Dive 27

Thistlegorm to 30.2 m

The big one. Rated the number one wreck dive site in the world by the Red Sea Divers Guide. There was quite a swell as we pulled ourselves along to the shot line. In a long line we hauled ourselves down on to the wreck and played Follow the Leader with Craig. This wreck is big. Swam in a figure of eight round the bow and then across to the stern. Saw a partially coral-encrusted tyre and artillery shells. I almost knocked myself out when I was swimming backwards and upside-down admiring the enormity of the wreck and Will grabbed me just before I went slamming head first into a lump of coral. This was the second time Will had saved me from crashing into something on the holiday. Lesson learned: look where you are going underwater.

Swam along walkways, up steps and then over a locomotive. Peered over the stern to see hundreds of large fish swirling around in what looked like an underwater re-enactment of the Battle of Britain. A chunky tuna zipped over my head chasing a smaller fish. This was real nature: dog eat dog (or fish eat fish) a sight rarely glimpsed on land, save perhaps on the plains of Africa. The wreck was beautiful, a giant serene sculpture of rust and coral. I banged my tank a couple of times moving through covered walkways. Lesson learned: be particularly careful with buoyancy in a confined space. Our party carried out a nice long safety stop on the shot line at about 6 m. This had been my deepest dive to date.

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