This is my 7th story in a series of personal scuba diving adventures since I got my PADI certificates. It all begins in December 2012, I'm packing my scuba suitcase for a scuba holiday to Sharm el Sheik, Egypt, with my buddy Victor and our girlfriends. Where off for a week of sun during winter time and a wreck diving experience that none of us had expected. The SS Thistlegorm in Ras Mohammed national still stands on the number one place in my private top 10 list of most beautiful dives.
It was somewhere in October during one of those rainy days that Victor and me where changing in to out wetsuits in the open air at a parking lot near a dike. Already soaked and cold because of the rain we started talking about sunshine, blue waters and colorful reefs. After resurfacing we both said simultaneously: "let's do it". Apparently during the dive we had been thinking about the same thing.
The girls didn't need much convincing. Within two weeks all plans where made. As a scuba holiday is twice as expensive during Christmas we booked a week earlier. Arriving at the resort it was weird to see the whole park decorated in Christmas style with palm trees. Christmas and palm trees just don't mix for my feeling. Nonetheless we had a fantastic week with sunshine, 20 degrees Celsius and only with just a bit of stormy weather.
The best wreck dive ever
We had heard stories about the SS Thistlegorm. A dive site worth visiting. I can only confirm this, it's a beautiful blue dive. The stories goes that the location of the SS Thistlegorm was given away by a soldier on deck smoking a cigaret. German airplanes patrolling saw the red dot of the cigaret and knew that their was a ship below and attacked.
Because of the clear water you can see the wreck from above, a shimmer below the waves. It's a blue dive with very strong currents. We had to pull ourselves downwards along the anchor line not to be swept away. Quickly finding rest and shelter behind the wreck. The aft of the ship is at 30 meters depth while the bow of the ship is at 13 meters. Our first dive was a swim around, giving us a view on what had happened with the ship. You can clearly see where the torpedo hit. The whole ship was surrounded by loads of marine life, crocodile fish, bat fish, lion fish and more.
For the second dive we entered the wreck. A surreal experience. Gliding on 24 meters depth through the interior of a wreck and encountering whole trucks, cars and engines. In the sleeping areas we still found the boots from the soldiers, still intact with the only company a school of banner fish. The deep blue and turquoise colours where a beautiful sight in combination with the way the sunlight streamed inside the open areas. Both our safety stops where tough. Crawling back up the anchor line, hanging there like a flag in the wind, so much power did the current have. After the safety stop you had to swim as a mad man to the boat line and be hauled a board.
I'm not sure when, but I'm definitely going back some day for a second set of dives on this special location. This time with a fully loaded set of batteries for my camera as last time ( I can still hit myself for the head) I had forgot to check my battery status, which was almost empty off course. These photo's in this post are all I was able to make that day.
In the 'My Stories' series
1. My very first scuba dive in the Netherlands
2. A first dive without a guide
3. My biggest scuba diving mistake
4. Why I love wreck diving
5. What does scuba diving mean to me
6. Scuba diving in an emerald sea