In Asian Diver’s issue “Wrecks of Asia”, we took a look at some of the wrecks that have been turned to reefs around Asia.
In the Southern Andaman Sea, off the east coast of Thailand’s Koh Phi Phi Leh, 27 metres deep, lies the wreck of the HTMS Kledkaeo. After ending its service for the Royal Thai Navy, the ship was intentionally sunk in 2014 to create a dive site between Phi Ley Bay and Viking Bay. In just over three years, it has developed into a magnet for marine life, becoming home to huge schools of snappers, nudibranch and reef fish such as damselfish, pufferfish, grouper, trevally, rabbitfish, angelfish and butterflyfish. If you’re lucky, you might spot a frogfish trying to blend in with the rusty metal surroundings, or even a nurse shark resting on the sandy bottom under the hull.
USS Leonard F. Mason
Taiwan’s Green Island is an amazing dive destination with thriving critter colonies and tropical reefs. With over 30 metres of visibility, the water is usually warm and mostly free from currents. Strangely, the USS Leonard F. Mason, which lies at 40 metres, often has very strong currents and is rarely visited. After 30 years of service, it was sold to the government of the Republic of China and thereafter sunk in 2003 to create an artificial reef. Now, the wreck is home to big marbled whiprays and schools of snappers and jacks.
In 2012, a ship was sunk by the Indonesian Government to promote coral growth after she ended her service as a patrol vessel for the Department of Sea Communication. Located just a few kilometres from Tulamben, near the village of Kubu, the wreck is completely intact, reaching a depth of 33 metres. Offering some interesting swim-throughs, the wreck features some photogenic pieces such as a religious statue and an old car in the hull.
Despite not being known as a diving destination, Boracay, a small island in the Philippines, offers a few worthy dive sites. The Camia wreck is definitely one of them. It was sunk in 2001 as an artificial reef, just in front of the beach for quick and easy access by dive boats. Sixteen years underwater has transformed it into a beautiful artificial reef. The wreck stands upright on the flat bottom reef, dotted with soft corals and shoals of common tropical fish that seek protection from it. My favourite section is the engine room – it has two easy exits letting in plenty of light and are big enough for advanced divers to safely clear. The wreck reaches a depth of 25 metres, with strong currents during certain parts of the year.
Taken from Asian Diver issue 4/2017, cover image © Umeed Mistry