M.V.Birchwood 11

Lying to the north of the port in a large bay with three other wrecks was a small 50 mtrs motor cargo ship on its starboard side in 12mtrs of water. Over the years her bridge has collspede and the holds have broken up. Big shoals of juvenile barracuda circled her masts which them selves are complete with radar array and aerials.

Just forward of the Superstructure, itself at the aft of the vessel was an intact crane, obviously used to serve the hold. The criss-cross gantry was covered in life as we were to find out during a night dive. Superb swim-throughs from the weather deck into the holds were easily accomplished and here we found, like the HAMADA in southern Egypt bags of polythene granules hard against the port hull

The foc’sle was easy to access and explore and her winch gear, like many parts of the wreck was covered in sponge and encrusting corals. .Her bow appeared intact and a deep scour ran along her keel, becoming circular by her  rudder. Her starboard running light lay protruding from the sand.

Rounding the stern revealed two access doors at deck level into her engine room, with stair wells leading down into the lower levels- earmarked for a future visit.

When we discoveerd her,the wheel house was to prove beyond a doubt that this was yet another undived wreck – the hammering hordes from Hurghada have never seen this….The ships wheel, and compass binnacle were still in place and the telegraph lay below on the sand clearly showing its Dutch origin. Superb back drops for the expedition photo scrapbook

Hundreds of nudibranchs, some species new to me despite my many years in the Red Sea, sea hares and shoals of rabbit fish huddled together everywhere .3 Snowflake morays shared a single hole although the giant version was missing. Lionfish hovered over the sand in search of small fry and there were many to choose from.. Almost every surface of the wreck was alive with anemones, sponges and small crustaceans. The brilliant reds, oranges and greens highlighted by torch beams.


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