H.M.S Hermes - Expedition V - (www.DiveSriLanka.com)
By Dharshana Jayawardena.

June 19-22 2009
Depth: 53 Meters. (Technical Decompression Dive)

The Hermes burns after taking 40 direct hits - April 9th 1942

As far as the eye could see on that day of brilliant visibility

And then we beheld an wondrous sight only a very few would have ever witnessed.

On our descent, at a depth of 15 meters, we could see the entire hull of the H.M.S Hermes from end to end in an amazingly panoramic view. Not even her gallant crew, who once served during the days she reigned, could have ever laid their eyes on their ship as we did now; surely nor even her makers! For today we were seeing the Hermes like no other had ever seen before. From here it looked like a massive yet sleek submarine and we would have been fooled had we not known better.

The water was pristine blue and gin clear. There was only a slight bow bound current. The conditions were in stark contrast to yesterdays murky & gloomy conditions. On the hull two huge shoals of Mangrove Snappers and Blue Striped Snappers entwined each other creating a vibrant fabric of multicolor against a dark blue canvass of a limitless ocean. A few game fish swam over us while large cods of various type sinuously wound their way through the thick outcrop of vast and mystical black coral fields.

We slowly drifted towards the bow, an area we had not fully focused our attention before. As we passed amidships, the Black Coral grew more prolific and formed a dense forest over the underside of the bow which amazingly appeared completely flat; creating the illusion that the ship lay upright. While the final resting posture of the bow does befuddle, especially a mind afflicted with slight narcosis, this surely has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

We leave the bow and make our way to the remains of the island superstructure It is here that one realizes the massive damage the Hermes had been inflicted with; perhaps during the bombing or perhaps during its cataclysmic collision with a sea bed fathoms below. Here, among the vast debris field, lie a profusion of massive and iconic artifacts such as the signature top of the superstructure, four Inch Anti Air Craft Guns, and further north, the lower deck Bofor guns and the massive boat decks.

Diving the Hermes is an amazing experience one cannot get enough of. Indeed it is an addictive venture. Many who swear to dive the Hermes for only once miserably and shamelessly fail to honor their pledge. This is an easily forgiven sin. Words cannot describe the awe and wonder a diver feels at the Hermes and the relentless urge to savor it again; especially on a day like this.

For today the sea had given us a gift and we had lived it to the fullest.

Other expeditions to the Hermes

Top most part of the fallen superstructure

Top of the tower.

One of the lower deck guns.

Base of the gun.

The stern of the ship

Swarms of fish behind the only visible propeller

The conical base of the propeller

Stern side view of the propeller

A Gun, presumably an Anti Air Craft Gun that was on deck

Vast amount of debris - the result of bomb damage.

Massive entrances to the lower decks

The incredible bow of the Hermes

In these forests of Black Coral, large groupers live and hide

The Black Coral is more prolific on the bow side


A giant Marble Ray rests at 53M near the stern

Solitary Black Coral on the hull of the ship

Life, within the debris of the Hermes

At 6M additional EAN40 Deco Gas awaits us.

The beautiful lagoon at sunset

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