Diving Guide to Red Sea Wrecks.
Diving Guide to Red Sea Wrecks.

MY FIRST sight of a wreck in the Red Sea amounted to a scatter of huge storage jars and amphoras. Pools of mercury overlaid with sand had collected in the rocky seabed next to a large lead anchor stock. It was a dramatic reminder of just how long the Red Sea had been used for shipping.
This came to mind when I started turning the pages of the splendidly illustrated Diving Guide to Red Sea Wrecks. The A4-sized book covers 17 wrecks in the main Red Sea and one in the Gulf of Aqaba, Cedar Pride. She was a 1160-tonne cargo boat deliberately sunk as an artificial reef after being gutted by fire, and is now visited regularly by divers.
The ships detailed in the book are mostly steamers, along with one ancient amphora wreck. They are accompanied by wonderful photographs, and the diving details include 3-D drawings giving the position of each wreck. Essential information is also given regarding ease of access, currents, depths, distances from shore, and any special dangers.
The much-dived Thistlegorm is particularly well-documented, as is the Dunraven, which was sunk in 1876 and first discovered by Howard Rosenstein, who ran the pioneering diving operation in Sharm in the late 1960s.
Other ships covered include the Giannis D, Carnatic, Chrisoula K, Seastar, the tragic ferry Salem Express, Umbria and Urania. Detailed too is a special interest site for all divers - Jacques Cousteaus second underwater village where eight oceanauts lived for a month in 1963. Today much of what remains - the hangar for the flying saucer bathyscape is the most prominent item - is heavily coral-coated.
Kendall McDonald

Diving Guide to Red Sea Wrecks, Swan Hill Press (01743 235651),