Dive the SS Orestes(?) (www.DiveSriLanka.com)
At the haven for Big Eye Trevally


By Dharshana Jayawardena.

Depth: 25 Meters

SS Orestes
The twin masted SS Orestes (C) www.photoship.co.uk
SS Orestes Wreck
Incorrectly referred to as the Tango wreck, we think this is the Orestes

04/04/2014: We are supposedly diving the "Tango Wreck" or the "No Name" Wreck.

A huge shoal of Trevally is the first thing we see. It is an amazing sight, obscuring any sight of a wreck. As we swim closer, they disperse and suddenly the bow of an old ship lies before us!

It lies slightly listing to the port side. At the bottom of the bow is a strange looking anchor, unlike any other anchor we have seen before. Then we swim from the bow to the stern. The ship is badly broken up. Only recognizable parts are a unusual looking boiler, two masts fallen on to the sand and the rudder and the propeller of the ship. At 24m depth, it is a easy dive. While there is not much reef fish on the wreck, the giant ball of Big Eye Trevally are ever present and float around the ship cris crossing out path once in a while.

In our research later, several circumstantial evidence points to this being the SS Orestes that sank in 1875, with Captain Buckley at the helm, when it struck a submerged shoal called the Gindura reef. These include a piece of crockery found by Shirley M Korlage, the owner of the Submarine dive center, in Unawatuna, the shape of the unique anchor, the approximate length of the ship, the number of masts and features of the mast, the single screw propeller.

The marine life, the history, easy accessibility to all divers make this wreck a very valuable asset to dive tourism in the region.

Orestes Anchor
SS Orestes had a rather unusual anchor (C) www.photoship.co.uk
SS Orestes Anchor
The wreck also has a similar type of anchor
Big Eye Trevally
A huge shoal of Big Eye Trevally make the wreck home
Big Eye Trevally
An amazing testament for why wrecks are important for marine life
SS Orestes boiler
What appears to be a boiler, again rather unusual as steam ships go
  SS Orestes Masts
SS Orestes also had two similar type of masts as is with this wreck
SS Orestes
As with the Orestes, this ship is a single screw propeller driven ship
Ocean Steam Ship Company
A similar piece of crockery has been found with the inscription "Ocean"

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