GUE divers gliding over the shipwreck Numidia. This is a dive to set the heart racing and one of the most incredible shipwrecks available to Divers. Like the Aïda, she also defies all the known laws of gravity and lies "up" the reef at an almost vertical angle. After nearly 100 years underwater she is, of course, now an integral part of the reef itself and will never move.
At a depth of only 8m/27ft the Diver will find the Bows are well broken and marked by a pair of Railway Engine Wheels originally carried as deck cargo. From here, the ship quickly takes on its original shape and the Diver is soon descending to deck level. The first thing that most Divers comment on, however, is the absolute colour that now adorns this vessel. Hard Corals and Soft Corals have colonised this ship in a manner similar to the Aïda - making them amongst the most beautiful shipwrecks in the world. The railings, masts, lifeboat davits, windlasses and deck winches are all still in place - having become part of a living Reef of such vibrancy that it is easy to lose sight of the fact that this is a "wreck dive!" The mast is in about 51m/170 ft making it a perfect T1 dive.
The following is a description of the events leading to the sinking of the Numidia. She cleared the Suez Canal in the early hours of 19 July 1901. They made good time and by 7pm that evening, Shadwan Island was already abeam. The weather was fine with a fresh breeze from the NW. At 11pm the course was altered and at 1am on the 20th the light on Big Brothers island was sighted off the port bow. Observing the bearing, the Captain altered course again and informed the "officer of the watch" this would take the ship over one mile to the west of the Island. He then left the Bridge leaving instructions to be called when the Light was abeam. At about 2.10am the Master was awoken by the shock of his ship crashing onto rocks. Hurrying to the bridge, he found his ship hard aground on Big Brothers Island - almost directly below the Lighthouse!
After two hours of trying to get off the rocks the engines were stopped. By this time the ship was taking on considerable water although the pumps were coping. At 7.30am despatches were sent to Suez for urgent assistance and most of the crew were landed on the Island. Other vessels then arrived and every effort was made to refloat the Numidia without success. Eventually realising his vessel was lost, the Master allowed his crew to be rescued - although he remained on the island for a further 7 weeks - during which he supervised the salvage of most of the cargo before the Numidia finally sank.
At the formal Board of Trade Enquiry, the court said that the officer of the watch had probably fallen asleep at his post and had, thereby, failed in his duties. His certificate was duly suspended for a period of 9 months.
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