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16 Can't-Miss Purpose-Sunk Wrecks
Pacific Gas, Papua New Guinea
PNG has no shortage of divable wrecks. A hotbed of fighting during WWII, downed airplanes are the norm, but the purpose-sunk Pacific Gas dwarfs its neighbors in comparison.
One of the largest shipwrecks in the country, the 215-foot natural-gas tanker went to the seafloor near the capital city Port Moresby in 1996, under the guidance of PNG diving pioneer Bob Halstead. The rudder of the Pacific Gas sits at the bottom of a sandy slope at about 145 feet, while the ship’s bow reaches to about 50 feet, making it accessible to all experience levels.
The stern’s multilevel super-structure boasts exterior stairways, walkways and swim-throughs in the crew quarters, but it’s the bow where the real action happens. Under the cover of darkness, divers can drop to the base of the mooring line, where an open hatch in the ship’s forward hold acts as a window onto a thousands-strong school of flashlight fish, which leave the hatch looking like a massive trail of glowing ants as they traverse the cargo holds.
>> Make It Happen: December to April is calmest, june to October has the best viz. loloata Island Resort (loloata.com) is 15 minutes from the Pacific Gas, and offers day and night dives to the wreck. Two-tank trips cost $130; one-tank night dives cost $75.
There’s No better way to spice up a dive destination than by adding a new wreck. Wrecks attract throngs of marine life and divers, so it’s no surprise that operators in hot spots around the world go to great lengths to acquire, clean and sink interesting ships in their waters. This “science of scuttle” means the landscape of available wrecks is forever growing — there’s always a new sinking on the horizon to keep us excited. From Pensacola to Papua New Guinea, we’ve compiled a guide to some of Scuba Diving’s favorite purpose-sunk-wreck dives — some newly sunk, some longtime classics, but all offer ideas for endless bottom time.