Sha’ab Abu Nuhass, arabic for “reef of the father of brass” (sha’ab meaning “reef”, abu meaning “father” and nuhass meaning “brass”) is a large triangular reef in the Red Sea, in the Strait of Gubal, about two miles south of Shadwan Island.
It can be reached by day boat from Hurghada, but really comes to it’s right on a liveaboard.
The reef is also known as “the ship eater” or “the ship graveyard”, as over time, no less than five ships have sunk here, the earliest in 1869, the latest in 1983. The wrecks mostly lie in depths of 20-30 meters, making them very accessible. Only one lies too deep for recreational divers.
The five wrecks
The reef is located very close to the main sailing routes heading north towards the Suez. This combined with the fact that a light marker wasn’t placed on it until quite recently means that many ships have seen their end here.
Known as The Wine Wreck or The Gold Wreck, as its cargo was primarily bottles of wine and a total of 40,000 pounds worth of gold and silver (most of which has been recovered, though).
It is a wooden ship, lying on its side on about 25 meters of water. Most of the exterior has deteriorated, but the main structure is intact, though broken into two sections.
This makes penetration very easy, and the wreck is a pleasure to dive.
Known as The Wood Wreck, this was a Japanese owned cargo ship, that sank here in 1983 (interestingly after a marker was placed on the reef), carrying a hold of wooden planks.
Being the newest of the wrecks, it is largely intact and sits in on her keel in a 45 degree angle.
Penetration is possible through the main deck rear entry and into the bridge. The wreck is generally considered safe, and among the sites is the large engine room. However, due to the angle it rest in, disorientation is a definite risk.
Also known as the Lentil Wreck, this German built cargo ship was steaming along at full speed when it hit the reef in 1978, and afterwards sank. Now she’s resting on her starboard side broken into two pieces.
All the crew and most of the cargo were later rescued. The aft cargo hold is open, making penetration reasonably easy. A large hole was cut into her side when the engine was salvaged, offering another opportunity. Kimon M is resting at roughly 30 meters.
Loaded with Italian tiles, this wreck is now known as the Tile Wreck. She was a Greek registered freighter that hit the reef in 1981 and sank.
She sit upright just below the surface, with the highest reaching point at only 4-5 meters of water. Her keel sits at 26 meters. The cargo of tiles is still in place, and can be seen in the cargo hold. Lots of penetration possibilities, but also a lot of obstructions so you do need to be careful.
A Greek cargo freighter that hit the reef and sank to the depth of 86 meters witch is the deepest of any of the wrecks.
The Seastar is sometimes confused with the Kimon M, as her cargo was also made up of lentils. The main part of the wreck by the cargo holds have collapsed, and this, combined with the depth makes penetration rare, and not advised.
Due to the depth the wreck is rarely dived, but is an option for adequately trained technical divers.
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