Dive the Pecheur Breton

No one can expect what the underwater world looks like without experiencing it firsthand. And once you do, some places will turn out to be downright amazing. Something out of another dimension, almost looking alien. And as we all know, the oceans hide great secrets, and we haven't even uncovered at least 5% of them. But from the ones that we have uncovered, you can filter out and put together some of your favorite places to dive and explore. And if you are enthusiastic about exploring the underwater world, then you know the feeling I'm trying to express here.

Sri Lanka, a small island country with the ocean surrounding all four corners is yet another mesmerizing place to broaden your diving experience. Small as it might be, the secrets in the great ocean around this country can be compared to no other. And if you love wreck diving, the Sri Lankan ocean will provide you with several hundred locations that will spell out their stories when you roll back into the water.

Colombo is the most busiest city on the island. And one might even think that this vicinity might not have any great diving spots, considering the visibility and pollution. But that is where you find yourself wrong. Colombo is on the top when it comes to wreck diving, given the fact that it is just a few kilometers far from the commercial port of the country.

As you can already guess by the enthusiasm I'm exuding, there are a few dozen wrecks in this water. But if I'm to pick one of them to be my favorite, it would have to be the Cargo Wreck, just six kilometers west off the coast in Dehiwala, which was later identified as the Pecheur Beton, a cargo boat which sailed under the Honduran flag. And if you want to be surrounded by all types of interesting marine life, then it is the best spot.

Our team has been diving Pecheur Breton, known to divers by the endearment name the Cargo Wreck, since 2006. And since the first dive took place on the very last day of the year 2006, the team has seen the changes this ship underwent over the next 1.5 decades or so. They were even honoured to meet Elvis and Priscilla - the giant Stingray couple, Ray Charles – the Eagle ray, and many other residents of the wreck.

During this dive, the team also met with the mass mutilated debris on the deck side of the ship and two lifeboats resting soundlessly at 32 meters next to its mothership. The deck is punctured by two sizable booms that jut upward and toward the surface.

After diving into the wreck for the first time on 31/12/2006, our team was able to pinpoint this wreck to be none other than Pecheur Breton based on the length of the ship, last known location, matching features, etc., which matches the two scenes together. The identification was confirmed on 01/09/2012.

15/07/2013 - While the team was extensively researching the ship, they also came to know Louis Houtermans, a Netherlands sailor who took pride in working on the boat during the time it was owned by the N.V. Maatschappij Vriesvaart and called the MV Echo. He was happy to contact the team and wrote to them, and I quote;

"I wish you and your friend divers a happy and safe diving around the Pecheur Breton. For me, the time onboard the Echo was one of the happiest times from my life."

We are greatly honored to hear the stories from Louis Houtermans and wish him all the best!

During another dive to the wreck on 31/08/2013, we noticed that the monsoon had changed the wreck entirely. A part of the hull collapsed, and a massive swim-through, a hole in the middle of the ship, was opened. It was a shock at first, but the excitement of swimming through the hull of the ship did more than make up for it, entirely altering the experience of diving here after being down in the neighborhood for over seven years.

Once you are down there, we can guarantee you some beautiful sights of the royal couple, Elvis and Prescilla, Charles, more Giant Stingrays, Big Groupers, Eagle Rays, Dolphins, Fusiliers, Snappers, Groupers, Lionfish, Scorpionfish, Batfish, many other large shoals of fish making bait balls to escape any predators. And if you dive in the right season, which is march / April, you may even be lucky enough to witness the giants of the ocean, especially Whale sharks.


The wreck resides on the ocean bed on its StarBoard side – right side – which touchdown at 33 m. you will sometimes have to endure strong currents around the wreck, especially when exploring the deck. The Port side, which you will come in contact with first, can be reached at 20 m below the surface.

And this 90-meter-long reefer ship, Pecheur Breton, breathed its last on July 1st, 1994, while voyaging to an Indian Scraping yard from Seychelles due to a leak. Since then, as you must have already understood, the life below water has welcomed it into its warm embrace. And if you dive down here on a great day, you will notice that the visibility is great, ranging around 20 to 25 meters, letting you absorb the panoramic scene unfolding in front of you at its best.

The massive size of the wreck and the depth in which it lies will cap your time down here to a maximum of 40 minutes. But that will be just enough to explore the hull and the entire exterior of it while being surrounded by its residential marine life. 

You will be amazed at how intact and lifelike this ship is, yet so close to completely losing its shape and welcoming death and dereliction. But after all, you must be ready to face all these feelings when you are rolling back from a deck of a boat into the great unknown.

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