Dive the Little Basses! (www.DiveSriLanka.com)

At the pillar of desolation

Inter Monsoonal Diving - Mid March to Mid April

By Dharshana Jayawardena.
Depth:3 - 20 Meters

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The Little Basses Lighthouse (2008)

A ball of Sweetlips explode in the surge, right under the Lighthouse

An hour had passed since we left the Kirinda harbour. Our boats speed along the coast around the world famous Yala National Park. We keenly peer into the horizon with the hope of finding the first glimpse of the Little Basses Light House. Suddenly, a small speck of white is visible far far away in the shimmering horizon! It is an exciting moment. After all these years of waiting we are finally close to our objective of exploring Little Basses. But not yet, because it is another hour before we finally arrive at the Lighthouse.

It is a beautiful day. The sea is calm yet the surge is powerful and breaks over the shallow ridge in sudden and unexpected fury. The Little Basses Lighthouse is smaller than its counterpart over the horizon. But it is strikingly beautiful.

This is an amazing place shrouded in a history of mystery. A place where there are no people. Only raw wilderness everywhere you look.

We quickly don our gear and slip beneath the waves. From then on it is only us, the fish and the relentless surge.

Contact us and book your dive! (However this could be very inaccessible due to distance and incur a high cost of organizing as there are no regular trips)

Map of Basses reef and the locations of the two light houses

View from right under the reef. At 3M huge waves form clouds! (2008)

The Basses, derived from the Portuguese term "Baixios" for reef, is an approximately 40 kilometer long reef, starting 20 kilometers South-East (300 DEG S-E) of Kirinda with the Great Basses light house and extending right below Kumana and ending with the Little Basses light house.

The 40 gun frigate Daedulus sank near the Little Basses on the 2nd of July 1813. Exact location of this ship is not known to us. The depth around the lighthouse is very shallow (3M to 6M) and is ideal for snorkeling. The fish life is prolific too. Parrotfish, Snappers, Fusiliers, Angelfish, Butterfly are abundant in thousands. Sometimes you will spot game fish such as Tuna and Trevally speeding past the ridge. The coral growth at the ridge is very poor and almost non-existent. However we discovered a large and very pristine patch of soft coral right under the lighthouse. This was in a bowl relatively shielded by the fierce surge. (below left & right)

Special Note: Watch special reports on Marine Archeology for emerging ship wreck information from the Little Basses



Sweetlips - These are among some of the most common fish at LB (2008)

It can be violent to be under just near the ridge (2008)

Nudibranch eggs (2008)

The journey to Little Basses can be made from Kirinda Harbour. It will take about 2 to 3 hours depending on the conditions of the sea and the speed of the boat. The trip around the coast is very interesting and scenic. However it could be punishing if the wind picks up and the sea gets rough.

When can you dive the Basses?

All good things are hard to get and so is diving in the Basses. The conditions are good for diving only during a brief window normally from 15th of March to 15th of April. The surge and currents could be quite strong here so it is only recommended for fairly experienced divers (Divers comfortable with strong surf, surge and currents). Diving at Basses can sometimes be described as swimming in a washing machine! It is definitely a good workout.


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Photo Credits: (c) www.DiveSriLanka.com - April 2008