Colombo Dive Sites
|Pecheur Breton (Cargo Wreck)
Cargo-Wreck-A2-laminated-board-X1Cargo-Wreck-A2-laminated-board-X1-300×225(2)Depth: 18-33m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 20 mins
Popularly known as the Cargo Wreck it was recently confirmed as the MV Pecheur Breton, a French vessel that floundered in 1994 while carrying scrap to India. This is a large intact ship lying on its starboard side with easy penetration into its cargo holds. The decks are covered in hard and soft coral and the resident fish life includes everything from tiny pipefish to larger species like sweetlips, snappers, stingrays and a large resident grouper. Schools of fusiliers congregate above the wreck, and in turn attract tuna and Spanish mackerel while eagle rays make occasional appearances.
Medhufaru-Wreck-A2-laminated-board-X1Medhufaru-Wreck-A2-laminated-board-X1-300×225(2)Depth: 14-29m; Certification: Open Water; Travel time: 15 mins
A Maldivian cargo vessel that sank during the southwest monsoon in 2009 the Medhufaru sits upright on a sandy seabed at 30m. The top of the bridge is at 14m providing a nice multilevel dive. The ship was carrying construction material when it sank and large cement pipes can be seen on the side of the wreck. On the main deck there is an intact front loader and a couple of cement mixers. A group of batfish hangs out near the wreck and often follows divers and play with their bubbles while lots of lionfish can be found near the bow. Fusiliers school above the wreck and are constantly attacked by large mackerel, wahoo and frigate tuna. Less than 15 minutes from Island Scuba this is essentially our house wreck!
|Chief Dragon (Car Wreck)
Chief-Dragon-A2-laminated-board-X1Chief Dragon (Car Wreck)Depth: 24-35m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 40 mins
An iconic wreck dive in Colombo and for long known simply as the Car Wreck, the Chief Dragon is a 112m long car transport vessel located northwest of Colombo Harbor. The upper sections of the ship are broken up and lie scattered over a large area but the main hull remains intact and upright. Penetration is possible in sections of the hull, and broken chassis of old cars are scattered across the main deck at a depth of 24m. The wreck is covered in hard and soft coral and attracts large numbers of fish including trevally, mackerel and barracuda. With a maximum depth of 35m and strong currents it is suited for experienced divers.
|Nilgiri (Tug Wreck)
Depth: 20-31m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 15 mins
The Nilgiri was a harbor tugboat that floundered in a storm in 1997 while trying to assist another ship. It now lies upside down at a depth of 31m with its twin propellers and rudders standing upright like parts of an alien spaceship. It is possible to swim under the wreck and explore the upside down deck and bridge areas. A feature of this dive site is the large and curious lionfish that love posing for photographers.
TSierra-Wreck-A2-laminated-board-X1Depth: 0-24m; Certification: Open Water; Travel time: 20 mins
After being wrangled in a legal battle and staying anchored at sea for more than 3 years this 155m long Cypriot ship sank during a monsoon storm in August 2012. Since then it has been taken over by a profusion of marine life. Resident schools of mackerel, barracuda and snappers can be found on the decks along with large parrotfish, surgeonfish and angelfish and large octopii. Pelagics such as eagle rays, giant trevally and tuna are also frequently seen here. The ship sits upright on sand at 24m with the main deck at 10-12m. Parts of the superstructure stick out of the water and you can complete a safety stop exploring the cranes and watching the schools of feeding mackerel. There is a possibility of this wreck eventually being salvaged for scrap metal, but while it remains it is surely one of the best wreck dives in Sri Lanka.
|Taprobane East Wreck
Taprobane-East-A2-laminated-board-X1Depth: 26-32m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 40 mins
A small barge sitting on a white sandy plain, this wreck is heavily broken up but covered in colorful soft corals and attracts a large variety of reef fish including a resident napolean wrasse. While not much remains of the wreck itself it is a colorful dive site and the visibility is often excellent, making it a great place for wide-angle photography.
Depth: 21-26m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 30 mins
Another unknown wreck believed to be the SS Delhi Coal. It lies on its side at a depth of 26m and although broken up is home to a large number and variety of fish. The bow area is the most interesting with black coral growth and lots of yellow snappers. A couple of resident porcupinefish are popular subjects with photographers.
Depth: 25-30m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 30 mins
One of the few age of steam wrecks in Colombo, this unidentified wreck is small ship around 15m long but incredibly scenic. The wreck is covered with black coral trees and fan coral and home to an excellent variety of fish from snappers to longnose hawkfish. The propeller and engine can be seen distinctly at the stern while amidships is the feature that gives the wreck its distinctive name, a toilet sitting alone on the deck.
Depth: 25-29m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 30 mins
This wreck was first seen by us on youtube where a mysterious clip surfaced of the famed science fiction author, Arthur C. Clarke conducting his final dive on a wreck in Colombo in 1992. No one in the modern dive community recognized this wreck initially but after a tip off from a fisherman, Dharshana Jayawardena found this wreck in 2015. It is a small barge, around 35m in length with a number of good swim throughs. Coral growth is healthy and fish life profuse as with most wrecks in Colombo.
PerseusDepth: 30-40m; Certification: Certification: Advanced OW + Deep Diver; Travel time: 75 mins
WWI British steamer that sank in February 1917 after striking a sea mine laid by the German raider Wolf. This is a large wreck requiring several dives to fully explore it. Huge schools of snapper can be found near the stern while large napolean wrasses, groupers and red snapper make the wreck their home. Black coral bushes and soft corals cover large areas of the wreck. A fantastic dive suitable only for experienced divers with minimum Deep Diver certification.
Depth: 30-40m; Certification: Advanced OW + Deep Diver; Travel time: 75mins
An unknown wreck of what appears to be a barge at a depth of 40m. The wreck is small but covered in soft coral and teeming with small fish. Visibility is generally quite good here making it an ideal subject for wide-angle wreck photography.
Depth: 45-57m; Certification: Tec 50 or equivalent; Travel time: 20 mins
WWI British armed merchantman that sank after hitting a German sea mine in February 1917. One of the best wreck dives in Sri Lanka with excellent coral and fish life. Colorful soft corals, black corals, whip corals and sea fans have covered the wreck. Resident fish include napolean wrasses, giant sweetlips, giant trevally as well as large schools of snappers and fusiliers. The ship is intact and upright at a depth of 57m, with the upper sections at around 43m. Available only as a special trip for certified technical divers.
Depth: 42-45m; Certification: Tec 45 or equivalent; Travel time: 25 mins
The wreck of a small barge at a depth of 45m and known to local fishermen as the Battery Barge. Although the wreck itself is small and broken up it has excellent coral and fish life. Black corals, whip corals and small sea fans adorn most of the remaining structure and fish life includes snappers, groupers, large angelfish, lionfish, wrasses and on many days a school of small barracuda. A great place to spot the elusive long nosed hawkfish. Available only as a special trip for certified technical divers.
|Taprobane East Reef
Depth: 20-25m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 40 mins
A large offshore patch reef with scattered coral domes and soft corals. Fish life is good although not concentrated into one area. Large anemones with anemonefish can be found on this reef. Visibility is generally very good as there is not much impact from land-based sediments. Being offshore it is also visited by pelagics and it is not uncommon to see an eagle ray or devil ray here.
SerendipReefDepth: 20-25m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 25 mins
A small offshore patch reef with scattered coral domes that’s somewhat similar to Gingiripita. The sandy areas harbor interesting species such as dragonets, smoothheads and shrimp gobies. This site is best when the currents are strong and schooling bannerfish, batfish and unicornfish congregate around the coral domes.
Depth: 34-36m; Certification: Advanced OW and Deep Spec; Travel time: 15 mins
A magical garden of large gorgonian sea fans on a flat rubble bottom. Fish life is a bit sparse but there are a few coral bommies where fish tend to congregate. But the main features at this site are the large gorgonians and sea whips. Some of the fans are around 2m across and are perfect for wide-angle photography.
Depth: 25-32m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 20 mins
Part of the extensive Vetiya reef system, which is a rocky ridge running parallel to the shore. Most of the marine life is found on the seaward and leeward edges of the reef. The seaward side has the most interesting topography with a rock face that drops from around 25m to 30m while the leeward side has a gentle slope with scattered rocks where it is common to see schools of blue striped snappers. The ledges on the seaward side are the haunts of some large napolean wrasses. Overhangs and cracks in the reef provide shelter to numerous species of reef fish such as angelfish, sweetlips, lionfish and parrotfish.
|Galle Face Point
Depth: 28-40m;Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 30 mins
The northern extension of the Vetiya reef system this area has a more rugged appearance with broken rocks and crags. Currents can be strong here but it also attracts marine life. The seaward edge has a profusion of small sea fans and soft corals with a sharp drop down to about 40m where colorfulanthias congregate to feed in the currents.
Depth: 19-24m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 10 mins
An extensive rocky reef with encrusting coral and a good selection of reef fish. In terms of topography it is a shallower and smaller version of Snapper Alley. The southern end of the reef is covered in blue soft corals. Apart from the regular reef species you may see the occasional pelagic such as a Spanish mackerel or dogtooth tune. We have even had a sperm whale go past. But the real attraction is the small critters. If you look carefully you can spot banded shrimps, cleaner shrimps, hermit crabs, cowry’s, nudibranchs, pipefish, scorpionfish and if you are lucky, even a ghost pipefish.
Depth: 20-24m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 20 mins
The northern extension of Barracuda Reef this area has more prominent ledges and a profuse growth of blue and purple soft coral. Lots of ref sih including schooling emperors, trevally. We have spotted nurse sharks here as well. Like Barracuda Reef there is plenty of macro subjects to keep you interested. Electric rays are particularly common here.
Depth: 20-24m; Certification: Advanced OW; Travel time: 10 mins
The mid point between Barracuda Reef and Anchor Point this area has some rugged rock structures with good resident fish such as breams, sweetlips and schooling snappers. Schooling fusiliers are encountered on most dives along with pelagics such as wahoo and queenfish. A great place to see colorful juveniles of many fish species such as sweetlips, coris and angelfish. You will also find lots of blue lined groupers hiding among the rocks.
Depth: 5-12m; Certification: Open Water; Travel time: 40 mins
Wreck of an old steamship located southwest of the Panadura estuary mouth. The wreck is broken up but there is a large area to explore including a massive boiler, two massive anchors and parts of the main holds and cabins. The wreck has good fish life with the usual reef species as well as schools of parrotfish, rabbitfish, fusiliers and the trevally. A great shallow dive suitable for both beginners and a nice change from the other deeper wrecks in Colombo.
Depth: 15-18m; Certification: Open Water; Travel time: 15 mins
An inshore rocky reef with a maximum depth of ten fathoms or 18m. There are barrel sponges and whip corals, and stingrays are often seen on the sand. An easy dive suitable for any level of diver.
Depth: 8-14m; Certification: Open Water; Time: 5 mins
Just 800m from the beach this is our house reef where we do most of our Open Water training dives. The reef is a rocky ridge parallel to the shore with an abundance of nudibranchs, scorpianfish, pipefish, octopi and other macro subjects. The seaward edge of the reef is covered in small sea fans and lobsters and stingrays can be found under ledges and overhangs.
Depth: 14-18m; Certification: Open Water; Travel time: 40 mins
A group of scattered rocks providing habitat for a variety of colorful reef fish. Schooling surgeonfish, unicornfish and barracuda are common sightings. Macro lovers should look out for nudibranchs, hermit crabs and octopi that hide under the rocks. A place that can throw up surprises but contrary to its name they tend to be pleasant and interesting encounters with uncommon marine life.