I first learned about this resort when a colleague friend shared a selfie with the shipwreck in the background. When asked where the photo was taken, he told me about Al Qatan Tourism Village some 80 kilometers from our place. I got so curious so as soon as we had a weekend off from work, I swayed the group to go and visit the site.
We reached the place about an hour after we left the villa. And when we were there, we realized the shipwreck was not actually at the Al Qatan Tourism Village but somewhere closer to Shoaibah Desalination Plant.
Further googling revealed the site was actually the famous ship wreckage of a Ro-Pax vessel named Al Fahad. The ship was said to have been anchored after engine problems occurred and was abandoned 14.6 kilometers southwest of the old city center of Jeddah.
A second stint on the English Channel as the Mona’s Isle beginning in April of 1985 didn’t work out: the ship was laid up in October 1985 and subsequently sold to Egypt’s Sadaka Shipping group in 1986. Renamed the Al Fahad, the ferry performed with aplomb until 2004 when she ran aground on a famously dangerous reef near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where she joined a host of other grounded, abandoned and forgotten hulks blistering in the hot Arabian sun.
The cool sea breeze was a welcoming change from the city smog. Though when I uncapped my camera lens, fog completely covered the lens surface and it took me more than fifteen minutes to get it acclimated and cleared. The humidity was relatively high and if I had a hygrometer with me, it would have registered 80.
Love those tire tracks! We were told that ATVs are popular there though we didn’t find any in our visits.
Going around Al Qatan Tourism Village and Al Fahad Ship Wreckage site
Al Qatan Tourism Village is a beach resort near Shoaiba Desalination Plant and going there is relatively easy. The resort can be easily located since several sign boards pointing to the resort village can be seen along the way. Take the route to Industrial City and traverse the highway towards Jizan. Turn right on the exit towards the resort. And if going to the ship wreckage site, turn left before reaching the resort and continue driving until you cross a small bridge. The bridge seems to be a popular fishing site and there are several fishing boats docked around it. The shipwreck is already visible from there so you just have to continue driving until you find your preferred spot.
We have been in the area twice but didn’t really went to Al Qatan Tourism Village or any of the other resorts nearby. We’re only there for the early morning swim as we would usually do when in Red Sea. The shipwreck can also be seen without going to the resorts. But you need to rent one of the resorts in the area if you want to do other sporting activities such as ATV ride, boating and scuba diving.
Forgot to take photos of the exit road going to Al Qatan resort so here are photos I took on our way back to Jeddah.
And sand crabs galore. Those are holes and mounds made by the sand crabs inhabiting the area. Go get them!
What’s just sand though is that the people visiting the wreckage site, and the rest of the Red Sea shore, are leaving their trashes behind causing them to accumulate greatly over time. We spotted a cleaner but shouldn’t everyone be accountable for their own trash?