Diving is a fascinating experience that allows us to explore natural wonders such as coral reefs, geological formations, and diverse wildlife. But we can also dive on human creations that have failed and gone to the bottom of the sea, such as wrecks.
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For wreck diving enthusiasts, there is nothing like the thrill of swimming through the rusting wreckage of a sunken ship, whether it is a World War II battleship or a modern cruise ship, the world's oceans are home to incredible wrecks, steeped in history and full of underwater life that has used the wreckage to create an artificial reef.
Whether you are a wreck diving enthusiast or just looking for an unforgettable adventure, we have compiled a list of the top 5 wrecks in the world that you should dive before you die.
1. SS Thistlegorm. Red Sea, Egypt
The SS Thistlegorm is a wreck located in the Red Sea, northeast of Shag Rock, at a depth of between 10 and 32 meters. It is probably one of the most visited wrecks in the world. Among its main attractions is diving among motorcycles, gumboots, weapons, airplane wings, trucks or locomotives. And among the fauna sheltered in the wreck are giant moray eels, stonefish, bat fish, box shrimp, clownfish sheltered among anemones, box fish, lionfish or scorpion fish.
The SS Thistlegorm was a British Navy freighter that, at 126 meters long and nearly 8,000 tons, carried 4,000 tons of war equipment to supply the army in the campaign in North Africa during World War II. On the night of October 5, 1941, a few miles from the Suez Canal, she was bombed by two Luftwaffe Heinkels trying to sink the Queen Mary, which was carrying soldiers to fight in North Africa. When the German planes spotted the SS Thistlegorm, they did not hesitate to drop two single bombs, which, aided by the fuel and ammunition in the ship's holds, sank the freighter forever. They created one of the most attractive wrecks in the world, but took the lives of 9 of the nearly 50 crew members.
The wreck was discovered 14 years later, in 1955, by Captain Cousteau, who found the bell bearing the inscription "S.S. THISTLEGORM, GLASGOW", as you can see in this video.
2. Numidia. Red Sea, Egypt
The Numidia was a British cargo ship that was one of the largest and most advanced ships of its time, measuring 140 meters in length. Today the Numidia is an extraordinary vertical wreck of great value, as both the most experienced technical divers and the less experienced can enjoy the indescribable sensation of diving in this historic wreck. From a depth of only 10 meters, we can begin to penetrate its corridors, visit the bridge in good condition and reach the deck, the limit area for recreational divers. Hammerheads and gray sharks, carpets of corals, lionfish, big snappers, barracudas, humphead wrasse...
The Numidia is in a good state of conservation and has a lot of varied life. Technical divers can go down to 80 meters and enter the engine room, while recreational divers will find in this wreck the mixture of history and adrenaline that is diving on sunken ships. More than a century under the waters of the Red Sea has made this wreck one of the most vibrant and diverse.
The Numidia left Liverpool on July 6, 1901, bound for Calcutta with a cargo of 7,000 tons and a crew of 97. After running aground on Big Brother Island, the ship began to take on water. After receiving help from various ships, the crew had no choice but to abandon the ship in the face of its inexorable sinking, which took place gradually over a period of 7 weeks.
3. Haven. Arenzano, Italy
The MT Haven is the largest wreck in the world, located between 33 and 83 meters deep and very popular with technical divers. The wreck is over 300 meters long and is home to a variety of life, from large pelagics to shrimp, giant moray eels and lobsters.
The Amoco Milford Haven, better known as the Haven, was an oil tanker that sank off the coast of Genoa in 1991 with more than a million barrels of oil. After an explosion and subsequent fire, the ship sank after three days in flames. The explosion, which split the ship in two, killed five crew members on the spot and left more than 50,000 tons of crude oil at sea. It took twelve years of hard work to clean up the disaster and make the wreck safe for diving. A luxury that shows how the sea is capable of creating life in places where it seems impossible.
4. Cormoran II and Tokai Maru. Guam, USA
Cormoran II & Tokai Maru briefing
The main attraction of the two wrecks is that they literally touch each other... but they were sunk 26 years apart. One in World War I and the other in World War II.
Cormoran II was launched in 1909 as Rjasan, a Russian passenger and cargo freighter built in a German shipyard. After the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the Rjasan was captured by German troops in the North Pacific and taken to the port of Qingdao in northern China.
There she was converted into an auxiliary cruiser and renamed Cormoran II. After several battles and being threatened by a Japanese battleship, she took refuge with her cargo of coal in the port of Apra, Guam. At that time, Guam was an American zone, and after the United States declared war on Germany, the captain of Cormoran II decided to sink the ship to avoid falling into enemy hands.
Like the Cormorant, the Tokai Maru was originally built as a passenger and cargo ship and was the largest and most luxurious Japanese ship built until 1939. In 1941, she was recruited by the Imperial Japanese Navy to transport weapons and troops. She faithfully performed her assigned task, helping to increase the Japanese presence in much of the Pacific, including Guam, which was taken from the Americans in December 1941.
By 1943, the Japanese had no choice but to defend themselves and anchored the Tokai Maru in Apra Harbor to hide from enemy submarines. After weeks of siege in the harbor, several American torpedoes sank the ship to a depth of 36 meters and it ended up next to the Cormoran II. In perfect condition and suitable for both technical and advanced sport diving, it has holds full of history: armaments, elements of daily life, spare parts...
5. HMS Victoria. Tripoli, Libano
The HMS Victoria is a wreck of great archaeological value, not only because of its tragic history, but also because it still retains in good condition what made it the most advanced warship of its time. Cannons, turrets, shells, safety elements in case of accidents, heavy weapons and even the dishes, light bulbs and elements of daily life of her crew. Diving to the HMS Victoria is only possible through the most technical diving, in fact it is one of the most sought after destinations for this type of diving.
HMS Victoria was a marvel of nautical innovation. 100 meters long and armed with more than 30 guns, she was the flagship of the Royal Navy patrolling the Mediterranean. She was equipped with the most powerful turrets in existence at the time, making her virtually indestructible in a naval confrontation. Her participation in securing the Indo-British route through the Suez Canal was vital, and her disappearance was a great moral defeat for the most powerful navy.
HMS Victoria and the warship Camperdown accidentally collided during the usual maneuvers to practice for possible attacks, creating a gap of more than 9 square meters in the Victoria, which sank her in less than 20 minutes.
One of the main attractions of this wreck, sunk more than 120 years ago, is its position on the seabed. Nailed vertically, it is one of the few wrecks in this position that can be visited. Today it lies off the coast of Tripoli, 80 meters from the collision site, 150 meters deep and 30 meters buried in a sandy seabed.