The Thistlegorm

The Thistlegorm is the most popular and most famous wreck in the Red Sea and one of the most sought after wreck dives in the whole world. She lies in the Gulf of Suez at a depth of 30 metres off the Western coast of the Sinai Peninsula; this is where she sat at anchor on October 6th 1941 when she was hit by a long range German bomber. The bomb hit hold number 4 which was housing the ammunition, ripping the ship in half and thus resulting in the immediate sinking of the vessel.

She was on a mission to deliver supplies to the British Army in North Africa when she was attacked and so was stacked with provisions and arms, most of which, in spite of being submerged for over half a century, are still intact and in remarkably good condition. Hold 1 near the bow still houses the lorries, fuel trucks and crates of rifles which were to boost the British Forces' defenses. In hold 2 there are jeeps, motorcycles, aircraft wings and more rifles. Hold 3 is in the middle of the ship but is now empty and hold 4 toward the stern has been completely obliterated.

Amongst the debris there are numerous cases of shells, 303 bullets and 2 upturned Bren-gun carriers which look like miniature tanks. On the seabed either side of the wreck are 2 locomotives which were thrown there by the blast, standing upright they resemble an eerie underwater ghost-train racing out across the sandy bottom. On the forward deck one finds the rolling stock to follow the locomotives as well as mine-clearing drones and a large amount of winching equipment.

The Thistlegorm is not just a great dive for wreck enthusiast. All divers will find plenty of things to interest them. Before the wreck was discovered, the local Bedouin fishermen had been fishing above it for many years due to the abundance of groupers and snappers that gather around it. Bat Fish, Jacks and even Barracuda ride the strong current that forces its way up and over the wreck and it is not uncommon to find large shoals of Banner Fish circling the Bren-gun carriers. The algae that now encrusts much of the metal provides a popular grazing area for Surgeon fish, Rabbit fish and also Nudibranches.

To get the most from the wreck it is best to make two separate dives. In the morning head for the deep stern section, finishing the dive on the shallow bridge and foredeck. In the afternoon explore the holds; of which, the forward 3 can be viewed without ever leaving the interior.

The current on this dive can be extremely strong; it always runs bow to stern or stern to bow. Usually the latter is stronger since it is then running with the prevailing wind and sea. However, by using the wreck for protection and moving through the interior wherever possible you can always find shelter from the current.

Your experienced Dive Master will have dived this wreck many times and his/her experience means you will get the maximum pleasure out of this site and are guaranteed to see the best sights. Try it, it is certainly a dive you will remember for the rest of your life.