Wreck Diving In Egypt ; Abu Nuhas

Wreck Diving In Egypt ; Abu Nuhas
Abu Nuhas, two hours from El Gouna and some three hours north of Hurghada, weather permitting, has been labelled as ‘the Red Sea ship’s graveyard’.  Abu Nuhas is located north of Shadwan Island. Its rocky ‘profile’ is very close to the sea surface in one of the busiest shipping routes of the northern part of the Red Sea. This reef has taken at least five ships, accounting for Abu Nuhas’ nickname ‘father of bad luck’. Nuhas also translates as copper. Together with port wine and gold, copper belonged to the main cargo on board when one of its victims, the Carnatic, ran aground. Wreck diving in Egypt makes for intriguing stories...


Surely, the Carnatic, a former mail/passenger sail and steamer ship from London, is the most beautiful wreck at Abu Huhas, if not in the entire Red Sea. Since it sank more than 150 years ago, claiming 30 lives, nature took its time to taker over; with an encrusted wreck as a fine result. The marine life is abundant, coinciding with enchanting coral growth.

The most attractive point of the Carnatic wreck are its rudder and propeller. They are at the deepest point. Amazingly, the sections with the stern and bow are still intact, regardless of the impact. These sections are easily accessible. 

Like at so many wrecks, glassfish are teeming here, attracting their natural predators such as groupers, jackfish and lionfish. The Carnatic has also turned into a habitat for colourful nudibranchs, featuring the bighorn nembrothsa, pyjama slugs, chromodoris and ribescia. Diving in the Red Sea is very rewarding.

Giannis D 

The Giannis D cargo comprised delicate Croatian wood. She collided with the Abu Nuhas reef on the western corner nearly 40 years ago. Fortunately, there were no casualties since the entire crew managed to abandon the vessel in time. 

Inexperienced divers should be alarmed by the swelling current that may cause a surge inside the wreck. Also, with the stern lying at a 45 degree, this may disorientate divers when exploring the wreck, confused by what comes up and what comes down. As if it was an M.E. Escher under water etching. However, the stern is still the best preserved section.

After descending, the Giannis D has a reward in store for you. You’ll find scorpionfish having invaded the wreck and teira and orbicular batfish hanging around. Glassfish populate the Giannis D in huge numbers, being monitored by jacks and groupers. The masts, railings, wires and cables are ‘festooned’ with soft corals. You will see parrotfish and rabbitfish nibbling at moss and weed that have now obscured large portions of the metal parts of the ship. Morays, angelfish, lionfish and groupers have become a common feature. The wreck also attracts pelagic neighbours such barracuda and jacks. It is not uncommon for dolphins to have a look around during their afternoon strollings. Wreck diving in Egypt is very adventurous!

Kimon M.

The third ship in this both sad and intriguing series is the cargo ship Kimon M. It had a nasty ‘rendez-vous’ with the infamous Abu Nuhas reef in 1978 at full speed ahead, sailing from Turkey to Bombay. The crew were spared by a passing ship, alerted by distress calls. 

The Kimon M is at a depth of slightly more than 30 meters, resting on its starboard side. The ship has been stripped from a lot of equipment, making for fairly easy swim-throughs. Batfish spotters and Napolean wrasse fans will not be disappointed when doing the Kimon M!

Chrisoula K

In August 1981, one other toll taking by the cruel reef of Abu Nuhas in August 1981, was the freighter Chrisoula K, flying the Greek flag. With the collision, the ship and its precious cargo of Italian ceramics went down to between 18 and 25 metres depth. Fortnatey, the entire crew was rescued. During wreck diving, divers will note it is fairly easy to find the site due to the excellent visibility at the location. However, please do anticipate current, ranging from weak to strong.

Once down, look no further for the bow. It has simply disintegrated and vanished. The rest of the wreck lies on its starboard flank. The mast is almost horizontal with the bottom of the surrounding seabed. Yes, the wreck is penetrable, but as a result of pretty active wave action, reliability has dwindled throughout the years. 

Colourful hard corals now mark and accentuate the wreck’s contours. The Chrisoula K has become the home of triggerfish, turkeyfish, lionfish and wrasse. It will come as no surprise darting silvery glassfish can be admired in their hundreds and hundreds. Jacks are household fish here and the occasional curious shark may pay a visit.