Famous Underwater Shipwrecks in Maldives

Famous Underwater Shipwrecks in Maldives

The Indian Ocean is full of dive spots that boast of rich marine biodiversity, especially the region around The Maldives. Adding to the thrill of going underwater is spotting ship wrecks in Maldives. Discover a whole new world of wreck diving while holidaying in this island paradise.

Underwater Shipwrecks in Maldives

What is a Shipwreck?

Before you go wreck diving from the islands in The Maldives, it helps to know what to expect. A shipwreck is a destroyed ship that either sinks to the bottom of the ocean or gets beached overland.

With each shipwreck comes its own legend, both true and mythical. The magical thing about shipwrecks in this country is that underwater ecosystems grow around such sunken structures, lending a surreal beauty to the coral reef that takes a unique shape and form.

What are the Wreck Diving Options available in The Maldives?

From most resorts in The Maldives, you will be able to book diving tours to sites of wreckage. The shipwrecks are not just great backdrops for your social media photos but also a form of sunken treasure with some history attached to it. Learn about various wreck diving sites across the archipelago.

The Shipyard

Located in Lhaviyani Atoll, a cruise to The Shipyard figures on many divers’ list of activities to do in Maldives. The dive site is home to not just one but two shipwrecks. While the first wreck is visible from the surface of the water, the second one sits on the seafloor at a depth of about 28 meters.

Do not forget to carry your GoPro or other waterproof camera to take gorgeous shots of you posing against the upright wrecked ship. Both of the wrecks are approximately 40 years old, and the age shows.

While the brown and black rusted bow of one ship juts out jarringly from the turquoise waters, the portion underwater is mostly grey and sea green, covered with algae. Apart from the two large ships, you will find an abundance of stingrays, corals, varieties of fishes like pelagic fish &  angelfish, sponges, nurse sharks, batfish, gray reef sharks and antheas here.

The Shipyard Shipwreck, Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives

Maldive Victory

Weighing 1,420 tons, Maldive Victory Shipwreck lies on a sandy bottom at a depth of 35 meters. As the story goes, this cargo ship crashed against the reef of Hulhulé on 12th February 1981. The 100-meter long vessel was carrying products for Malé – the capital city of The Maldives and some resorts.

It took a day for the entire ship to sink to the floor of the ocean and it rests parallel to the runway of the Velana International Airport. You can access this dive site all through the year but remember to bring a torch with you as it can get quite dark when you go exploring the wheelhouse and the cabins.

This dive site experiences strong water currents which is why it is only accessible to advanced level divers who are exposed to currents and have mastered air management. To enter this partially coral-covered shipwreck, you will have to use the rope which is attached to a buoy at the water surface.

On the other end of the rope is the central mast of Maldive Victory, at a depth of 12 meters. To protect yourself from the current, go towards the bow of the ship and get a glimpse of one of its anchors.

Kuda Giri Wreck

Located to the south of Malé – the world’s smallest capital, Kuda Giri Wreck can be reached from Dhigu Island. Known for its soft and hard corals, this dive site requires going 18 meters underwater.

Discover the ship’s fish trawler (net to catch fish), sloped bow at the top and go further down to a depth of 30 meters to reach the stern at the bottom of the sea. You will also find glassfish, batfish and jackfish here.

Along with the pinnacle, the wreck at Kuda Giri forms an artificial reef that houses tube corals, guitar sharks, orange cup corals, octopuses, gobies, eels, shrimp, wrasses, triggerfish and a variety of turtles.

This dive site is open all around the year and tours are also held from the islands of Fihalhohi and Maafushi. As there is hardly any current at this site, this dive is suitable for beginners. For more favorable dive conditions, tour this place between December and May.

Rannamari Wreck

Close to Angsana Ihuru which boasts of several Maldives’ beach villas, Rannamari Shipwreck rests at a depth of 26 meters. This ship mysteriously sank a couple of days before it was to be officially sunk so it could be used as an artificial reef.

One of the best Maldives day tours you can take from this luxury private island, a diving opportunity to Rannamari should not be missed as it is just outside the resort’s house reef. In its heyday, this dredging ship was used for land reclamation purposes in the capital.

The ship retired and was sent to Angsana Ihuru in 1999 for planned sinking. Docked such that it was visible from the resort’s bar, the dredger was observed to be sinking one night. Accessible throughout the year, you can even participate in marine conservation projects at this wreck site.

Outside the Rannamari Wreck, you will find schools of fusilier and jackfish, apart from sun corals and parrotfish. At the engine, you will come across giant moray eels, glassfish, squirrelfish, and big eye.

When you look around the hull, you are likely to see batfish and groupers. Stingrays and scorpion fish can be found at the bottom of the wreck. Within a year, this wreck has transformed into a reef, providing a place for marine life to thrive.

The creatures here have also led to the presence of nourishing planktons. Do not be surprised if you run into lionfish and nurse sharks at the Rannamari Wreck!

Erlangen Shipwreck

Located in North Malé Atoll, Erlangen is the site of the sunken remains of a German ship that weighed 3,500 tonnes. From Iruvai Kandu channel, this shipwreck is 1.5 kilometers to the west. Dating back to 1894, this ship was sailing to Colombo from Hamburg when it broke into several pieces, sank and scattered at different places.

While some parts of this shipwreck lie at 30 meters under the sea level, the topmost part is a small thila at just 15 meters deep. Some remains are more than 50 meters deep. Keep an eye out for manta rays, juvenile wrasses, groupers, sweetlips, nudibranches and emperor fish when you dive down here.

The entire site of the wreckage is incrusted with corals. Go around the starboard, the anchor, the stern, the winch and plates of this wrecked ship and take your fill of photos and videos.

Machafushi Wreck

Alternatively known as the Kudhima Wreck, Machafushi can be found close to the house reef of the eponymous tourist island. Located in South Ari Atoll, this artificial wreck is a result of the deliberate sinking of a Japanese cargo ship, with the aim to provide a wreck diving site.

Sunk in 1988, this shipwreck exists from 12 meters to 31 meters below the sea level. You can easily access the cargo holds on either side of the ship and also be greeted by several schools of batfish.

This medium-sized steel wreck is also home to large lionfish, puffer fish, algae, corals, boxfish, sea squirts and sponges. This wreck dive is ideally suited for intermediate divers.

Keyodhoo Shipwreck, Vaavu Atoll, Maldives

Keyodhoo Shipwreck

Located in Vaavu Atoll, this shipwreck is thought to be an Indonesian ship that sank near Keyodhoo Island. You will be able to spot sea anemone, table corals and clownfish at this wreck diving site.

Since the lagoon is shallow, you will be able to spot the mast of this ship from above the surface of the water. This is one of the newest shipwrecks. Hence, you may not find a lot of coral growth just yet.

Recommended only for experienced freedivers who have some wreck dives under their belt, Keyodhoo Shipwreck has a bicycle attached to its hull and also provides access to the captain’s cabin.

Lady Christine

Resting just outside of the Gaafaru Island, Lady Christine sank in 1974. The ship was in charge of conducting underwater survey and laying down communications cables when it got caught in the Gaafaru Falhu reef and sank within a week, giving enough time to the local Maldivians to recover the cargo onboard.

You are highly likely to find different types of rays, sharks and turtles at this dive site in the North Malé Atoll. If you dive to a depth of 30 meters, you will even find some undersea caves waiting to be explored. The interesting thing about this wreck is that the bow of the ship can be seen from above the surface of the water. You will also notice some holes in the top reef.

Unravel the mysteries of shipwrecks in Maldives when you book a diving tour with Samudra Maldives. You will soon realize that the world underwater is more fascinating than the one you are able to see with your naked eye at the surface.