Diving into the Depths of History: Shipwreck Explorations Around the Globe

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divers looking at a shipwreck

The Bianca C – Grenada

The Bianca C is the largest diveable wreck in the Carribean and likely the most popular wreck dive in Grenada.

The Bianca C was a luxury cruiser that was built in France. Interestingly, construction of the ship began in 1939 but was delayed due to World War II. In 1944, the hull of the unfinished ship was launched and towed to Port Bouc where it was torpedoed by the Germans. In 1946, the ship was raised and construction was completed. The ship’s maiden voyage took place in 1949.

Bianca C Shipwreck

On Sunday, October 22nd, 1961, The Bianca C was anchored off of St. George’s, Grenada, when an explosion in the boiler room set the ship on fire. The quick action of the crew resulted in all 672 people being evacuated.

This is not a good option for beginner divers. The wreck sits fairly deep, with the bridge resting at 110 feet. Diving isn’t always easy thanks to strong currents. Numerous dives to see the entire wreck are needed.

The USS Yongala Wreck surrounded by fish
Photo Credit: Queensland

USS Yongala – Australia

The USS Yongala was named after a small town in Australia. In the Ngadjuri language, Yongala means “good water”. Built in England, the ship launched on its maiden voyage in 1903. She only sailed the oceans for eight years before sinking sometime between March 23rd and 24th, 1911 when the ship was hit by a cyclone. She rests in a central section of the Great Barrier Reef Park. There were no survivors.

Sadly, the disaster could have been avoided but the wireless telegram transmitter for the boat hadn’t arrived from England and the ship’s crew did not see flag signals issued from a nearby station.

The location of the ship remained a mystery until 1958 when it was discovered by divers. Today, the wreck is popular among divers. The top portion rests at around 52 ft and the bottom rests on the sea floor at around 98 ft. It is one fo the most intact wrecks in the world.

The Iro – Palau

The Iro was a fleet oiler and supply ship used by the Japanese military. Built in 1922, the ship sank in Palau on March 22, 1944, when it was torpedoed and then bombed by the USS Tunny.

Divers can still see three fully intact masts, gun turrets, oil drums, and various machinery. It’s also easy to identify the damage caused by the torpedo, which was not enough to sink the ship. The bridge can be entered, although the instruments have long since been stripped.

The bottom of the ship rests at around 120 ft.

Like the majority of dives in Palau, there is still live ammunition resting all around the ship. Ammunition should NEVER be touched as it could be highly unstable.

Iro Ship Wreck in Palau
Photo Credit: Traces of War
The Hermes ship wreck in Bermuda
Photo Credit: The Bermudian

The Hermes – Bermuda

This Hermes was built in Pennsylvania, United States in 1943 and used as a buoy tender until World War II ended when it was turned into a freighter. The ship was abandoned in Bermuda by its owners after experiencing engine trouble. The Bermuda government then sold the ship to the Bermuda Diver Association for the whopping amount of $1 USD.

After being cleaned, the ship was towed to a location near Horseshoe Bay and purposefully sunk on May 15th, 1984. The ship is almost entirely intact and sits 70 – 80 feet below the surface.

The Thistlegorm – Red Sea

The Thistlegorm was a defensively equipped merchant ship built in England. She only completed three successful voyages and was sunk by the Germans on her fourth and final voyage.

The ship had departed Glasgow and was headed for Alexandria, Egypt with cargo including Bren guns, ammunition, aircraft parts, motorcycles, and more. On October 6th, 1941, two German twin-engine Heinkel He111 bombers spotted the ship and dropped their bombs. Nine of the 42 men manning the ship were killed.

Although locals were always aware of the wreck, it wasn’t until the 1990s when Sharm El-Sheikh became a popular diving destination did The Thistlegorm got “rediscovered”. Today, it’s one of the most popular shipwrecks in the world. The deepest point of the wreck sits at 105 ft. The dive should only be attempted by advanced divers due to strong currents.

Photo Credit: Scuba Diving

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