Dunraven History

The Dunraven was built in 1873 by Charles Mitchell & Co Ltd in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. She weighed 1800 tonnes, measured 82 metres by 9.7 metres and was a typical steam and sail ship. She was equipped with a 2 boiler compound engine and 2 masts for auxiliary power.

She was a typical ship of her time, specifically built for the "spice-run". She was owned by Watson & Milburn from Newcastle. As far as research from some documentation of the time, shows that Watson & Milburn were actually solicitors who "owned" the ship (possible in trust) and it was hired out to various independent trading companies.

What is clear, she sailed between 1873 and 1876 between India and Britain carrying spices, wool and cotton. On her last voyage she left Bombay in early April 1873 and sailed along the Indian Ocean back to the UK. She was on her way up the Red Sea for Suez, when she hit the most southern Reef known as Sha'ab Mahmud. She was holed badly in her bow, but was no immediate danger of sinking as she had slid quite high up onto the reef. 

The ship actually sat there for about a week, when a storm broke up her bow and she also caught fire. She slid backwards and now rests at the bottom of a 30 metre slope (if you dig in the sand near here you will still find occasionally black suet from the fire) . A beacon was built shortly afterwards to warn shipping and since then the area has been called Beacon Rock. The Dunraven lay forgotten there until she was rediscovered by scuba divers in 1978 and she became famous in 1979 for a TV Special "World about Us".

How to dive the Dunraven

DunravenThe Dunraven lies upside down along the bottom of the reef, starting about at 15 metres on her bow reaching about 30 metres on her stern. The wreck offers a nice dive and her propeller is most probably one of the most photographed pictures for a wreck.

The wreck itself has a number of entrances, a stern entrance, boiler entrance in the middle and a bow entrance. A simple way of diving her is to follow her along the reef side, see the propeller and then swim into the stern entrance. Follow her along inside and if you find the next section to tight, just leave from the boiler exit, otherwise follow her along until the bow exit.

The bow section is usually full of glass fish and you are quite likely to see Napoleon Wrasse around the wreck. However, the wreck is not the best thing to look out for in this dive site.

Leave the wreck and follow the reef wall with your left shoulder to the reef. Slowly follow up the reef wall until you are around 10 metres. You will hit a wonderful hard coral garden of potato corals - you can swim around the garden for hours - staying between 6 and 10 metres. Ensure you take your camera with you.


Posted on 4/23/2012 by SDA Editor

The Dunraven is one of the many wrecks in the Red Sea. However, it is the coral gardens just off the Dunraven that make the dive memorable.

read more..

Key numbers

Dive type: Wreck

Length: 82m

Depth: 15m to 30m

Visibility: 20m+

Location: 27°42.14N, 34°7.51E

Difficulty: 2 Stars

Dive: 3 Stars


Dive Log

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