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Diving In Kirinda

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On the southeast coast, approximately 10km south of Tissa, lies the pretty village of KIRINDA.  The village itself boasts a superb beach and an interesting Buddhist shrine on the rocks.   However, it is best known as a base from which to experience some excellent diving at the famous 'Great Basses' wreck and the Great and Little Basses reefs (southeast of Kirinda). The famous Arthur C Clarke also put Kirinda on the map when he used it as his base for his diving exploration in order to write his book 'The Treasure of the Reef'.  A particularly unique feature of the Great Basses is the light-house that was actually constructed on the reef in 1860

Great Basses Dive Site - Off Kirinda

The Term " Basses',  is an extention of the  Portuguese word  'Baxos' &   is  a  massive reef  , 40 Kms in length , starting off  around  2 km southeast of Kirinda in close proximity to the  'Great Basses light-house', and extending towards Kumana and ending at  the 'Little Basses light- house .

The Basses' consist of a combination of  sandstone reefs carved by  strong tides & are  also home to many species of  fish including ,angel-fishes, rays, giant maori wrasses  porpoises, gray sharks & tuna .

In 1961 , 2 divers - Sir Arthur  C Clarke  - the world renowned Sri Lankan Scientist and Mike Wilson discovered a rich haul of Indian silver rupees from a ship wreck in the " basses "  .

 

The ship wrecks sighted around the basses are as follows

  • 24-gun ship belonging to the Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707) which was sent off for trade in the far east but sunk in a storm off the Great Basses.

  • Flute Overness' (sunk 1704) - Great Basses

  • Alette Adriana' (sunk 1760s) - Great Basses

  • '40-gun frigate 'Daedulus' (sunk 1813) - Little Basses

SilverCoin                      BrownCoin
A Surat Indian Rupee, reproduced from the Treasure of the Great Basses Reef published in lakdiva.org.                                                                                                                                                 The cluster of one thousand silver rupees gifted to Smithsonian Museum by Sir Arthur Clarke in December 1961, Rupee, reproduced from the Treasure of the Great Basses Reef published in lakdiva.org.


 

Diving In Weligama

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Also known as 'sandy village' WELIGAMA is located approximately 30 km east of Galle.  As well as having an attractive sandy bay, this fishing town is also an ideal base for SNORKELLING and DIVING, with many fascinating sites to explore.  For those who'd rather stay above the surface of the water, catamaran rides are a pleasant way to venture out on the sea.  You can also go out further to the deeper waters to see a variety of dolphins and sharks. Possible Period Early November to Mid April

 

SPECIFIC DIVE SITES IN WELIGAMA

YALA ROCK

Yala Rock is a rocky area with big rocks of 15 meters high (and 5 meters below the surface). Besides the massive rocks, there are some small caves where you can see a huge variety of fish. Among some of the most interesting finds are rays, turtles and napoleon parrotfish. There are also many different kinds of colourful corals. During night diving, its possible to see lobsters walking across the bottom. The maximum depth for diving is 24 meters and normally the dive time will be about 45 minutes with a 10 liter bottle. The dive site is located a 15 minute boat ride from Bay Beach Hotel.

 

CORAL REEF

CORAL REEF

This massive coral reef extends an impressive 700 metres and protects the few fishing boats that lay inside the natural harbour. Besides the beautiful and colourful corals, you may see sea anemones and many species of fish. The sea-bed is a very flat area, ensuring excellent visibility This dive site is not very deep which allows us to make long dives of more than an hour each. It can be reached in a 10 minute boat ride from Bay Beach Hotel.

 

MIRISSA POINT

MIRISSA POINT

This is an ideal dive for beginners as it is not very deep, meaning that you can stay underwater for periods of more than an hour. It is also an excellent site for night diving when one can see sepias, octopus and sleeping parrotfish in the sand or small caves. It is located a 15 minute boat ride from Bay Beach Hotel.

 

PRINZ HEINRICH PATCH

A 25 minute boat ride from Bay Beach Hotel the trip to this site is a very pleasant journey along the shore in the direction of Mirissa. We then head out to sea for about 4 km to an underwater hill that rises up to 7 metres below the water's surface. The area is especially good for seeing big rays, murrains and parrotfish. Maximum depth of the dive will be 22 metres.

Diving In Negombo

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Bustling NEGOMBO town is a historically interesting place strongly influenced by the Catholic Church.

The narrow strip of land between the lagoon & the sea and the many cannals make for good exploring.

The Dutch captured the town from the Portuguese in 1640, lost it again in the same year, then captured it again in 1644.

The British then took it from them in 1796 without a struggle. Negombo was one of the most important sources of cinnamon during the Dutch era, and there are still reminders of the European days.

Diving In Hikkaduwa

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With its impressive coral reefs and abundance of tropical fish, HIKKADUWA is recognised as one of the best places for Snorkelling and diving on the Southwest coast (in the southwest season of November to April).  With a reputed and long-running diving school located in the town itself, PADI diving instructors are available throughout the season for training and certification as well as leading more experienced divers in some of the country's best ship wreck and reef dives.

enos - Agreek frelghter carrying Manganese after hitting "Rala Gala"

"BLACK CORAL POINT" One of the most gorgeous site to dive the beautiful corals of many and vivid colours are majestically stand along the coral reef. Fish of many varieties such as clown fish. Angel fish and Snappers and black corals can be seen. Traveling time-5minutes depth is 20 - 35 metes.

Alette Adrianna - sank in 1760s

"CORAL GARDEN CAVE" - Stone cave naturally underneath the water caves are created by boulders of the sea bed. The area is full of corals like flowers many varieties in a garden- The marine life contains many varieties offish including turtles. Traveling time 5 minutes depth 10-15 meters.

Alliance - 23m A wooden sail boat of British origin loaded with coat.

"GODAGALA" - The art of dive to this site is "deep Drift Dive". Site is full of marine life. Big tropical fish like moray eel, Snappers, Barracuda are often could be seen roaming around the area independently. Traveling time 20 minutes depth 08-30 meters.

Arcturus - 18m A british steam ship built in 1870 and was wrecked at Brown Rock close to Galle.

" HIKKAPDWA GALA" - In this site art of dive is deep rift dive- This area is covered with broad legendary Hikkaduwa Coral reef which is worldwide known for it's most sophisticated and colourful coral beds. Marine life and tropical water fish such as. Barracuda, snappers, blotched, lobsters, rays swim through emits the corals in crystal clear water. Traveling time is 15 minutes and depth is 02-21 meters.

Avondster - 5m owned by the Dutch East India (VOC) and was loaded with areca nuts when it sank after slipping anchor and hitting the shore.

"KAPAWARAGALA" This rock is named after the legendilc god kadawara who can influence the good as well as the evil to any one's life according to merits, or acts she or he may create. It is being said that god " Kadawara" sailed to Sri lanka in a stoned boat and landed near this rock. These are part of the legendric Hikkaduwa reef barrier and as in the other place full of corals and marine life. Traveling 20 minutes - depth - 6-15 meters.

Bottle Wreck - 24m

"KIRALA GALA" - Another beautiful site to dive. Site is endowed with lot of under water wanders of beautifully coloured corals of many varieties stands underneath the crystal clear water on the shallow reef. Tropical sea fish such as groupers, jack fish, snappers are roaming around the soft corals majestically. If you are lucky enough you may have the opportunity of encounter "Mantha-rays", "Whale Sharks & Dolphin". Traveling time-10 minutes- depth - 18-35 meters.

Crispigi Cross - 16m - was loaded with rice and paint when in sank opposite Galle hospital in the 80's.

"MAPAGALA" - A site where some of the wrecks of the ships could be seen. The area is surrounded by tropical fish and corals. A site worthwhile to watch for divers who love and like sea life. This is also an erea where some wonderful kind of marine creatures such as "Dolphin, big Groupers" could be seen- Traveling time 45 minutes depth is 20-28 meters.

Dolfijn - A VOC ship built in 1663 sank in the Galle Harbour due to poor condition.

"RALAGALA" - A wonderful site to dive. This is a point where waves breaks. A diver may felt just beneath the surface of the water. One who dive will gain some exciting experience. As usual around the area corals and marine life is common than the other area. Traveling time one hour depth 1-20 meters. There are wrecks and pieces of unknown ship are in the sea bed.

Hercules - sank in 1661 Discovered in 1993 by the weston Australian.

"RALAHAMY GALA" - This site is in the close proximity of the site No: 11. what could be seen in site eleven could be explore in details at "Ralahamy Gala". This area is full of marine life such as Octopus, Turtles, Lobsters and Ornamental fish in various varieties. Apart from this natural creation such as coral reefs and boulders can be seen underneath the water. Traveling time and me depth as site No: 11.

Lord Nelson - A modern boat that sank in a storme in 2000.

"SEENIGAMAGALA ROCK" - This site covered with beautifully coloured (by nature) corals. Which is fantastically shaped? Full of marine life, big fish such as "Barracuda" "Moray Eel" "Rays" etc. Underneath the water the corals of various colours can be seen in it's own splendor. Traveling time -10 minutes- diving depths - 12-22 Meters.

Maritime Museum. The wreak was discovered with the finding of a heavely encrusted bronze bell with the inscription "AMOR VINCIT OMANIAANNO 1625"

"S.S YORGAN" - Steams ship that sanked few decades ago. The wrecks of the ship can still be seen in the site as dark an gloom patches. Full of natural creations of marine life and tropical fish. A site a nature lower should dive and watch for its splendor and gorgeous gift of the nature. Traveling time 45 minutes. Depth is 9-15 meters.

Norsa - 15 m - A British Ship built in 1889

"SUNIL'S ROCK" - Sunil's rock located close to great Hikkaduwa coral reef, provide some natures wander by providing caves oriented in the sea bed with caves for divers. As nature has entrusted in this area a diver may sea "Lion Fish" "Coral fish" "Grouper", soft corals. A site worthwhile to dive. Traveling time 15 minutes depth 10-22 meters.

Orestes - 16m Abritish cargo ship carrying bricks.

"YAKA MUTTHAGALA" - 5m owned by the Dutch East India (VOC) and was loaded with areca nuts when it sank after slipping anchor and hitting the shore.

"WRECK OF RANGOON" - 30m - Built in 1863 by a british ship maker Rangoon rests in an upright sailing position. Wrecks of Rangoon another vessel that sanked few decades ago. Area is full marine life and naturally oriented corals. In the area a diver may come across naturally oriented corals and underneath sea beds. Any nature lower would dive for the second time if he has already dived. Traveling time 120 minutes- depth 20-35 meters.

"WRECK ETHOPHY" - "Ethophy" a cargo ship that sank in 1977. Two nieces of wrecks and the big engine of the vessel submerged around the site. This is one of the ship sank recently in the legacy of more than twenty centuries of marine trade and seafaring full of corals and marine life. Traveling time one hour depth 16-15 meters.

"WRECK OF SHlP EARL OF SHAFTSBURY" - Located in Hikkaduwa surrounds an English ship sanked in the year 1847 (one piece) a site worth of watching because of the historical value. The area is studded with beautiful corals grown over last few centuries. Full of tropical fish such as "rays" and "barracuda". Traveling time 15 minutes - depth - 15 meters.

"WRECK CONCH" - An oil tanker which sanked in 1903, (Acclaimed to be the world's first oil tanker). Apart from the wrecks of the ship the site is full of marine life and magnificent corals of the famous Hikkaduwa coral reef. Traveling time to site by boat 20 minutes. Diving depth 14.22 meters. Divers can swim in to the ship.

Diving In Kalpitiya

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Despite its natural beauty, the western peninsular area of KALPITIYA in the Puttalam district of Sri Lanka is remarkably untouched by tourism. For keen scuba divers and snorkellers, the largest coral reef in Sri Lanka ('Bar reef') is only an hour's boat trip from Kalpitiya.  This beautiful reef is home to an incredible variety of tropical fish as well as offering sighting of manta rays, reef sharks and the occasional turtle!

Diving and Snorkelling are not possible during the southwest monsoon period (May to November).  The best times are therefore between late November and early May. Transportation to dive/Snorkelling sites is by a fibre glass dinghy of 25 horse power engine. For the more serious divers who want more detailed information on the area, please refer to Nautical Map 1586 (Pamban to Cape Cormorin).

The underwater currents in the seas off Kalpitiya are generally not strong, but are influenced by small tide changes of two high water and two low water tides.  The underwater temperature is approximately 75°F so no wetsuits are required (but thin wetsuits could be worn to protect from any bruising from the coral).

 

THE BAR REEF (SNORKELLING AND SCUBA DIVING)

The impressive Bar Reef is the largest reef in Sri Lanka (at 3 nautical miles in length and 1 nautical mile in breadth).  It is located at 8 degrees 23'N latitude and 79 degrees 44'E longitude, and can be reached by boat from Turtle Point Lodge  in under one hour (approximately 9 nautical miles).  With its tremendous variety of tropical fish (see summarised list), the colourful live coral reef is an ideal location for Snorkelling, especially because the water is so clear. Diving is also excellent and can be done at a depth of 2-8 metres (up to 40 metres slightly further out).  Due to its vast size, there are numerous different dives that can be done - even a whole week would not be sufficient time to explore everything that it has to offer! 

N.B.  Due to the wide variety of shallow dives that are possible at the Bar Reef, it is an ideal location for beginners to learn how to dive. After a first morning used as a basic introduction to diving, the 'beginners' could explore the reef in more detail, putting their training into practice.

'THE RIDGE' (SCUBA DIVING ONLY)

This interesting ridge dive offers divers the opportunity to explore the ocean at a greater depth than is possible on the Bar Reef.  At less than 30 minutes from the shore by boat (approximately 4 nautical miles), the location is easily accessible from Turtle Point Lodge .  The ridge spans 2 km in length and offers dives at a depth of up to 30 metres.  As well as the fish that can also be seen on the Bar Reef, Rock Cod, Large Grouper and Humphead Wrasse are also in plenty.  As an additional attraction, divers can explore the large underwater caves!


PEARL BANKS (SCUBA DIVING ONLY)

At a location approximately 3 hours from the shore at Turtle Point Lodge, lies the beautiful Pearl Banks where it is possible to see pearl oysters!  Due to the distance traveled in order to get to the site, this should be done as a full day trip.

 

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