It has been years since I dreamed of diving to admire one of the many shipwrecks immersed at the bottom of the seas or oceans around the world, frozen in time, almost eternal. Less than 1% of wreckages around the world have been explored, and the value of the riches sitting at the bottom of the abyss is estimated to be worth over $60 billion! While these numbers leave you wondering, they are not the reason why I dream to dive at shipwreck sites. Some of the wreckages have merged with the environment and have turned into some of the most beautiful diving spots in the world. Decimated in the four corners of the world, these wrecks are as many exceptional destinations in which my passion for sailing, shipwrecks, and diving mingle; what more could I ask for!? Amongst the shipwrecks most accessible to amateur divers, the following are the ones I have researched online and that I promised myself to visit one day:
THE ZENOBIA – MEDITERRANEAN SEA – CYPRUS:
Built in 1978 by the Swedish shipyard Kockums Varv, the Zenobia is a 561-foot long roll-on roll-off ship mostly used to transport vehicles. It is following a series of navigational equipment failures and bad decisions taken by the crew and wreckers who tried saving the vessel that the Zenobia ended at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea at less than 1.5 miles away from the port of Larnaca in Cyprus. The wreck now rests on its left flank, 42 meters deep up to 16 meters at her shallowest and is therefore accessible to all divers, experimented or amateur. The diving spot the Zenobia offers is as well an excellent spot to obtain the Advanced Open Water diving certificate.
P29 PATROL BOAT – MEDITERRANEAN SEA – MALTA:
The P29, called initially the Boltenhagen, built in 1969, was initially used for patrolling and mine sweeping along the coasts of midst divided Germany. The boat is disarmed after the reunification of both Germanies in 1989 but continues to patrol. It is in 1997 that the Maltese Navy acquires the ship, renames her P29 and assigns her to their armed flotilla where she fulfills missions, amongst others, to fight against smuggling networks. The P29 is finally entrusted to the Maltese tourist authorities in 2004 who intend to scuttle it to create an artificial reef ideal for diving. The ship is sunk in 2007 less than a mile away from the port of Cirkewa in Malta. Accessible to divers of all levels, diving schools in the region still require an advanced open water certificate to allow enjoying the entire shipwreck.
THE SS THISTLEGORM – RED SEA – EGYPT:
Probably one of the most famous shipwrecks in the world, the Thislegorm is 413-foot long cargo ship loaded with military equipment from World War II. Sunk in 1941 by two German bombers, only a year after its construction, the wreckage, rediscovered by the Commandant Cousteau, is now one of the world’s most famous diving sites. Divers can admire the ship’s weaponry including a machine gun and an antiaircraft cannon, as well as the military equipment such as jeeps, Bedford trucks, 2 LMS Stainer Class F8 Locomotives, and more, still inside and around the Thislegorm. I can’t wait to see this one!
IJN FUJIKAWA MARU – CHUUK LAGOON – MICRONESIA:
Chuuk Lagoon is the final resting place of more than 100 ships, planes, and submarines resulting of a deadly naval battle during World War II between the Japanese Imperial Naval Forces and Allied aircraft carriers. The lagoon is now considered as an underwater museum of war history and the site as wells as all the wrecks, object and artifacts found there are protected by law. Amongst this ocean of wreckage and historical treasures, the wreck of the IJN Fujikawa Maru is probably the most impressive. Sunk in 1944 during “Operation Hailstone” responsible for the destruction of most of the Japanese Imperial fleet and most of the wrecks found in Chuuk Lagoon, the Fujikawa Maru rests straight on its keel. Nature has appropriated the wreckage that is now inhabited by a multitude of fishes and is covered with coral. The wreck is accessible from 9 meters deep and divers who have the chance to visit it can admire the vestiges of the commanding deck, engine room, fighter jets, and more.
KEY WEST – FLORIDA – UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
Key West, the southernmost island part of the Florida Key archipelago is the final resting place of hundreds of shipwrecks attracting thousands of divers every year. The site is also one of the most active treasure hunting areas in the world! There isn’t a specific shipwreck I want to see in particular, I just want to visit Key West and enjoy diving in as many spots as possible.
I think there is nothing more exciting than diving and exploring a wreck while she is still resting on the seabed. I’m looking forward to diving in Florida, off the island of Key West, or who knows, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to make a fortune by picking one of the treasures still buried under the abyss.