H.M.S. Hermes - To build a ship - (www.DiveSriLanka.com)

By Dharshana Jayawardena using Google Sketchup

The Hermes sails proudly during her hay day

More than half a century later - reincarnated as a virtual ship

They say that all things are created twice. Once in the mind of the creator. Second in the physical reality of time & space. However, all great things, I say, are created thrice.

Long after the demise of their second creation, great things are venerated and cherished for ever.

The H.M.S Hermes has undisputed greatness. The first purpose built air craft carrier in the world now lies 53 meters below sea level transformed into one of the greatest & challenging dive sites in the world. As such, its greatness in lfe as well as afterlife deserved recreation; at least in the virtual world of electrons and cyberspace.

The Hermes Project GSHD95 started soon after Expedition III in June 2008. In my attempts to make sense of the jumbled mass of destruction perceived through the haze of narcosis; an idea was born. An idea that consumed dozens of weekends and required painstaking study of historical photographs and current wreckage footage.

The challenge was immense. The old black & white photographs were vague, blurred, unclear or taken too far away to discern important detail. The current wreck footage was no better too. Damage during the Japanese attack in 1942 and over sixty years of immersion in tropical sea water had taken its toll. Only very distinct features such as the propeller, the very top of the island superstructure and the Bofor guns could be recognized. However, undaunted,I attempted to recreate square meter by square meter of the ships vast real estate back to virtual life. Lacking complete information some areas were built through nothing but intuition and imagination. Some areas were left incomplete such as the details of the smaller anti-aircraft guns. The aircraft displayed is a Sopwith Camel Pup, not the type of aircraft Hermes actually carried.

Finally I have some semblance of the great air craft carrier restored in its three dimensional form. Here is a historical snapshot and its virtual counterpart side by side in an comparison never made before.

In the seas of cyberspace, the HMS Hermes sales again!

The island superstructure and perhaps a Fairy Flycatcher.

The island superstructure, yet to be perfected. The plane is a Camel

The Port Quarter

What exactly is under the flight deck is yet unclear

Aft view right from dead center

The only place we know the lettering "HERMES" to be.

One of the best available pictures of the Hermes

Sometimes, challenges in Google Sketchup impede us from accurately representing detail, at least for the moment.

Hermes from the starboard side.

These two pictures show the netting on the deck. A aircraft stopper?

Port side view of the island superstructure

This side was created based on the photograph left

The starboard side view of the superstructure

Again details here were constructed based on the photo on the left


Hermes under repairs after heavy damage

The picture in the left in 3D.
The project is still in progress

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