My Top 3 EMEA Dives – Part 1: Million Hope Wreck (Guest blog by Alexandra Dimitriou-Engeler)

“So what’s your favorite dive site?” asked a freshly scuba addicted student yesterday.
“Ummm… That’s a really hard question!” I’d replied.
He looked puzzled, “Why?”

Why indeed. I am a PADI Instructor, as are many of you. I am sure you get asked about your favorite dive site all of the time too – don’t you? What is your answer? How do you choose? How is it possible to remember every amazing experience underwater and then pick only one? It is almost always impossible. Diving is incredible in so many ways. You can enjoy a wreck dive as much as a wildlife dive, but we love them each for very different reasons.

So I thought I would write about my top 3 dive sites in this three-part blog series. Surely I can narrow it down to 3!

Dive Site 1: Million Hope Wreck

Location: Nabq Sharm El Sheikh
Description: Wreck
Length: 130 meters
Depth: 0-30 meters

Million Hope

This wreck has it all. It’s huge, it’s in shallow water, it’s covered in coral and teeming with life. This wreck is rarely dived due to its proximity to the shore line, and notoriously choppy waters make it hard to get there. However, if you are lucky enough to dive it you will be in for a real treat. It took me three trips to Egypt and many attempts by RIB before we had the right conditions to dive the Million Hope Wreck!

Why I love it…

Some of the ship is still visible above the surface but the majority is underwater. The shallow depth makes this wreck one of the most colourful and vibrant wrecks that I have ever seen. The traffic of fish was thick and the nudibranch were out in force. Beautiful.

It’s a big wreck! It is possible to get round it in one dive, although the use of nitrox to extend bottom time will make it a lot easier. This wreck sank in 1996 whilst heading for Cyprus. It was carrying fertilizer high in phosphates; the cargo had to be removed following an algae bloom, but there is still lots to see. The cranes that lie on the bottom create overhangs and there is even a Caterpillar crane at 22 meters; a bizarre addition to the dive that’s covered in colourful soft corals. The rotten seat and flooded controls are contrasted by the many scorpion, lion and glassfish that have made their home there.

Million Hope Wreck

White broccoli coral hangs from the ship’s stern but unfortunately the prop and rudder have been removed, leaving a void that the coral struggles to fill. It is one of the places on this ship that makes you feel very, very small! The hull is covered by enormous fire sponges and pajama slugs, as well as there being numerous starfish and pipefish clinging to it. There is a rotary telephone and a toilet seat in the sand surrounded by raspberry coral. There are penetration points everywhere; crew quarters, illuminated by various portholes; a work room complete with spanners on wall hooks, and where a piece of cloth still tied around an old radiator reminds us that this was a working ship.

You can also see the two boilers and twin six-cylinder engines before going up to make your safety stop. My “safety stop” lasted for more than 15 minutes! It was so beautiful between 3 and 5 meters that I could have stayed there forever.  The Million hope is a photographer’s dream – so full of natural light. The contrast of this huge rusty beast next to the multi-colored coral is one of the most breathtaking things I have ever seen.

Million Hope Wreck

If you’ve enjoyed this article, watch this space for Part 2 next week!


Alexandra DimitriouAlexandra Dimitriou-Engeler is a PADI Dive Center owner in Agia Napa, Cyprus. She became a diver in 1992 and received her bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at Plymouth University in 2003. Her love of the ocean has always been her driving force, and this has led to the natural progression of becoming a diving instructor in 2005. She is currently a PADI staff instructor and owner of Scuba Monkey Ltd and is writing a series of guest blogs for PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Be Part of a Scuba Guinness World Record on Friday 12th September

CAY07_1136_TS_KingWorldEilat Red Sea are inviting scuba divers from all over the world – including you – to join them in setting a new Guinness World Record as part of “Storm in the Sea”.

This exciting event takes place tomorrow, Friday 12th September, when hundreds of divers, 26 diving instructors, 32 production members and 12 professional photographers will all dive together at the Satil missile boat wreck in Eilat, Red Sea.

Using a sophisticated technological set-up, the dive will be broadcasted live via a YouTube video stream, enabling millions of viewers to witness this magnificent event in real time and collectively set a new Guinness World Record for the largest audience for a live-streamed underwater event.

Guinness have set an objective of half a million viewers in order for the record to be registered…view this event live and help make it happen!

When:

The dive will take place on September 12th, 11.30am (GMT + 3). Go online and watch the broadcast – including exciting pre-dive preparations – from 11:00am (GMT + 3).

Where:

See the broadcast live online via the website at: www.eilatredsea.com

Underwater Photography World Championship

shootout_teamStorm in the Sea” and this incredible world record-setting attempt is taking place as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations for the “Eilat Red Sea International Underwater Photo Competition” – also known worldwide as the International Underwater Photography Olympics.

Eilat Red Sea, PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa, and boot Düsseldorf have introduced the Underwater Photography World Championship, inviting photographers to team-up and represent their country during the event and put together a stunning, award-winning portfolio of 6 images.

Photographers have been heading out throughout this week to capture stunning images of the beautifully colourful and fish-populated regions underwater. The final image submissions were submitted earlier today and keen photographers are excited to find out the outcome this weekend.

Jonas Samuelsson (PADI Regional Manager) arrived in Eilat on Monday and will be there throughout the event to meet, greet and provide support during the week’s activities. PADI has sponsored the first prize in the category “Underwater Photography Global Championship“ and the top prize of $3,000 USD will be presented to the winner at the Eilat Red Sea Awards ceremony on Saturday 13 September.

For more information visit: www.eilatredsea.com

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