Several rows of apartment-sized underwater boulders have created lots of interesting swim-throughs and provide shelter for a wide variety of aquatic
creatures, including the spectacular blue-ringed angelfish. The sea is rough for most of the year, so the dive season is short – from January to March.
Offshore the water is clear and marine species are abundant. The SS Conch, a 3300-ton oil tanker, sank off Akurala Rocks in 1903 and split in two.
Resting at 14 metres/45 feet, the wreck can be penetrated by experienced divers. Look for snappers, sweetlips and the occasional large grouper or napoleon
On the edge of Unawatuna Bay, there's a rock and coral reef with some big boulders where divers can often see triggerfish, pufferfish and other species.
Further off this coast are a couple of wrecks that have flourished into spectacular artificial reefs and are home to a number of very large resident
Ralagala, literally "Wave Rock," barely breaks the surface, but under the water lies a rugged landscape of granite boulders and rock formations. Fish
species include teeming schools of gold and green fusiliers, rudderfish, snapper, trevally, parrotfish, grunts, powder-blue surgeonfish and blue-ringed and
The Basses Reefs:
Marked by a lighthouse, this pair of reefs feature rugged sandstone formations and drop-offs, canyons, gullies, ridges and turrets, carved out of sandstone
by prehistoric seismic action and the waves. Look for black coral trees, fan corals, whip corals, multihued sponges, and pelagic visitors like sharks,
dogtooth tuna, barracuda, grouper, trevally, rays, sweetlips, and snapper. Due to their location, exposed to both the southwest and northeast monsoons,
these reefs are only accessible from March to early April.
Famous for the blue, sperm and Bryde's whales and dolphins that are regularly spotted close to shore here, the enormous natural harbor (fifth largest in
the world) features a coastline made up of dozens of bays, inlets, reefs, rocky peninsulas, cliffs and islands, resulting is a great variety of undersea
terrain and aquatic life. In addition to the marine mammals, look for schools of barracuda, giant trevally and the occasional shark.
Attacked by the Japanese in 1942, this British aircraft carrier went down with more than 300 men, and now rests in 55 metres/180 feet of water. Due to its
depth, this dive is restricted to technical divers. The wreck is patrolled by schools of trevally, mangrove snapper, and yellowfin barracuda, and offers
views of mangled gun emplacements, spars and girders, now covered with gorgonians and whip corals.
Car Carrier Wreck
This car carrier, which sank in 1983, is beautifully encrusted with coral. Cars are still visible on the deck at 23 metres/75 feet, and the propeller is
still intact at 27 metres/90 feet. Large batfish and groupers live in the hull.
This barge lies upright in 27 metres/90 feet of water, bristling with marine life. The deck is carpeted in corals and teeming with schools of tropical
fish. Whale sharks also put in occasional appearances.
World War II Plane
This small plane lies on a sand bottom in 30 metres/100 feet. You can still identify the aircraft's wings, its coral-encrusted cockpit and the twisted
remains of its propeller.