Best of Wrecks Red Sea diving holiday – day 3
Over night we made the 11 hour crossing from the Brothers to the Northern part of the Red Sea. A welcome lie in until 6am was received by many. There were a few less hangovers today.
Our first dive was on the Rosalie Moller, a fairly recently discovered wreck. Sitting upright on the sea bed, the top of the wreck is approximately 32m with the bottom somewhere around 50m.
Launched in Glasgow in 1910 and was then named the Francis
110m long makes it larger than a football field, and 16m wide
In 1931 it was sold to the Royal Navy and changed its name to the Rosalie Moller
During WWII it served as a supply ship, supplying coal to the British Army
In 1940 it was ordered to anchor up as the Suez Canal was blocked due to a couple of broken wrecks. It was discovered by a German Heinkel Bomber who landed a direct hit on the main deck
Having never dived this wreck I was really looking forward to it as it is often described as one of the best wrecks in the Red Sea.
We descended down the shot line the viz was a meagre 15m or so, so slowly out of the gloom this huge ship emerged. Considering its age and the fact that it had been hit by a large bomb, loads of it was still very recognisable. Wrecks are generally a haven for marine life but the sheer size of the schools of glass fish and baby barracudas were unreal. Hunting Jacks and Snapper circled above darting in and out and were clearly well fed.
Inside the wreck you could still see the bathrooms and in the holds lay the coal that never reached its intended destination.
Due to the depth our bottom time was restricted to about 30 minutes. After breakfast we departed for the 1.5hr journey to the Thistlegorm.
The Thistlegorm is the most famous wreck in the Red Sea and is possibly the most famous in the world that is suitable for diving. Apparently it now generates more income for Egypt than the pyramids in Cairo.
The Thistlegorm was a British supply ship during the Second World War, supplying Montgomery much needed items. In 1941 three Heinkel bombers were searching the area searching for the Queen Mary that was reportedly in the area and was being used as a troop carrier. Their mission was to find it and destroy it. The planes had no luck finding her so were returning to base when they stumbled across the Thistlegorm. Armed with only 2 small anti-aircraft guns she had no chance. The Heinkels dropped their bombs of which two found their target and hit in right in the middle of the hold carrying the ammo. Supposedly the explosion could be seen from Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. The ship sank quickly and lay forgotten until the 1950’s when it was discovered by jacques Cousteau. It was then forgotten about again until it was rediscovered by divers in 1985.
The 2 dives allowed us to pretty much explore every inch of the wreck. Outside you can still see the tenders from the steam engines, a couple of small tanks, explosive shells, the propeller, winches and 2 anti-aircraft guns. The jewel in the crown of this huge wreck is what’s contained contained in the forward holds that have remained undisturbed and in tact since that fatal evening in 1941. Swimming through the holds you can see dozens of motorbikes still in their racks and tires still inflated, Bedford trucks, spare propellers meant for the RAF, Enfield rifles, Wellington boots, coal for the steam engines and plane wings to carry out repairs.
I’ve been asked to keep Melvin’s wife updated on the weather conditions. We saw a cloud in the sky around 2.14pm, the temperature is around 31 degrees and there is a nice cool breeze to keep us from over-heating. Just in case she is also interested, the water temperature is between 26-28 degrees.