For many UK divers visiting an old historic wreck can be the highlight of their diving holiday, as each wreck comes with its own story and can be decades or even centuries old. Wreck diving destinations like the Red Sea have so many wrecks to see that even after spending an entire week diving there is still more to see.
A journey through any dedicated wreck divers log book will reveal a surreal world of tales in adventure, companionship, trust and ambition. Stories of hidden treasure amongst the bones of an old ship conjure imaginations wild, exploring shipwrecks is a pastime that captures many into a lifetime. Although most wreck dive sites are at shipwrecks, there is an increasing trend to scuttle retired ships to create artificial reef sites. Either way underwater wrecks make incredibly interesting dives and a talking point at your next club meeting.
Why wreck diving ?
A shipwreck is attractive to divers for several reasons. It presents new skill challenges for scuba divers and a chance to improve their diving skills. Wrecks often have an exciting or tragic story and getting close to these underwater treasures provides a first-hand insight into context for the loss, such as causal connections, geographical associations, trade patterns and many other areas, providing a microcosm of our maritime heritage and maritime history. Any diver that is serious about adventure (and who isn't!) has a wreck story or two to tell and can probably list many more reasons why it is they love returning to these iconic dive sites.
The World's Best Wrecks
Every diver has their own opinion, but here at Scuba Travel after many arguements these are our top 5 wrecks to see ...
- Thistlegorm, Sharm El Sheikh
The Thistlegorm is a British ship sunk in the Gulf of Suez in 1941 while transporting supplies to the British army stationed at Alexandria. Full of history and with several different routes to follow this Red Sea wreck is our all time favourite.
- Umbria, Sudan
The Umbria is an Italian cargo ship sunk in 1940. Lying at a shallow depth of 5-35metres, the Umbria provides perhaps the perfect wreck dive. She is small enough so divers can cover the basics in one dive, yet large enough to not leave them bored, so they still want to come back. Watch out for Fiat cars, wine bottles, lifeboats and munitions. Those trained in wreck penetration can reach the engine room and bakery.
- Liberty Wreck, Bali
Just 30 metres from shore lies the broken 120 metre long wreckage of this World War II cargo ship. Torpedoed by a Japanese submarine out in the Lombok Strait, 11 January 1942, the Liberty limped back to shore but was unable to quite make port and ended up at the beach at Tulamben. The wreck now lies parallel to shore on its side, with its deck facing furthest from shore. With an easy entry from the beach , full of colour and life this is a reefie's wreck dive !
- Truk Lagoon, Micronesia
The remains of more than 60 Japanese ships and planes attacked by the US in 1944 lie at the bottom of the Truk Lagoon. One of the best is the Fujikawa Maru, a 132-metre long freighter lying at a shallow depth, the top of the wreck is at 9 metres, the bottom at 34 metres, putting it within reach of all recreational divers. Colourful corals grow all over its decks, and fossilised sake bottles can even still be found! The engine room is fascinating, but only suitable for those with the right training.
- Hermes, Sri Lanka
- Sangat, Philippines
The sheltered waters of Coron Bay in the Philippines are the final resting place for some 11 Japanese Imperial Navy vessels sunk by a US task force on 24th September 1944. These fascinating pieces of war-time history include Japanese gun boats and sub chasers, cargo and supply vessels, a sea plane tender and more. Lying in 30-40 meters in close proximity to Sangat resort, these wrecks provide excellent penetration dives and a chance to explore the untouched interiors of these unique time capsules.
- Blenheim Bomber, Malta
The bomber is one of those rare wrecks that everyone must see if they get the chance, this is a deep dive so you should really have training in deep diving before doing the dive. The fuselage is detached and lies upside down to the front. Altogether this allows divers to explore and inspect the entire wreckage without getting out of site from there buddies.
If your planning a wreck diving holiday and are looking for some advice then please don't hesitate to contact us, our experienced diving holiday experts have first hand experience of some of the worlds best wreck dives and would be happy to share their knowledge with you.
Then there are numerous wrecks in Sri Lanka, the most evocative and important being the aircraft carrier Hermes. Sunk by the Japanese Airforce in 1942, she now sits upside down in 53 meters, decks and superstructure in the 30-40 meter range. Add to this the remote Great and Little Basses, two remote rocky reefs with historic wreckage, and the abundant scenic diving in the Trincomalee area, this is truly a unique and rewarding diving area waiting to be discoveredread more here
Get Wrecked is certain to satisfy any diver interested in wreck diving. With so many wrecks here in the UK, we are a tough bunch of divers to please. Yet the astounding quality and scope of wrecks in the Northern Red Sea will not leave you disappointed. Shipping down through Suez, the narrow slip of sea that separates Hurgada ...read more here
The Brothers Wreck Special takes wreck diving in the Northern Red Sea further. Wide ranging, this itinerary mixes up northern and southern destinations. Each iconic wreck follows another, the Thistlegorm one day, Numidia the next. What more could any diver want? The Brothers Wreck Special...read more here
The Escorted Get Wrecked tour gives you the chance to pick the brains of an expert. This is the itinerary for those divers that want to know more about the wrecks they are visiting. Each wreck dived bristles with the history and stories that brought it to the Northern Red Sea. Throughout the ages, this region has been vital ...read more here
Wreck Photography is something special and with Get Wrecked Photography you are in the hands of the experts. No matter if you are interested in the tiny details of the wreck or just love the large scale, have a compact camera or SLR, wreck photography can be extremely rewarding and create a real wow factor ...read more here
Few scuba divers realise that Truk is not the only place you can dive with Japanese war wrecks... Sangat, located in the Philippines has plenty of coral smothered wrecks to dive, far from the crowds of other divers. This is a diving holiday like no other.read more here
Technical diving and wreck diving often go hand in hand and fit so perfectly that Scuba Travel have created a special liveaboard itinerary - Tech Wreck. Indulge your love of the deep and a passion for the wrecks under the Egyptian Red Sea in one awesome week. There are scores of wrecks in the Northern Red Sea ...read more here
Truk Lagoon is a magical place but hard to pinpoint on a map. Hidden away in the Pacific Truk was catapulted into dive legend by Jacques Cousteau, who was the first to show the world the incredible wreck diving that could be found here. Today Truk continues to attract divers from all over the globe looking ...read more here
Mike borrowed the club camera within a few months of learning to dive and shortly afterwards bought his own outfit. These days he very seldom enters the water without a camera and has made the transition to digital. As well as talking about the wrecks he’s happy to help underwater photographers with their...read more here