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Diving

With nearly 1600-kilometres of palm fringed coastline, Sri Lanka has become a prime destination for a number of water sports. One such water sport that tops the list of ‘Things to do in the Paradise Island’ is the sport of diving.

Famed for possessing resplendent coral reefs bustling with marine life, especially in the southern and western coastal towns of the country, like Hikkaduwa, Kalpitiya and Weligama, diving in Sri Lanka allows you to explore and understand a part of the unique marine eco system of the Indian Ocean, making it perfect for the nature lover looking to understand the migratory and feeding patterns of fish and other unique marine animals such as turtles, dugongs and even whale sharks, if you are lucky.

Apart from possessing some exquisite marine life, the Sri Lankan waters also hold other treasures in the form of a great many ship wrecks that tell interesting stories of ancient Taprobane (once the name of the island, as given by the many traders that sailed by in ancient times). This is due to Sri Lanka’s importance in maritime trade, since ancient times, as proven by the shipwrecks off the shores of Kirinda that include a treasure ship belonging to the Moghul Empire of India.

Although unknown to many, Sri Lanka played a major role in the Second World War, as the Trincomalee Harbour was designated the naval headquarters of the British fleet in Asia. Due to Sri Lanka’s prominent status, many ships, including tankers, warships and even aircrafts were sunk by the Japanese in the Eastern Coast, making it the ideal location for the history buff to delve into; a rather unknown aspect of the Asiatic war.

With Sri Lankan waters possessing such treasures, missing out on scuba diving would be quite a shame for the traveler.

Interesting Facts

  • Sri Lanka possesses an all year round diving season, albeit in different locations, each of them possessing unique features.
  • The largest natural coral reef of the country, the ‘Bar Reef’ located at the Western coastal town of Kalpitiya, is known for underwater photography, as it boasts of an array of aquatic animals such as, crocodile fish (rare in Sri Lankan waters), white-eared moray eels and panther turbots.
  • Going further down the southern coastal belt of the island, namely to the towns of Galle, Unawatuna and Beruwela to name but three towns, would lead to a change in the marine environment from natural coral reefs to ship wrecks that date back to even before the colonial era.
  • The Eastern coast of the island, namely Trincomalee and Batticaloa have been known for some of the more unique dive spots in the country, since many of them are now considered ‘Military maritime graves’.
  • This is due to the many shipwrecks that once served towards the success of the allied effort during the Second World War.
  • One of the more notable wreckages is the HMS Hermes, that was one of the three British Aircraft Carriers, during the war and is one of the few aircraft carriers in the world that are accessible easily by diving.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • Diving in Sri Lanka can be done all throughout the year, however, the location differs since the season in the Southern and Western Coast is from November to April and the season in the Eastern Coast is from April to November.
  • Do keep in mind that the seasons can vary depending on the weather of the particular location.
  • Partaking in any form of diving, however, requires PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Certifications that can only be obtained by taking specific courses on the training and utilisation of diving equipment through certified institutions.
  • For your ease, many of the dive sites are located very close to approved PADI institutions and often conduct diving tours at the dive sites, making you tick off your bucket list of things to do, all the more easily.

So go ahead and explore the deep blue Indian Ocean that borders the Paradise Island of Sri Lanka and awe at the very site of a unique marine eco system. Delve deep into Sri Lanka’s history, while exploring the many shipwrecks dotted across the Southern and Eastern coasts.

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Season

April - November

(Eastern Coast)

November - April

(Southern and Western Coasts)

Type

Sports and Recreation

Nature and Outdoors

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