The Top Ten Wreck Dives in the World

While navigating giant metal scrapyards might sound rather... underwhelming, stay with us as we can assure you wreck diving is far from ordinary. History buffs (and everyone else, for that matter) can become suspended in time exploring the underwater museums of Second World War wrecks, while marine aficionados and coral devotees can rest easy as these hulking structures form artificial reefs; there is something to pique every interest. But if you need more anchoraging (sorry), discover the top ten wreck dives across the world.
1. SS Thistlegorm, Red Sea, Egypt

The British armed freighter SS Thistlegorm had only taken three voyages before it was sunk by German bomber planes in the early hours of 6th October 1941. Today, she rests at a max depth of 30 metres in the northern Red Sea and is only reached by liveaboard. But it's worth the voyage as divers will see relics of the past, from ammunition to motorbikes, alongside batfish, barracuda, tuna, turtles and more.

2. San Francisco Maru, Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia

One of the casualties of Operation Hailstone in World War Two, San Francisco Maru is an underwater museum of wartime artefacts, from mines and guns to tanks and bombs, providing an eerie insight into the past. The wreck itself rests between 42 and 64 metres so divers will need their deep diver and wreck specialities, but it's definitely worth it - trust us.

3. Fujikawa Maru, Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia

Another one from Chuuk Lagoon, the Fujikawa Maru rests from nine down to 33 metres, making it suited to both open water and experienced divers. Originally a passenger and cargo ship, the wreck's largest draw is its air compressor which looks strikingly similar to Star Wars' R2D2. Divers can also explore the engine room and parts of Zero planes.

4. Hilma Hooker, Bonaire

It was the summer of '84 that the Hilma Hooker was discovered stashed with over 25,000 pounds of marijuana in Bonaire. The ship was consequently impounded and anchored next to the dive site Angel City, where five days later it met its watery demise. Today, divers can explore the coral encrusted wreck straight from the shore, as well as two neighbouring coral reefs.

5. USS Liberty, Bali, Indonesia

The easiest wreck dive in the world, the USS Liberty is located a mere 30 metres offshore from Tulamben in east Bali and rests at a shallow depth of five metres down to 30, making her perfect for both snorkellers and divers alike. The ship, measuring a whopping 120 metres in length, is carpeted in both hard and soft corals that harbour a huge variety of marine life, from ghost pipefish to frog fish, bumphead parrotfish and turtles. Insider tip: dive her early in the morning or in the late afternoon to avoid the crowds.

6. SS Yongala, Australia

Nicknamed Australia's Titanic, the SS Yongala sank in 1911 after being caught in a cyclone off the coast of Queensland. Measuring 110 metres in length (making her Australia's largest wreck), the SS Yongala lay undiscovered for more than half a century, making her one of the best-preserved wrecks today. Everything about the wreck is supersized, be it the towering structures of coral that sprout across the ship to the huge schools of fish that cloud the structure, alongside eagle rays, turtles, barracuda, sea snakes... you get the gist.

7. Bianca C, Grenada, Caribbean

One of the most famous wrecks in the Caribbean, the Bianca C has a chequered past having been bombed by Germans in World War Two, re-launched as La Marseillaise, a luxury cruise ship, being sold to Panama under a new name, Arosa Sky, sold back to an Italian family who named the boat Bianca C, and eventually sinking after catching fire off St George in Grenada. Today, divers can explore the 180-metre long coral encrusted vessel, looking out for eagle rays, eels, parrotfish and more. The wreck reaches a maximum depth of 50 metres so is suited to advanced divers.

8. The Iro Maru, Palau

Another casualty of World War Two, the Iro Maru was one of ten in a fleet of Shiretoko class freighters before meeting her watery demise on 31 March 1944 during Operation Desecrate. The vessel lies upright at 40 metres and is scattered with relics from the past, including ammunition, guns and even gas masks.

9. Okikwa, Coron, The Philippines

One of the World War Two casualties of Coron Bay, Okikwa's deck lies at 12 metres, making her suited for open water and advanced divers. The wreck extends 160 metres and is 20 metres wide, meaning divers can enter the wreck to explore its coral encrusted interior, looking out for all manner of macro life, anemonefish and so much more.

10. Wreck MV Karwela, Gozo

Reaching a maximum depth of 30 metres, the 48 metre ex-floating disco MV Karwela was scuttled in 2006. Spanning three floors, divers can penetrate the wreck to see the grand central staircase, while out on the sun-deck there is a rather unusual Volkswagen Beetle shell - all in crystal clear visibility.

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Jacqui is our 'The Top Ten Wreck Dives in the World' expert and as a seasoned traveller has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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