamed the Markos. Interestingly, that name is still discernible on the vessel's hull and there are those who insist on calling her by the misnomer "Markos D"! In 1980 the ship was then sold again to a Greek company who gave her the name o the Giannis D and emblazoned a large, capital D onto her funnel.
The Giannis D set sail from Croatia in April 1983 with a cargo of sawn softwood destined for the Saudi Arabian Port of Jeddah. The journey through the northern section of the Red Sea was uneventful as the Captain steered his way through the hazardous coral reefs. However, shortly after he handed over control of the ship and retired to his cabin to get some rest he was rudely awoken by an event that would signal the end of his much loved ship. The Giannis D had hit the northwest corner of Sha'ab Abu Nuhas at full speed. The date was April 19th 1983.
The Giannis D is now found in three separate sections - bows, amidships and stern lying more or less parallel to the reef. Most divers tend to head straight for the which looks as though it has been cleanly cut from the remainder of the ship. The deepest part is the port companionway which is almost resting on the seabed. Above this, a number of davits and other fittings are found hanging out from the wreck. The letter D is still clearly visible on the funnel. There is easy access to the engine room which offers a very exciting interlude for those who prefer to venture deep inside. The Bows rest perfectly on their port side with the decks facing away from the reef. Once again, they look as though they were separated from the remainder of the ship by an acetylene torch. Being exactly on their side, however, means that the forward main mast is found stretching out directly above and parallel to the sand - seemingly defying all the known laws of gravity. Many hard and soft corals have begun to colonise this part of the wreck and numerous reef fishes have crossed over from the adjacent reef to set up home. A very large Napoleon wrasse is often encountered here.
Overall the Giannis D is an excellent dive - my favourite dive site in the Red Sea - and one that is much enjoyed by every grade of diver.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
Being the first time I had dived in the Red Sea I thought that it would be the reefs that had the best aquatic life, but no it was this wreck! There are pufferfish, octopus, grouper, lionfish and plenty of other fish! Well worth a dive!
Jack Banks, Advanced Open Water Diver
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