There is something incredibly intoxicating about the idea of diving into a ship left abandoned on the floor of the ocean.
Explorer Barry Clifford recently discovered the ruins of the Santa Maria, the long lost ship of Christopher Columbus, off the coast of Haiti.
Clifford is hoping to raise the ruins of the Santa Maria so that tourists can enjoy them in a museum … on land.
But what about those of us who want to see these wrecks in their natural habitats? Where can we go to dive deep within the corridors of time preserved in briny water?
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt - SS Thistlegorm
Built in 1940, the SS Thistlegorm is a 126-meter merchant vessel sunk by German bomber planes during World War II and now located in the shallows of the Straits of Gubal in the Northern Red Sea and accessible by daytrip from Sharm el-Sheikh.
The wreck was discovered in the early 1950s by Jacques Cousteau using tales from the local fishermen. She lies at a depth of 30 meters along a sandy floor with her cargo of trucks and motorbikes still largely intact. The dive is safe for more experienced divers and contains a multitude of wildlife, in addition to the wreckage.
Bermuda - L’Herminie
This three-masted, 60-gun wooden man-of-war was on her way to France when she crashed into one of the shallow reefs off the Bermuda coast in the early 19th century. A dive of 35 feet allows you to see her 25 cannons littered along the sea floor.
Palau - Amatsu Maru
Nicknamed the Black Coral Wreck for the forests of black coral covering its exterior, this oil tanker is the largest shipwreck in Micronesia and the deepest Japanese wreck in Palau. It rests upright at 130 feet. This one is for advanced divers only with wreck-dive credentials and the help of a dive conductor to navigate the somewhat precarious structure.
Townsville, Australia - SS Yongala
Located close to the Great Barrier reef, the SS Yongala was a 109-meter luxury passenger ship felled by a cyclone in 1911. The Yongala Express dive boat can get you in and out of the wreckage in under three hours.
Grand Bahama Island - Theo’s Wreck
A purposefully sunk 70-foot wreckage, this 228-foot Norwegian cargo ship is located just 1.5 miles off the coast of Grand Bahama’s Silver Point, making it the perfect dive site for beginner and experienced divers. The wreck lays on its port side, between a deep reef and a 110-foot drop-off.