Dive the Taprobane North Wreck

Thanks to its world-class collection of shipwrecks, Sri Lanka is a top location for your shipwreck diving adventures. With more than 120 shipwrecks, Sri Lanka is quickly advancing to the top spot in South East Asia for shipwreck diving. And people from all around the world are flying to this miniature island on the Indian ocean to experience all the amazement and sceneries the land, as well as the waters, have to offer.

The ocean surrounding the country is as diverse and rich in history and culture as the nation. The nation was an essential stop along the old Silk Road hence a fundamental reason why so many ships sailed in the oceans close to Sri Lanka.

There are 300-year-old shipwrecks on the sea floor off Sri Lanka. You can anticipate seeing distinctive reefs, a wide range of aquatic lifeforms, and lost stories about the ships when diving here. Who knows? You may even be able to unearth long-lost mysteries submerged deep beneath the water.

The Thaprobane North Wreck is one of the famous spots in Colombo where local and international divers are interested in diving. In this location, at a depth of around 40 meters, is the steamship Perseus' wreck. German minelayers sank the commerce ship, which was armed, in 1917 during World War I under the German commerce raider SMS Wolf's instructions. Since then, mother nature has done its job and welcomed this artificial wreak with open arms.

The wrecked ship's well-protected environment has attracted a wide variety of marine life. There are a lot of soft corals and fish in the vicinity, including groupers, snappers, napoleons, and trevallies. You may visit this submerged metal monster by diving or swimming there to witness the power of nature.

From Mount Lavinia, Colombo, you must take a 20-kilometer boat trip directly to the West, which would take you at least two hours to reach the diving site. The ocean bed in this location is made up of white sand, and right in the middle of the ocean floor, you will see a massive dark form gradually becoming visible as you dive further down from the surface

This location was 35 meters deep. The shattered remains of this enormous ship will tower over your heads from both sides and a great distance away. The colossal metal structure that is towering far above you hides so many mysteries. The mountain-like form would begin slowly taking shape as you swam over the bent and mangled wreckage, revealing its true self.

Nearly perfect vision around the ship will allow you to see the boat as it towered majestically over you at least by 10 meters. A clear and unobstructed swim-through leads to the other side. You will swim against a light current that will grow stronger as you near the ship and the stern's exposed holes. Most likely, the compression is caused by water pouring through these exposed holes.

The ship's propeller may look smaller compared to the large shadow created by the ship on the ocean floor, but as you swim around and keep getting closer, you will truly understand how big it is. Two of the prop wings had buried themselves in the dunes. There are two who are still there and are in excellent shape, coated in vibrant coral.

Once you turn around and swim back toward amidships, ascending over the modest incline that this enormous ship's hull presented, you will notice the sizable shoal of Yellow Striped Snappers surrounding the area. It is rather a large school of snappers, and it will run around the wreck as if they are doing a routine security check around the wreck. The bottom time is constrained at this depth. It repeatedly encountered this harsh irony in the sea.

Mr. Dharshana Jayawardena took a solo dive to the wreck on the second dive since finding the wreck on
13/03/2011. The following information is derived from his experience.

The fish population is abundant, as usual, on both sides of the wreck. A sizable school of snappers surrounds the wreck, enclosing it in a pulsating cocoon of protection. You may also come across trevally, Napoleons and watch a stingray swim down on the sand living their lives in their natural habitat.

On the right side of the ship, where the bow is, in places where the hull has disintegrated, enormous fractures and crevices can be seen. Undoubtedly, these are the after-effects we can still see years after the collapse. It is an old ship. According to a senior local fisherman who gave us info about this wreck, this ship was taking its turn around the country when he began fishing in the late 1960s.

It has been unable to identify this ship definitively based on prior documents, as the Perseus, which sank in 1917, 10 miles west of Colombo. Our teams at Dive Sri Lanka thoroughly examined the stern region in two 22-minute tech dives. They were able to take pictures of significant features that eventually enabled us to determine that this was indeed the Perseus that sank in 1917. These tech dives were scheduled and took place on 11/02/12 and 18/02/12.

Several pictures of the steering quadrant, The massive rudder (from above and under),  the port side, the masts, Close up pictures of the wheel, etc., were captured.

The date, 09/03/2019, was very special to our team because, after years and years of explorations and several technical dives, they could identify the ship as the SS Perseus, which belonged to the Blue Funnel Line, to be exact, with solid concrete proof. Mr. Dharshana Jayawardena alone spent hundreds of hours underwater examining this wreck at depths of 40M. But since they were not able to retrieve any conclusive evidence as to what this ship was, the mission was at the brim of being discarded as an unidentified shipwreck with a name assigned to it.

But on the very last day, miraculously, like a silver line in a heavy dark cloud, Mr. Dharshana Jayawardena decided to explore the area south of the foremast in the front of the ship. After spending approximately one hour and forty minutes on CCR, he was able to retrieve the bell of the ship that confirmed the suspicions that this was the SS Perseus, sunk by the Wolf just days after the SS Worcestershire in February 1917 by the same commander.

With the discovery in hand, the day was concluded. The bell from the SS Worcestershire and the Perseus was handed over to the maritime Archaeology Unit (MAU) in Galle.

So if our Titanic is enthusiastic, Come and visit Taprobane North Wreck. You can watch the wrecks of an old ship which is very adventurous. The Taprobane North Wreck is a charming and enjoyable location.

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