Wreck diving holidays

Combine the eerie stillness of a sunken shipwreck with the teeming life of a coral reef. The lure of exploring sunken vessels, aeroplanes and automobiles is something most divers can't resist.

There is nothing like seeing a wreck appearing from the depth as you descend the line. Underwater wrecks soon become encrusted with life to become veritable wonders of hard and soft corals and a safe haven for thousands of species.

Wreck diving offers dramatic photographic possibilities and concentrations of marine life like no other dive sites on earth. The wrecks featured on this page are only a select few - there are many wrecks old and new throughout the world so please do call us if there is any one that you are particularly interested in seeing. Regions such as Micronesia, the Caribbean and Pacific have so many wrecks on offer that they alone could be the focus of an entire holiday.

Wreck diving is specialist, but is nonetheless accessible to divers of all abilities. Wrecks are a key attraction at dive sites worldwide, and while certain do require advance levels of experience and even a specific qualification (with your preferred diving agency), others are available from the shore and can be enjoyed by beginners.

Below you will find details of some of the wrecks you can see on our wreck diving holidays, and where to see them. These include Truk Lagoon, Malta, Philippines, New Zealand and the Caribbean.

Truk Lagoon Wrecks
One of the world's largest lagoons, Truk is enlosed by a 225km barrier reef, covers more than 2000 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 visable by snorkelling.

A must for experienced divers, the 117m long wreck of the San Francisco Maru lies at around 65m 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 Malta
The warm clear waters makes this an excellent place for wreck diving. Malta is famed for its variety of wrecks at different depths including bombers, figher 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 foresection 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 42 metres which requires careful planning. The wreck is host to an array of interesting marine life.

Sangat Island and 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 16hr journey was detected by US naval forces and a plan was set in to 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 fighers 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 45m and at 147m long, makes for a number of spectacular dives to explore her entirety. The remaining ships succumbed in quick succession to a similar fate, 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, some of which can be explored by divers of all abilities which makes for an exciting wreck diving holiday for divers of all abilities.

New Zealand Wrecks
Divers explore the Mikhael Lermontov.New Zealand is home to a number of interesting wrecks for both recreational and technical divers and is one of most popular wreck diving holidays. The most famous of these is the Rainbow Warrior. Once the flagship of Greenpeace, this vessel was controversially bombed in Auckland Harbour. An eight foot hole ripped through the engine room and on further investigation she was reluctantly scuttled and moved to the Cavali Islands. Since 1985, the vessel has matured into and ever-growing host of colourful marine life and is an excellent shallow dive suitable for open water divers.

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 Jan 2011 at the north end of Seven Mile Beach of Grand Cayman. In 1961, the Bianca C caught fire after an explosion in the engine room in Grenada. One of the largest shiprwrecks 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.

There are plenty of other spectacular wrecks to explore on our New Zealand self-drive itineraries. These include the twin wrecks of HMNZS Waikato and Tui and HMNZS Canterbury, all scuttled to create artifical reefs, as well as the Mikhael Lermontov (Red Giant) a colossal wreck of a cruise liner which was sunk under mysterious circumstances in the Marlborough Sounds in 1986.

If you are an avid wreck diver, contact us today to discuss your next trip.

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