Dunraven

THE STORY OF THE SINKING:

dunraven3In January, 1876 the Dunraven laden with cargo left England for Bombay. On April 6 she left Bombay loaded with cotton and wool. The trip across the Indian Ocean was uneventful and she continued on and up through the Red Sea. In the early morning hours of April 25, high land was spotted right ahead by one of the crew and believed it to be Shadwan Island. An hour later a light was also spotted which was taken for the Ashrafi Light, up in the Straits of Gobal.

The captain arrived on deck at around 4am. Land was in plain sight 6-7 miles off the starboard side in a northerly direction and the captain altered course in the direction of the land. A few minutes later a dark object was spotted along the way and by the time the news reached the captain who ordered the engines to be shot off, it was too late. The Dunraven struck hard and her hull was immediately penetrated.

The boat caught fire and the steam pumps were set to work right away. By 7am the water reached the engine room and put out the fires. By noon it was obvious the boat was going to go down and the crew took to the lifeboats. A local dhow took the crew onboard at around 4pm and it was then that they were made aware that their actual position was off the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, at Beacon Rock.

DIVING AT THE WRECK:


dunraven2When having sunk, the Dunraven landed almost completely upside down when reaching the sea floor at about 30m deep. Her upside-down bows are the shallowest part of the wreck, about 17m below the water surface.

Her keel is virtually intact and it is covered with bright soft corals. On the stern, at 28m, a coral-wrapped huge screw and the rudder can still be found, pointing toward the surface. The bows are broken and slightly separated and the whole wreck rests against the reef. A great chain still dangles from the chain holes with bright lush soft corals climbing all along its length. The anchor lies farther away from the wreck in the sand. Also in the sand near the wreck are scattered various parts of the boat, including the two masts.

When swimming along the keel, in midway of the wreck where the hull is broken, the remains of some contorted metal and the large funnel can be still seen. On the inside the two coal boilers are also still visible which are circled by thousands of tiny glassfish. Next to the boilers the engine can be found still intact along with pistons, pipes, taps and valves still in good shape.

The inside of the wreck can get a bit dark in places but the port holes allow some natural light to illuminate the inside. Lying almost completely upside down, the wooden-panelled deck is now the ceiling along which runs the propeller shaft.

The wreck of Dunraven hides a rich marine life. She is frequented by huge groupers, barracuda, scorpionfish, crocodilefish and on occasion mantas.

It is shark fever onboard Cassiopeia!

Today is about fish again because we have seen marvellous things in Egypt! Like a Rhina Ancylostoma and a Stegostoma Fasciatum or Varium. And this is only the beginning as we have just barely left the harbour… and all this at the beginning of a classical North safari.

Usually March is not the most preferred month for divers in Egypt. But we still like sailing then too, map out the underwater scenery without that all that “popularity” down there. And we have found something this week without even trying. We are doing a classical North tour.

There it lay, a few metres from the wreck of Dunraven at 28m deep on the sandy bottom, a bowmouth guitarfish, 2.5m long. If you wish to dive and see it, even if only in your imagination, you can do it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowmouth_guitarfish

We had similar luck yesterday at the Woodhouse Reef 10 minutes into our dive where at 20m deep we ran into a 1.5m long zebra shark lazily lying on the sandy bottom. Zebra sharks can be found a bit more frequently in the Red Sea but they are still not an everyday occurrence!

By the way, the air temperature is about 28C, perfect for a safari! J

Photos by Gyozo Horvath

WE ARE TURNING 10 YEARS OLD!

The time has come in our company’s life when we can celebrate a milestone! A lot has changed since the beginnings… Red Sea Boats Holidays started its journey down a path in the first years of the 2000s as the vision of a young and relentless small team, that we believe it is still journeying on.

It all started in 2003 with an Egyptian diving tour and a boat engine that had been wasting away. To most, this information would have been frivolous but we had already envisioned the boat around the engine.

Our story began with a small, 10-person safari boat called Liliom. Then came other favourites such as Nabila Ebeid and Seaflower. Mentioning the names of these boats surely conjures up warm safari memories for many. It has been 6 years that Cassiopeia was born, eventually becoming our flagship. Then 3 years later her sister, Andromeda was born.

Our initial goal was to organise and manage diving safaris in Egypt for more and more divers. Ten years is a long time and enough to be able to observe some interesting tendencies.
We have tried to gather all important events, stories and people that/who had defined this period in our company’s life. We, ourselves, are amazed by the number of events and turns and about how much the world had changed in these 10 years.

“It is not the strongest nor the smartest that stays alive but the one who is most apt to change.” (Darwin)

Some things we liked…

  • Clients from 32 various countries, all the way from Brazil to Japan
  • Clicks on our Web page from more than 150 countries
  • Servicing thousands of clients annually
  • Moving to a large and comfortable office
  • Our brand new Web page is available

 

Some things we did not like…

  • SARS virus
  • Iraqi war
  • Icelandic volcano eruption
  • Arab spring 2012
  • World economy crisis

Ten things you may not know about us…

  • Four of us work in our Budapest office
  • We have 7 diplomas altogether, only one of which is in tourism, yet we have been working successfully in this field for 10 years
  • Our mean age is 35 and the ratio of men to women in our office is 1:3
  • Two more colleagues and a 24-person crew helps our work in Egypt
  • We speak and understand 8 languages in total: Hungarian, Arabic, English, German, Russian, Italian, French, Spanish
  • In our Budapest office 2 instructors, 1 dive master and a non-diver make up our team
  • Some of our unique personality traits: claustrophobia, shisha-dependency, vertigo, germaphobia, insomnia, workaholism, “Apple”-dependency
  • We organise about 75 dive tours a year all over the world and our clients travel close to 40,000 kilometres annually, which means we “circle the world” once every year
  • We are the only officially registered travel agency in Hungary specialising in dive tours and diving safaris
  • We are about to start our 11th year in Egypt and our 7th season in Sudan

Some interesting facts about Andromeda and Cassiopeia…

  • The locals in Egypt just call them the “Coca-Cola” boats
  • The length of the boats is 40 metres which is roughly the total of 85 fin-lengths
  • The weight of Andromeda is 470 tons and add to this 1 ton of groceries, 70 tons of diesel, 15 tons of fresh water, all needed to prepare for a Sudan season
  • During construction 12 cubic metres of teak, 180 cubic metres of wood and 120 tons of steel were used
  • The client area is 400 square metres in total on both boats

Interesting travel facts…

  • We organise 70-80 diving tours around the world annually, with more than 100 clients travelling to Marsa Shagra and others travelling to over 50 exotic countries
  • Our clients are from 32 various countries
  • The ratio of women to men on our boats is 15:85
  • During a week, our divers spend more than 1,000 minutes on average under water
  • Our tanks are filled 546 times on average during a week

Weekly food consumption per boat…

  • 26 chickens (1 chicken = 1,2kg)
  • 36kg beef
  • 8kg calamari
  • 15kg sea fish

The guest of honour celebrates!

More than 12,000 of you have honoured us with your trust in the past 10 years and we have happily acknowledged that you were satisfied with the quality of our services.

Our wishes had come true every year and now, on our 10th anniversary, we would like to surprise others as well. We would like to present all our loyal and returning as well as our future partners and clients with some gifts in 2013!

  • The first 200 guests in 2013 will receive a nicely designed mug
  • And continuing on, everybody will receive something nice throughout the year

We thank you for choosing us in these past 10 years and we hope to continue being your choice in the future!

The Red Sea in summer

I am surrounded by sparkling sky-blue sea, softly caressing breeze, infinite tranquility and serene silence as I am sitting in front of the captain’s bridge. Meanwhile the large boat glides from one coral reef to another and I can hardly wait to dive! Until now I have been travelling to the Red Sea for safaris only in the spring and late fall when you could already use a sweater between dives and sometimes a hat too to warm your ears. But to enjoy the richest spectacle, I used to prefer these two periods.

Now, that I have also experienced a summer diving safari, I know this season cannot be missed either in Egypt! The sea is transparent and visibility can be well over 40-50m! From the bow I am gazing at the corals on the sea bottom and schools of fish startled by the noise of the engines. We arrive to the next dive site. We anchor and start getting ready for the dive. I can see the velvet blue rippling beneath me from the boat and the nearby reef glistening in emerald green and dark brown colours.

This time I leave my dive suit on the boat as only a pair of shorts will do in the 28-30-degree water. I cannot see any other boats in the area. And this continues on at almost every site during the week. We are in the Ras Mohamed National Park and getting ready to jump in at the Shark-Yolanda reef. In August at full moon red snapperfish, barracudas and batfish gather here into schools by the hundreds, getting ready to spawn. These gatherings provide an impressive sight!

Finally I am in the water and I can give myself over to weightlessness. Black pilotfish flash by me. I turn onto my back to see the sun rays breaking the water surface and as I begin to laugh, the bubbles escape from my regulator scaring away a small fish swimming above me. I turn towards the reef and suddenly an underwater fairy garden unfolds, made of shells and lacy corals in the shape of an “S”. I watch as a snail wearily begins its long journey on a rock and next to it a clownfish is playing among the purple-tipped tentacles of a poisonous anemone. It is just like a kid – I figure.

I notice a barracuda not far from the reef. Motionless it opens its teeth-filled mouth and moves as I move by it, frozen as a majestic statue. At the end of the dive I approach the boat and see a turtle rushing to the surface for air. I watch it holding back my breath.

As I reach the back of the boat, helping hands reach for me and the ever-ready crew take my fins. Summer is not only great because you can survive a holiday with one T-shirt a day but also because the days are a lot longer than in spring and fall. In the evenings, when the group gathers on the covered upper deck, the sea stands still in ink-blue silence, only a couple of strayed waves splash against the side of the boat and rock you gently like a cradle. The week seems to be passing a lot faster this time around. I ponder the idea of being able to spend a whole month at sea. And I will – at least another week. Next summer!

Text: Livia (Völgyesi) Hertelendy
Photos: Daniel Selmeczi