The Jolanda (note correct spelling - it is very often wrongly spelt Yolanda) was owned by the Sea Brother Marine Shipping company. She was a Cypriot merchant ship, 72 metres in length.
Length of ship: 72m (236ft)
Wreck location: Ras Mohammed, Egypt.
Depth range of wreck: 10m to 200m
Final Voyage and the Wreck up to 1985
The Jolanda was on a voyage from Piraeus to Aqaba with a general cargo including toilets, wash basins, bath tubs, a BMW 320 motor car (apparently belonging to the captain), aluminium, plastic sheeting and several containers of general goods.
During a bad storm on April 1st 1981 the ship got caught on one of the southern reef mounts at the tip of the Ras Mohamed peninsula. After 4 days aground she rolled over onto her port side, her bow awash, and with her stern hanging over the abyss. The wreck remained in that position for several years, slowly toppling over until it was totally upside down. Then one day in 1985 the hawse wire holding it snapped and a great wreck was lost as it slid down the reef leaving behind only evidence of its cargo; baths, toilets and a car.
Much more famous in its demise than during its sea-faring days, a reef, beach and bay were named after this ship where it sank.
Pictures: The images in this section were taken by Peter Collings and Lawson Wood back in 1983, when the wreck of the Jolanda was still sitting on the reef at the tip of Ras Mohammed. The wreck fell into the abyss in 1985, leaving only evidence of its cargo behind.
The Wreck Today
This wreck itself has only recently (2005) been located, and now lies at between 145 and 200 metres depth. This is obviously a sight that only a very few divers will ever see. What most divers refer to as 'the wreck of the Yolanda' is just some of the cargo that remains on Yolanda Reef, at between 10 metres and 30 metres depth.
The Jolanda Deep Dive Project - 2005
Article published in May 2005.
Written in by Mark Andrews. Photo's by Mark Butler.
Deep diver Leigh Cunningham, working with fellow Briton Mark Andrews, has found what is almost certainly the lost wreck of the Jolanda, at a depth of 145m off Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt.
The ship sat precariously on what is now Jolanda Reef, off Ras Mohammed, from 1981 to 1985. She finally slipped off during a storm which managed to snap massive steel tethering cables.
On 26 May 2005, Cunningham found the wreck’s forward section, at a depth of 145m running down to 160m on a 45-degree slope. It is almost completely buried in sand. The rest of the ship, probably further broken, has to be even deeper at "sub-170m". Cunningham acknowledged that he had not positively identified the ship, but thought it had to be the 72m Jolanda, which carried bathroom fittings when wrecked. Lavatories and other items still litter the reef where the ship first grounded. “To my knowledge no other ships have sunk in this exact area,” he commented. “I would say it is highly unlikely the wreck is not the Jolanda.”
The find came during a six-day diving project organised by Cunningham and Andrews. The pair previously trained together for a scuba depth record attempt at well over 300m, which was shelved in 2003 on health grounds. “We started with two days at Far Garden, getting used to big rigs,” said Cunningham. He carried six 12-litre aluminium tanks, Andrews five. “Then came four days at Jolanda Reef, progressively increasing in depth, with two deep mix dives to 150m then 160m.” “We found wreckage on our first dive on the reef, and several large ship containers from 60m to 83m,” Andrews states. On another dive, he noted a deep scour starting at 92m, and that from 102m the seabed got steeper. The ship must have “built up speed here” before ploughing to a halt in the sand.
Cunningham made the two deep mix dives alone. “Unfortunately Mark picked up a stomach bug mid-week, and made the hard but correct decision to skip the deep mix dives,” he said. He located the wreck on the first descent and, the next day, “stood on the deck, looking up at the bow” at a depth of 160m.
The dives allowed about five minutes of bottom time, for in-water times of “a little over two hours”. There were 10 support divers, eight of which came from Sharm’s Ocean College and Colona dive centres. Colona’s 25m vessel Diavola was used, and all gas mixes were prepared by 'Gas Man Chad' of Ocean Tec. Sharm’s helicopter rescue and hyperbaric facilities stood by for any emergency. Cunningham works at Ocean College as a TDI Instructor Trainer. Andrews is Technical Director at the London School of Diving.
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