5 Destinations for Shipwreck Diving in India

Submerged shipwreck sites across Goa, Andhra Pradesh or Lakshadweep draw in divers eager to explore the depths of oceans teeming with life amidst ruins.

Please login to bookmark

India’s vast coastline makes it favourable for underwater adventures. Photo by: Luet/Shutterstock

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Underneath the surface of the deep blue exists a marine world, much of which waits to be discovered. While deep sea diving has become a popular pastime along India’s 7,516-kilometre coastline, exploring sunken vessels in the ocean depths is a rare rush. However, myriad domestic diving sites offer a heady cocktail of legends, mysteries, and history that swirl around the wreckage. The once lively crafts are reduced to rusty skeletal remains sleeping on the seabed, where schools of fish play peek-a-boo in their abandoned corners.

We handpick five Indian destinations where you can drop anchor and plunge into the underwater world of shipwrecks.

Goa

5 Destinations For Shipwreck Diving In India

Moving away from the shores (top), wreck diving in Indian waters comes with a chance to encounter rich marine life (bottom). Photos by: Lena Serditova/Shutterstock (beach), Richard Whitcombe/Shutterstock (fishes)

A 425-foot cargo ship popularly known as Suzy’s Wreck, which rests near Grande Island, is the site of the submerged SS Rita. The U.K.-built vessel was believed to be carrying railroad tracks when it got caught in a storm and capsized sometime in the mid-20th century. Today, the structure is studded with molluscs and corals and its residents include the likes of squid, ray, baby lobster, moorish idol, and moray eel. The shallow depth goes up to a maximum of 40-43 feet, making Suzy’s Wreck ideal for beginners. More challenging is a trip to the nearby yet deeper Davy Jones Locker wreckage—the unnamed ship titled after an idiom for the seabed—though only the location of the stern and propeller is known. barracudadiving.com

 

Puducherry

During February, 2020, word of mouth from local fishermen directed diving outfit Temple Adventures 14 kilometres east of Puducherry’s waters. This led to the discovery of a fishing trawler submerged at a depth of 115 feet, allowing a visibility of 82 feet. Although estimated to have sunk no more than a month before it was found, the vessel was already teeming with groupers, lionfish, black kingfish, and barracuda. Questions about the accident continue to loom. In the meantime, divers are making an effort to clean the debris generated by the wreck. www.templeadventures.com

 

Visakhapatnam

On a winter morning in December, 2017, a scuba diver Balaram Naidu and dive master Anil Kumar ventured 30 kilometres north of the Bheemunipatnam coast—a fishing village about 45 kilometres from Visakhapatnam—and 12 kilometres from the seashore. This particular zone, believed to be the location of the treacherous Santhapalli rocks responsible for innumerable shipwrecks owing to its jagged bed, is shrouded in ghost legends and invites fair warnings from local fishermen. But the diving duo were determined to stay the course, which led them to discover a century-old, 500-foot long cargo ship spread across a 1,640-foot radius. While much of its origin needs to be investigated, this rare unearthing has put Vizag on the scuba diving map. Interestingly, Pakistani submarine INS Ghazi and Japanese submarine Ro-110 were also sunk somewhere near Visakhapatnam, but are off limits for diving. www.liveinadventures.com

 

The Andaman Islands

5 Destinations For Shipwreck Diving In India

Recent discovery of sunken ships have put Visakhapatnam on India’s scuba diving map. Photo by: Abir Roy Barman/Shutterstock

The Andamans offer some of the most sought-after wreck diving sites in the country. Havelock Island, officially Swaraj Island, is the closest point to get to the MV Mars—a small fishing boat that sank off the reef in 2006. The much grander Vinnie’s Wreck (reportedly the SS Inkchett) is recommended for intermediate and experienced divers.

Corruption Rock, ensconced between Chidiya Tapu and Rutland Island, includes canyons, ridges, gullies, and channels where eagle rays, scorpionfish, cleaner shrimp, and unicorn fish roam freely. Inket, a coal-carrying Japanese warship that sank in World War II near Duncan Island, might arguably be the Union Territory’s most famous wreck. The vessel rests on its starboard side, offering clear views of the hatch and cargo hold, and is best suited for advanced divers. www.scubalov.in

 

Lakshadweep

Marine archaeological explorations in 1994 revealed three shipwrecks near Lakshadweep’s Minicoy Island. Frequent accidents on the crescent-shaped atoll propelled the island’s well-known lighthouse to be constructed in 1885. Each of these wrecks is an underwater haven for tropical fauna, such as whitetip and blacktip shark, manta ray, bull ray, turtle, humphead parrot fish, barracuda, and the Napoleon wrasse that weave in and out of reefs, caves, and coral gardens.

Bangaram Islands is the site of Princess Royal shipwreck, a 200-year-old British battleship sunk by the French. The water’s visibility is typically crystal clear in Lakshadweep, ideal conditions to witness ruins that bloom with all of the colourful regalia of ocean life.

 

Note: Before embarking on diving adventures, ensure to complete your shipwreck diver training courses under certified bodies such as the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) or Scuba Diving International. Scuba diving trips are usually shut for the monsoon months from June till September for safety reasons.

 

 

The full feature appeared in the print edition of National Geographic Traveller India January-February 2022.

To read more stories on travel, cities, food, nature, and adventure, head to our web forum here or our new National Geographic Traveller India app here.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T
  • Pooja Naik is Senior Sub-Editor at National Geographic Traveller India. She likes to take long leisurely walks with both hands in her pocket; channeling her inner Gil Pender at Marine Drive since Paris is a continent away.

COMMENTS

Please Login to comment
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE