Red Sea is a world renowned place for its diving sites, particularly wreck diving, like Thistlegorm which is considered to be in the top ten dives in the world. The Brithsh ship SS Thistlegorm had sunk on 6th October, 1941 near Sha’ab Ali in the Gulf of Suez (north of Ras Mohammed) whilst carrying a cargo of rifles, trucks, motor bikes and train carriages. The wreck is roughly 131 meters and still in relatively good condition, despite the occasional strong currents in various directions.
Undisturbed for 14 years, it was later discovered by the explorer Jacques Cousteau and today it is visited by as many as several ten thousands of divers per years. One of the reasons for the high level of enthusiasm for this place is the number and varieties of fish, like school barracuda, giant tunas and snappers. Although it can be explored in one dive, it is recommended that the full wreck be explored in two or more dives, given the plethora of sights to see in and around the wreck and the choice between the penetration or non-penetration paths of the wreck. The fact that there is 30 meters visibility most of the time significantly improves the diving experience as well. Near the stern of the ship is a massive 40mm anti-aircraft gun and another lighter aircraft gun to the aft, completely surrounded by wreckage. Moving on, the deepest part of the wreck – around 30m – on the starboard side holds the still intact rubber and propeller, and further on the wreckage and debris caused by the German aerial bombs can be seen like the 2 Bren Carrier MKII tanks and cases of projectiles. The main wreck comes next, leading into the 3rd hold, from where you can either go into the wreck or explore the deck further. If you explore the deck further, it will be seen that the 3rd hold leads on into the 2nd, which contains two trailers, motorcycles and cables. At the midships you reach the bridge’s superstructure which serves as a nice stretch for a swim to the holds beyond.
How do I get there?
Either through day boats or safari boats that leave from Sharm el Sheikh, on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, or Hurghada, on the Egyptian mainland. Both places are near international airports that are a short drive away from Cairo.
When is the best time to go?
Although the weather conditions do vary every season (water temperatures reach 30 degree from May to October and intense topside weather, while they are around 20 degree or lower from November to April), there is very little rainfall overall and negligible freshwater run off. In short, diving conditions and visibility are great all year round.
Who should I talk to?
Operators are available by the dozens, in both the Sharm el Sheikh and the Hurghada areas.
This text is for information purposes only. It has been written by members of the website and can be inaccurate. Always contact local professional divers before diving.