Scuba diving on the Thistlegorm
Scuba diving on the Thistlegorm
Scuba diving in Thistlegorm, is one of the musts on every diver’s bucket list. The wreck is one of the most famous dive sites in the world. The ship was supposed to deliver locomotives to allied forces in Egypt during the Second World War. You can still see these locomotives on the sea bed beside the wreck when you are diving Thistlegorm. The unfortunate ship was mistaken for a troop carrier by the Luftwaffe and bombed while she was waiting to enter the Suez Canal. The ship’s cargo is still largely in situ including several vehicles and ammunition from the period. You might feel that when you are on the Thistlegorm scuba diving, you are in an underwater museum rather than a wreck site.
The dive spot was rediscovered in the 1950’s, by none other than Jacques Cousteau and rapidly became one of the most popular sites for Red Sea scuba diving. After an initial spate of people taking artefacts from the wreck, the area was protected and it is not allowed to take anything from the wreck. This means that not only is the wreck home to plenty of life but numerous historical items too. The wreck starts at a depth of 16 meters and the stern sits around 33 meters where there is plenty to see on the sandy bottom, including a locomotive engine.
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Marine Life in Thistlegorm
Scuba diving at Thistlegorm is largely about the wreck site but there is also plenty of marine life around to keep naturalists happy too. The marine life is typical of Red Sea wrecks with lots of big barracuda hanging out at the top end and cardinal fish hanging out in the dark places. There are also crocodile fish poking out of gaps in the metal hull and the usual shoals of damsel fish all around as well as trevally hunting. If you are lucky there might be a hawksbill turtle passing by who takes an interest in the wreck and comes in for a closer look. Batfish are also strangely curious when they see divers and might pop over to check you out.
Best Dive Sites in Thistlegorm
The size of the wreck means that most dive tours in Thistlegorm will do at least two dives per day on the Thistlegorm. It is possible to dive Thistlegorm in one dive, if you want to make the most of the two dive sites Thistlegorm has, you should dive the bow and the stern separately. The bow is regarded as one of the best dive sites in Thistlegorm. It offers the chance to look inside of the holds, at the amazing cargo of trucks, motorbikes and even grenades. There are also the remains of a tank and a locomotive on either side of the ship on the sea bed. These were both lost from the main part of the ship as it sank and are a must see when you are diving in Thistlegorm.
The bow is the deeper of the dive spots on the Thistlegorm and this is where you really get to see the damage done by the Luftwaffe. Thanks to the bombs, when you are diving in Thistlegorm you can see the inside of the ship’s hold. It is fascinating to see the piles of ammunition and weapons sitting on the decks on the inside. You can also make your way down to the propeller at the back, and on your way spot two mounted machine guns hanging off the side of the ship.
Best Time to Dive in Thistlegorm
There isn’t really a best time to come to Egypt scuba diving and the Thistlegorm is an amazing dive year round. It is worth noting that the water in the North part of Egypt where the Thistlegorm is varies in temperature by from 21-30 degrees from winter to summer. It is worth checking you have the right exposure protection for the time of year before you go scuba diving in Thistlegorm.
Experience Level for Diving Thistlegorm
Dive tours in Thistlegorm are open to wide range of divers depending on which of the dive spots you want to dive on. The bow is perfect for those who are new to diving and the more experienced ones too. The stern on the other hand is deeper and really only suitable for more advanced divers.
How Do I Get to Thistlegorm
Getting to the Thistlegorm is very easy, the wreck is a short distance from the Red Sea diving resort of Sharm el Sheikh. The resort has an international airport with flights from most major European airports. Once in the resort there are Egyptian liveaboards available to take you scuba diving in Thistlegorm and other dive sites from the nearby harbour.