Dive The Conch (www.DiveSriLanka.com)
By Dharshana Jayawardena

Depth: 20 to 22 Meters.

Here's the story behind the Conch. One of the best and most easily accessible wreck dives in Sri Lanka.

In 1892 the historic English shipping company Stockton built the 3555 ton Conch for Shell. On the fateful day of 3rd June 1903, she was on en-route to Madras from Novorossisk when she struck the Akarta rock (also known as the Parsi rock and Akurala Reef) off the coast of Hikkaduwa. Spilling oil profusely, she swiftly sank to the bottom and rested against the rock which was to become her final resting place...

This is a dive with a very high "fun" factor. A quite a large area in and around the wreck with associated nooks and crannies are filled with marine life. While it's dangerous for open water divers to penetrate a wreck without special training, you could enter a section of a cabin from one side and leave from the other accompanied by a Dive Master. On the positive side there is virtually no silt inside but on the flip side there is a possibility of entanglement as some exits are quite small. So take care!


Apart from the interesting remnants of the wreck such as oil barrels, transmission parts, the relatively intact parts of the great hull, the Conch is full of fish life such as Snappers, Angelfish, Porcupinefish, Pufferfish, large Titan Triggerfish and Giant Moray's.

You can spend hours exploring the varied remains of the Conch. Be careful not to cut yourself specially inside the confined space of the cabin. Large fish such as Groupers also seek refuge inside, often fleeing when divers penetrate the ancient structure.

Bottom: Various types of Fauna and Flora that can be found inside and around the Conch along with other hardware! Some large Gorgonian Fans, little gardens with sandy bottoms, and soft coral can be found at this site.

You haven't dived in Sri Lanka if you haven't dived the Conch! Be A.W.A.R.E!

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Photographed on the 1st of February and 7th of March 2004 by Dharshana Jayawardena