Jolanda (Yolanda) and Shark Reef

The Jolanda (please note spelling: Yolanda with a Y is wrong) reef is named after the ship the "Jolanda" which sank there in 1981. The ship sat on the edge of the reef, but a strom in 1985 meant she was torn to the bottom and sits now in the depth only reachable for technical divers with back-up. For the normal recreational diver, the site has its own challenges.

First a bit of history. The Jolanda was build by S.A. Juliana Constructors Gijon in Span in 1964. She was a relative small cargo vessel with on 594 grt. With only 75m length and 11m width she would have been a typical Mediterranean, Middle East Cargo Hopper, moving cargo between the various ports, usually moving the last or first part of a journey which would have been uneconomical for her larger counterparts. 

She was owned by the Cypriot Sea Brothers Marine Shipping Company and on her last journey she was filled with white sanitary ware (toilets, washbasins and bath tubs), aluminium, plastic sheeting and several containers of general goods. The story goes that she was even carrying the captains BMW320 (however, no reference document to substantiate this has been found).  

On the night of the 1st April 1980, according to insurance documents, she caught fire in her engine room (hear say also state the crew was drunk, but again no document has been found to verify this). The fire was supposedly under control and she was on half-power. The storm during the night worsened and either through bad judgement, or lack of power, she was driven onto the reef. She stayed afloat for a further 4 days, being battered by the storm, when she finally lost the battle and slid backwards down the reef. Her stern was hung free over the reef and in the early 1980s she was one the key dive sites. 

However this was going to change rapidly, as the hawse wire holding it snapped and she fell over the side, sliding down the reef, coming to rest at over 100 metres below (for those interested there is a fantastic article at xray-mag). 

To dive the reefs is fantastic and can have its own challenges. In most cases, we start of at Anemone City, dropping to 17 metres. For the less experienced diver, this section offers a lovely dive in its own right. The current will push you to about 25 metres when the 90° drop starts. The current can push you down the chasm and it is not unknown to swim across and suddenly be at 40 metres or more. If you decide to swim across rather than hugging the side, look into the deep below, you may see sharks swimming there. 

You will hit Shark reef and you can take either side around the reef. Taking the right side, allows you to swim along the 30 metre edge. Don't try to swim up the saddle, the current pushes against you. Rather follow the next reef (Jolanda reef) around. You will see the Jolanda cargo dotted on the floor - careful don't sit on the toilets, many of them are now covered with fire corals. The current pushes also here against you, it is much easier to swim past the debris field and swim through the passage behind the small satellite reef. You will emerge in a sandy area behind the Jolanda cargo allowing you to investigate the reef there and then swim with the current either through the main saddle between Jolanda and Shark Reef or back onto the Jolanda debris field.


Yolanda and Shark reef

Posted on 4/23/2012 by SDA Editor

Jolanda and Shark Reef - famous wreck dive (of what is left of her) in Raas Mohammed National Park.

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Key numbers

Dive type: Wreck & Reef

Length: -

Depth: 30m

Visibility: 15m+

Location: 27°43.51N, 34°15.52E

Difficulty: 3 Stars

Dive: 4 Stars


Dive Log

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Jolanda and Shark Reef