Top 10 Best Locations in the World for Wreck Diving
Wreck diving is an interesting venture. These eerie and remote underwater mausoleums tell the story of humankind over the years seeing especially that the natural marine environment is a big part of the earth’s and mankind’s evolution over the years. It is home to different aquatic species since their watery demise and thousands of sunken boats and ships spread across the ocean. There are strange, amazing and tragic stories behind these wrecks, all worth telling. Below is a look at the top 10 wrecks to dive in the world.
- SMS MARKGRAF, SCAPA FLOW, SCOTLAND
The Scapa Flow water body is famous for being home to the remains of 7 of 78 German Navy Vessels which were scuttled for fear of being captured. The SMS Markgraf is one of the three Konig class battleships which are in this area, but it is the most accessible because it is only 24 meters deep. The SMS Markgraf is a 26,000-ton battleship of 177 meters length with an open hull which allows the diver take a tour into the torpedo room and the stern of the ship. The size of the wreck makes it difficult to cover in one dive, and it can be done on two levels.
- UMBRIA, WINGATE REEF, SUDAN
It is said that the Umbria, a German freighter turned Italian cargo ship scurried just off the coast of Sudan to escape capture by the British Navy and today it offers great marine life, and it is quite unpopular, making it ideal for divers who would rather do without the crowd. The Umbria is a 400ft ship, and as at when it was sunk, it contained a loot of 360,000 aircraft bombs, Fiat cars and several lifeboats. The Umbria is a scuba divers paradise, and there are tonnes of features which will keep them occupied for days on end. There are also propellers, cavernous space of the engine room, ghost of the galley, and intact railings covered in bright red sponges.
- ZENOBIA, LARNACA BAY, CYPRUS
On its maiden voyage (in 1980) from Larnaca, Zenobia, a 10,000-tonne ferry sunk after something went terribly wrong with its computers. The ferry contained over 120,000 vehicles and articulated Lorries when it sunk in 130ft of water. It’s a diver’s heaven. For a simple dive, you can go as far as 16 meters, and you’d get a relatively pleasant experience, or for experienced divers, they can go as far as the lower car deck. There is a lot of sea life, from groupers to sea beams and even barracudas but the most intriguing experience is the large ferry which has an almost ‘ghost ship’ like feel to it.
- MV CAPTAIN KEITH TIBBETTS, CAYMAN ISLANDS
This 330-foot Russian frigate shipped deliberately from Cuba and sunk off the coast of Cayman Brac on September 1996 to create an artificial reef is a complete pleasure to dive. Nudibranchs Snappers and moray eels have taken a host of the ship, which storms have broken in two, and this has made it easier for divers to access. The cannons fore, aft as well as the wheelhouse tower are the major attractions to this dive site.
- SS YONGALA, OFF COAST OF AYR, AUSTRALIA
This intriguing Australian passenger ship which lays within the Great Barrier Reef Park was undiscovered for over half of a century since it sank in a cyclone in 1911. Today, the SS Yongala is home to turtles, cobia, giant groupers, schools of trevally, and sweeping rays to mention but a few. The ship is only 30 minutes from the shore and is one of the top wreck dive sites in the world.
- BLACKJACK B17, MILNE BAY, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
The Blackjack B17 is a military bomber aircraft off the coast of Papua New Guinea. It crashed on its way from a bombing mission in Japan and now lies 45 meters deep into the sandy seabed off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The aircraft is largely unscathed despite its turbulent descent and divers can inspect the cockpit and turret guns in the midst of groupers and other fish. The seats are still in place, and you can easily see the pilot and co-pilot in the closing moments before their death. The crystal clear waters and pristine condition of this wreck make it a great experience.
- FUJIKAWA MARU, TRUK, MICRONESIA
This wreck is a must for any serious wreck diver as it holds the remains of almost an entire fleet of Japanese ships and aircraft’s which were sunk in 1944. The most famous of these wrecks is the 7,000-ton Fujikawa Maru which stands upright in the shallow water, making its 437ft volume easily accessible. Other features which make this wreck exciting are the bridge are with sake bottles, the wings in the hold and the engine room.
- USS ORISKANY, PENSACOLA, FLORIDA
The USS Oriskany, a former US Navy Aircraft carrier holds the record for the world’s largest reef. The USS Oriskany was deliberately sunk in the Gulf of Mexico in 2006 as part of a program to create artificial reefs. It is a 900ft, 30,000-ton carrier which was used by the US Navy in both Korea and Vietnam. The Oriskany sits upright and rises to 164 feet from the seabed and just 20 meters below the sea surface, making it perfect for both new and experienced divers. Apart from the wreck, the sighting of grouper, tuna and amberjack makes this a great dive.
- THISTLEGORM, SHARM EL-SHEIKH, EGYPT
Quite possibly the most famous wreck and no doubt the busiest in the world, the Thistlegorm is an English merchant ship which was sunk by German bombers in World War II. The 400ft ship, filled with motorbikes, Bedford trucks, and several rifles sank in 1941 when it was brought down by a German bomb which blew a hole in its port side, igniting ammunition which was on the ship. This explosion ripped open the roof of the ship, and this gives divers a direct view of the inside of the ships merchandise. This dive site has lots of marine life to see both inside and outside of the wreck, including hammerheads, Napoleon wrasses and trevallies are reported here. Divers who require some privacy may find this wreck less than ideal as it’s incredibly busy.
- SS PRESIDENT COOLIDGE, VANUATU
The SS President is one of the largest and accessible wrecks in the world. Built in 1931, this 600ft ship which was converted into a troop ship in WWII is a diver’s delight. Due to the enormous size of this ship, a diver would need at least eight dives to experience the ship in all its splendour. Other than the ship, there are also tonnes of military gear, cannons, a 10-wheel GMC truck, jeeps, tracked vehicles, tires and steering wheels.