5. Blackjack B17, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea
The Blackjack, a B17 military bomber aircraft made by Boeing is not your usual wreck dive. The flying fortress that now lies about 45 meters deep and the sandy sea bed just off the coast of Papua New Guinea after a bombing mission in Japan. Still intact despite its not so smooth landing, divers can inspect the cockpit, turret guns amidst groupers and other fish. The seats are in place and you can quite easily visualize the pilot and co-pilot in the closing moments of this tough airplane’s war history. Papua New Guinea’s crystal clear waters and this mint condition aircraft wreck make it a topnotch spot to experience.
4. Fujikawa Maru, Truk, Micronesia
Truk Lagoon, Micronesia is a definite must on any serious wreck divers list. It holds the remains of the almost an entire Japanese fleet including 60 shipwrecks and dozens of sunken air crafts destroyed in 1944. Of these many wrecks to choose from the 7,000 ton freighter Fujukawa Maru is notable as one of the best. This specific wreck stands upright in shallow water, making the 437ft wreck pretty accessible. The bridge area with sake bottles, the engine room and wings in the hold covered in soft coral and frequently circled by grey reef makes this a exciting wreck to dive.
3. USS Oriskany, Pensacola, Florida
The former US Navy Aircraft carrier now holds the record as the largest artificial reef in the world. After having served the US Navy in both Korea and Vietnam, the 900 foot, 30,000 ton carrier was deliberately sunk in the Gulf of Mexico in 2006 as part of a pilot program which aimed to create artificial reefs. The Oriskany lies upright and rises almost 164ft from the seabed, just over 20 meters below the surface making it perfect for both new recreational divers as well as more experienced divers with its flight deck at 40 meters. Apart from the wreck itself th sightings of tuna, grouper and amber jack make this a great dive site.
2. Thistlegorm, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Arguably one of the most famous wreck dive destinations and also the busiest in the world, the Thistlegorm is a British Merchant Navy ship that was sunk by German bombers in WWII. The 400ft long container ship filled with motorbikes, Bedford trucks and even Lee Enfield rifles sank in 1941 when it was hit by a German bomb that blew a hole in the port side, igniting tank ammunition that was in the hold. The explosion ripped the roof of the ship backwards, rather like opening a tin of sardines giving divers an inside display of the ships merchandise. This Red Sea dive site has got plenty to see both inside and out with plenty of marine life around. Sightings of hammer-heads, jacks, trevallies and huge napoleon wrasses are reported here. The only drawback is the site’s busy nature and it’s often said that 20 dive boats are stationed above the wreck with its divers exploring it below.
1. SS President Coolidge, Vanuatu
One of the largest, most accessible wrecks in the world, the SS President Coolidge is a wreck diver’s dream. This massive luxury liner, built in 1931 converted into a Second World War troop ship is more than 600ft long and divers can explore it on both shallow and deep dives. To see the whole ship in all its majestic splendor sitting at the bottom on the sea bed would require at least 10 dives. What you can expect to see other than the ship itself are heaps of military gear including howitzer cannons, a 10-wheel General Motors Corporation truck, jeeps, tracked vehicles, steering wheels and tires.
If you’ve missed numbers 10 to 6 of our World’s Top 10 Wreck Dives check it out here: World’s Top 10 Wreck Dives (Part-I)