SS Dunraven wreck
SS Dunraven is one of the oldest dive wrecks at the Sinai peninsula. Shipwreck rest at the Beacon Rock on the southern end of Sha’ab Mahmud reef (Sinai side in the Suez Channel). This is for me a great dive site combing an accessible wreck penetration with a beautiful soft and hard coral reef. The wreck rests along the reef slope from 18 meter to 29 meter. Our penetration dive was pretty dark but it was straight navigation under the hull. We just felt a stronger current and silk make the dive a bit more challenging. See the details of Sha’ab Mahmud reef.
The SS Dunraven was built in 1873 in Newcastle by Mitchell and Iron shipbuilders. It is a two master sailing vessel combined with two cylinder stream engine. A typical hybrid construction type end of the 19th century delivered a maximum speed of 8kn. The purpose was to transport cargo between Britain and Bombay. the vessel delivered industrial products like steel to Bombay and on the return cargo spices, cotton and other Indian products. The route went through the Suez channel and form there around the Arabian Peninsula to India.
The dive site
The SS Dunraven rests north of Beacon Rock in the Strait of Gubal. The strait is the narrow passage between the Suez Channel and the Red Sea. This bottleneck creates nutrient rich water and causes stronger currents and swell. The actual dive site is easy to navigate. During our dive in October the stronger current and silk made is an advanced dive. The stern with a massive propeller is well preserved. Three openings on starboard caused by the impact on the bottom allow the penetration.
Wreck penetration SS Dunraven
The limited depth of 18 meter to 29 meter makes the wreck an easy choice for penetration. Our dive was a standard dive pattern entering the bow from the upper side of the reef through a bigger opening. As the wreck is bottom-up you definitely need to be prepared for wreck diving. A torch was very helpful for me during the dive. It is very dark inside with only few rays of sunlight reaching the wreck. However, the navigation was rather easy as there are no separate floor, rooms or dead ends to explore. You just follow the hull until you reach the stern. And there you’ll find light coming in as in the picture below and that marked the exit of our penetration. I’m not sure if there are any day trips to SS Dunraven from Sharm el Sheikh, but actually I don’t think it make much sense anyway. For me a fascinating and enjoyable liveaboard trip along the Sinai peninsula and exploring the chain of wrecks like SS Thistlegorm or my favorite wreck SS Kingston is the much better choice.
I’m very much in marine life photography and the highlight of the dive site is not only the wreck penetration itself. The impressive coral garden on the hull itself and round the two metal masts with their rigs are home to morey eels and beautiful marco marine life.
- Maximal depth: 18 to 30 meter, stronger current, limited visibility
- Length 82 meter and 10 meter width
- Flipped keel upward with comfortable penetration opportunity.
- Coral garden on top of the hull and beside the wreck