The murky depths of the ocean contain more fascinating and unfathomable discoveries than any landbound person could imagine. We’re not just talking about ugly bottom-feeders and awkward fish with eyestalks – the ocean floor is painted with relics spanning thousands of years of human history. Estimates suggest that three million shipwrecks currently lie at the bottom of the ocean, some of which have laid dormant for over 10,000 years. But perhaps the best thing about these sunken treasures is that when you’re chartering a superyacht, you can visit any number of them.
Although you may already have some bucket list items you’re aching to explore, here are two of our favorite opportunities for wreck dives that you should move to the top of the list.
Where to start with wreck dives
As a quick note before we get stuck into these wrecks, you might think that exploring shipwrecks privately is out of your reach, but this is far from the case – finding your way to wreck sites is easy with the use of online chartering services like Ahoy Club, as chartering a yacht for just a week will still afford you the time to see some incredible sights. With this in mind, your first stop should be Queensland. The SS Yongala, having sunk off the coast of Cape Bowling Green in 1911, is perhaps the most prized Australian shipwreck.
The Yongala itself is not actually explorable after being officially given protection under the Historic Shipwrecks Act, but divers are still very much allowed to dive near the wreck to observe it. Don’t let the fact that you can’t enter the ship dissuade you – the inimitable view of a thriving marine environment is a sight you’re sure to never forget. The Yongala is positively teeming with life, bursting with coral and dense with the bright, exotic sea life that now calls the shipwreck home.
The next big wreck for you to tackle
After you’ve demonstrated your diving chops with the SS Yongala, the next big step is to check out the Fujikawa Maru. This cargo, ship originally built in 1938, was used as an armed aircraft transport by the Japanese army in World War 2 but was sunk in 1944 during Operation Hailstone. Now it’s regarded by many as “showcase wreck,” and it’s easy to see why. Considered a superstructure, the Fujikawa Maru contains a coral-encrusted bow gun (that still bears the markings of its 1899 manufacture!), with readily accessible pilothouse, baths, staterooms and galley. There are even zero fighter plane fuselages and assorted plane parts in the forward holds along with large artillery shells!
But perhaps the most exciting feature of the Fujikawa Maru is the excellent access to the engine room and storage and work areas. Plus, you again get to witness the stunning sea life that has made its home within the carcass of the ship.
Exploring the past through diving
Exploring wrecks gives divers the opportunity to experience the past in a completely unique way. The structures of these impressive vessels are ideal for the proliferation of marine life, and seeing these treasures for yourself will give you a very good idea of how sea life can make a new home for itself.
We mentioned earlier that the ships are up to 10,000 years old, and that’s another advantage of diving amongst shipwrecks – you can tailor your experience to suit aspects of history you’re personally interested in. It’s now just up to you to start planning, finding a wreck near you that piques your interest or a country you’d like to visit and get to diving!