Wreck Diving In Egypt ; Safaga & Marsa Alam

Wreck Diving In Egypt ; Safaga & Marsa Alam

Salem Express

On 15 December 1991, the Salem Express cannoned into the Hyndeman reef, south of Sha’ab Shehr, with a devastating result. The Salem Express was a passenger ferry, carrying 960 pilgrims returning from Mecca. It has been suggested though that up to 1600 passengers were on board with only 180 surviving the tragedy, allegedly after a detour at the captain’s order with winds howling and high waves ‘buffeting’ the ship. This is a very emotional spot in the book of wreck diving in Egypt.

Recreational diving has been allowed here. The wreck rests on her starboard side in 30 meters of Red Sea water. It is a spooky and controversial dive at a maritime grave. Many dive guides refuse to dive the Salem Express. Penetration is not considered a no-go zone but frowned upon to say the least. The ship hasn’t  particularly been invaded; as if out of respect for its status of a maritime tomb. Still, there are moon groupers, common lionfish, crocodilefish and black surgeonfish to be admired. Coral growth is sparse. 

Abu Galawa

The Fury Shoals in Marsa Alam are the home of the Abu Galawa ‘Surayar’ Reef. It is small reef, hence the suffix ‘surayar’, with a crescent shape , with plentiful flora and fauna and not too far off Ras Qulan.

There’s a wreck of a small tug on the north side of the reef after collision. It is located on a sandy surface, some 18 meters down the surface. Coral shaping and sculpturing has started to set in, making this small vessel pretty photogenetic. The underwater setting has been described as ‘picturesque’ with residential glassfish roaming around in quicksilver mode. It is not the only site’s attraction, boulders corals being eminent, together with coral cascades.

Diving in the Red Sea is rewarding. The visibility at the site is excellent with the current being weak, making diving comfortably easy. The wreck is in an excellent state of conservation. Conditions back then were treacherous, a very calm sea not announcing the presence of the reef with breaking wild horses, foaming from the mouth.  Allegedly, at the time, the plethora of reefs wasn’t very well pinpointed on nautical maps from the area.  At the end of the day, damage was limited but still enough to allow leakage to let the tug sink to ‘oblivion’. The incredibly clear visibility allow a panoramic view of a fine and intact wreck.

Abo Ghosum

One of them, the Hamada, is at 14 meters of water at Abo Ghosum reef. The Hamada was a 500 tons coastal cargo vessel. Its wreck lies south of Marsa Alam and the Wadi El Gamal National Park entrance. She went down in June 1993, en route from Jeddah to Suez, adding another scene to wreck diving in Egypt.

Urban legend dictates the vessel caught fire in mysterious conditions. It lies in shallow depth and the port of the ship can be seen just above the water line during low tide; so parts of the wreck are so shallow that you can even snorkel them. Experienced divers can penetrate the engine room, the cargo and the pilothouse. Connaisseurs will appreciate the details of the propeller who is still intact.

Over the course of time the Hamada at Abo Ghosum has developed into a habitat for moray eels, butterflyfish, parrotfish, lionfish, surgeonfish and napoleon wrasses.

The shallowness at Abo Ghosum secures a fascinating photogenic décor.

Abu Ghosum is a site that suits divers of all levels of experience, You can dive and snorkel the Hamada from the shore and it is also very suitable for a night dive. Of course it goes without saying divers need to unconditionally listen to and follow up the advice of their guides.