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Scuba Diving in the Red Sea
Dive Site: Dunraven
Location: 27°42'15"N; 34°07'30"E
Description: British steamship
Length: 78 metres (256 feet)
Depth: 28 metres max (92 feet)
Visibility: 30 metres (100 feet)
We had heard from a Red Sea dive guide that the Dunraven sank when the Captain went on a drinking binge having found out that his First Mate was sleeping with his wife. He would not tell the First mate how to navigate, so they hit the reef (we have since been told differently by a reader - see below). The wreck now lies in two sections next to each other, both of which are penetrable, but there is not always an entire route through. The large brass propeller lies to the north end of the wreck and the reef to the west. The engine can be found in the northern section of the wreck. The sealife is interesting here and a swim along the reef makes a good end to the dive. Napoleon fish are common, as well as lionfish and flathead scorpion fish. There is a particularly impressive brain coral on the reef as you leave the wreck that is only three metres below the surface.
Dunraven wreck map (97kb)
Nice story about the captain and the first mate...but the ship caught fire and drifted onto the reef, on the way back from Bombay carrying wool and cotton. It was possible to dig down in the wreck and find a thick layer of ash and fibres. But it has been a few years since I dived this wreck. I would also not rate it as high as you have as there are much better wrecks about. I would also only rate this as a 1 star wreck, but it is a good novice wreck dive for first timers.
This site was my first ever wreck dive and I have to say that I loved it. It was quite an easy dive except for the current, which we fought all around the wreck. The stonefish that surrounded the boat were great.
Samantha, Advanced Open Water Diver
The wreck is not really anything special, but there is lots of life around it and on the reef below the beacon on the reef. While returning to the boat and looking down at the seabed, a pod of dolphins swam underneath us. An amazing site.
Adrian Hart, BSAC Advanced Diver
I dived on the Dunraven in August 2001. It is not that good for beginners, however it is a very easy dive and the reef behind is the most fish-rich area I've ever seen.
Very, very nice place to dive. The wreck wasn't anything as I'd imaged it to be, the dive was a bit boring at the beginning but when we were swimming along the reef I thought 'Wow, this is amazing - really colourful and sheltered.
Ben Smith, PADI Open Water Diver
Not as good as the Thistlegorm, but plenty of fish life and I managed to video a turtle munching some soft coral. I dived this in late December '06. Plenty of life on the ship and starfish.
Jerry Twohig, PADI Rescue Diver
This was my second wreck dive: there was no current, but the viz was only about 15m. Accessible and easy, with wonderful coral and aquatic life around including a sea turtle. A good combination dive.
Gary Longden, AOW
This dive is for divers rated to over 18m and a delayed SMB/reel is likely to be used for pick up. I think it all depends on when you dive this wreck. Morning you catch the sun high in the sky, so few shadows, but the best time is afternoon during Jan/Feb, when the light levels are still sufficient, but the wreck offers up photographic opportunities with its propeller and rudder assembly exactly in the right place for silohuettes! I've dived this wreck some 11 times now and still think its a great one to do. The break has a coral garden teetering on the corner, comprising soft and hard corals. The whole keel is one huge hard coral garden. Inside glassfish are around the boilers. Look out for the sea whips, gorgonias and also the bow section is very worthy of exploration. Nudibranchs can be all over the place if you are prepared to look more closely, and scorpionfish. This year (2007) one of our number spotted a white tip over the wreck on descent, and we spotted a large southern stingray next to the wreck. Its in a perfect location to attract big stuff. A mast lies a little way off.
The wreck is an ideal Nitrox dive, giving you plenty of bottom time to explore its virtues more slowly as many divers just cruise over it once, then say "done that", then move off! The reef heading east is home to many napoleon wrasse and turtle sightings are frequent, with occasional dolphin sightings (2006 for us). The slope opposite the wreck seems to be trashed, presumably by the ship itself. Later, there are several towers of fire coral and the shallower parts of the reef home to clouds of coral fish species. Lastly, nearby Beacon Rock is an ideal mooring point (sometimes pick up here by main boat), and great for a following night dive. In Jan 2006 we were treated to snorkelling with the dolphins between Dunraven and Beacon Rock night dive!
The Dunraven was the first wreck I have dived, done in October 2007. If this wreck is only classed as a 1 star I really cant wait to start diving on more. There was no current really to speak about when I dived it making it a nice introductory dive.
I did a dive on the Dunraven Sep 07 and I loved it. We did our dive at 7.30 in the morning and it was only our the 7 plus a guide, and I found it amazing. I think it is a perfect first wreck dive. Even though a lot of the ship has rusted over the years it is still so cool and the amount of amazing life makes up for the lack of wreck. There is also a lot of stonefish and you also get to dive Ras Mohammed really early too which is always good.
I've dived this wreck several times and for me, it rates as a top site. The viz is good, the wreck is easily penetrable and the coral gardens around it are superb. Quieter than the Thistlegorm, but just as special in its own way.
Tim Prince | 10/12/2008
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