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Dive sites (Red Sea): Yolanda Reef (Ras Mohammed National Park)

Yolanda Reef from the surface
Yolanda Reef from the surface

Yolanda Reef is inside the Ras Mohammed National Park, and is a beautiful site that is strangely adorned with bathroom fittings – toilets, baths, basins – from a ship called the Jolanda (the reef’s name is a mis-spelling of Jolanda) that ran aground here in 1980. The ship eventually sank and dropped off the edge of the reef into very deep (approximately 200 metres…) water, but the containers that fell off her decks remain at the site, broken up with their contents exposed. A number of porcelain toilet bowls, of the Ideal Standard brand have been arranged in a row by a few decades of visiting divers. Multiple plastic bathtubs are stacked one inside the other, and encrusted with corals. Pieces of broken open shipping containers are interspersed among the bathroom supplies.

Divers over some of the Jolanda's cargo
Divers over some of the Jolanda’s cargo

We actually dived this site twice – the first time along with Shark Reef, as a drift dive, and the second time specifically to explore the Jolanda cargo a bit more. The dives were a couple of hours apart, and both times there was a current roaring down from the top of the reef into the depths. This somewhat restricted which areas of the site we could fully explore. Despite that restriction I loved this dive. Swimming over a huge pile of toilets, encrusted with pastel corals and bright nudibranchs, and swarming with tiny fish, was surreal and beautiful.

Dive date: 20 October 2013

Air temperature: 27 degrees

Water temperature:  27 degrees

Maximum depth: 19.3 metres

Visibility: 40 metres

Dive duration: 41 minutes

Don't ask - it's Kate!
Don’t ask – it’s Kate!

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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