Best Wrecks for Recreational Scuba Diving

Best Wrecks for Recreational Scuba Diving
Wrecks are a natural magnet for scuba diving. Beyond the spooky allure of visiting a sunken ship, underwater wrecks are also magnets for all kinds of sea life. While going inside a wreck is hazardous and should only be attempted by those with specialized training, visiting the outside is still a rewarding adventure. Best of all, many of the best wrecks around the world lay in waters that can be at least partly accessed by Open Water (60 feet or less) or Advanced Open Water (140 feet or less) divers.

SS Thistlegorm (Red Sea)

This 419-foot freighter was sunk by German bombers during the World War II. The ship came to rest on its keel and sits at about 100 feet of water, with much of the upper superstructure in a mere 50 feet of water. Its hold is full of British war material, such as trucks, motorcycles and railway equipment. Despite being almost blown out of the water, the ship and its cargo are still intact and identifiable. Combined with the clear waters of the Red Sea, that makes the Thistlegorm a visually striking wreck, and it is one of the most popular dive sites out of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

HMS Endymion (Caribbean)

The Endymion is one of the most visually interesting wrecks to be found anywhere in the world. The first of four warships in the Royal Navy to bear the name, HMS Endymion was a 44-gun frigate launched in 1779. In 1790, she ran afoul of a reef off the Turks and Caicos Islands. Nothing remains of the wooden vessel, of course, but her guns, ballast stones and anchors litter the reef and in under 40 feet of water.

USS Oriskany (Florida)

The aircraft carrier Oriskany was sunk off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, in 2006, as part of the artificial reef program. Her size makes her the largest ship ever to be deliberately sunk as part of such a program, and great care was taken to ensure that she would settle on her keel and create a dive-friendly wreck. The top of the carrier's island (command tower) is at 70 feet, while the flight deck lay at 130 feet. That places most of the top half of the ship at the outer range of what is possible for recreational diving. The bottom is at 212 feet, so investigating the hull is squarely within the realm of technical diving.

The Blackjack (Papua New Guinea)

A different kind of wreck dive is going down to see a downed aircraft. The Blackjack was a B-17 damaged by Japanese fire and ditched around Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea, in 1943. This dive pushes hard on the limits of recreational diving, since the bomber sits in 145 feet of water. It is worth the challenge and limited bottom time, however. The forward cupola is missing, but otherwise the plane is intact and suffers from minimal encrustation. Visibility in these South Pacific waters is usually so high that the entire plane is visible from all points around it, making it a fantastic subject for underwater photography.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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