Shaab Shear East & Al Kahfain
This is a slightly crescent shaped reef stretching on an east-west axis where dives are made on both ends. To the north of the reef the wreck after Al Kahfain, a 115m long 6000 ton Ro-Ro car- and passenger ferry, built by Camell Laird in 1967 at Birkenhead for the Belfast Steamship Co Ltd. Her final voyage started Nov 22nd 2005 when Al Kahfain left Hurghada heading for Jeddah. At Shedwan Island a fire started in the engine room and spread up through the superstructure. The crew abandoned ship and was picked up by passing vessels. One crewman was injured but the total number of crew; 58, survived.
There was an attempt to tow Al Kahfain to safety but she capsized and drifted all the way to Shaab Sheer where she sank and is now resting on her starboard side on a narrow shelf at a depth of 25 metres, accumulating to the increasing list of large ferry wrecks in the area.
You need good conditions to dive the Al Kahfain. The site is exposed to wind and waves that sometimes make it impossible to get the Zodiac all the way to the wreck. On a good day it’s an easy dive though, and you are likely to make it all the way back to the mooring on the south side. Roll in at the bow section of the wreck and you descend above the keel as the wreck is resting more or less upside down. However, the hull has split along the waterline and the portside is bent out in a bizarre angle. It is possible to penetrate all along the wreck but the superstructure is collapsing and the walls crinkle, which is not giving a perfectly stable impression. The funnel is submerged in the bottom and davits are scattered all over the seabed. Just before you reach the stern with the huge “backdoor”, the hull has split in two leaving a gap between the stern and the rest of the wreck. This area is unstable and you can hear metal squeaking as the two parts of the wreck grind against each other. Stay way cleat of narrow passages and sharp edges! When you’re done with your wreck exploration, you continue east with the reef on your right shoulder. As you arrive at the corner of the reef you find yourself swimming over a stunning coral garden that cascades down from the shallows to the seabed at around 16 metres. Huge dome corals form a slant that you follow around to the south side. Here you check your air and chose to either take the short cut through the lovely channel or the slightly longer stretch around the pinnacles.