Dunraven Shipwreck Sharm information tours, prices and online booking
Dunraven Shipwreck Sharm indeed is one of the most popular wreck diving sites in Sharm. In fact, Dunraven built at the Mitchell yard at Newcastle in 1873. The 270 feet steam and sail driven cargo vessel used to carry spices, timber and cotton. In fact, it was from Bombay to Newcastle. In March 1876, it was sailing north towards Suez. Then, it struck the southern reaches of the extensive reef system of Sha’ab Mahmoud. In fact, it was at a point now known as Beacon rock. There are conflicting reports as to what happened next. When Dunraven Shipwreck discovered its portholes found to be open. This led to the theory that it broke in two and sank quickly. The second report tells how it held fast on the reef for several days. Then, a caught fire, burned for 13 hours and capsized, sliding down the reef to where it lies today.
Whatever happened, Dunraven Shipwreck Sharm now lies on a flat seabed of 30 meters. Its keel up most and lying along the base of the reef. Discovered in 1979, the Dunraven was to become a ‘World about Us’ TV special, and as it salvaged, artifacts such as Hamilton bottles found. Moreover, mugs, plates and even jars of gooseberries and rhubarb also found. This wreck often dismissed as having little to offer. However, those who take time to inspect its carefully will be rewarded with a glimpse into an example of a shipwreck from a nostalgic period in maritime history. To the discerning eye and underwater photographer, it will always be a firm favorite. The upturned hull covered in soft corals and still stands proud of the seabed. Furthermore, it reaches up to within 18 meters of the surface. In fact, it is although certain sections are now collapsing in.
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It is possible to enter the wreck at the stern after viewing its distinctive and colorful prop and rudder. In fact, one of the blades fallen off after used as a mooring point. Huge groupers and several batfish often hang out here. Once inside, the huge cathedral like hull allows exploration forward toward a crack in the hull. It allows extra light to penetrate the interior. Recently a large section of the hull broken away and indeed the whole hull is in danger of collapse. Its decay accelerated by the extra oxygen trapped in the higher reaches of the upturned hull by divers using nitrox. Large sections of the hull now sliding down onto the seabed and its ballast stones litter the floor.
It is possible to swim through the boiler and engine room area-restricted to single file. It is where its workings easily identified-fly wheel, gearings, drive shaft and big ends and two huge boilers. Forward of this a large shoal of Glass fish hover above. Its masts and crows nest lie on the seabed off its starboard side. In fact, they make an ideal foreground subject for wide angled shots of the wreck. The bow section complete with anchor chains adorned in soft corals both inside and out and is very photogenic. In fact, Batfish and scorpion fish and crocodile fish reside here. The hull exterior covered in hard corals, and the wreck lies at a slight angle away from the reef, not at right angles as portrayed in some guides.
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It is possible to dive Dunraven Shipwreck Sharm in one go. In fact, it is best to start the tour as described below, ending up on the sloping reef behind, allowing for a slow curved profile back to the surface. Moderate currents often prevail over the wreck. So, good boat cover and safety sausages are advisable. First orientate yourself with the wreck-looking at the reef the stern will be to your right – dive down and locate the stern, after first checking out the coral encrusted crows nest (30m) just of midships. Take in the view of the stern watch out for a huge Napoleon wrasse – he’s watching you! At the very stern it is possible to slip into the interior – this is the deepest part of the wreck (27m). So following this route now will produce a curved profile and long dive time. There is only one way to go – forward. But stop and take in the magnificent view of its Cathedral like hull and the blue light filtering through.
Hiding in the corner down to your right are shoals of goatfish, groupers and squirrel fish. The bricks below are its ballast stones. Look out for giant Morays as you swim forward. Two huge cylinders appear forming a passageway either side of its hull. Before swimming through check out her inverted double acting 2 cylinder compound steam engine (for all you anoraks) its all there! Passing its huge boilers through a shoal of glass fish brings you to the first break in the hull – overhead are tempting coral scenes – leave these until later, you will return! Ascend over the bow – (18m) maintaining your depth, swim sternward follow the direction of the keel, allowing it to fall away below you. Dunraven Ahead should be an arch — it’s the ships hull covered in corals – patrolled by lionfish (18m) it’s a great photo spot.
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From here you can either follow the keel back to the rudder or swim over to the reef to inspect the many coral heads in 10-6 meters of water. All things considered this is an easy dive to execute – indeed it is one of the most sheltered wrecks in the area and was always the start of the wreck safaris running out of Sharm. The currents are usually mild and with planning can be used to enhance the dive. With a sandy flat seabed a good nitrox mix (say EANX32) can safely be used-a shovel would be required to exceed the MOD. The usual care should be taken with boating traffic overhead – Best to terminated the dive in the bay near the beacon if gas supplies allow!