Arrr, shiver-me-timbers! Is that a shipwreck I spy? From the Red Sea to the South Pacific, shipwrecks make up one of the most fascinating parts of our oceans. Here are 10 of the coolest shipwrecks around the world that you can actually explore for yourself!
1. The Thistlegorm, Northern Red Sea
Originally a British naval ship, the Thistlegorm sunk during World War II after being bombed while crossing the Red Sea on her way to Egypt. Today, divers can explore the wreckage close up and it’s still possible to glimpse trucks, tanks, motorcycles and even locomotives, which all went down with the ship!
2. Truk Lagoon, South Pacific
This lagoon site just near Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s best shipwreck diving sites and contains the wrecks of over 70 Japanese ships and a submarine that all sunk during World War II. If you love a good wreckage, this is definitely one of the most amazing shipwreck experiences you can have in this South Pacific area.
3. SS Yongala, Great Barrier Reef
1911 was the year the Yongala went down in a hurricane just off the coast of Townsville in Queensland, where it lay undiscovered until 1958. Today, the shipwreck is one of the most incredible in the world, having transformed into a beautiful artificial reef where colourful coral and captivating tropical fish dwell.
4. RMS Rhone, British Virgin Islands
Another hurricane victim, the RMS Rhone lost its battle in 1867, going down after crashing on the coast of Salt Island. The Rhone is now one of the Caribbean’s best shipwreck diving sites, thanks to its easy access and shallow resting spot (and the fact that the surrounding area is now a national park). Good detail in the ship can be seen up close, as can stray items like portholes, spanners and even spoons. Night dives are also possible and make for great viewing of the marine wildlife that hangs out near the wreck, including turtles, lobsters and eels.
5. Sweepstakes Schooner, Ontario
In 1885 in Canada, the Sweepstakes schooner boat became damaged while sailing off Cove Island, after which it was towed to Big Tub Harbour, where it finally went under. Today, the wreckage can be viewed just 6 metres below the surface of the water in the Fathom Five National Marine Park in Ontario. It’s possible to boat, swim or dive right up to it and it’s a great wreck to check out if you’re not a qualified diver.
6. Umbria, Red Sea
Originally built as a cruise liner in 1911, the Umbria became a transport ship for Italian troops during World War II and was subsequently sacrificed and deliberately sunk in 1940 to prevent its weapons from falling into the hands of the British. Divers today consider the Umbria one of the best dive sites in the world, with excellent visibility, low depth, minimal erosion and the ability to swim in and out of the wreck as you please.
7. SS President Coolidge, South Pacific
The South Pacific is known for its abundance of marine life and just off the coast of Vanuatu, the SS President Coolidge is a wonder to explore. Having transported troops in World War II, she was sunk by mines and grew to become one of the most popular dive sites in the South Pacific due to her sheer size (she’s the largest wrecked ship in the region) and good visibility. Swimming in and around the wreckage is entirely possible, and artefacts like cannons, Jeeps, fountains, frescoes and chandeliers can be seen inside.