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Dive Club Trip Report – Oyster Diving Club – Part 3 (Watch Video)

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Oyster Diving Club

OYSTER DIVING CLUB – BEST OF WRECKS RED SEA LIVEABOARD, OCTOBER 2014 – PART 3

(Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.)

Day 5

The boat engines roared in to action at a knackering 4.30am this morning, not ideal when you’re in the cabin next to the engine room.

Today we spent the day at Abu Nuhas, a reef system close to the main shipping lanes to/from the Suez Canal. This means it was an excellent trap to catch out a few Captains who’d let their guard down. Along the reef lays 4 famous wrecks:

  • Chrisoula – the tiles wreck sank in 1978
  • Giannis D – the wood wreck sank 1983
  • Kimon K – the lentil wreck sank 1978
  • Carnatic – the wine wreck sank 1869

Wreck 1 of the day – The Chrisoula K

Chrisoula K Facts:

Built 1953 in Lubeck, Germany

Dimensions – 101m x 14m

Max speed 13.5 kn

Route – Italy to Jeddah

Cargo – 3,700 tonnes of Italian floor tiles

In 1978 it hit the reef at full speed

The wreck lies relatively intact on the reef wall. The bow starts around 4m with the stern at around 26m.

There were loads of interesting places to penetrate the wreck, such as the cargo holds that still contain its cargo of floor tiles, the kitchen, and a machine room where you can still see the tools in their correct positions.

The engine room could be seen through a large door, but it is not advisable to enter as it’s pitch black in there (and a few divers have lost their lives in the past having stirred up the silt).

The coral has now started to cover the upper part of the wreck which meant there were some families of clownfish brightening up the place and other critters such as a wort slug.

Wreck 2 of the day – Carnatic

Carnatic Facts:

Steamship

Launched in 1862

Dimensions – 90m long x 12m wide

Route – Suez to Bombay

Sank – 1869

176 crew and 34 passengers

5 passengers and 26 crew didn’t survive

Cargo – copper, cotton and £40,000 in gold coins (that quite a bit in today’s money) First salvage operation in the world and unfortunately recovered most of the coins (no one know what happened to the rest…)

Our Captain managed to moor our boat right on top of the wreck and with no current it made for a very easy descent. The hull remains relatively intact with a lattice frame work still in place over the top. This made for a very large and airy swim-thru. Inside was a timid school of batfish that made a lovely contrast against the blue water coming through the openings.

Another swim-thru was through the old boiler room and on the exit was a huge moray eel. Despite keeping a close eye open we didn’t manage to find the missing gold.

Weather watch for today: hot, hot, hot with high levels of UV.

Wreck 3 of the day – Giannis D

Giannis D Facts:

Maiden voyage 1969

Dimensions – 100m x 16m

Route – Croatia to Yemen

Cargo – Teak and mahogany

19/04/83 struck the reef

The wood floated and was collected by the local fishermen as its high quality timber and was used to build the first diving liveaboard. The liveaboard itself later became a wreck near Hurghada.

One of the most famous wrecks in the Red Sea – yet it was the first time any of us had done it.

This wreck lay in two main parts. The stern is still relatively intact and provided us with a fantastic swim through. Entering though the main bridge we swam in and down in to the engine room. A large room with a lot of the original wiring, signs and engines are still in place. As we swam through the wreck the different hues of blue would have been an artist’s dream. Returning to the outside of the ship we swam around the stern past the rudder and prop. Despite it being a relatively new wreck, many different types of hard and soft corals are starting to appear, which does make you appreciate exactly how long it takes for coral to grow.

Swimming down the wreck you could see the main portion of the wreck was pretty disintegrated with only a few dozen planks from its cargo remaining. The bow was also slightly beaten up as this was the main point of impact, but still provided for some spectacular photos.

There is a night dive tonight on Dolphin House, near Hurghada – I hope everyone enjoys it!

Tomorrow is our last day of diving, so will be tinged with a touch of sadness.

Day 6

Our final day of diving, and probably the final blog entry (unless something out of the ordinary happens during our night out in Hurghada later).

Having started our journey back towards Hurghada we did our first of two dives this morning at Shab el Ert, or more commonly known at home as Dolphin House. There are three Dolphin Houses in the Red Sea and I’ve never encountered Dolphins in any of them, so expectations were low.

I buddied up with Melvin and Philippe, the French-American (he’s actually Canadian but we’ve had a great time calling him a yank all week). Philippe decided to lead this dive. The dive itself, in Red Sea terms, was not that spectacular – a sandy bottom with coral bommies and lots of little fish. As predicted, there were no dolphins. The highlight of the dive is that myself and Melvin had to tell Philippe that he was leading us in the wrong direction and therefore using various hand gestures we made him aware that the ‘beer fine’ rule was being enforced.

We were about the last people back on the boat and just as we were taking our kit off a pod of Dolphins typically appeared right where we had just been diving. I calmly asked one of the boat guys “quick, quick, grab the zodiac”. Mel and I grabbed our fins and masks and leapt in to the zodiac like a couple of Olympic hurdlers wired on Red Bull.

We lost sight of the Dolphins but our boat driver shouted “JUMP”, so without question we rolled back in to the water. Right in front of us less than 10 yards/meters away were about a dozen Dolphins slowly and calmly swimming right past us. With the cameras rolling we spent several minutes gathering evidence to show the guys back on the boat.

Today’s weather for Mrs G: SCORCHIO

Last dive of the trip – El Mina

This wreck was an ex-Russian frigate that was sold to Egypt. During the Egyptian v Israeli conflict, an Israeli Phantom jet fighter bombed the navy vessel and sank it close to Hurghada Port in about 30m of water. Apart from a large hole where the bomb hit, the wreck is relatively intact and rests on its port side. You can still see the gun turrets, propellers, bow etc. Marine life was fairly interesting even though the coral hasn’t taken hold properly.

Myself, Mel and Phillipe navigated our way over to a nearby trawler. Although not as fascinating to look at, the marine life was! There were thousands of glass fish being stalked by chunky lionfish and crocodilefish.

With our equipment rinsed and drying in the sun we are making plans for a final farewell to this wonderful part of the world. Tomorrow we get to lounge by the pool before our afternoon transfer to the airport. It’s been a great trip and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the company of the Danepack and other guests on the boat. As usual, blue o two have provided us with a first class service and we look forward to returning to the ‘Best of the Red Sea – Shark Special’ next November on board Blue Horizon. If you would like to join us the please email me at mark@oysterdiving.com.

Here’s a video of our trip:

www.oysterdiving.com

Having worked as a Dive Instructor in the Virgin Islands, Thailand and Egypt, Mark returned to the UK in 2006 when he founded Oyster Diving. His principle aims for the new diving centre would be to appeal to the more discerning customer by offering the best facilities, having an integrated travel agency so customers can complete their dives abroad as well as in the UK. In 2010 Mark won Sport Diver magazines' 'Best Diving Instructor'. For more information on Oyster Diving, visit www.oysterdiving.com.

Marine Life & Conservation

BLUE EARTH – Future Frogmen Podcast Series – Deep-Sea Stories From a Shadow Diver: a conversation with Richie Kohler

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A series of conservation educational podcasts from Future Frogmen, introduced by Jeff Goodman.


Deep Sea Stories From a Shadow Diver: a conversation with Richie Kohler. 

This episode of the Blue Earth Podcast is a conversation with Richie Kohler. He’s an explorer, technical wreck diver, shipwreck historian, filmmaker, and author.

Richie was featured in Robert Kurson’s incredible book “Shadow Divers ”. It’s a thrilling true story about Richie and John Chatterton’s quest to identify the wreck of an unknown WWII German U-boat (submarine), 65 miles off the coast of New Jersey. They dedicated six years of their lives attempting to identify the wreck.

Richie has travelled the world and explored many deep wrecks, including the Andrea Doria, Titanic, and Britannic. He’s the author of “Mystery of The Last Olympian” about the Britannic.


Richard E Hyman Bio

Richard is the Chairman and President of Future Frogmen.

Born from mentoring and love of the ocean, Richard is developing an impactful non-profit organization. His memoir, FROGMEN, details expeditions aboard Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s famed ship Calypso.

Future Frogmen, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and public charity that works to improve ocean health by deepening the connection between people and nature. They foster ocean ambassadors and future leaders to protect the ocean by accomplishing five objectives.


You can find more episodes and information at www.futurefrogmen.org and on most social platforms @futurefrogmen.

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Marine Life & Conservation

New Fisheries Act misses the mark on sustainability, but what now?

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A better future for our seas is still beyond the horizon, says Marine Conservation Society

The UK’s landmark post-Brexit fisheries legislation has now become law. The Fisheries Act, the first legislation of its kind in nearly 40 years, will shape how the UK’s seas are fished for years to come.

The Marine Conservation Society, which campaigned for amendments to the legislation throughout its development, is disappointed by the removal of key sustainability amendments and by the removal of a commitment to rolling out Remote Electronic Monitoring.

The charity has committed to pushing the UK Government to go further than the framework which the Fisheries Act sets out, with greater ambition for the state of UK seas.

Sandy Luk, Chief Executive of the Marine Conservation Society said: “UK Government and devolved administrations must act urgently to deliver climate and nature smart fisheries under the new Fisheries Act. This is a key condition if our seas are to recover to good health. The UK Government removed key amendments from the legislation while making promises on sustainability and the introduction of remote electronic monitoring. We will continue to hold the government to account over these promises.”

“I’m pleased to see the recognition of the important role fisheries play in our fight against the climate emergency.  However, even with a climate change objective in the Act, actions speak louder than words. We must get to work delivering sustainable fisheries management, which will have a huge benefit to our seas, wildlife and the communities which depend upon them.”

The Fisheries Act has become law against a backdrop of the ocean’s declining health. UK waters are currently failing to meet 11 out of 15 indicators of good ocean health and over a third of fish in UK waters are being caught at levels which cannot continue into the future. Whilst the legislation failed to address some of the more pressing issues facing UK seas, including overfishing, there is still an opportunity to affect change in the years which follow.

Sam Stone, Head of Fisheries at the Marine Conservation Society said: “The Fisheries Act marks the start of a new era of fisheries management in the UK, but the next two years will be critical in defining what this looks like. The new Act has some good objectives, but we now need to come together to make sure it really delivers the on-water change that is desperately needed for ocean recovery.

“There is genuine opportunity to create fisheries that deliver for coastal communities and for the environment, but it means moving away from ‘business-as-usual’. The UK and devolved governments now have the powers to move forward with progressive new management in their waters. That means proper incentives for low impact fishing, proper monitoring of catches and proper commitments to sustainable fishing.

“In the short term, the four nations must work together to make impactful changes, starting by addressing the UK’s most at risk fish stocks. Recovery plans are needed for our depleted stocks, including new catch limits, selectivity and avoidance measures, protection of vital habitats and fully documented catches. Rolling out Remote Electronic Monitoring with cameras on larger vessels throughout the UK should be top of the agenda if future policy is to be as well informed as possible.”

For more information about the Fisheries Bill and the Marine Conservation Society’s work, visit the charity’s website.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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