The one-stop guide to diving in Sri Lanka! [Works best with Internet Explorer]

Welcome to Sri Lanka, a beautiful paradise island with hundreds of fabulous dive sites. Come dive the dozens of famous ship wrecks dating back to the colonial era and also visit coral reefs, under sea caves & rock formations all around our island. Click here for a quick intro about diving in Sri Lanka.

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December Report - In the eye of the cyclone   Go Blog! Blog about diving in Sri Lanka!
Good bye 2008!

These are the concluding dive reports for 2008 by Ajith Fernando who dived Lobster North in Negombo and Jehan Pieris who dived in Colombo. The diving conditions are now absolutely great and both locations were teeming with fish life. Jehan was also fortunate to see the almost resident Eagle Ray at the Cargo Wreck, Ray Charles swimming in formation with two of his buddies who have been hitherto unseen.

And now we say good bye 2008 and wish you a fantastic 2009 with super marine encounters and even super viz!

Strange weather, stranger seas

Uncharacteristically rough seas deprive us of two weekends of diving. While a strong south-west wind ensued causing choppy surface conditions; a very strong surface current was reported northbound. As of today 10th of Dec 2008 the cyclone has been downgraded to a tropical storm yet heavy rains are expected during the evening.

Conditions are expected to be back to normal by the weekend of the 13th.

For weather updates click here.

November Report - The days of transition
A weekend of diving at the TRUG and Barracuda Reef

Various types of Cardinalfish can be found at the TRUG

Jabba the resident Pufferfish
In the morning the sea is calm; despite heavy rain in the evenings. On Saturday we conduct two dives at the TRUG. The visibility seems steadily improving. We penetrate the TRUG and discover compartments. On Sunday we join the dives organized by the Sri Lanka Sub Aqua Club and dive Barracuda Reef. The current is relatively strong and descent is a struggle. But the fish life is amazing! The reef is a haze of yellow full of Black Tail Snappers, Blue Striped Snappers, small Barracuda, Rabbitfish and Trumpetfish on the hunt.

Pelagic fish were passing by the reef

Snappers were prolific on the Barracuda Reef
In search of Dream Water - Rock pools in the Kingdom of the Lion

Pristine streams with crystal clear water

Deep rock pools in the jungle provide diving opportunaties
In an attempt to discover inland diving opportunities, we explore Sinharaja, the forest of the "Kingdom of the Lion". We are thrilled to discover many rock pools and streams filled with lucid water and some abundant with various species of fish life. Await a special report after our next expedition to document and photograph possible fresh water diving sites in Sri Lanka!
Poya day dives - Meeting the guardians at the TRUG and at Barracuda Reef

One of many guardians of the TRUG investigate our presence!

Inside - wheels, pipes and a general mess.
It was a great day! The sun was out in a sky that was clear and blue. Even though the the sea was choppy, it was devoid of large swells that result in crashing waves at the shoreline making entry very difficult. The dives were great too. At the dark seascape of the TRUG we met its guardians, the irrepressible Lionfish (above) and at the Barracuda Reef (below) we see loads of small Groupers, Sweepers and the usual Barracuda.

Typical reefscape of the Barracuda Reef

Sweepers were prolific on this day
A muck dive at the Barracuda Reef
We dive off the capital city Colombo and explore the muck haven at Barracuda Reef. As usual we have a very interesting dive with schools of Black Tail Snappers, Fosters Barracuda, Panther Rays, Juvenile Bump head Parrotfish and large Pufferfish. The visibility at the bottom is about 8m while the surface visibility is better at around 15 meters. The sea was calm but there was a some currents.
Kiralagala and a new dive site Tunatta

Kiralagala is full of Faulkners coral

A strong surface current hits us at the end of the dive
We return to Hikkaduwa for two more dives. The seas are initially calm but gets choppy as time goes on and also develops a strong surface current. The visibility at the bottom is still lower than the average at the best of the season. We also explore a new dive site "Tunatta" for the first time. These are times of transition and we have to conclude that the seas are not fully settled yet.
October Report - West Coast dive season has begun!
In the calm seas of Hikkaduwa
Finally we have reunited with the seas of the West Coast. Uncharacteristically early for the season, which generally begins mid or late November, the seas have turned dead calm. As we rushed to Hikkaduwa and dived at the famous Kiralagala and explored the fascinating swim throughs of Diyambagala we were pleasently surprised by the relatively good visibility of about eight meters and lack of strong currents. All in all, given the time of the season, they were great dives and we were rewarded with sightings of Batfish, Barracuda and a plethora of colorful reef fishes. Even though there has been heavy rains in the afternoons the mornings have been nice & sunny and are ideal conditions for diving. The operators are now scrambling to open their shops so go dive!
September Report - Time to stop the killing
Two leading hotels in Sri Lanka say NO to shark fin Soup

Finned alive...

The Jetwing chain of hotels and the Trans Asia hotel have taken a bold and brave step! They have said NO to shark fin soup and will not serve this dish in any of their restaurants anymore. This is a result of an ongoing awareness campaign by the Sri Lanka Sub Aqua Club.

Shark Finning is a immensely cruel and wasteful practice where by thousands of sharks are finned alive daily and their living body thrown overboard to make space for more fins in the boat. Since sharks need to swim to be able to breathe, and now lacking fins, they will painfully and slowly suffocate to death so that someone somewhere can establish status at a business meeting just because shark fin soup is expensive. It is tragic that chicken or vegetable flavor needs to be added to make this soup tasty as there is no taste and nutrition in shark fin soup what so ever.

We appeal to other hotels and restaurants in Sri Lanka to join the list of establishments that are shark fin free. Please. Stop murder.

If you know of any Chinese Restaurant in Sri Lanka to be Shark Fin Free; contact us immediately so that we may add the name to the list

... and left to suffocate to death
Wating for Thalassa
With the H.M.S Hermes - Expedition V to the east coast postponedand the monsoons still lingering over the west coast it has been a very dry month indeed. However we believe the long wait is over and the month of October will provide good tidings to the patient divers biting their nails tearing their hair out. Perhaps a few weeks more and...

August Report - Times of epiphany

H.M.S Hermes - Expedition IV - Celebration of life

Celebration of life!
Encounter with a Minke or Brydes whale during the deco stops
Celebration of life!
Schools of Dog Tooth Tuna hunt in packs
We return to the H.M.S Hermes with Expedition IV and have thrilling big fish action encounters in the murky deep of a historic wreck site!
To build a ship - project GSHD95
After pouring over dozens of historical photographs we bring the greatest aircraft carrier in the world back to life in cyber space. This is project GSHD95
July Report - In the shallows of the east
Wonderland at the boiler wreck
Just off the sandy beaches of beautiful Batticaloa we explore the mysterious remnants of an unknown ship. For the moment we all call it the Boiler Wreck, owing to the four large boilers not unlike the ones that can be found at the famous Conch in Hikkaduwa. Click here for a detailed report.
June Report - Echoes from World War II
H.M.S Hermes - Expedition III - In the presence of the god of boundaries

The bridge and the conning tower

The massive lower decks

For three years we had waited for this day. Braving a 10 hour drive to the east coast through desolate roads and a number of check points we reach Batticaloa, the eastern most city of Sri Lanka and the door step for the worlds first purpose built air craft carrier, the truly magnificent H.M.S Hermes.

It is official. For the determined traveler, diving the H.M.S Hermes is a reality. Read all about it in our Expedition III (June 18-22, 2008).

We are also glad to bring back pictures of the ship for Carol Marshall whose father Ronald T. Smith served the Hermes. (See Below).

H.M.S Hermes - the story of a survivor

H.M.S Hermes during its final moment
Ronald T Smith
Ronald T Smith, the survivor.

Even as we contemplate diving the H.M.S Hermes despite security restrictions in the East Coast; a remarkable story reaches us about a survivor of the very ship we so yearn to dive. Carol Marshall, the daughter of the Hermes survivor late Ronald T Smith, writes to us about how her beloved farther survived the sinking of the worlds first purpose built aircraft carrier. Click here to read more about this amazing story.

May Report - Monsoon Diving
In the murky deep

Marine Biologist Nishan Perera on ascent. Great viz up to 30M of depth.

Large swells and rough seas
In a quick insertion & extraction dive to 50.3 meters on the deeper side of Serendib Reef, we study the effects of narcosis on the human mind relative to acclimatization after repetitive diving. The visibility was great at the top 30 meters but murky below that with the presence of thermo clines. The surface conditions were characteristically rough as expected during the monsoon season.
April Report - The sounds of basses
End of days - at the turn of a season

A mushroom cloud - non nuclear in nature, its a ball of baitfish

The view from the french windows

In a final paroxysm of diving before the season ends; we brave seas that seem to be a sea turning with the impending monsoons and conduct diving during the last two weekends of April. Even though the surface conditions were rough with large swells and choppy seas there were no currents and the visibility was surprisingly good. (Above and below). Though we are still hopeful of squeezing in a dive during the first week of May, this could very well be it, the much dreaded end of days...

Freedom Hole

Paradise in dereliction.
Basses: Two sentries in a lonely sea

The Great Basses Light House pounded by huge waves as we surface.

A calm day at the Little Basses Light House
In an amazing place at the South-East tip of Sri Lanka we had three days of out of this world diving. This is the Basses Ridge. Characterized by the twin towers of the Great Basses Light House and the Little Basses Light House many many miles apart; lonely sentries fulfilling their timeless duty warning wayward ships of the fatal danger present around the shallow ridges. Here one finds great diving. If you are flying to Sri Lanka also read our article "Diving the Great Basses" in the Sri Lankan Air Lines in flight magazine Serendib.

An Eagle Ray at Great Basses

A ball of Sweetlips right under the Little Basses Light House
A Whale sighting and the last dives for the West Coast Season?
The seas were calm but the viz was low, partly because of millions of sprats. After an exciting wreck dive we were back on the boat when a leviathan form broke surface. It is a whale! In these final days of the west coast season we hope this is not a great diving season finishing off with a bang!
March Report - Diving where the sea meets the sky
Beyond the busy shipping lanes and beyond the horizon. In these autumn seas of March, this is where we will be heading for diving in the final of the frontiers in search of great visibility, massive shoals of fish and hopefully megalithic encounters with the deepest denizens of the ocean.
End of Wreck Marathon with Sri Lanka Sub Aqua Club dive out
Despite some rain, low viz a great day out in the calm seas. Sri Lanka Sub Aqua Club had eight divers for the dive out and completed two dives; one at the Cargo Wreck and one at the Serendib Reef. A new swim through was discovered at the ship wreck and at Serendib Reef two large Stingrays; one an Elvis class Bull Ray and the other a Pricilla class Bull Ray was encountered leading us to think that the couple who was absent at the wreck had gone for a stroll. Both were pretty curious to find us and checked us out couple of times before disappearing into the gloom. Sri Lanka Sub Aqua Club is now open for membership and you are welcome to join!
Easter Week Wreck Marathon!

The ghost ship

Pricilla by Ajith Fernando
In the week spanning Easter Sunday to the 30th of March, we are possessed by a wreck diving frenzy and dive the Cargo Wreck again an again with a total of eight dives planned! Here are some pictures of the four that was just completed (Above and below) . This marathon will end on 30th of March Sunday with the Sri Lanka Sub Aqua Club organized Wreck Dive. This event will be open for members only.

A huge school of Fusiliers

And a swarm of churning bait fish escaping predation
Return to serendipity - Easter Diving at Serendib Reef

A juvenile Anemonefish plays hide & seek behind a tentacle

Suddenly the reef is inundated by schooling Bannerfish.
For the first time this season we return to the Serendib Reef , far off shore Colombo and publish the first repot on diving at this pristine ridge. Braving rough seas and ripping currents we dive beside the busy shipping lane and are rewarded by delightful encounters with a variety of marine life.

A large Bull Ray is seeking cleaning services under a dome.

Countless colorful fishers ride the fierce current from under a bommie
Sir Arthur C. Clarke - A pioneer of Scuba Diving in Sri Lanka passes away.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke in the shadow of his greatest creation: the monolith

It is with great regret we announce the death of Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the world famous Science Fiction Writer who was resident in Sri Lanka.

Sir Arthur was one of the pioneer Scuba Divers of Sri Lanka; his adventures beautifully recounted in the now very hard to find books Reefs of Taprobane and the Treasure of the Great Reef. These are an absolutely must read for every scuba diver in Sri Lanka as they detail diving expeditions in the pristine reefs of Sri Lanka; especially the Great Basses Ridge off Kirinda Sri Lanka.

However Sir Arthur was more famous for his science fiction novels such as Fountains of Paradise (the story based in the past and future of Sri Lanka), City and the stars, Fall of Moon dust, 2001, 2010, 2061, 3001, and Sands of Mars. His best, we believe is Rendezvous with Rama. This is a incredible and wonderful story about an alien encounter. His portrayal of the alien sea is nothing short of amazing.

We wish him happy Scuba Diving where ever he is.

Coming of the monsoons
Despite rough heavy surf and swells we travel beyond the horizon for two great dives under the cloudy skies at the far flung Taprobane - West ; perhaps signs heralding the early onset of monsoons. We discover a reef teeming with life. No big encounters this time, but plenty of reef activity to keep even the most seasoned diver occupied.
Colombo & Moratuwa - Ship Wrecks & Inshore sites

Millions of Cardinalfish congregate and Kadirammagey Reddah

It is also a macro paradise!
On Saturday, we explore dive sites off the coastal city of Moratuwa, south of Colombo, and encounter a massive swarm of Cardinalfish and beautiful Nudibranchs at Kadirammagey Redda and Temple Rock . On Sunday we also visit the TRUG and our beloved Cargo Wreck and conclude a great weekend of diving.

Startling orange coral on the bridge of the Cargo Wreck

Giant propellars and rudders of the TRUG
Negombo: Return to the Third Reef
After a hiatus of almost two years, we return to the frontier Third Reef off the coast of Negombo and conduct three dives in the shallow reefs teeming with fish life! Shoals of Yellow Fin Barracuda and Neon Fusiliers envelope as we search the distinctive coral domes for an interesting variety of life.
February Report - In the seas of tranquility
In search of the Valley of Elah
Amidst choppy seas we endure another grueling two hour boat ride to the horizon in search of an elusive ridge where giant fish roam; and is known only to a handful of fisher folk. Using side scan sonar we conduct an arduous search yet fail to find the drop off. Giving up the search because of low fuel, we dive in a shallower area and are rewarded with clear blue water and huge schools of Batfish, Surgeons and Unicornfish; each comprising of hundreds and hundreds of fish. It is a fantastic dive!
In the company of giants - From Colombo to Unawatuna the heavy weights are rolling in

Priscilla and Elvis resting on a Poya Day

Elvis, larger than life.

The giants are coming out of the hiding! We are happy to establish contact with Elvis, the king of the Cargo Wreck exactly one year after we first him! But now there is a difference. Elvis is happily married and here are the first time pictures of Priscilla & Elvis together (Above)

From Unawatuna Nishan Perera reports about an amazing solo dive. At the Diymba Kupotha (Napoleon Reef) he encounters Giant Maori Wrasse and a Giant Potato Cod. (Below). Click here to read his report.

Reefs of Taprobane - The lucid waters far offshore
A grueling two hour boat ride into the very edges of the horizon take us to Taprobane - West; a far outer reef with crystal clear waters, beautiful schools of fish and passing giant Rays. In this heaven on earth we conduct 5 dives over two days on two weekends. (Above and Below)
Cargo Wreck - Dances with the Batfishes
Two fantastic dives at the Cargo Wreck bring us close encounters with endearing Batfish and reminds us of the most famous Batfish in Sri Lanka, the Captain of the Irrakandy Ship Wreck in Trincomalee. These Batfish were simply amazing and simply wouldn't let us be!
January Report - Welcome 2008!!!
New Region!!! - Weligama Diving - Cities of rock by the village of sand
During two days of diving we explore Weligama for the first time! Here is a first hand account of diving at Prince Hienrich Patch, Bridge Rock and Yala Rock. At Prince Hienrich Patch we meet one of the biggest Bull Rays (Marble Rays) ever!

The majestic Yala Rock, off Weligama Bay

Nudibranchs galore at Bridge Rock
A brief stop at Unawatuna

The bow of the SS Rangoon

Banded Grunts are resident at the SS Rangoon
Before heading to Weligama, we stop for a day at Unawatuna and return to the Rangoon and the Goda Gala Kupotha for two dives.

Sri Lanka Sub Aqua Club AGM

Notice is hereby given that the 16 th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Sub Aqua Club will be held on Tuesday the 29 th January 2008, 19:15 hours at the OPA.

Poya day dives- Trug and Bambahatha
Perhaps the season has finally dawned! As the local fisher folk say, the sea was "glass" during yesterdays dives at the Trug and a new shallow site Bambahatha. We would not venture to assert that Bambahatha is the greatest diving spot in the world. But it did contain a narrow gully full of colorful soft coral as depicted above.
Return to Negombo! - Two one hour dives at Lobster Reef and Standard Reef

At Lobster Reef we met a Panther Flounder for the first time!

The Standard Reef and its delightful denizens
After almost a two year hiatus, we return to the Negombo Second Reef and dive the new sites of Lobster Reef and Standard Reef for some great diving. Good news for divers is that there still is a dive center active in the region. Serendib Watersports is run by Franz K. Faber and he can be contacted on +94 777 38 55 05. See Dive Centers for more information.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind at the Trug
We explore the bow of the TRUG and have close encounters with the resident Lionfish who have real attitude!
First time dives during Thaipongal - An oasis on the sand and a muck dive

Tapered Cardinalfish & Red Coral Cods are abundant at Balalgala

Truly a muck dive; Palagala is a haven for little creatures.
We discover a new dive site off Snapper Alley, and name it "Balalgala" or the Cat rock as it is inhabited by Striped Catfish! (Left). And for the first time we also dive the Formosa Reef (Right)
A diving weekend - Three different sites in Hikkaduwa

A Goda Gala we spent the whole dive with Moray Eels!

Goliath & David, in more amicable terms!
Despite heavy afternoon rains we spend a fantastic weekend at Hikkaduwa exploring a new site Sunil Gala and retuning to Goda Gala for first time pictures and also the H.M.S Conch. Visibility at 10 meters was not the best for the season but we had a great time as usual!

The pinnacle at Sunil Gala

An odd couple swinging under heavy surge.. (No pun intended)

Parrotfish feeding at the Conch

Inside the cabin of the Conch
Dive Sri Lanka! - the theme for the 2008 Shore To Shore calendar!

Shore to Shore, Brand Packaging Solutions, Katunayake has published its 2008 calendar images as its theme - "Finding Paradise" Glimpses of Sri Lanka's threatened Underwater World.

The calendar displays twelve large underwater scenes, tells the story behind the dive site and shows other smaller images. The images are from all around Sri Lanka and can also be found in this site.

Click here to view a larger image of the calendar.

First dives for the year: The descent to darkness - at the Trug & Barracuda Point

Almost a night dive - a school of Batfish at mid day.

Various types of Pufferfish can be found under the Trug.
What strange dives at the Trug & Barracuda Point ! A terribly overcast day and a murky sea. Well at least the top 15 meters. As soon as we passed the 5 meter mark everything turned just pitch black and visibility was reduced to a meter or so. Quite disorientating. Then suddenly, we were in wonderland. A surreal place of half light; because beneath the layer of uncharacteristic gloom & darkness was a world of twilight bursting with life! Perhaps the fish thought it was still night time because there were many! Giant Trevally were hunting with zeal and the hunted were forming twisting & churning bait balls. Small Groupers, Lionfish, Pufferfish, Moray Eels were everywhere. These were the inaugural dives of 2008 at the Trug and Barracuda Point. Strange but great dives in a dreamland.
Year 2007 Report

In 2007 we explored the Dehiwela Cargo Wreck

and the far flung outer reaches of Taprobane - West

What an amazing year of diving! 2007 was a dream. Our explorations reached new heights as we dived a never before dived site Galu Gala and discovered an ancient anchor of colonial origin. We also dived the fantastic Great Basses and explored sites off the capital city of Colombo.

Read all about it in our 2007 Report!

Go Blog! Blog about diving in Sri Lanka!

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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.