Wreck Diving Holidays
The above image was taken in Truk Lagoon. Courtesy of Peter Collings. Thank you!
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, Caribbean and the Red Sea. To help your decision, download and read some of Peter Collings' eBooks. Peter is a leading wreck diving expert and will also be accompanying Dive Worldwide's 'Classic Wrecks of Malta' tour.
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.
San Francisco MaruA 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, this spectacular wreck 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
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.
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.
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.
Wreck Diving eBooks by Peter Collings
With over 30 years experience of diving and underwater photography, Peter Collings is regarded as a leading expert on wreck diving. As well as discovering wrecks, Peter also shares his enthusiasm by leading escorted trips all over the world. Peter has teamed up with Dive Worldwide to share his knowledge and experience providing you with an opportunity to visit Malta and its fantastic array of wrecks.
Peter has written several eBooks about a great number of wrecks around the world, many of which can be explored on Dive Worldwide's most popular itineraries. We have put 5 of his eBooks online, which you can download by clicking the image of each eBook. Peter's website can be found at www.deeplens.co.uk.
"Shipwrecks of Malta and Gozo"
The English speaking nations of Malta and Gozo all have their own characteristics and a spectacular variety of dive sites, mainly famed for their wrecks. Many of the wrecks have been sunk as a diving attraction, helping Malta to reinvent itself and compete with the Red Sea. While these wrecks lack a history as such, they do attract marine life and provide the trainee and the photographer with endless diving opportunities. The assortment of wrecks also offers a couple of aircraft as well. Peter Collings' eBook entitled 'Shipwrecks of Malta and Gozo' gives great insight into the history of Malta and Gozo's wrecks, and we at Dive Worldwide are lucky to have him accompanying our 'Classic Wrecks of Malta' trip!
"Pacific Shipwrecks (Coron, Truk and Palau)"
The Pacific Ocean is a fantastic diving region, there's a wealth of exotic marine life and a stunning seascape, populated by coral formations, walls, drop-offs and wrecks galore. Peter Collings' eBook 'Pacific Shipwrecks' summarizes three of the most popular wreck diving regions of Coron, Truk and Palau. During air raids in 1944, 48 Japanese ships and numerous American and Japanese planes were sunk in Palau. These wrecks are scattered all over Palau and whilst most of the ships sank near the Rock Islands there are many still to be discovered. Within Palawan in the Philippines, one of the main diving highlights of this region is the Coron Island for its wrecks. Truk is enclosed by a 225 kilometre barrier reef, covering more than 2,000 square kilometres, and is home to an entire Japanese fleet, sunk in 1944. Frozen in time, complete with skeletons, jeeps and tanks still tied on board with fighter planes still waiting in the hangars, the area has been declared an underwater museum.
"Shipwrecks of the Truk Lagoon"
"The legacy of Truk Lagoon was born out of warfare - from a period of bloody history surpassing all before. Today in stark contrast, an entire fleet, which aided that destruction, lies silently on the bottom of the lagoon. After almost 70 years these vessels remain a museum to that conflict, but have been reborn - brought back to life by Mother Nature. The wrecks are all very well documented and this publication is a mere introduction to the wrecks and is intended as an introduction for those thinking of visiting Truk. It goes without saying that this location is regarded by most experts as the best wreck diving in the world." - Extract from 'Shipwrecks of the Truk Lagoon', by Peter Collings.
"Shipwrecks of the Maldives"
War seems to have passed these idyllic islands by, and to date there are only a few war time casualties listed in the Maldives. Many local wooden trading vessels are known to have been lost, a few cargo ships and numerous fishing vessels have been located over the years. The diving industry too has been responsible for numerous vessels sunk as tourist attractions. The sheer length of coastline formed by these islands atolls and reefs, must hide the remains of many doomed vessels, the most romantic and intriguing of all dating back to 1400. Many wrecks in these waters were purposely sunk, and while they don't have colourful history, they lend themselves to great photo opportunities and animal encounters. Read Peter Collings' 'Shipwrecks of the Maldives' to find out more about this glorious destination and for an insight into what you can discover whilst wreck diving in the Maldives.
The Thistlegorm seemed an intriguing and yet somewhat unknown wreck when Peter Collings began compiling notes in 1995. Tracking down plans, documents and historical background was a good start but despite this, key elements were still missing about this wreck, including details of her final journey and information about her cargo. With 10 years of logging dives and exploring the surround area in the Red Sea, 'Thistlegorm Revealed' brings you an extensive insight into this illustrious wreck. With Dive Worldwide, you explore the wreck of the Thistlegorm onboard the M/Y Diamond Seacilia, a liveaboard cruising around Egypt and the Red Sea.
"Egypt's Southern Wrecks"
"There are no wrecks in the south" has long been the cry of those less versed in such matters. Despite publishing discoveries in this remote area since 1996, few are aware of the selection of wrecks that you can read about in this informative guide: 'Egypt's Southern Wrecks'.