carnatic4The Carnatic was built in London and launched in 1862. She was a hybrid sailing and steam-engine vessel with two masts and a central coal-fire boiler. She weighed 1,776 tons and had a length of 90m.

She was operating between Suez and Bombay. Before the completion of the Suez Canal, vessels unloaded their passengers and cargo in Alexandria which were then transferred to Suez on land. There another boat waited for them, in this case the Carnatic, bound for Bombay, with 34 passengers, a crew of 176 and a cargo of bales of cotton, wine, royal mail, copper sheeting and £40,000 in gold coins.

On September 12, 1869 the Carnatic sailed out of Suez under the command of Captain Jones and began her voyage to Bombay. Captain Jones navigated the treacherous waters in the Gulf of Suez. The headlands and islands along the way were visible in the clear night. However early in the morning, breakers were seen by the crew as the boat was getting near of Shadwan Island. It was too late to stop and the boat struck the Abu Nuhas Reef.

Although impaled by the reef, the pumps were working hard and the boat still seemed to be in good condition for the captain to keep the crew and passengers onboard. He was also expecting the Sumatra to pass them by shortly and hoped for a rescue. She did not show and despite several passengers requesting to be taken to Shadwan Island, they all had to spend another night onboard. The captain was reluctant to allow people to be taken to the island in the life boats in such treacherous waters but by the morning water was filling the boat quickly and he finally ordered the life boats to be readied.

During the rescue the boat suddenly broke in half after 34 hours on top of the reef taking 5 passengers and 26 crew with her. Eventually the survivors were able to make it to Shadwan Island, about 3 miles from the reef. Finally they were all rescued by the soon arriving  Sumatra.

Recovering the cargo

Recovery operations for the valuable cargo began a couple of weeks after Carnatic’s demise with the help of Stephen Saffrey, a diver. Most of the cargo was salvaged, including the royal mail, the gold coins and the copper sheets.


carnatic2Today the Carnatic lies at the base of the Abu Nuhas reef, parallel to it. She is on her port side with the bows facing east. Her stern is at about 24m on the seabed and her bow is at about 16m. The deck faces the open sea. The wreck is shaded by the reef behind, therefore it is best to dive her in the morning.

The wooden structure and planking has rotted away but the steel hull remains, held together by iron supports. With the decking gone, divers are able to explore the wreck 2 decks down. The keel of the boat is virtually intact and the stern provides a view to the impressive windowed quarter deck. The boat widens from the bows toward the main body where the life boat davits are found. From here divers can enter the more than 150-year-old structure.

Diving with the Eyes of an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist

In our new series of articles Dr. Gabor Kiefer, an ear, nose and throat specialist answers your questions that come up most frequently during diving, on holidays and diving tours. If you have any questions regarding the topics or other issues, feel free to comment.

Our childhood experiences often influence our adult goals and aspirations. I was around 10 years old when captain Cousteau
series started to run on TV. I decided then that I was also going to be a diver. But the little boys love of wanting to dive remained only a platonic desire for a long time and nearly 20 years had to pass before the childhood dream could become a reality.

Since then, during the following 10 years or so, I have had the chance to live through wonderful experiences and exciting adventures on numerous diving trips and safaris.
My professional work gradually included diving and more and more divers began contacting me and entrusting me with their various ear, nose and throat problems or asked me for their fit for diving tests.

In my series of articles I would like to share with you my experiences as a diver and as a doctor to make sure that your diving tours and travels are the least disturbed by ear, nose and throat problems.

Dr. Gabor Kiefer PhD.
University Assistant Professor
SOTE, Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic
Tel: +36 20 947 0701
To be continued!

South Sudan – Black-Belt Diver Paradise!

Just like Christopher Columbus, we have also taken to seeing the world and our destination was the deep southern region of the Red Sea. We had heard lots of tales about this place and we wanted to see for ourselves if the amazing stories of the untouched water world were really true.

“Tales are true and truth is only a tale.” (Master Hoppan)

Due to a substantial sand storm, we started our discovery Deep South tour in the North at none other than Shaab Rumi which turned out to be a good thing as our curious hammerhead friends surrounded us once again. Leaving the hammerheads behind, we were able to leave for the South, hoping for the best. The winds subsided somewhat but not entirely but this did not hinder our proceedings toward our destination. And in the end, we were able to fulfill the entire planned itinerary!


Our second (2-week) Deep South there went without a hitch. We found marine life and untouched coral reefs unparallel to anything we had seen before. We often stopped at turquoise spots, our curiosity was driving us and we just had to jump and see what was down there! There were times that we spotted a no-name place and we happened to find ourselves in the middle of a school of hammerheads, counting up to 30. It was a big surprise for both of us; they were swimming about half a metre from us and they have surely not seen divers before.


Dahrat Abid, Darraka, Miyum… wonderful untouched reefs, pulsing marine life and plenty to see! There were grey reef sharks, silky sharks, white-tip sharks, barracudas, hammerheads, dolphins, turtles… Every dive was an awesome experience! Our dive suits were left on the boat and we wore only our shorties in the 30-degree water. Aside from Andromeda, no other boats were to be seen during our second (2-week) tour.

andromeda, sudan, red sea, liveaboard, reef sharks, silky sharks, white-tip sharks, barracudas, hammerheads, dolphins, turtles
reef sharks, silky sharks, white-tip sharks, barracudas, hammerheads, dolphins, turtles

Warrior fish and the offspring

What an excellent week this has been! Our guides have gotten so used to the constant presence of large marine life that they have almost “forgotten” about all the other creatures beneath the sea.  So, this week we asked them especially about these other creatures and it turned out, marine life here does not teem only with hammerheads and grey reef sharks!

scuba, diving, sudanese, red sea, liveaboard, dive, shark, diving safariFor one, we learnt that the scalloped-edged fins are in this season among the guides. Why? Because triggerfish are spawning these days and they are very protective of their offspring. So, any time the guides swim over their nests, the furious mothers attack the fins, leaving behind their pretty bite marks.

Tour date: April 26 – May 06, 2013
Itinerary: Sudan-Ultimate
Air temperatures: 35C
Water temperatures: 27-28C
Visibility: 30m

Also spawning are the groupers, one of the most colourful characters of the seas, despite their frightening appearance. They are built stubby and look like a spud 🙂 They can be photographed easily, they are quite photogenic as they are calm and allow divers close to them. These days they are cruising in spectacular 50-member schools, specimens weighing up to 30-40kg.

diving, sudan, safari, cruise, liveaboard, red sea, scooter, shark, scuba diverWe were getting ready for hammerheads at Logan Reef and we spotted two larger females. At Keary Reef, we already counted ten. And for a change of pace, we met up with grey reef sharks at the southern part of Shaab Ambar. Then came Sanganeb, and a serious size of school as well – thirty sharks swam by us. Shaab Rumi ruled where hammerheads and grey reef sharks greatly outnumbered us.

Andromeda, Cassiopeia, scuba diver, onboard, diving safari, liveaboard, red seaOur chef, Mustafa, got a helping hand in the kitchen this week! Three guests joined him and together they created mouth-watering feasts. On the menu this week – Far-Eastern delights prepared with Sudanese and Egyptian ingredients and spices! Now this is personalised service! 🙂

A new week, new hopes. We will be back next week again and let you know what we will have seen. In case you have missed out on our previous reports, you can catch up by following these links:
In focus – the grey shark
Caught between dolphins and sharks
Scooters in action!
Sudan, the Jolly, under and above water
An Eiffel Tower in Sudan
Manta, hammerhead, barracuda!
The sharks winked back!
Angarosh, the “Mother of Sharks”
A perfect start in Sudan!
Fish parade in the month of the Pisces!