The 40m long and 7m wide MS Balena is a former liveaboard that sank in 2001 off Hurghada, just a few hundred meters from the beach.
In 1952 she was built in Norway as a mail ship. In the 1990s she was brought to Egypt and converted into a liveaboard by a new owner. In 1999 there was another change of ownership. The ship was meanwhile dilapidated and was no longer properly prepared by the newly founded diving travel company. So it was anchored in the immediate vicinity of the Giftun Village Hotel in Hurghada and rusted to itself. At the beginning of April 2001, the hull was already slightly sloping, and in the night of April 12th to 13th a fire suddenly broke out and the ship sank to the sandy bottom, which was only 9 m deep. The cause of the fire could not be adequately clarified, and there was speculation about insurance fraud.
The wreck stands upright on a level keel and is now a popular attraction for divers and snorkelers. You can see it from the surface, as some of the structures protrude from the water. The upper deck is therefore also easy to explore for snorkelers. An overwhelming number of marine life has settled on this wreck, favored by the heavily planton-rich water near the beach. The view is therefore mostly rather cloudy, but that is also something that gives the dive a certain mystical touch. Huge schools of garfish swim around the wreck, often with smaller barracudas. There are numerous medusas and blue spotted rays lying on the sandy bottom. If you dive around the protruding stern with the propeller and the rudder system, you will find small gray morays and all sorts of beautiful nudibranchs all over the wreck. Colorful soft corals have populated the walls and railings of the wreck and provide a home for many boxfish and puffer fish. Most of the areas of the wreck are good and safe to dive. Due to the shallow depth, you can comfortably explore each individual deck.