Alexandria - the search for sunken ruins

Trip Start Jun 29, 2005
Trip End Nov 30, 2009

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Thursday, February 23, 2006

I hadn't even considered diving when heading up to Alexandria, but wandering along the Corniche that first sunny day yielded and interesting advertisement pointing out the 'Submerged Antiquities' to be found in the harbour. Not long after I stumbled on Alexandria Divers, the only dive shop in town.

What the hey? It would make for some different, very cold diving as compared to the stuff done in south east Asia and it may even put me on the path to the fabled Atlantis which would certainly be a significant discovery on this 'Journey of Discovery' I'm undertaking. So I signed up for two dives the next day and prayed for a hot one.

It was sunny but not that much hotter, so we donned full length suits and trundled out from behind the breakwall in a tiny stinkboat. The first dive was to be at Pharos Island and The Lighthouse - the very same lighthouse that was one of the 'Seven Wonders of the World' way back then. Saeed the dive master led the way and soon we were immersed in 18C (if we were lucky) water and amongst the chunks of carved stone about 8m down.

Most of the sights are obviously columns and blocks from antiquity and cover eras including Pharaoic, Greek and Roman periods. Visibility wasn't crash hot (5m) but you could see what had to be seen and the differences in pieces became quite obvious (e.g. Grecian ribbed columns lay next to earlier rounded counterparts).

More interesting finds included a headless Sphinx, a block with definite hieroglyphs, another block with window from the lighthouse itself, a wine press and semi-decorated column bases. Much of the detail is covered with barnacles and the layers of time unfortunately.

Fish life was pretty thin on the ground, all small stuff. About the only thing of note was the little sea centipede top right. Think it might come from the Nudibranch family of sea critters.

The next dive (Antirodos Island) was on the wreck of a fallen WW2 bomber, conveniently parked on top of the remains of an earlier sea wreck. Again the ravages of time and the poor visibility make it difficult to bring you meaningful pictures but when in the water the airframe was pretty intact and obvious, including tail, wings and a pretty complete cockpit. A airman's mask was found inside but I suspect it has been put there more recently for effect.

Amphorae we found nearby were pretty cool too including one piece that was completely intact. Not sure why it was left there but it was a nice way to round out a chilly day. Willy was not impressed at all with the water temperature I can tell you.

Would I do it again? Probably not - the brochure contains a number of pictures of sights not there (or maybe just not shown to us) and even if the visibility was better, it would be difficult to justify the $US90 for two dives (this did include equipment). Will have to see if there's better value to be found around Dahab when I get there in a week or two's time.

Roger wilko charly.

Next entry -> Battlefield sights at El Alamein
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