Dive the Chief Dragon

Dive Chief Dragon (Colombo Car Wreck)

Have you heard about the Colombo car wreck? It's a well-known incident that happened in the past a full forty years ago. Chief Dragon diving spot, a well-famous and demanded diving site, is where you can see the Colombo car wreck with your own eyes. The Chief Dragon diving site is must dive place. Most people like to visit places with old, adventurous stories, or if you haven't been on a ship, this is an excellent chance to see a luxurious cargo boat.

Diving through old shipwrecks is very interesting. Keep reading below to learn more about the Colombo Cargo Wreck.

This long vehicle transport vessel which is a little over 112 m, with a width of 22m and a draft of almost 8m, is one of Colombo's most well-known wrecks, sank on 18th March of 1983. The main hull is still intact and standing, but the superstructure has split up and is dispersed across the sand at a depth of 35 meters. It is mostly due to the fact that the Sri Lankan navy blew a part of the ship because it is so close to the surface and could cause damage to the other ships on the route to the Colombo Port.

At a depth of 24-28 meters, automobile chassis are spread across the main deck and are covered in coral, showing us sure signs that nature has enveloped this wreck in her embrace and is slowly turning it into a habitat of marine life. Hard and soft coral covers the wreck, which also draws a lot of fish, including trevally, mackerel, and barracuda. Strong currents are frequently exposed to this spot; therefore, being an experienced independent diver would come with benefits when diving in this area.

The shipwreck is located 15 km off the west coast, not far from Colombo, in 25 m deep water. You can get to the diving spot within a 45 minutes boat ride. The Chief Dragon, an old cargo ship sunk in 1983 and currently submerged at a depth of 20 to 35 meters/66 to 115 feet, is actually what people call the Car Wreck.

It takes more than one dive to examine the entirety of this massive wreck, which is over 112 meters (368 feet) in length and 22 meters (72 feet) in width.

Although we have been aware of the Car Wreck for several years, we first dived here on 20/03/12. This ship, originally known as the Chief Dragon prior to being nicknamed the Colombo car Wreck, was a possession of Panama. Since this ship sunk in the waters closer to the Colombo Port, which was then a restricted security zone protected by the Sri Lankan Navy at the time of War, it was left untouched for almost three decades. You can say that it was trapped in limbo very well.

By the time we decided to dive here in 2012, the restricted zone had shrunk considerably thanks to the civil War being over for almost three years. Now, the Chief dragon wreck is open for any person to dive, making it one of the most demanded sites to dive among local and foreign communities with love for the underwater world. 

When we were making this excursion, only a handful of pioneers had visited Chief Dragon during the 1980s as soon as it was sunk. Therefore, we were among the very first people to dive into this wreck.

As you first get here, the ship will look like a gloomy, massive shadow half concealed by the darker blue waters. But as you move closer and closer, that shadow will start taking shape into more intricate shapes. From one side, it would appear to look like a long snout of a long-since extinct Spinosaurus. Moving closer, you will lose the vision of that long snout and the ship will take shape in front of your eyes as if you are in a horror movie and the monster is standing right in front of you. And you will understand why the original name "Chief Dragon" is beautifully fitting and entirely appropriate.

Don't worry. This diving place might look massive, gloomy, and monstrous. But there is no threat to your health. But insteat, your mind will get blown away once you lay your eyes on the shoals of small and big fish of all hues floating around the wreck in peace. Most people are pretty startled to learn this when they dive off Colombo because it is not something one would expect to find in a major city.

Once you swim toward the amidships, you will notice that the ship's deck is a massive mess containing all sorts of small and large debris full of metal. And from above, the Chief Dragon would look like an abandoned city built with metal instead of cargo that was carrying vehicles. This is the aftermath of being blown up by the Sri Lankan Navy to make sure the shipping route poses no harm to passing vessels.

The Sri Lankan Navy demolished this enormous carrier's upper portions by detonating them to remove it as a threat to commercial shipping. Large parts of the wreck are all over the place because of the explosion. The most picturesque area of the impact is where two enormous panels meet near the stern.

And there are two caves constructed by these large panels, falling symmetrically over the stern from deck to sea bead, sheltering uncountable shoals of fish, including an enormous grouper.

If you want to check out the rustic chassis of the vehicles that sank underwater with the ship, then the best place to do that is the topmost deck of the big ship, which is around 20 meters high. Several car chassis are visible on this level, but they are hardly distinguishable from actual cars. The four wheels and the transmission components are still intact and can only be seen after a careful inspection.

It is impossible to fully explore this wreck in a single dive, thanks to the enormity of the vessel. But once you are able to check out the beauty created by this wreck, there must be no problem for you to dive into this wreck a few several times.

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