Just six months on from its deliberate sinking, a new wreck in Hurghada is home to a colourful variety of marine life. Best suited to technical diving, Tekstreme's, Paul Vinten, describes the dive!
November, 2004, saw the Red Sea Association and the Egyptian Navy join forces to create Egypt's first ever artificial wreck reef.
The wreck of the Hebat Allah, a 51m, 300t freighter, had been sitting on top of the reef, south of the main port for several years after running aground. The RSA bought the wreck from the owner and the Navy towed it out to a pre-planned location and sunk it. The original plan was to sink it in 30m to give a new dive site to all levels of divers in Hurghada. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions, the wreck was released early and drifted into the wrong position as it sunk.
t came to rest between the popular sites of Gota Abu Ramada and El Aruk Giftun at a maximum depth of 46m with the stern mast rising up to 27m. The freighter now provides an ideal site for technical divers either looking for a wreck on which they can get a long bottom time, or for training on decompression and extended range courses. The interior of the wreck was lined off before the sinking and so penetration is very safe and easy, with several large arrows pointing towards the nearest exit.
In only six months the amount of marine life is already diverse with large grouper and lionfish hanging around the decks, shoals of fusiliers cruising over the stern and bow sections and large hard corals growing from the railings.
The wreck is easily accessible from a day boat, being only 45 minutes from Hurghada, but can only be located with a GPS and echo sounder. No permanent mooring is planned for the wreck to discourage unsuitably qualified divers from diving the site, so a shot line (not anchor) must be placed on the wreck, with a decompression trapeze highly recommended for the end of the dive.
Tekstreme in Hurghada regularly visits the wreck as part of a course or guiding visiting technical divers, and it's great to see the marine life developing at such a fast rate.
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