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Year 2012 Report
Looking back at a year of discoveries

Idintification of the SS Worcestershire (1917) off Colombo

The Passikuda Wreck graveyard includes the Gladys Moller SS (1942)


15/12/2012: To simply sum up a great year of diving in Sri Lanka. Some ships we knew before got names as a result of our research and new wrecks opened up for diving as a result of easing security around the city of Colombo.

February - A new ship is added to the wrecks of Colombo. What we believe is to be the Delhi Coal is located near the City.

March - A ship we were diving north of Batticaloa (Vakarai) is identified as the Lady McCullum SS (1926)

April - A car carrier that sank in the 80's is now open for recreational diving. We later identify this as the "Chief Dragon"

May - As a result of many Technical Dives to the 57m ship known as B2633 and research we declare it as the long lost SS Worcetershire that was sunk by the German mine layer Wolf in 1917.

August - After two years of floating in limbo off Colombo the Thermopylae Sierra (IMO 8313075) sinks. Sadly the depth is not enough to make it a wreck dive given that a significant portion is sticking out of the water and there is talk of salvage early 2013. We also explore new areas in Trincomalee including the Diomede and Foul Point. In Passikudah we dive a veritable "Graveyard of ships" ; possibly four ship wrecks or more in a small area which includes the Gladys Moller.

September - After extensive research we declare the beloved Colombo Cargo Wreck - one of the most popular wreck dives in Sri Lanka as the French Pecheur Breton.

October - November : We look for new reefs off Colombo and discover Serendib North Ridges and Snapper Alley Adams Peak and Sea Fan garden

If the world does not end on the 22nd -we wish you happy holidays and great diving in 2013! If it can only be good as 2012 it will be a good year!

Sub Aqua Club Christmas Party & a celebration of survival - Alls well that ends well!

08/12/12: The Sri Lanka Sub Aqua Club Christmas Party rocks the beach!

The four brave survivors of a 24 hour drifting ordeal!
08/12/12: The Sri Lanka Sub Aqua Club, the largest and only club of its kind in Sri Lanka gathered last saturday for a rocking party. One of the key events of the party was the celebrating of four brave divers who survived a 24 hour drifting ordeal off the seas of Colombo. The divers spent almost a day and overnight in the sea drifting after a strong current made them surface far from the boat. A massive search operation launched later which involved the Airforce, Navy and the fishing community in the area changed an potentially serious outcome to a tale of courage, endurance and survival. Here the four divers are seen celebrating their ordeal at the Sub Aqua Club Christmas Party in style.
November Report - Expeditions to Snapper Alley and Taprobane
Two new sites off Snapper Alley
Snapper Alley Snapper Alley
Oct 2012/Colombo - We scan several extents of the reef and find two new interesting dive sites. One is the Adams Peak. Symbolically called that because of a rock in the site that resembles Sri Lanka's most famous mountain, the supposedly sacred Adams Peak. Well, now we have a copy of our own underwater. About a kilometer away is the Fan Garden. By the rocky terrace of rocks lie patches of sea fans. We were lucky to photograph a sea snake hunting among the fans. Snapper Alley is a series of great dive sites and never disappoints.
October Report - Wests Coast Season begins!
Medhufaru - hull collapse!  
Medhufaru Colombo
A diver over the front loader that has now toppled on its side
Medhufaru Colombo
The ever magnificient bow and stern remains the same
27/10/2012 (Colombo) - Exploring the Maldivian Medhufaru that sank in 2009 off Colombo, we notice partial collapse of the hull after the monsoons. One of the cranes have toppled cracking part of the hull and collapsing the deck. This confirms the bad state the Medhufaru was in when it sank in 2009. The highly popular front loader can still be seen but lying on its side.
New sites off Serendib Reef in Colombo!
Serendib Reef Colombo Serendib Reef Colombo
06/10/2012-28/10/2012 (Colombo): We conduct five exploratory dives in various locations hitherto undived around the Serendib Reef after finding possibly interesting sites through sonar scanning and intelligent guesswork. We are elated to find a unique area with a sloping ridge. The depth changes from 25M to 35M in a few meters with a perceptible slope. The ridge area is prolific with fish life and full of Surgeonfish, small Groupers, Moray Eel, Stingrays and other reef fish. We also explore the deeper areas of the south side and find a pleasant gently sloping patch with small sea fans. Await more information from our next few photographic expeditions.
September Report - Exploring the East Coast.
The amazing graveyard of ships in Pasikudah
grave yard of ships Grave yard of ships

27/08/2012 (Passikudah): Imagine three of four or possibly more ship wrecks within a space of 1 square Kilometer.

Well it needs no imagination. You can see for yourself at the Pasikudah Graveyard of Ships!

Here the high rocks of the shallow ocean seem to have taken its toll on many a unsuspecting ship from an bygone era. At all sites, it seems to be the same story repeated all over again and again. Fragments of fractured hull/bridge, boilers of triple expansion steam engines, crank shafts, propellars, rudders and massive anchors strewn all over the rocky ocean bed, like the dried up skeletal remains at a feeding site of a large carnivore from the Jurassic era.

One of these ships, we suspect is the Gladys Moller SS. The others we do not know. Perhaps we will never know. It doesn't matter, for here in the graveyard of shipwrecks at Passikudah, a Wreck Diver achieves bliss.

Grave yard of ships Grave yard of ships
August Report - Ship happens now and then...
Then! - The beloved Colombo Cargo Wreck is now the Pecheur Bretton!
Pecheur Breton - Colombo Cargo Wreck   Pecheur Breton - Colombo Cargo Wreck

01/09/2012: Based on last known location, length of ship, matching features, we have now ascertained that the Colombo Cargo Wreck is the Pecheur Breton (Breton Fisherman) which sailed under the Honduran flag. It sank off Colombo on 1st of July 1994 after springing a leak enroute to the Seychelles with a cargo of scrap. Fans of the "colombo cargo wreck" (as it was known for a long time) are now delighted that their favorite ship wreck has a name!

Now! - Thermopylae Sierra

01/09/2012: It is now confirmed that the T Sierra is resting at the bottom of the sea. But sadly about 6 meters of bridge and crane are jutting out of the ocean. Reports say that the ship will be salvaged out of the water early January next year as it poses a threat to maritime shipping. Some oil was reported flowing into international waters but no repots of damage or harm to marine life in and around the coast of Sri Lanka has been reported. This is to be expected given the amount of oil in the ship was small.

H.M.S Diomede - Trincomalee
24/08/2012 (Trincomalee): We attempt to dive the newly discovered HMS Diomede. However choppy seas because of strong winds prevent us from diving the exact location. We manage to explore some cannons and two anchors of the Diomede. The wreck was surveyed by the Maritime Archaeology Unit Central Cultural Fund lead by Rasika Muthucumarana in August. The Diomede which was laid down in 1780 sank on the 2nd of August 1795 in Trincomalee. For more information please visit the Maritime Archaeology Unit site
Not so foul diving at Foul Point, Trincomalee

Easy diving at the scattered coral reef at Foul Point East

Foul Point East - Bommies, Tubestrea Coral and reef fish
26/08/2012 - In choppy seas affected by wind from in land, we set off to dive the famous Foul Point lighthouse area in front of the Trincomalee Harbor, one of the biggest natural harbors in the world. At Foul Point North we encounter Moray Eels, fascinating collection of Nudi Branchs and other reef fish among a rocky boulder reef. At Foul Point East fringing coral reef; in the shallows of 6 meters, we see boulder coral, bommies and reef fish such as schooling bump head parrotfish.
Now! - the demise of Thermopylae Sierra

23/08/2012 (Colombo): Embroiled in a long legal battle, the merchant vessel Thermopylae Sierra (IMO 8313075) literally floated in limbo for three long years in various locations around Sri Lanka. Purportedly the ship was in bad shape and poorly maintained leading to its long awaited demise.

And that happened today. These are the last pictures (captured at 0800 HRS) of the ship above the water just before it sank and water rose over the deck line. At 1700 HRS today significant parts of the ships cranes and bridge was still above the water line. It is not yet clear if it had reached rock bottom or still floating while sinking. Around 1730 large pieces of metal debris were seen off shore Bambalapitiya.

The ship carried a vast amounts of furnace oil. Significant portion of it has been supposedly removed yet some of it still remain. The DiveSriLanka team noticed leaking oil around the ship yet it cannot be confirmed that this is the furnace oil cargo or oil fueling the ship or running the engine. The amount was oil was insignificant at the time of reporting and is thought to be consistent with oil seepage amounts of a typical ship being wrecked. However what happens in the next few days is yet to be seen.

Environmentalists and nature lovers are hoping and praying that this disaster will not cause a significant oil spill and endanger marine life and the coral reefs nearby. Some good may hopefully come out of this, IF the ship is left as is, it may turn out to be excellent coral reefs such as other ship wrecks off colombo and great value to dive tourism and fisheries. Several fishermen also stated that there was significant fish life under the ship before it sank.

Let us hope for the best and we will keep you posted.

July Report - World War II
What really happened to the British Sergeant?
British Sergeant British Sergeant

This is the story of Eric Pointon, who served on board the British Sergeant, as told by his son David Pointon to the BBC. It clearly outlines an eye witness account of the sinking and corroborates the current state of the wreck which lies in two pieces about 5-8 meters apart.

" Six Japanese bombers attacked the 'British Sergeant', the first bomb of which tore open the side of the ship causing it to list 35 degrees. The bomb from the second plane hit the deck on the starboard side and the foremast; bombs from the third and fourth planes penetrated the deck, breaking the back of the ship. Although the attack lasted only 90 seconds, throughout it the ship's guns continued to fire, and succeeded in bringing down 2 of the Japanese planes. "

Read more here at the BBC site from which the above paragraph was reproduced.

June Report - Exploring Vakarai, East Coast
Introducing the Gladys Moller SS (1942)
Gladys Moller SS Gladys Moller SS
We conduct three dives in the amazing and yet untouched Vakarai region. After diving the British Sergeant we go off to dive a new reck just found off Pasikudah. Later we find that Gladys Moller SS had flounderd off the shallow bakers rocks. Could this be it? A great dive for begineers the ship is scattered over a large area and a great fun dive. Click here for more details and pictures.
May Report - The east coast season begins!
Trincomalee, Vakarai, Batticaloa
British Sergeant
The British Sergeant and the->
H.M.S Hermes
H.M.S Hermes are two famous world war II wrecks in the east
On April 9th 1942, the Japanese attack on Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) sank a multitude of ships in the East Coast. Most famous of them are the worlds first purpose built air craft carrier H.M.S Hermes and the merchant ship British Sergeant. Dive these wrecks and many other wrecks and reefs in Trincomalee, Vakarai and Batticaloa. The East Coast Season is now on!
Announcing the World War I Wreck SS Worcestershire

Archived image of the SS Worcestershire

The stern of the ship
01/05/2011: After measuring the beam of the shipwreck known as B2633 we finally confirm that this is indeed the long lost SS Worcestershire sunk by the German mine layer Wolf in 1917! See the press release on the confirmation of the identity of the ship based on measurements and last known location.
April Report - The evening of the West Coast Season
Dive the magnificent Colombo Car Wreck
Colombo Car Wreck
The bow of the massive Colombo Car Wreck
Colombo Car Wreck
Prolific fish life and parts of cars still to be seen today
20/03/2012: The Colombo Car Wreck has always been in the vernacular of the Sri Lanka dive community. When it sank in the 1980's a few pioneer divers at the time dived it. Then the war broke out. The close proximity to the city and the Colombo Harbor meant that the ship was off bounds for recreational diving. With the war over; and after 25 years of isolation; the Car Wreck is the "in-wreck" again. Click here for more information and our initial report on the wreck.
March Report - In search of SS Worcestershire and Perseus
Announcing the Lady McCullum in the East Coast!!!
Lady McCullum SS Lady McCullum SS

18/03/2012: What we had hitherto called Allison & McLeelan based on some inscriptions on a ship part is now known to be the Lady McCullum SS!

Based on historical records, last known location, size of the ship we have now ascertained this to be the Lady McCullum SS which ran aground in 1926 en route to Trincomalee from Kalkudah. This is a British transport (passenger/cargo ship) with steam propulsion built in 1908 and belonged to the Ceylon Steamship Co at the time of the sinking.

New information on the British Sergeant!
British Sergeant
New information on the last known location now removes any doubts that the large ship wreck off vakarai is the British Sergeant!
British Sergeant
The railings near the bow

18/03/2012: Last year we mounted several expeditions to the formerly war torn Vakarai region to investigate two ships. One such very large ship was theorized to be the British Sergeant, a British Steam Tanker built by Palmers ship building and Iron Company Ltd, New Castle, England. The ship sank along with the world famous HMS Hermes, the worlds first purpose built air craft carrier (which itself lies off shore Batticaloa). Based on new information of the last known location of British Sergeant to be just 500 Meters of the ship wreck we dive, the approximate width of the hull, some remaining features of the ship against archived pictures we now have no doubt that this is indeed the British Sergeant.

The British Sergeant is one of the best Wreck Dives in Sri Lanka. At a depth ranging from 22 Meters to 26 Meters the ship is lush with fish life requires at least 5-6 dives to explore properly. The large caverns inside the ship are a delight to be and is a haven for large schools of fish.

A Tec Dive to B2633 - Is this the long lost armed merchant SS Worcestershire?

SS Worcestershire archived picture from

At the stern of the wreck (57M) - it does bear a resemblance to the SS W

02/03/2012: Based on our previous dives to the wreck we call B2633 and historical accounts and the size of the ship this wreck appears to be the SS Worcestershire which was sunk somewhere 10 miles south west of Colombo in 1917 by German mine layer Wolf. The ship was an armed merchant en route from Rangoon to London when it suffered this fatality. It is said that 2 crew members were lost in the incident.

Today we dive the ship again in the hope of photographing key features that may prove this to be the SS Worcestershire. We swim all the way from the Bow to the Stern! It is a huge distance and consumes almost all of our 20 minutes bottom time. at 57 Meters. We quickly photograph key features. However the ship is in a bad state of deterioration. The size of the ship certainly matches the Worcestershire and if indeed it has been lying for almost 95 years undersea, then this could explain why the most of the ship is completely gone. The stern side of the ship certainly bears a strong resemblance to the Worcestershire and the next expedition will aim to measure the hull width and draft of this huge ship.

February Report - New seas off Colombo!
Proving Taprobane North Wreck = Perseus
Taprobane North Wreck - Perseus?
Perhaps this giant wheel would one day prove a point
Taprobane North Wreck - Perseus?
Could the giant wheel be a gun mount?
11/02/12 & 18/02/12 - We endure the long arduous journey to the pristine waters of Taprobane North. Here our mission is to collect evidence that one day let us declare without doubt that the Taprobane North Wreck is indeed the Perseus sunk by a German Mine Layer in 1917. One key piece of evidence could be the giant wheel (above) on the stern. Other evidence points a high chance that this is the Perseus. Including similarity of one of the masts, the width of the beam near the stern and the approximate location of sinking. Click here for more pictures from the latest expeditions.
Breaking News: New Ship in Colombo - The Coal Ship

Colombo Coal Ship
The bow of the Colombo Coal Ship

Colombo Coal Ship
The stern

28/01/12: With easing of Naval restrictions around the seas of Colombo, we explore new territory that was hitherto inaccessible, and bring you the first pictures of a ship known to fishermen as the "Coal Ship"! The ship is broken into two pieces and the bow and the stern lie about 20m-30m apart. The waters are relatively clear and this ship provides for a thrilling dive to ship wreck enthusiasts looking for a new ship experience! Click here for more information!
January Report - Welcome 2012 and hope the Mayans are wrong!
Diving the southern coast: The boulder cities in Weligama
Prince Hienrichs Patch Weligama Prince Hienrichs Patch Weligama
5/2/12: We return to Prince Hienrichs Patch in Weligama and have a pleasant dive among the rocky boulders.
At the Battery Barge and the Cargo Wreck in Colombo

Colombo Battery BargeThe deep and beautiful Battery Barge

Colombo Cargo WreckA diver beholds the popular Cargo Wreck

22-28/01/12: Two great dives at the 45M deep yet pristinely beautiful Battery Barge and the 30M immensely popular Colombo Cargo Wreck!
On the shoulders of giants - Pioneer diver Rex De Silva's invaluable "Diving in Sri Lanka: A History"
Rex De Silva
Rex De Silva: Then...
Rex De Silva
... and now!

As we look to the future; for years of great diving yet to come (optimistically assuming that the Mayans erred in their math predicting an apocalyptic end in Dec 2012) we must also look back at the past and the chronicles and adventures of few great men who pioneered diving in Sri Lanka. Rex De Silva is one such a person.

In "Diving in Sri Lanka: A History", Rex De Silva hopes to preserve for posterity, a wealth of information about those heady days of diving! Here we find a fascinating narration of those days gone by; and discover the magical adventures of the pioneers such as Vicky Athukorale, Tony Buxton and the legendary diver Rodney Jonklass.

Diving in Sri Lanka: A History by Rex De Silva can be considered invaluable historical document about diving in Sri Lanka. By capturing those memories of the wonder years and also bringing together a collection of remarkable photographs; Rex De Silva has managed to create precious vault of information which otherwise would have been lost for ever!

Rex is currently working on; An Illustrated Guide to the Sharks of Sri Lanka, An Illustrated Guide to the Skates and Rays of Sri Lanka, An Illustrated History of Diving in Sri Lanka ( Some of the material is shared in Diving in Sri Lanka: A History)

Rex considers that his most important (marine and underwater) contribution has been his study of sharks in Sri Lankan waters. Twenty two of the Fifty odd species were discovered or first documented by Rex.

First dive for 2011 - A night dive off the shores of Colombo

07/01/12 - Undeterred by stormy weather, we start the year with a night dive at Barracuda Reef, Colombo!
Year 2011 Report - Looking back at a great year of diving

Inside the cathedral of light at the British Sergeant(?)

The great reefs of Vakarai

2011 was a great year for discovery! After searching for a ghost ship marked on admiralty charts (as often the location was incorrect!) we finally found the mysterious deep ship at 57 meters off the shores of Colombo. At about the same time, the Maldivian Cargo Ship which sank 5 Kilometers off Mount Lavinia in 2009, suddenly became accessible as the Navy lifted restrictions on diving this wreck. During the east coast season we conducted several expeditions to Vakarai and documented two new ship that had never been photographed before and also dived some great reefs in the same region.

The big ship in particular aroused our great interest. Intense research of its last known location, measurements of the width of hull, comparison of segment photographs of the wreck to the archival photos strongly lead us to believe that this is indeed the British Sergeant that was sunk by the Japanese on the 9th of April 1942 along with the H.M.S Hermes, the worlds first purpose built Air Craft Carrier and fleet of other ships.


Above: The new Medhufaru and the deep ship B2633

Read all about it in our 2011 Report!

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Welcome to Sri Lanka! The best location in the Indian Ocean to Scuba Dive in the warm tropical seas and wonderful beaches. Sri Lanka offers some great Wreck Diving experiences such as the H.M.S Hermes, SS Rangoon, H.M.S Conch, The Earl Of Shaftsbury, H.M.S Diomede, and some Surat Silver Coin wrecks at the Great Basses & Little Basses Lighthouses off Kirinda and Yala. Sri Lanka offers many courses such as PADI Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, Dive Master but yet to offer NAUI, PSAI, TDI, SDI, Nitrox, Trimix, Heliox, Solo Diving Technical Dive Courses or Liveaboard Diving. Shore diving is a possibility. Sri Lanka also is famous for whale migration, dolphin watching and very occasionally for sightings of Tiger Shark, Black Tip Reef Shark, White Tip Reef Shark, Manta Rays. Reef fish such as Moray Eels, Puffer Fish (Fugu), giant turtle, Lionfish, Snappers, Sweetlips, Trevally, Barracuda, Fusiliers, Anemonefish are very very common. Some dive sites are better than Maldives, The H.M.S Hermes is a fantastic and exciting dive in Batticaloa. The H.M.S Vampire which accompanied the H.M.S Hermes is yet to be found. Surat Silver Coin treasure was found by Sir Arthur C. Clarke and Mike Wilson at the Great Basses Ridge. The coins were minted by Aurenzeb, the son of Shah Jehan who built the Mumtas Mahal (Taj Mahal). There are also wrecks of Japanese Zeros in the China Bay and Marble Beach area. The statue of lord ganesh can be seen at the Swami Rock dive in Trincomalee. pigeon Island in Trincomalee is also famous for great diving and snorkeling. This site features original photos and stock photography of the ocean and the under sea.