In this weeks travel feature, local traveller Shaun Yeo takes a dive into the shark infested waters of Sudan capturing some stunning images.
By Shaun Yeo
The Red Sea is a diver’s paradise, and is rated as one of the best places to dive in the world. Egypt takes most of its credit, but a total of six countries border the Red Sea proper.
Sudan, found off the beaten track, just south of Egypt, has much to offer, but thanks to its history of political unrest, it is not a high profile tourist destination. Much of the dive sites are uncrowded, the opposite of what can be found in Egypt.
Sudan typically attracts more advanced and experienced divers, usually those who have already visited the Egyptian Red Sea before. Sudan is famous for its shark infested waters and thriving marine life in its untouched reefs. There are hundreds of dive sites in Sudan, but the most famous are Shaab Rumi, Wingate Reef to name a few.
This reef was made famous by Jacques Cousteau in the 1960s. Hammerhead sharks, Grey Reef Sharks and hundreds of species of fish can be found here. The reef walls are filled with beautiful healthy corals too. Jacques Cousteau recorded his shark documentaries on this reef, and he built a structure known as Pre-Continent 2, to study shark behaviour here.
The structure was an underwater house, where men could work and live. Six divers lived at this underwater village, for a total of 30 days, at a depth of 10 metres. There also remains a small two man submarine hangar and shark cage on the reef.
The World War II wreck of the Umbria is found at Wingate Reef. The Italian freighter was carrying 8,600 tons of weapons, including 360,000 bombs, three FIAT Lunga Cars, and 60 boxes of detonators, as well as other materials.
Egypt & Sudan, being British Colonies during World War II, allowed the ship to pass through the Red Sea but delayed it’s onwards travel by Port Sudan. The ship was told to anchor at Wingate Reef, the British knowing that Italy’s entry into the war was imminent, and had knowledge of the cargo that was being carried on the Umbria.
A few days later, the captain heard over the radio that Mussolini had announced the entry of Italy into World War II.
The captain, knew the Umbria would be used by the Allies against their own country, so he ordered his crew to conduct a rescue simulation in order to trick the British, which still had no news about Italy’s entry into the war, and sunk the ship with all its cargo onto Wingate Reef.
I spent a week on the diving expedition in Sudan with my dive buddy Bianca Daniell. We are both active members of the Gibraltar Sub-Aqua Club (GSAC 888). All the dives were breath-taking, the waters off Sudan are truly shark infested. We saw sharks in every single dive; Grey Reef Sharks, Oceanic White Tip Sharks & Hammerhead Sharks.
The corals are unspoilt and thriving in marine life everywhere. The diving expedition is run from a large boat which we all live on for a week.
The boat accommodates for 26 guests, all with ensuite rooms, and three meals a day (including snacks). The boat travels to different locations throughout the week and does not return back to land until the end of the expedition. I would definitely recommend this dive expedition to anyone.
To read more about Shaun’s travels and diving expeditions check out his blog: www.shaunyeophotography.com
Are you a keen traveller? Or do you enjoy short weekend breaks up the coast? The Chronicle’s weekly travel feature is open for local writers to share their experiences of the places they visit. Contact the Chronicle to find out more.