Welcome to Colombo's underwater world! Explore the cargo holds of freighters still intact, take in the beauty and fish life on barges covered in coral, or learn about the history of wrecks. Colombo is, in reality, one of Sri Lanka's best-kept diving secrets. Off the bustling city center are some of the best wreck diving locations in Sri Lanka and probably all of South Asia. While residing in a peaceful, rural bubble of seaside tranquility inside a thriving commercial hub with all the amenities of a busy city, you can enjoy some of the most incredible diving in Sri Lanka.
Colombo provides top-notch wreck diving immediately off the city and near the international airport, with more than a few dozen accessible wrecks within recreational diving depths. Many sandstone and rock reefs that Colombo offers have a change of pace from wreck diving, and both these wrecks and reefs are packed with marine life of all sizes, from pipefish and nudibranchs to stingrays and whale sharks.
The Cardinal Barge is a small wreck in poor condition but has some decent marine life, including Cardinalfish – lots of them - and Snappers. The credits that this diving spot received for its unusual name, Cardinal Barge, goes wholly to these little creatures swimming freely in shoals of hundreds of thousands of members. If you plan to dive off Mount Lavinia, south of Colombo, so you should come and dive in Cardinal Barge.
But be warned. There is not much to see in this diving area other than significantly deteriorated scrambled skeletons of the barge protruding out of the sea bed. The ocean has already done its cause and eliminated the sunken boat's wreck into just a few scraps here and there. Yet, if you visit Cardinal barge, you can also take in a few fan corals and lots of Blue-Striped Snappers at the rudder-Cardinalish galore.