It’s the dream experience of many an enthusiastic diver, sinking to the murky depths of the sea bed and exploring the nooks and crannies of mighty ships, devoured by the ocean years before.
It’s intensely interesting, and more than a little spooky and divers travel thousands of miles across the world just to don their gear and mingle with the marine life and lost artefacts.
So where are the best places to experience this little taste of history beneath the sea? We’re counting down our Top 5…
Our favourite 5 places to experience history under the sea
Around 3 hours out from Sharm el Sheikh on Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, in one of the riches waters in the world in terms of variety of sea life the Red Sea, is the reluctant home to SS Thistlegorm, a British ship sunk in the Gulf of Suez in 1941 as it tried to deliver important supplies to British troops in the Mediterranean costal city of Alexandria during WW2.
One of the most popular dives in the world today (infact maybe the most popular) Thistlegorm boasts an impressive selection of sunken antiques including motorbikes, cargo trucks, torpedoes, tanks and artillery shells which makes for a fantastic shipwreck diving experience but be warned if you’re looking to lose yourself in a quiet, serene atmosphere this probably isn’t the place to do it. It’s such a popular dive spot that the dive traffic can be pretty intense, but it’s definitely worth it.
The wreck of Thistlegorm in the Read Sea is one of the most popular dives sites in the world
Zenobia, a ferry created to sail the Mediterranean, sank in Larnaca Bay, Cyprus on it’s first ever trip in 1980 due to a faulty computer system.
The ship was towed roughly 1.5k off shore and unfortunately sank, however, the wreckage on the huge ship now provides one of the most exciting and extensive shipwreck dives in the world.
Divers can swim along the 178meter long vessel, ducking in and out of the masses of rooms, the highlight must surely be the egg lorry, one of more than 100 articulated lorries at the bottom of the ocean that is frozen in time and perfectly preserved.
Yongala Shipwreck, Queensland, Australia
The remains of SS Yongala in Queensland is widely considered to be the best wreck dive in the world because it’s got so much to offer enthusiastic divers.
A tropical cyclone got the better of the boat back in 1911 and as well as the creepy sight of the 110meter long ship lying in its watery grave and the small, eerie cabins you can also enjoy the company of a host of dream dive companions including manta ray, bull, tiger and leopard sharks, sea turtles, barracudas and, in the winter, you may be lucky enough to see humpback and minke whales. Diving experiences rarely come much more exciting.
Fujikawa Maru, Micronesia
This group of thousands of tiny islands, scattered way out in the western Pacific Ocean, is a Mecca for hardcore divers. It isn’t well travelled land, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that it is so hard to get to; however your hard work and long journey will be rewarded in epic style.
The wreckage is constantly regarded as the best dive site on the planet. Truk Lagoon in particular is infamous as a grave yard of sunken WW2 battleships. The most famous of those many ships is The Fujikawa, which is remarkably well preserved and rich in a huge array of spectacularly interesting historical artefacts – all at the bottom of waters filled with some incredible sea life.
Keep an eye out for the 6 inch gun mounted to the ships bow and the collection of Zero fighter planes that is the sites trump card.
The eerie and thrilling dive site of Fujikawa, Micronesia. Image courtesy of NOAA Photo Library
Oriskany, Florida, USA
A little different to the others on this list is the wreckage of The Oriskany, which was deliberately sunk off the coast of Pensacola Florida in 2004 to make the world’s largest artificial reef.
The Oriskany was a 275 metre long ex-US army aircraft carrier that was used during the wars in Vietnam and Korea. The wreckage provide an awesome experience to suit all levels of diving abilities as the ship stands upright from the ocean floor meaning more experienced divers can go deeper while the less experienced/more nervous divers can remain nearer the surface and still be rewarded with an incredible dive.