Dive the HMS Diomede! (www.DiveSriLanka.com)
By Dharshana Jayawardena.

Depth: 42 M


The 44 gun 5th Rate H.M.S Diomede

This is an archeological dive site (25/08/2013)

29/06/2013: Almost a year later I am back on top of the Diomede. Sadly the conditions are no better but in a Technical Solo dive I manage to find another part of the ship that we had missed the year before. In a quite a small area I find about six Cannons in a debris field that is scattered over a small area. The visibility is bad but slightly better than last year. A huge shoal of snappers envelope the site.

It had been a revelation to me that a great battle had taken around Trincomalee during the American Revolutionary Wars. The French who supported the Americans against the British was hold up in Trincomalee and was led by French Admiral Bailli de Suffren and commanded a french fleet of about 15 ships. Against him was Vice Admiral Sir Edward Huges of the British Fleet. In a skirmish that ensued from 25/08/1782 to 03/09/1782 Suffren managed to gain higher ground despite initial losses and problems with insubordinate Captains in his ranks who refused to fight the British. It seemed another strange coincidence that we had first dived the Diomede on the exact date (25th of August) when the battle of Trincomalee started. However, the H.M.S Diomede never took part in this battle. By the time it arrived in Trincomalee the Dutch were occupying it.

I swim several times around the debris field. The site is very silty and except for the large canons nothing much can be found of interest. Being a wooden sail ship, the two centuries of warm tropical water had more or less completely ravaged any remnants of wood.

I am pretty certain there is more to be dived in the H.M.S Diomede.

25/08/2013: The sea is rough and the day is overcast. Five of us divers are in two boats, bobbing uncomfortably until the anchor hooks on what is hopefully a ship wreck. Not just a ship wreck. Possibly the oldest divable shipwreck in Sri Lanka discovered so far.

A week ago the Department of Archeology Maritime Unit had given us coordinates of what was supposed to be the H.M.S Diomede, a 44 gun 5th rate built by James Martin Hillhouse, Bristol in 1781 for action in the American Revolutionary Wars. She was sunk after running aground on a rock during the campaign to capture Trincomalee from the then Dutch occupation of Sri Lanka.

As we descend down, we realize the conditions are not good either. The water appears murky and cold. At 40 Meters we are barely able to make out the shape of some protrusion on the seabed. It turns out to be two anchors and what appears to be a large cannon! But that's all there is. WIth the low viability and the dark murky water, it is impossible to even know where the rest of the ship is. We search around for a while and then give up. Even in the second dive we have no luck as another search only results in separating the divers from each other.

The Diomede will have to wait for another day!


A Cannon (29/06/2013)

Debris field (29/06/2013)

Two more canons (29/06/2013)

Same cannons from a different angle.

< Back to Trincomalee dive sites

Pictures & writing are the property of the photographer and DiveSriLanka.

- view our copyright policy