Sri Lanka,

Wreck diving outside Hikkaduwa

scuba diver fins cave

I am not a very experienced scuba diver and with very infrequent dives. It was more than three years ago I did my last scuba dive. Before that it was probably yet another three years. After I took my PADI Open Water license during my army service, when I was 19 years, old I have only dived about 10 times. The dive sites have been quite exotic though: the Azores, Borneo, Bali, Galapagos and Venezuela.

Since I have been diving so infrequently I felt nervous and like I did not remember what to do. For that reason I did a really useful “refresher dive” at the dive center meaning that you repeat the most common maneuvers you need to know, like taking on and off your mask under water. It felt good having that repetition before we went out on the first, out of three, dives.

1. Cave / Coral gardens

cave coral gardens

“The Cave” at Coral Gardens. It is called The Cave but is more like a tunnel.

We knew our first dive was nearby but was still a bit disappointed when we realized we were going back to the rock formation where had snorkled the other day (and was not too happy about). The scuba dive was, however, much better even if the reef itself was not so exciting. One of the more exciting things we did was to dive through a tunnel shaped rock (“The Cave”) which was something new for me.

As a first dive in a long while it was, however, a perfect dive to do. It is a good dive for beginners and divers who, like me, need an easy dive to get started. If you are a little bit more experienced diver you will not be too impressed though.

2. The Conch (wreck dive)

the conch illustration

Photo of an illustration (from the dive center “Dive for you”) of the dive site “The Conch”.

The Conch was an oil tanker fully loaded with oil that sank outside Hikkaduwa in 1903 on a trip from Russia to India. It is a well preserved wreck, very exciting and full of fishes. What I liked specifically with this wreck was how much of it that was left despite being 115 years old! We could swim into parts of the tanker which was something new for me (since I do not have a wreck diver certificate). Another thing I really appreciated with this dive was how three dimensional it was, we were diving up and down, along, inside and outside of the wreck – and everywhere we swam there were tons of cool fishes to watch.

This was probably my best scuba dive ever. The visibility was fantastic (15-20 meters) and the view amazing!


3. Earl of Shaftesbury (wreck dive)

earl of shaftesbury dive site

Illustration from the dive center for the dive site “Earl of Shaftesbury”.

When you thought things could not get any better we did our second dive of the day: the wreck Earl of Shaftesbury. This was a ship loaded with coal that sank in 1893. As a wreck it is quite different than our previous dive since it did not have as many large details remaining. It had even more tropical fish to watch though and my best memory from this dive was a long (several minutes) and close look at a porcupine fish. The visibility here was even better here with an astonishing 20 meters!

Altogether, these two wreck dives are dives I can highly recommend. Even the more experienced divers in the group were very impressed with the two wreck dives of the day.

The dive center Dive for you

I would like to add a recommendation for the dive center Dive for you which we used for these three dives. It was slightly more expensive than other dive centers around but they were very professional and very educational. I was nervous before these dives but felt very safe all the time and the equipment was top notch. It really felt like they were honestly dedicated to give us a good experience instead of  just earning another dollar. One thing they pointed out themselves (that I never would have though about asking) was that they have all the proper insurances which many of the other dive centers in Hikkaduwa was not equally equipped with.

Photos from the day

All the photos below are taken by the dive master Nikki at the dive center Dive for you. Nikki hade just got a new underwater camera which she had not fully mastered yet, thus the rather blurry photos.

school of snappers

A school of snapper. It was an amazing experience to swim through this school of fish and see them part like the Red Sea just in front of your mask.


wreck detail


wreck details


wreck details



This was one of my favourite fishes. They were just sitting on the sand bottom looking at us.


wreck fish

Fish at the wreck, showing how good the visibility was.


Oriental sweetlips

Oriental sweetlips – one of the prettiest fish I saw.


Blueringed angelfish

A blue ringed angelfish. This one was so fearless you could actually touch it.


My recommendation: Do not miss out on these two wreck dives but you do not need to visit “The Cave” in my opinion. I really liked the dive center Dive for you and can highly recommend them.

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My name is Christoffer Björkwall and I am a 36 year old guy from Sweden. I have been travelling ever since I was a kid. These are the stories from trips from the past and, of course, trips I am doing now. I love mountains, beaches, wild animals, storms & tornadoes, skiing, scuba diving, adventure sports etc when I travel. I am not equally fond of historical and cultural locations (like churches). I usually keep my trips on a low budget because I rather go on one more trip than on one expensive trip.

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