SS Thistlegorm

Dive Site Overview

about SS Thistlegorm dive site

The Thistlegorm was built in 1940 as a merchant ship measuring 126 m long and 17.5 m wide. It was requisitioned by the Navy during World War II.

By October 1941, the ship had sailed around Africa and into the Red Sea. Loaded with supplies destined for North Africa. She anchored in the holding area before heading for the Suez Canal.

The anchorage is 5 miles wide between the Sinai Peninsula and the ‘Shaab Ali’ reef where the sea bed is flat at about 30m.

In the early hours of October 6, two German bombers from Crete found it and other ships anchored there. The bombs landed in the number four hold, which contained ammunition, tearing off the stern section and folding part of the deck over itself. The ship sank and landed upright.

The wreck was first dived by Cousteau in the 1950s. However, its position was not rediscovered until the early 1990s. Since then, it has become one of the best wrecks to dive. The holds are open and easily accessible showing the full range of cargo carried. Like trucks, motorcycles, aircraft wings and engines, trains and tenders, Wellington boots and waders, ammunition, armored vehicles.
The wreck is exposed to tidal currents and prevailing winds, which can make this dive sometimes inaccessible. These conditions and the depth of the dive mean that it is only open to experienced divers.
This trip is done very early at 04:15 am as the trip takes about 4 hours. This leaves enough time to make 2 dives on the wreck and come back at 6 pm.

Safety stops are mandatory on these dives and careful monitoring of air supply and no decompression limits is essential. (Medical facilities are 4 hours away!!)

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