Wreck diving allows divers to delve back in history, uncovering a past engulfed by the oceans. To many, it is this history that proves so alluring. For others, it is their role as vibrant artificial reefs. Our trips visit the world's finest wreck diving destinations.
Why our wreck diving holidays are so successful
Best wreck diving destinations
Shipwrecks dot our ocean and many lie within diveable depths. Truk Lagoon is considered a wreck diving destination almost without equal. Also in the South Pacific, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and New Zealand have exceptional wreck diving.
Truk Lagoon Wrecks
One of the world's largest lagoons, Truk is enlosed by a 225 kilometre barrier reef, covers more than 2,000 square kilometres and is home to an entire Japanese fleet, sunk in 1944. Frozen in time, complete with sake cups and skeletons, jeeps and tanks still tied on board and fighter planes still waiting in the hangars, the area is an underwater museum. Nowhere else in the world are there so many wrecks in close proximity situated in shallow water, many visible by snorkelling.
A must for experienced divers, the 117 metre long wreck of the San Francisco Maru lies at around 65 metre on a white sand seabed. Sunk by a bomb, this ship went down upright and fully loaded, hence its nickname; 'the Million Dollar Wreck'. A veritable museum of warfare, the ship and her contents are exceptionally well preserved. The hold contains detonators, mines and torpedoes while trucks and tanks sit on the deck, creating sinister photo opportunities.
Wrecks in the Caribbean
The Caribbean offers plenty of interesting wrecks to explore. Many of these have been scuttled to create artificial reefs, some have met their untimely demise with unfortunate accidents whilst others have even been sunk to create film sets.
Most recently scuttled is the submarine rescue ship, the Kittiwake, in January 2011 at the north end of Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman. In 1961, the Bianca C caught fire after an explosion in the engine room in Grenada. One of the largest shipwrecks in the Caribbean, this passenger ship is often referred to as the Titanic of the Caribbean. Lying between two reefs in the area of Angel City, the Hilma Hooker cargo ship was seized in the 1980s with a huge haul of smuggled marijuana in Bonaire.
There are seven wrecks to explore in nearby Aruba including an Air Aruba plane deliberately sunk in 2004 to create a reef. With the cockpit still intact and the wreck lying in 12m of water, this is enjoyed by divers of all abilities. The Bahamas are well know for their James Bond wrecks , the Tears of Allah and Vulcan Bomber, key sets in Never Say Never Again and Thunderball respectively.
Wrecks in Malta
The warm clear waters makes this an excellent place for a wreck diving trip. Malta is famed for its variety of wrecks at different depths including bombers, fighter planes, submarines and ships. For those looking to further their diving knowledge and skills, we recommend completing your PADI Deep Diver and Wreck Diver courses during your stay to ensure you maximise your wreck diving opportunities.
A light World War II bomber, the Bristol Blenheim is a spectacular wreck and can be found in the waters of Xorb il-Ghagin. The engines and wings are intact, but the fore-section of the fuselage has been smashed off and lies several metres in front of the main part of the wreckage. This is a non-stop dive to a depth of 40 metres which requires careful planning. The wreck is host to an array of interesting marine life.
Sangat Island & Coron Bay, Philippines
Sangat in the Philippines is a small limestone tropical island located on the northern boundary of Coron Bay and a close neighbour of Busuanga and Apo Islands, all boasting pristine natural beauty and mystic appeal. After sustained attacks by US carrier-based aircraft in the summer of 1944, the Japanese relocated the remainder of their fleet from Manila Bay to the secluded and sleepy waters of Coron Bay. This 16 hour journey was detected by US naval forces and a plan was set into motion to execute a surprise aerial attack to sink the remnants of the fleet.
On the morning of 24 Sep 1944, 96 U.S Hellcat fighters and 24 Helldive bombers flew for three hours to reach their target of the 11 remaining large Japanese war and supply ships at anchor. Heavily protected by anti-aircraft armament, the Irako Maru responded to her attackers with ferocity but was eventually overcome and sunk at the mouth of Coron Bay. She sits almost upright in 45 metres and at 147 metres long, makes for a number of spectacular dives to explore her entirety. The remaining ships succumbed to a similar fate in quick succession, apart from the Kamoi which was reportedly later seen in port in Hong Kong.
Today, the most popular and historically interesting dive locations around Sangat are these ten wreck sites, making for an exciting wreck diving holiday for divers of all abilities.