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SS Thistlegorm: diving among fish and war equipment

We recently dedicated a post to the he best wrecks in the Red Sea. But we had an ace up our sleeve, which we show in this post: the SS. Thistlegorm. DivingHere, it becomes an immersion in the Second World War, in which Egypt occupied a prominent place on the war chessboard. Here we show you everything you need to know if you want to do this experience that combines scuba diving and history.

SS Thistlegorm Diving
SS Thistlegorm

Where is the SS Thistlegorm and what is its history?

The SS Thistlegorm is a British freighter launched in 1940, which was 128 meters long and was employed by the British Army to serve the Axis forces occupying Egypt. To reach the country, avoiding the Mediterranean, the chosen route was to skirt Africa and enter the Red Sea and then cross the Suez Canal.

Currently, the SS Thistlegorm is in the Red Sea, at the entrance to the Gulf of Suez, a similar distance from Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada: approximately one day’s sailing. It lies at a depth of 32 meters at its lowest point.

She sank after being bombed by German aircraft in 1941, which may have mistaken her for another ship, the Queen Mary, carrying troops to North Africa. Instead, what this freighter was carrying was equipment and machinery for those troops. Two bombs destroyed the bridge and exploded the ammunition magazine carried inside. Only nine sailors survived, out of a crew of about fifty.

The whereabouts of the SS Thistlegorm were unknown until explorer Jacques Cousteau discovered it in 1948… without reporting its location. Therefore, it was not until the 1990s that its true position was really known.

SS Thistlegorm
SS Thistlegorm wreck in the Red Sea

SS Thistlegorm: diving fascinating only for experts

Since its discovery, the SS Thistlegorm and diving have become inseparably linked. It is one of the best documented shipwrecks, since a 3D mapping project has managed to capture in great detail what the wreck hides. Fortunately, it is still standing and this, despite the violence of the explosion, has made it possible to keep in its original position all the objects that survived the wreck: tanks, motorcycles, trucks, weapons and a long etcetera.

All of this now coexists with a rich marine fauna that has made the SS Thistlegorm its home: lionfish, crocodile fish, batfish, stonefish, barracuda, hawksbill turtles, tuna and much more. Dives targeting this wreck may focus on exterior orientation or, on a second occasion, on exploring the holds.

However, in order to reach the SS Thistlegorm it is necessary to have some experience in this type of dives, as good buoyancy is essential. If you already have it and you dream of achieving the SS Thistlegorm divingContact Egipto Exclusivo and we will arrange the expedition from Sharm el-Sheikh or Hurghada, in the best conditions of safety and navigation.

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