Carnatic

THE STORY OF THE SINKING:

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.

DIVING AT THE WRECK:

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.

The wreck of Umbria in Sudan

The wreck of UMBRIA, an old italian freighter that provided war material for the italian troops in Eritrea in 1940. When the British entered the vessel, the Captain decided to sink his own ship. Now it´s a terrific place for scuba diving.

Location: Red Sea / Sudan
Depth: 38 meter

The wreck “Umbria” was built in Hamburg 1912 and started life as a freighter. Umbria has a cargo of 360.000 bombs that makes the exploring of the wreck still more exciting. The “Umbria” is one of the most famous sunken ships in the world. Lying in the shelter of Wingate Reef, just outside Port Sudan and largely unaffected by currents and tides, it is within easy reach of Port Sudan harbour.

The Wreck of UmbriaThe wreck lies at an angle on her port side with her starboard davits breaking the surface. At a maximum depth of 36m, the Umbria is shallow by most wreck divers’ standards. With plenty of light and good visibility, entering most of the ship is easy. The hull itself is completely intact, if heavily encrusted with marine life, and can be explored internally and externally along its entire length.

You can dive the wreck of Umbria onboard Andromeda or Cassiopeia from February until the end of June.

To read more about scuba diving holidays in Sudan onboard Andromeda and Cassiopeia click the link: http://www.sudan-diving.com/
I
n russian: www.sudan-diving.ru

Scuba Diving at Malahi reef

Along with Sha’ab Claudia, this is one of the most visited and famous reef in the Fury Shoals reef system. The main attraction here is the southern part of the reef, which is situated directly next to the boat. This is an explorer’s dream. The reef formation is like a playground of craggy corals, canyons and labyrinthine caves all waiting to be discovered.

Location: Egypt / Marsa Alam / Fury Shoals
Description: Reef with small wreck
Depths: 22 meters

Red Sea Malahi

It is also possible to explore the northern part of the reef where a beautiful hard coral garden lies. Be sure to scuba dive the west and east side close to the reef. Here there are large coral blocks with an amazing cover of hard and soft corals. Almost every kind of Red Sea fish can be found here. Even at the south end of the reef, you can find enough coral blocks here to make four scuba dives! This is one of the most prolific dive sites in the Red Sea and not to be missed.

Ship wreck of Giannis D

Location: Sha’ab Abu Nuhas
Description: Japanese freighter
Depths: 4 -24 meters
Length: 100 meters
The Sha’ab Abu Nuhas large coral reef lies in the Gubal straight. This reef is just as well known (although feared) among sailors as it is among divers. There are seven ship wrecks lying on the bottom of the sea, one of them the Ghiannis D. She hit the reef in April of 1983 and over the course of two weeks slowly split in two and sank. She is undoubtedly one of the best wreck dives in the Red Sea.
To find the Ghiannis D, leave the lagoon via the channel to the West. Proceed slowly along the Nothern reef at a distance of about 50 metres. It can be seen from the surface after about 200 metres. This is the most accessible of the other wrecks in rough seas. It takes extremely foul weather to make it out of bounds to divers equipped with a zodiac. Current is minimal.
The best part of the wreck is the stern section. It lies on the seabed at 28 metres, upright but slightly skewed to one side. She is an ideal wreck for penetration with a number of entry and exit points. Because she is skewed, the interior has impossible angles and perspectives. You find yourself swimming up a stairwell which your mind tells you is heading down. The effect is very disorientating and the conflict between balance and vision can even lead to sea sickness. The engine room is at the centre of this zone. It is large and spacious but dark. Take a torch. There is a large air pocket in the engine room. This should be avoided unless you want to be covered in the layer of oil that floats on the water’s surface.
Outside the stern section the masts, railings, wires and cables are festooned with soft corals. Some dramatic photographs can be taken of the superstructure silhouetted against the light. The bow section is also picturesque but it is a long swim away. Your time and air might be better used exploring the shallow mast and rigging of the stern, where you can also do your safety stops.

Large potato cod often hang out to the North. Free swimming morays, snapperfish, eagle rays, mackerels, groupers and sharks can also be seen.

The Sha’ab Abu Nuhas large coral reef lies in the Gubal straight. This reef is just as well known (although feared) among sailors as it is among scuba divers. There are seven ship wrecks lying on the bottom of the sea, one of them the Ghiannis D. She hit the reef in April of 1983 and over the course of two weeks slowly split in two and sank. She is undoubtedly one of the best wreck dives in the Red Sea.

Location of the wreck: Red Sea / Egypt / Sha’ab Abu Nuhas
Description: Japanese freighter
Depths: 4 -24 meters
Length: 100 meters

The ship wreck of Giannis D

To find the Ghiannis D, leave the lagoon via the channel to the West. Proceed slowly along the Nothern reef at a distance of about 50 metres. It can be seen from the surface after about 200 metres. This is the most accessible of the other wrecks in rough seas. It takes extremely foul weather to make it out of bounds to divers equipped with a zodiac. Current is minimal.

The best part of the wreck is the stern section. It lies on the seabed at 28 metres, upright but slightly skewed to one side. She is an ideal wreck for penetration with a number of entry and exit points. Because she is skewed, the interior has impossible angles and perspectives. You find yourself swimming up a stairwell which your mind tells you is heading down.

The effect is very disorientating and the conflict between balance and vision can even lead to sea sickness. The engine room is at the centre of this zone. It is large and spacious but dark. Take a torch. There is a large air pocket in the engine room. This should be avoided unless you want to be covered in the layer of oil that floats on the water’s surface.

Outside the stern section the masts, railings, wires and cables are festooned with soft corals. Some dramatic photographs can be taken of the superstructure silhouetted against the light. The bow section is also picturesque but it is a long swim away. Your time and air might be better used exploring the shallow mast and rigging of the stern, where you can also do your safety stops.

Large potato cod often hang out to the North. Free swimming morays, snapperfish, eagle rays, mackerels, groupers and sharks can also be seen during scuba diving.