The Clarke Wreck (
Arthur C. Clarke's last dive

By Dharshana Jayawardena.

Depth: 25 - 29 Meters

Clarke Wreck bow
At the bow - In march 1992 author Arthur C. Clarke dived this wreck.
Clarke Wreck Snappers
Shoals of blue striped snapper inhabit the wreck

18/10/2015 - A fisherman informs me that there is a small barge north of Colombo, about 11 kilometers west of the river Kelani estuary. He provides me a location and armed with a sonar scanner I head off to the area of interest. A sonar scan quickly reveals there is something below. I quickly jump into investigate and am delighted to find a small wreck at a depth of 25 meters. The seabed here is 29 meters deep.

The west coast season had just begun, but the visibility is not yet good. But the conditions at the wreck are not bad at all and I have decent visibility. A huge shoal of snappers circle the wreck as I explore it. It is about 30 - 35 meters long and about 5 meters wide. Nothing much remains on deck except a half broken mast at midships. There are several square openings to the holds below.

Diving lower I explore the seabed surrounding the wreck and soon find several large swim-throughs into the hull. Inside is quite delightful eventhough its a complete mess full of wreck debris.

What could this wreck be? It has a strong resemblance to the Taprobane East Barge, similar in size and also much of the characteristics, save for few differences. However there are no clues to its origin at all.

Later I stumble across a very interesting piece of information. It turns out that in March 1992, Arthur C. Clarke, the world renowned science-fiction writer, had conducted his last dive at a shipwreck north of Colombo. The event is described in a youtube video (See for more information) and in it Clarke describes his dive. The video also includes footage of Clarke swimming around the wreck. I quickly compare the footage of this video with footage I had acquired during the dive and am amazed to find out that this is the same wreck!

In a tribute to Clarke, who had inspired me with his great works of science fiction such as 2001, 2010, Rendezvous with Rama, Fall of moon dust, City and the stars and Sands of Mars, I produced a small video. (See

So it will be no surprise to anyone that this mystery wreck will be named Clarke Wreck as an enduring legacy of a great thinker in our times.

Clarke Wreck hull
The hull of the wreck
Clarke Wreck inside
Inside, midships
Clarke Wreck stern
At the stern
Clarke Wreck propeller and rudder
The propeller and the broken rudder.
Clarke Wreck deck
On deck at the bow

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