The Numidia was a british general cargo and passenger ship built in 1901. At 6,399 tonnes, 138m long, 16.7 wide and 9.2m high made out of steel with a 3 cylinder triple expansion engine producing 415 n.h.p, and cruising at 10 knots, she was considered a modern addition to Anchor Line Fleet based in Glasgow.
Anchor Line was already well established for running regular services to North America from Northern Ireland and Scotland. The new ship was to add a further capability to India with Bombay and Calcutta being the primary ports. To ensure best success, the line put veteran captain John Craig in charge.
Her maiden voyage was uneventful. For her second voyage, she was loaded with construction stock for the Indian Railway. She left Britain, sailed through the Mediterranean and through the Suez Canal. On the night of the 19th to 20th July, the beacon on Big Brother Island appeared on the horizon. Course was set and the Captain left instructions to hold course for the next few hours and retired to his cabin. At approximately 2 a.m. the ship ran full speed in front of the Big Brother reef. Even though never proven, it is likely that second mate James Tulloch, fell asleep at the wheel.
Firstly they tried to move the ship of the reef, but that failed. The crew and passengers were evacuated to the island, and the majority of the cargo was loaded onto other ships. Several weeks later under constant battering from the wind and waves she broke in two. The stern slipped down the steep slope, the bow has been worn away completely, making it feel that the ship is concreted into the reef.
Diving is usually challenging. Strong currents flow across the wreck and her 80m maximum depth requires special training and considerations. For the majority of divers, a gentle drop from the reef down onto the bridge (the davits along the superstructure here are the probably the most photographed davits in the world) and to the top of the engine room. A drop on top of the first cargo hold and you are already at 45m - swiming across and ensuring not getting any deeper allows you to get to the top of the mast at 45m. This dive is fantastic, but does require a bit of planning and consideration - especially if you wish to stay at depth for more than 3 or 4 minutes.