1. The Conch - Depth: 12 to 21 Meters. Boat time: 45 min
The conch was built for the Shell company in 1892 by Famous ship builder Stockton.On the fateful day,3rd June 1903, 11 years later while sailing from Novosirrisk,en route to Madras,she struck the Akarta rock(Also known as Akurala reef,or Parsi Rock),of the coast of Hikkaduwa.Loaded with Oil,the collision was fatal,and she sank swiftly,spilling her load of oil into the ocean,and came to rest against the rock,which stands like headstone at her open grave.A major disaster at that time,but a boon to Ship wreck enthusiasts today!
One of our more exciting dive sites,and full of pleasant surprises,for the fun loving enthusiast!
The large area of the site ,in and around the wreck are littered with plenty of boulder,and crannies teeming with marine life.While it is understood ,that it it could be dangerous for Open water divers to penetrate wrecks,one can enter,a section of the cabin,and exit from the other side,accompanied by a Dive Master.There is always the risk of entanglement,or cutting one self,as some of the openings are small,so move with extreme caution.On positive side there is virtually no silt.
Large fish like the grouper,and other rock species,seek refuge in the wreck,and flee when divers penetrate this derelict structure!
Apart from the relatively intact hull,one can see the usual debris,of transmission parts and barrels,and other interesting remnants,that litter the terrain,The Conch is full of fish life!
Snappers,Angel fish ,porcupine fish,Puffer fish,The large Titan trigger fish,Giant Moray,and plenty of invertebrate species as well.
The area around the bottom,is a garden of Fauna,and flora,with rocks covered with soft coral in beautiful pastel shades,Purple Gorgonia,amidst waving red sea fan,and parts of the wreck littering the sandy bottom!
This dive is a definite “must”,for the wreck diving enthusiast!Its average depth,and variety,gives the diver plenty of “breathing space”.
3. Earl of Shaftesbury - Depth: 12-14 Meters, Boat time: 35 min
This old British iron Sail shipwreck,lying on sandy bottom,has suffered the visits of salvagers ,as well as the vicissicitudes of time, but significant portions of it are still intact and is an easy fun dive!
Forged in the shipyards of Ramage and Ferguson in Leith,this 2100 ton Iron Sail four master,85 meters long and13 meters wide,and a height of 7 meters,was owned by D. Brown & Sons .
On a fateful day in May of 1893,The EOS,skippered by captain R.Irvine,was en-route To Diamond Isle from Bombay,when it capsized off the shores of Hikkaduwa/Akurala and came to rest on sandy bottom,not far from the future grave site of the Conch.
Today almost 125 yrs later,Beautiful remnants of this wreck lies scattered over a flat sandy terrain,at 15 Meters,and provides for an absolutely fantastic fun dive.
The Hull section,with some of the masts and sides of the cabin are easily visible to this day!With good visibility,the wreck becomes a very scenic dive site,with a rather surreal quality!The wreck,is generally inhabited,by large sting rays,Groupers,schools of snapper,Lion fish,and porcupine fish.
The shallow depth allows for a good hour of exploration and one can cover almost all of the wreck and the surrounding terrain!.Fun for the photographer,and provides for scenic Wide Angle shots.
5. Kiralagala - Depth: 20 to 40 Meters, Boat time: 10 min
Right at the edge of the recreational diving limit,this is a must dive.Accessible only to divers with Advanced Open Water accreditation,or PADI DEEP DIVER Specialty course experience.This site is proliferate with specie from the Pelagic,to the demersal,and and many kinds of coral and anemones.
As you descend slowly,the first impression is an explosion of silver as the shoals of Cardinal,pilchard and sardine,rush up to greet the diver.And as you break through the excited shoals ,you feel a sense of trepidation as the great mountain of rock rises up to greet you.
Kiralagala,is a rocky formation of several pillars and pinnacles,clustered together,and some spreading out around the base. Like mountains with boulders cascading down their slopes.As one sinks deeper, trepidation mounts,as you pass the thirty meter mark and approach the 40 meter mark,at the base.As one goes down ,one can experience the changing,light and the varied specie of under water Fauna and flora.As you have only 5-8 mins at the base,a swift look around, and one will notice the grouper,peering warily,and the squid floating languidly over the sandy bottom,and banded snake in sinuous,synchronicity! Grotto,and alleyways open out ,with their resident species,of moray!Soft corals in pastel shades,of orange and pink,decorate the surrounding! Mollusc and tube worm laden whip coral,snake up to the light,and sea fans,waving, amidst the ghostly white Black coral trees,are a vivid part of the landscape.
Watching the clock,we start a slow ascent,up the rocky face, gliding through the alleyways,as we maximise our dive time.Banner fish,and moorish idol,come out to escort us,and the shoals of sweet-lip,lay out the welcome mat!Parrot fish,glide by ,leaving their trail ,and wrasse,call out their cleaning services,like children,competing ,at the wash!And the Angel fish,and imperious Moorish idol,escorted by Banner fish!
A closer look into the fissures ,and one will see,so many invertebrate specie,The Pantherina,and the Tigris cowrie,and the ever present palma rosa.Plus the “blanket”, and other anemone species.
Worlds within worlds,as the inquisitive Blenny,pokes out a cautious eye,and Octopus ,clamber over corals.Triggers dart,and shoals of Antheas and,apogon,mill around.
Tearing one eyes away from this spectacle,a look outwards and we can see,the CruisingTrevally,Mackerel,and barracuda!and maybe a cautious black tip shark,or two,checking out the commotion!An eagle ray,in flight mode,or the great Manta….but time calls and we ascend up the face of this majestic promontory,with a sense of loss!’I want more” screams in your head,but, TIME CALLS!!, and safety and training,are brought to bear.And the last stop check ups ,and “head,fingers and toes” count,which is all part of the complete divers world, takes over!And we float to the surface,with a final glimpse of a threesome of dog-tooth tuna,asking the question!TO BE OR NOT TO BE??
A WORD OF CAUTION,TO THE SCUBA DIVER!Our world, takes your breath away,but never hold your breath!Remember to breath regularly at all times!
And for those who are riding their luck,that gentle giant of the deep.The whale shark has been known .to drop by.
This is a “must repeat ,dive”!!!Not just an “I’ve been there, dive!!Too much to see in one go!
6. The Black Coral Point - Depth: 17 to 31 Meters, Boat time: 7 min
This rock complex is our deepest dive close to the shore. As its name implies, it is covered with
A profusion of Black coral trees and populated with an abundance of small sea creatures! An ideal site for the macro enthusiast.
Being close to the shore, strong swells and a sweeping current ,can be expected, and a dusty haze can develop, but clears enough, to take your breath away, once the panorama of this dive site becomes visible.
A vast complex of Boulders loom menacingly and rocky caverns, proliferate with reef species, grabs the attention! The ghostly sight of the white black coral trees which sprout in profusion, comes into view, while a myriad of smaller species of crab, Bandit shrimp, Moray eels, small groupers, Puffer, Surgeon, and trigger fish, dart and swirl around the branches. Several cleaning stations, among the rocky crevices with their resident cleaner wrasse, and visiting larger fish with their gills wide spread seeking attention, can be encountered.
With so much to distract the diver, it would be advisable to keep ones wits and pay constant attention to training and safety procedures, while exploring this amazing sub-terrain.
DIVE SAFELY, WITH DIVE FOR YOU!
7. Off Coral Gardens - Depth: 6-14 Meters. (Depth increases as you head to the west), Boat time: 5 min
The closest and most famous of our dive sites!Just 5mins boat ride from Hikka Tranz,this is one of the most relaxing dive experience,one can have.It’s shallow depth,gives the diver plenty of time to explore this beautiful site.This beautiful garden of coral,mostly in flaming red,and saffron coloured coral,has caves and valleys,teeming with many varieties of fauna.
One can observe,Moray eels,puffer and porcupine fish,slugs and several crustacean species like shrimp and lobster,and the occasional Octopus,and squid!
PLEASE REMEMBER TO BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL NOT TO DAMAGE THE DELICATE CORAL!
11. Goda Gala - Depth: 8 to 26 Meters. Boat time: 20 min
Located south of Black coral point, is this multi-level complex, of Rock and cascading boulders.
Seemingly dull to the first view, one must move slowly and look carefully, and the resident life becomes visible. Honey comb moray eel, crabs crawling over acropora coral, Antheas, nudi branch and other smaller species, inhabit the grottos and crevices.
KEEP YOUR GUIDE WITHIN YOUR PERIPHERAL VISION AND KEEP YOUR MOVEMENTS SLOW BUT DELIBERATE! more info
17. Sunil Gala - Depth: 4 to 18 Meters, Boat time: 12 min
This an interesting dive site,south of the Coral gardens and closer to the shore than Goda Gala!Another multi-level complex of rocky boulders and overhanging pinnacles,one can range from a depth of 18 Meters to the shallow 4 meters.It could be challenging to the diver,to maintain stability,in the relentless surge,but if the diver can get a good hold(which is difficult with two fingers),one can observe the the several specie of fish,wash away and back toward you,at quite a speed!
The fish life is quite interesting,and one can watch the Angel fish,surgeon fish,Trigger and box fish,getting swished away uncontrollably in the many long crevices.You could also spot some,occasional Nudi branch and flatworms!
ALWAYS BE CAREFUL NOT TO DAMAGE ANY CORAL,WHILE CONTROLLING YOUR MOVEMENTS IN THE SURGE!
Tunatta - Depth: 13M, Boat time: 15 Mins by boat!
South of the coral gardens this is a very shallow dive and due to its proximity to the shore is subjected to some surge. Be prepared for some finning!
The Rock formation itself can be rather interesting, with a several places to swim through! The fish life is average, however the diver, will encounter Lobsters, Boxfish and Porcupine fish!
USE THE SURGE TO ENHANCE YOUR MOVEMENTS! USE TWO FINGERS TO GET A GRIP ONLY WHEN NECESSARY!
A multilevel rock complex with lots of underground caves. Proceed with caution into the caves as entrapment is a possibility on the low overhanging. Recommended for experienced divers.