King Snefro

Welcome to King Snefro Fleet Liveaboards!

Thistlegorm

 (27°48.800' N, 33°55.250' E)

 

The most famous of the Red Sea wrecks - may be even worldwide - is the "Thistlegorm". The 127 m long English vessel was constructed 1940 in Sunderland as an armed freighter with an additional armoured gun deck. It was one of a number of "Thistle" ships owned and operated by the Albyn Line.

 

On its final voyage the "Thistlegorm" was part of a convoy carrying supplies for British troops fighting in North Africa during the Second World War. The ship was lying at so-called "Safe Anchorage F" close to Sha'ab Ali and wait for about two weeks for further instructions. During the night of 6th October 1941, German Heinkel Aircrafts searched for a large troopship (possibly the "Queen Mary") but finally found the "Thistlegorm". They released two bombs right over the bridge, both went into No 4 hold, detonating a great deal of ammunition, almost ripping the ship in two parts and let it sink quickly. The survivors were rescued by "HMS Carlisle", taken to Suez where 4 of 39 crewmembers and 5 of the 9 Royal Navy Officers reported had lost their lives, making the "Thistlegorm" a war grave.

 

The wreck first gained fame when Jacques Cousteau dived it in 1956 but left the actual location a mystery until it was rediscovered by a group of divers in 1992. Lying upright on the seabed at 33 m, the ships seize, it is 127 m long and 18 m wide, is absolutely impressive. It is fully laden with land mines, shells, ammunition and explosives, weapons, Bedford trucks, armoured cars, Bren-Carriers, BSA motorbikes, trailers, vehicle spare parts, aircrafts and airplane wings, radios, Wellington rubber thigh-boots - and a lot more besides. To save cargo space, the motorbikes were placed onto the back of the Bedford trucks and two locomotives with tender and water carrier were carried as deck cargo.

 

Nowadays the wreck is an artificial reef, home to a large variety of marine life and schooling fish. The "Thistlegorm" rests upright on an even keel and despite extensive damage aft of the bridge, the main section and the hold 1 and 2 are undamaged. With so much to explore you should plan a minimum of 2 dives, the first one is a complete overview and the second a penetrating one. In general a smooth, but sometimes strong current prevails from bow to stern or opposite way and can affect visibility at the wreck. Plan your diving according to sea conditions, wind and waves, listen careful to the briefing and follow the plan.

 

As one of the most famous wreck dives in the world the site is often overcrowded by day boats and extensively dived. Being on a live aboard you have the chance to escape and do your first dive before they arrive or you can do an afternoon dive after they have left, it is still possible to dive the wreck without meeting others under water, it need the right timing. The "Thistlegorm" is a superb wreck dive that should not be missed.