SS Thistlegorm is probably the most dived and photographed wreck in the Red Sea, if not the world over, and its story has been retold many times. Discovered and dived for the first time in the early 1950’s by Jacques-Yves Cousteau (who reputedly salvaged her bell), her whereabouts remained unknown to the rest of the world until the early 90’s, when she was rediscovered. I feel that she remains one of the highlights of diving in the Red Sea.
I was introduced to this ship and her story four years ago on one of my first trips to Egypt, when I was a newly qualified diver. My memories of those two dives were all about fighting the current, trying to stay neutrally buoyant, and being afraid of losing my dive guide among the crowds of divers. But I also remember being fascinated with the amount of cargo in the ship’s holds and the abundance of sea life that found its home there.
Many dives and trips later I returned to the Thistlegorm with a camera in my hands. This time the dives were supposed to be about photographing her beauty. The wreck is renown amongst underwater photographers for being photogenic and having historic value, indeed, the Thistlegorm must be one of the most photographed wrecks. This makes it difficult to find new subjects and creatively unique angles to photograph. Yet, if we are patient and creative enough, she can grant us an opportunity to portray her treasures and share her story with the rest of the world.
Nadya Kulagina is an avid diver and a self-taught photographer. She has been photographing for more than ten years, of with the last three underwater. During a trip to Hawaii in 2002, she was inspired by the beauty of the underwater world after a discover scuba dive. It was then that she started dreaming about taking her camera underwater. However, living in a landlocked country and not having any access to the sea, she has had to take a long journey to make her dream come true. Nadya has now dived and photographed in Indonesia, Philippines, Cayman Islands, Egypt, Malta, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan. Her images were published in National Geographic, Telegraph News, Vox Populi and other magazines and she has won prizes in international competitions like the Golden Turtle and Golden Dolphin.