Six Shipwrecks to Explore for a Dive into History

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From Sudan to the Maldives to the Philippines, divers in search of inspiration can load up on ideas for their next underwater adventures, such as exploring shipwrecks all around the world.  Here’s a look at some of the historical relics divers can discover.

Scapa Flow – Scotland

The Orkney Islands are an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, where 74 ships from the German Navy’s fleet were detained at the end of the First World War as they waited to learn what fate Allied forces decided for their future.  However, the fleet’s Rear Admiral decided to scuttle the ships to prevent them falling into the hands of the British Navy in 1919.  The body of water known as Scapa Flow is one of the world’s largest shipwreck graveyards.

USAT Liberty – Bali, Indonesia

Bali is one of the world’s best-known diving destinations with welcoming waters for underwater explorers and a wealth of diving schools offering PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification courses.  It’s also a great place for less experienced divers to try shipwreck exploration, as the seabed off the north-east of the island is the final resting place of USAT Liberty.  Located just 25 meters from the shore, this US Army cargo ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine during the Second World War.  It was intentionally beached at Tulamben after sustaining damage, but lava flow from the Mount Agung volcano pushed the wreck back into the sea in 1963.

SS Thistlegorm – Egypt

The wreck of this British Merchant Navy ship, carrying military equipment to troops during the Second World War, is a must-dive in the Suez Canal.  Situated 30 meters underwater, the 126-meter long cargo ship remains almost entirely intact.  It sunk after being bombed by the German air force in 1941, with the explosion of munitions in its holds ultimately sealing its fate. Divers exploring the wreck will see cargo such as a locomotive, an anti-aircraft gun, trucks, motorcycles and more.  At least two dives are required to fully explore the wreckage.

Pearl Harbor Shipwrecks – Hawaii

The consequences of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, an important US naval base during the Second World War, have created a hotspot for divers looking to explore history first hand.  The wrecks from this major event in world history aren’t easily accessible.  However, the site is home to other war relics, such as the YO-257, a US Navy Yard Oiler that was scuttled off Hawaii to create an artificial reef.

Chuuk Lagoon – Micronesia

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Micronesia is home to a huge underwater graveyard of Japanese shipwrecks from the country’s large WW2 naval base in the region.  The US Army attacked the fleet in 1944.  Today, divers can explore several Japanese shipwrecks around the islands of Dublon, Eten, Fefan and Uman.  Highlights include the Fujikawa Maru, which is covered in coral, and the Shinkoku Maru, where a sick bay and operating table are visible. Divers can also spot a submarine which, rather than being bombed, sunk when the crew forgot to close the hatches.

Umbria – Sudan

At Port Sudan in the Red Sea, the Umbria is considered one of the most stunning shipwrecks for divers, made famous by filmmaker Hans Haas and French naval officer and explorer Jacques Cousteau.  The 153-meter long Italian vessel remains intact and can even be explored inside.  Divers will easily identify the propeller of the ship, which was scuttled by its crew after being detained by British officers in 1940.  The Umbria was, in fact, secretly carrying a shipment of bombs.

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Source: CNN News18

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