If you’re fascinated by deep sea artificial reefs, then you have to familiarize yourself with wreck diving. As the name suggests, wreck diving is special form of scuba diving that is basically done to explore shipwrecks sunk in the middle of ocean. The thrill of exploring a large machine like a ship with often a tragic or exciting history and lying untouched for decades or even centuries on the ocean floor is what makes wreck diving so attractive and intriguing.
Wreck diving is divided into three categories: non-penetration diving where you swim around the wreck, limited penetration diving where you penetrate into the wreck but are exploring within ‘light zone’, and full penetration diving where you go beyond the ‘light zone’ into dark sections of the wreck.
Shipwreck diving requires additional training especially if you’re trying to access the inner safe-to-explore parts of the shipwreck such as the bridge. However if you’re going for a non-penetrating dive, i.e. just observing from a distance, then your existing certification would do just fine. Most dive operators still insist that you acquire additional training to maximize your experience with shipwreck diving. Most of the fun lies on full-penetration where you can examine the rustic interiors of the shipwrecks.
Divers love shipwreck diving because of their fascination of the gigantic vessels that were either sunken via warfare or purposely for ecological reasons or for tourist attraction. Shipwrecks usually become home to various species of marine life that thrive on artificial reefs plus the location of the shipwrecks could be situated on nutrient-rich waters where divers can see more fascinating aquatic life such as majestic whales feeding on planktons or the amazing sight of a schooling barracuda having their feeding frenzy. Either way, shipwreck diving offers lots of possibilities either for just swimming around or fully penetrating the wreck.
Shipwreck diving in India
India’s 5000 miles of coastline ensures abundant scuba diving opportunities. Just think about the vastness of the Indian Ocean and the many wars fought over it and there are sites that are not even fully explored yet such as the untouched Pondicherry at the eastern coast. Nonetheless, some of the popular shipwreck sites in India are listed below.
- Bangaram, Lakshadweep’s Princess Royal shipwreck. This remote archipelago not far from India’s southwestern coast and just over Maldives is home to the over 200 year old British battle ship sunken by the French. Lakshadweep is also known amongst shipwreck divers for its clear water visibility. The almost pristine condition of the Princess Royal shipwreck is courtesy of the ship’s copper protected hull. It is now home to a variety of rich marine life with fascinating intact cannons that still command authority albeit in the midst of the schooling bright colored fishes. Divers also explore the scattered pottery around the shipwreck. It may look eerie particularly the large anchor that has succumbed to the deep water’s embrace but it is nonetheless a beautiful shipwreck.
- Vinnie’s Wreck at Havelock, Andamans. This is an interesting discovery of Vinnie thus the shipwreck’s name. It has a depth of 6–18m and it’s relatively a not-so-old shipwreck at 30 years old. It is lying on its side at 10m with everything still intact. It looks eerie but considering its age, it just starts to transform itself to a full-fledged artificial reef. Although the shipwreck appears intact, full-penetration isn’t possible.
There are more uncharted shipwrecks in India but considering the bad water visibility and the harsh conditions of the Indian Ocean, most of the shipwrecks remain undisturbed. Lately, the search for the MH370 resulted to the discovery of an uncharted 19th century cargo shipwreck in the midst of the Indian Ocean. Who knows what else could lie at the bottom of the Indian Ocean?