Since more than one hundred years the wreck of SS Numidia is lying at the northern tip of Big Brother Island. It was a British cargo ship that ran aground here in 1901 and sank a few weeks later. With a length of 137 meters, a width of 16.7 meters, a maximum draft of 9.2 meters and finally a size of 6,399 GRT, the Numidia started on 6 July 1901 with 97 crew under the command of Captain J. Craig from Liverpool to Calcutta. Among other things, the ship had materials for the expansion of the railway network of the English colony on board.
The Red Sea has at the Brothers a width of 180 km, but the crew managed to strike this small island – shortly after two clock at night Captain Craig was rudely awakened from the mighty impact of the ship on the reef at the northern end of the “Big Brother”.
The “on duty” officer Merwood had fallen asleep at the same time with his boss. The route led the ship then in truly instinctive certainty in the middle of the reef.
So the ship got stuck in the narrow fringing reef and all efforts to self release failed.
In the following days other ships were still trying to drag the Numidia freely, but they failed as well.
Captain Craig remained only the thankless task to stay on the desolate island for several weeks and to monitor the recovery of the cargo.
Probably in the winter storms 1901/02 the ship was then torn from the reef and sank definitively.
As already mentioned, high waves and strong currents make diving here often difficult or impossible!
- In shallower depth until around 12 meters the reef is littered with overgrown wreck debris.
- The wooden constructions have long rotted, only the metal parts had outlived the time and give the ship skeleton a fascinating appearance – over and over covered with soft and hard corals.
- Cargo holds and galleries are open and easy to dive in, but the total cargo was recovered.
- At about 40 meters the stern part of the wreck starts, which extends a big distance down.
- At a depth of 70 to 80 m is the ship’s screw – too deep for “Normal air-divers” – but quite interesting for technical divers.
- In addition to the immense coral splendor of this wreck numerous big fish fascinate:
- Grey reef sharks circling the wreck at a rapid pace, in between groups of snappers are standing in the current. Also mackerel and tuna make a good prey here among the many smaller reef inhabitants.
- Encounters with hammerhead sharks and manta rays are not uncommon here!