Sunken shipwrecks are some of the most challenging and thrilling dive opportunities in the ocean, bursting with historical relics and information from times long past. But a ship needn’t have sunk to the depths through tragedy to make it an interesting dive, as we’re about to illustrate with these five wrecks that are some of the best artificial wreck dives in the world.
The USS Oriskany offers the one of the world’s largest and best artificial wreck dives. Located off the shores of Pensacola, Florida, the USS Oriskany is a sunken aircraft carrier that endured both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, collecting twelve battle stars in the process. The wreck is a favorite exploration site for humans and animals alike, replete with schools of game and tropical fish weaving around among sea turtles, ocean sunfish, dolphins, sharks, and more.
James Bond Wrecks
A must-do dive site for any movie fan, the James Bond Wrecks is what remains of a movie set for Never Say Never and Thunderball. The Tears of Allah is still large and intact enough to allow divers to explore its interior, while the nearby Vulcan Bomber, submerged for over 30 years, is now a skeleton teeming with coral seafans, sponges and fishlife. The history of the site combined with the easy diving conditions makes it one of the best artificial wreck dives for novices.
Thanks to the efforts of the San Diego Oceans Foundation, this Canadian Mackenzie Class Destroyer was sunk in 2000 off the shores of Mission Beach, California. The 366 -foot long ship boasts plenty of easy access sites for divers who want to explore its cavernous interiors, which contain the world’s first underwater art gallery.
Sunk in December 1992 by the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia, the HMCS Chaudiere is one of the most popular dive sites in Canada. Octopi, fish and other underwater guests have made themselves comfortable in various compartments, while the ship’s hull has been taken over by plumose anemone and tunicates.
For divers who have a historical bent, Bikini Island is certainly one of the best artificial wreck dives in the world. Emptied due to nuclear testing done during World War II, Bikini Atoll is the community’s attempt to attract tourists to the island. No less than nine untouched ships dot the ocean’s floor here, all of which are safe for exploration.