World's Best Wrecks | Scuba Diving

World's Best Wrecks

April 2007

By Nick Lucey

I have to give my brother props-not propellers in the nautical sense, but proper recognition-for fueling my love for wreck diving. Thanks to his persistence, I first donned a reg and entered heart-stoppingly cold Lake Superior to become a time traveler in those shipwreck-infested waters. I once asked him why, in his more than two decades of diving, he had never left the Great Lakes to dive the current-swept reefs of Cozumel or the dramatic walls of Cayman. His answer was as simple and unassuming as the Midwest itself: "Why? What's there to see?" This sums up wreck divers' raison d'etre. Reefs might possess color, but wrecks have historical hues all their own, a beauty that transcends the superficial and allows you, quite literally, to immerse yourself in history.

Aruba

Safely tucked below the hurricane belt, Aruba has long been renowned for its beaches, but divers know it as a top-notch wreck destination. It's just 100 miles west of Bonaire, but unlike its sister island, the focus of diving on Aruba isn't its reefs but the ships that have slipped beneath its windswept waves. And it has some interesting ones, too, including the 200-foot Jane Sea in 30 to 80 feet of water, the shallow Pedernales-great night dive-and the Antilla. The latter is perhaps the best-known and rightfully so-she's a 400-foot German supply ship that pierces the Caribbean with her keel at 60 feet. The Dutch attempted to seize the Antilla as revenge for the invasion of Holland, but her crew redlined the engines and opened the valves, letting the sea creep in. The combination of red-hot metal and cool ocean caused an explosion that blew out the center of the ship and sent her to the bottom on her side.

Australia

If you were to ask a wreck diver, "what would make the Great Barrier Reef greater?" they'd probably reply, "a wreck, of course." The SS Yongala-a 350-foot-plus luxury passenger ship and freighter that sits smack dab on the world's largest reef-is just that wreck. She went down in a cyclone and sat undisturbed in 50 to 100 feet of water 50 miles off Townsville for almost 50 years, until it was discovered in 1958. Today, it's arguably one of the GBR's most popular dive spots, an artificial reef sitting in the midst of the world's largest real one, clouded by yellowtail demoiselles and Maori wrasse, sea snakes, turtles, grouper and the occasional tiger shark. A protected historic wreck, the Gothenberg isn't intact but offers shallow depths (maximum 60 feet) for beginning wreck divers, and reef sharks are often seen in the area. Another popular Queensland wreck is the 440-foot U.S.-built, Australian guided missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane, which served in Vietnam and the first Gulf War, and now rests in 115 feet of water off the Gold Coast.

Bahamas

The Bahamas-assembled from more than 700 sandy spits of land sprinkled over an ocean area the size of Wyoming-forms the bottom leg of the Bermuda Triangle. It's no wonder the islands offer some of the region's best wreck diving. Off New Providence-home to Nassau and two-thirds of the Bahamas' population-there are a handful of interesting wrecks tended by a rather sizeable population of reef sharks. Offerings here include the Willaurie, the "Bond" wrecks (movie props including the Tears of Allah from Never Say Never Again and Vulcan bomber from Thunderball), Caribe Breeze, Bahama Mama, Steel Forest (actually three wrecks-the Captain Fox, Fenwick Stirrup and the Manana) and Ray of Hope. The Hope is both a wreck and a big animal encounter-Stuart Cove's does a very electric shark feed on it. Other greats include Bimini's Sapona and Bimini Barge and Grand Bahama's Theo's Wreck and Sugar Wreck.

Barbados

Not particularly known for diving-let alone wreck diving-the island of Barbados is fortunate to possess one of the Caribbean's pre-eminent shipwrecks, the SS Stavronikita. The island's signature wreck is a 365-foot Greek freighter sitting in 70 to 140 feet of water. The marine park at historic Carlisle Bay is reportedly home to more than 200 wrecks, four of which are perhaps most popular: Berwyn, C-Trek, Eilon and Fox. Other lesser-known Barbados wrecks include the Friars Crag and Pamir.

Honduras's Bay Islands

A couple dozen miles and a world away from the Honduras mainland, the Bay Islands serve up a trio of good wrecks off Roatan and another off Guanaja. When it was sunk intentionally in 1987, Guanaja's Jado Trader was the Bay Islands' undisputed signature wreck. It's no longer the islands' biggest, but the 187-footer sits on its side in 110 feet of water and still pleases with tons of fish including Nassau, black and tiger groupers and schools of horse-eye jacks. Off Roatan, three popular wrecks provide divers with an alternative to the island's sublime reefs. Sunk in 2002, the 300-foot Odyssey is the latest and greatest, with its mast at 40 feet and stern at 120. The 210-foot El Aguila was scuttled by Anthony's Key Resort in 1997, split in three by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and then scattered by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. She now rests in 30 to 110 feet of water and is populated by many friendly fish. The Prince Albert is accessible from shore at CoCo View Resort and sports a thick coat of sponges and an array of reef fishes.

Bermuda

When you consider Bermuda's fishhook shape and sore-thumb location in the wide-open North Atlantic-actually closer to Nova Scotia than it is to South Florida-it's not surprising that the islands have been snagging ships on their craggy shores for centuries. In fact, the place was settled by poor unfortunate souls who never got where they were going. Wreck divers, however, continue to thank these folks to this day and rejoice in what scientists have declared the clearest waters in all the western Atlantic. Here, in no particular order: the 200-foot schooner Constellation with its cargo ranging from ampoules of adrenaline to bags of cement, the well-preserved dead heads of the Darlington, the paddlewheel Mary Celestia (not to be confused with the Portuguese ghost ship Mary Celeste), the 300-foot English steamer Minnie Breslauer, the intact 165-foot freighter Hermes and the 500-foot Spanish liner Cristobal Colon, by far this destination's biggest wreck. At press time, the Bermuda government had donated a 75-foot ferry called the Sea Venture, with plans to sink it near a dive site called Blue Hole in spring 2007.

Bonaire

When you're there, the toss-your-tanks-in-the-Jeep-and-go freedom that is Bonaire seems heaven-sent. So the ability to drive up and dive a wreck seems like God's idea of a Christmas bonus. While there are other lesser wrecks on some of the popular resort house reefs, the two standouts on Bonaire are the Hilma Hooker and the Windjammer. Bound for destinations unknown, the Hooker rolled into port in 1984 laden with an illicit cargo of pot. Mysteriously, the ship sank a few months later, on a sandy bottom at 100 feet wedged between two reefs. Hit it early in the morning-before dive-boat rush hour-and you won't have to share the Hooker with anyone. The 230-foot Windjammer is Bonaire's technical gem, a three-masted iron ship sitting in 200 feet of water south of Washington Slagbaai National Park. The ship has been down since December 1912. Its proximity to the BOPEC (Bonaire Petroleum Corp.) oil tanker dock, however, makes her off limits due to international security regulations and the war on terror. Until these laws are lifted, the Windjammer sleeps alone.

BVIs

Wreck diving in the British Virgin Islands is defined by a single wreck, the Royal Mail Steamer (RMS) Rhone, by far the islands' most popular site and one of the most famous wrecks in the world, immortalized by the 1977 movie The Deep. While you're not likely to encounter a wet-T-shirt-clad Jacqueline Bisset on the scattered remains of the 310-foot steamer, you will find one of the most gorgeous sponge- and coral-encrusted wrecks around. Split into three major sections ranging in depth from 20 to 80 feet, you'll need at least two tanks to soak in the best of the best. We know you'll be star-struck, but don't overlook the BVIs' other great wrecks, including the Chikuzen, a 246-foot refrigerator vessel that sits on the sandy plateau between Tortola and Anegada. It was intentionally set ablaze off St. Maarten in the early '80s and drifted almost 100 miles-still on fire-until it sank in 80 feet of water. It's had more than 25 years to cool down, but it's red hot with marine life-including schools of jacks, grouper, barracuda and sharks-since it's pretty much the only underwater structure for miles and miles.

California

The sinking of the 366-foot Canadian destroyer HMCS Yukon to create an artificial reef in 2000-the West Coast's biggest-may have shined new light on the Golden State's wreck offerings, but local divers have been enjoying dozens of submerged boats for decades. Not too far from the Yukon is the S-37, a 219-foot steel submarine that saw some action in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Her infamously cramped quarters and leaking engine made her despised by her crew. She was ultimately depth-charged by her foes and, as a final insult, used for aerial target practice in 1945, sinking in 30 feet of water off Imperial Beach. The 306-foot destroyer escort John C. Butler sits off San Clemente Island in 60 to 80 feet of water, another war veteran that fought in famed battles including those in Palau, Peleliu, Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Another interesting dive is the 100-foot El Rey, which harvested kelp off Southern California and logged more than 800,000 miles. Near Lompoc, in what is generally considered to be the worst peacetime disaster in U.S. Naval history, seven destroyers wrecked on the rocky reefs at Point Pedernales. The Delphy, Chauncey II, Fuller, Woodbury III, S.P. Lee, Nicholas and the Young are all 314-foot steel destroyers lying in depths above 40 feet with visibility ranging from nil to 50 feet.

Canada

The world's second-largest country is home to numerous-albeit extremity-numbing-wreck diving opportunities, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In the far-western province of British Columbia, the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia has sunk six ships in the cold emerald waters of the Strait of Georgia-four 366-foot destroyer escorts, the Chaudiere, Columbia, Mackenzie and Saskatchewan, the 175-foot freighter G.B. Church and the 440-foot World War II victory ship Cape Breton, as well as a Boeing 737. In Quebec's St. Lawrence River, divers can visit the RMS Empress of Ireland, a 570-foot transatlantic ocean liner that collided with the Storstad in 1914, claiming more than 1,000 lives and making it the worst disaster in Canadian maritime history. Strong currents, cold water and depths of 80 to 140 feet make this a very advanced, treacherous dive. Farther east in Nova Scotia-Canada's version of North Carolina-take your pick from hundreds of shipwrecks, including the marine-life-laden 525-foot Arrow in 25 to 90 feet of water off Cape Breton Island.

Cayman Islands

For most divers, the Cayman Islands exude a safe, tame atmosphere-warm, calm water, efficient infrastructure, family atmosphere. Wreck divers, however, know that the islands have a wilder, edgier side. Let the pedestrians have Stingray City, Seven Mile Beach and the Turtle Farm, they say. Bring on the wrecks-and there are some great ones. The Oro Verde and Balboa are two easy, fishy wrecks a short ride from most of the major Grand Cayman dive operators. At press time, there were plans in the works to sink the 251-foot U.S. Navy submarine rescue ship U.S.S. Kittiwake off the island. There's also the Soto Trader off Little Cayman and the Cayman Mariner and MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts off Cayman Brac. Formerly the Frigate 365, the Tibbetts is the world's largest diveable Russian warship, a 330-foot vessel in 65 to 110 feet of water that's packed with marine life and has been down for more than a decade.

Cozumel

It's best known for drift diving on sheer vertical walls, but you can get your wreck yayas out on Cozumel, too. Take the Felipe Xicotencatl, for example, better known as the C-53. It was originally built as a U.S. Navy minesweeper, measuring 184 feet long with a 33-foot beam. In 1962, she was sold to the Mexican Navy for a dollar, converted to a gun boat and renamed the Felipe Xicotencatl C-53. She patrolled the Mexican Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico until 1999, when she was decommissioned, donated to the Cozumel Marine Park and laid to rest in 82 feet of water off Chankanaab. The marine park has recently restricted access there, so you dive it at your own risk, but it's generally believed to be safe and she remains one of Cozumel's most popular dives. Hurricane Wilma spun the C-53 around and broke her in two, and her average depth of 65 feet makes her a perfect second dive. Also upping the ante for wreck divers are two naval patrol vessels intentionally sunk last June just outside the marine park: the 85-foot Laguna Mandinga and the 42-foot Patzcuaro. At less than 40 feet, divers and snorkelers alike can enjoy them.

Curaçao

Look up "signature wreck" in the dive dictionary and you'll find a picture of the Superior Producer, hands down Curaçao's biggest, best wreck. Just outside Willemstad's bustling harbor, this 240-foot freighter went down in rough seas in 1977 when her cargo shifted just minutes after setting sail for Colombia. It's possible to dive it from shore but why bother-most dive ops visit the Producer regularly. The currents and depths make this an advanced dive, however, so beware. You can explore much of this wreck, which sits upright in 80 to 100 feet of water and is cloaked in a nice blanket of orange cup coral and purple tube sponge. A much lesser wreck is the Tugboat, toward the south end of the island, just a few yards offshore. Shallow depths and clear water make this a great wide-angle backdrop, and there's a nice wall nearby. There's also a small airplane wreck near Sunset Waters Beach Resort, and two sites-Car Pile off SuperClub Breeze's house reef and the Car Wrecks off Vaersenbaai-have created unexpected underwater traffic jams that you can dive and explore.

Florida

While the more timid venture to Disney World, wreck fanatics know that Florida's best thrill rides lie offshore. You'll find artificial reefs of every shape and size, whether it's the USS Oriskany (the world's largest), decommissioned A-6 Intruder jets off St. Augustine, or the 17th-century Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha. While you won't get to dive the Atocha, there's plenty to keep you busy. The Duane and Bibb are a pair of Coast Guard cutters that attract a bevy of fish off Key Largo. The Spiegel Grove, a 510-foot U.S. Navy Landing Ship Dock, is a main draw. After the ship sank on its side, Hurricane Dennis had the last laugh and flipped the Spiegel Grove upright. And soon, divers in Key West will be able to enjoy the General Hoyt S. Vandenberg-a 520-foot missile-tracking ship.

The Great Lakes

Yep, it's cold. But wreck divers say so what-in America's heartland, you'll find nearly 4,000 wrecks, and many of them are in fantastic shape in zebra mussel-sterilized, schnapps-clear water.

Combined, the five lakes-Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario-create the largest freshwater system in the world. For decades, Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee have depended on enormous oceangoing vessels plying this inland sea to reach global markets. Fickle Midwestern weather has converted many of these ships into scuba diving attractions. Michigan's underwater preserves encompass more than 2,400 square miles of Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron, and include Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary protects more than 100 historically significant wrecks, including steel-hulled steamers and wooden side-wheelers. Alger Underwater Preserve off Munising, Mich., boasts "sea caves," underwater interpretive trails and seven major found shipwrecks including the Smith Moore, a wooden steam barge that rests in 90 to 105 feet of water. Tobermory, Ontario, has been called the freshwater scuba diving capital of the world, and its Fathom Five National Marine Park is home to 22 historic wrecks in Lake Huron's cold, clear Georgian Bay. Milwaukee boasts a number of excellent freshwater wrecks, including the Prins Willem V, the 338-foot car ferry Milwaukee and the 181-foot schooner barge Emba, a very advanced dive in 170 feet of water.

Grenada

Even nearly 25 years later, about all most Americans know about the tiny Caribbean nation of Grenada is that it was invaded by the U.S. when its communist-sympathizing regime was in power in 1983. Divers, however, overlook Reagan's Cold War gambit and know Grenada more for its signature wreck-the Bianca C. Fire dispatched the 600-foot luxury liner-dubbed the "Titanic of the Caribbean"-to the bottom of St. George's Harbor on Oct. 22, 1961, for the last time (she actually had sunk once before, in France prior to her completion). Fortunately, only two of the nearly 700 aboard perished. The vessel now sits upright on a sandy bottom in 90 to 165 feet of water. Add sweeping currents to the mix and you have both an advanced recreational and technical dive all in one. Other Grenada wreck offerings include the cement freighter MV Shakem, the nurse shark-infested San Juan and the island's newest, the Hema 1.

Guam

Truk Lagoon has stolen almost all of Micronesia's wreck mojo, but don't overlook Guam. Fate has created a coincidental war museum on the bottom of Guam's Apra Harbor-the only place on earth where you can dive wrecks from both World Wars on a single tank. The German-built, Russian-operated SMS Cormoran (formerly the Rjasan) and the Japanese Tokai Maru-both passenger/cargo freighters-lie atop one another in the bay. To dive them both, the typical profile is to descend past the Tokai Maru's midsection until the 290-foot Cormoran is reached at 80 feet. You don't have to go past 100 feet to soak in the infrastructure. Visibility can be limited due to weather and ship traffic in the harbor; you might get 50 feet if you're lucky. Other Guam wrecks include a Japanese Val bomber sitting in 85 feet of water on a sloping wall, and a 300-plus-foot concrete barge called the American Tanker, sunk to provide a breakwater at the mouth of Apra Harbor.

Hawaii

While the 50th state isn't known for lush coral reefs like you'd find in the Caribbean or Pacific destinations farther west, it has its share of interesting underwater sights-lava formations, large animals and a bevy of beautiful wrecks off Oahu. Among the most popular is the 110-foot Navy oiler YO-257, intentionally sunk to serve as a fascinating curio for passengers aboard Atlantis tourist submarines in 50 to 100 feet off Waikiki Beach. There's also the deteriorating 165-foot U.S. Navy-turned-oceanographic research vessel Mahi in 60 to 100 feet of water, the 150-foot-plus Sea Tiger, a cargo ship in 80 to 130 feet, and the wreck of a Corsair that ran out of gas during a training mission in 1946, and now sits in the sand in 100 feet of water off Diamond Head.

Marshall Islands

Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands is proof that one man's nuclear test is another man's treasure. Of course, human suffering notwithstanding, the Able and Baker blasts succeeded not only in creating one of the world's largest concentrations of diveable military artificial reefs, but one of its largest environmental nightmares as well. Almost two dozen nuke tests in the '40s and '50s uprooted a couple hundred islanders from their paradise and displaced them on a nearby atoll. Today, radiation levels are low enough to make travel to Bikini safe, and the only risks to divers are the relatively deep waters in which some of its wrecks lie. The sites at Bikini read like a World War II naval who's who-the immense 880-foot aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (the world's largest diveable intentionally sunken vessel prior to the sinking of the USS Oriskany), battleships USS Arkansas and HIJMS Nagato, destroyers USS Anderson and USS Lamson and the submarine USS Apogon, just to name a few. You'll need permission to land at the U.S.-controlled airbase at Kwajalein, but it will pay off with a dive on the 700-foot German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. The Eugen fought alongside the Bismarck against the HMS Hood in the Battle of the Denmark Strait, and even survived the Able and Baker blasts at Bikini only to capsize in the lagoon at Kwajalein.

North Carolina

North Carolina's sandy capes and the Outer Banks have snared 2,000 ships, including an 18th-century frigate once owned by Blackbeard, Civil-war ironclads and World War II German unterseeboots. This catch includes the U-352, the first German sub sunk by the U.S. Coast Guard and one of only three diveable U-boats off North Carolina. On the sub today you'll find an arsenal of mantas, Atlantic spadefish and barracuda. Another, the U-85, sits at 90 feet off Nags Head and is smothered in coral and sponge and has a thick coat of sea bass, amberjacks and triggerfish. Off Cape Lookout, the 412-foot tanker Papoose rests in 140 feet of water with its oft-photographed rudder looming at a slightly more manageable 90 feet. The real thrill, however, is the squadron of tiger sharks that loom around her. Between now and 2010, 1,500 lucky divers will be allowed the opportunity to dive the 300-ton British Frigate Queen Anne's Revenge-originally called the Concord-built in 1710. During its illustrious career, it served as Blackbeard's pirate ship, a slave ship, cargo ship and freighter.

Palau

Often overshadowed by its Micronesian cousin Chuuk to the east, Palau has quietly amassed its own great assemblage of WWII-era wrecks. In fact, Palau is so pro-wreck diving that Sam's Tours hosts a "Palau Wreck Week" celebration every March. The Japanese occupied these islands during World War II, and U.S. naval air power attacked the archipelago during Operation Desecrate I in 1944. Wrecks include a bunch of Marus: the tanker Amatsu Maru-Micronesia's biggest at 500-plus feet-in 70 to 130 feet of water, the freighter Teshio Maru, Ryuko Maru and perhaps the best-known and most popular of Palau's wrecks, the Iro Maru. The local wreck portfolio also includes a "Jake" floatplane (featured on the cover of this issue), and the "Helmet Wreck" with its cargo of-you guessed it-helmets, now fused together on this wreck, which sits in 50 to 100 feet of water. Tech divers will also be intrigued by the USS Perry, a 314-foot destroyer sitting in 240 to 260 feet of water near Angaur. In 1944, just a day before the invasion of Peleliu and Angaur, it hit a mine and sank. Amazingly, this enormous vessel remained undiscovered for almost 60 years, until it was discovered in 2000.

Papua New Guinea

More than a thousand indigenous ethnic groups speaking 10 percent of all the languages on earth call the eastern half of the world's second largest island home. No wonder nobody gets along. And if that weren't enough angst for one country, the U.S. and Japan would have to go and fight over Papua New Guinea, too. But wreck divers are grateful, as this has produced some of the best wreck diving in the South Pacific. Near the capital city of Port Moresby are the New Marine and Kukipi wrecks, an A-20 Havoc aircraft and the Pacific Gas, a 200-plus-foot liquid gas carrier in 45 to 140 feet of water. Near Madang, you'll find the USS Boston and a classic B-25 Mitchell bomber. Rabaul also provides ample wreck opportunities, including the Hakai Maru in its harbor, George's wreck, a Japanese biplane and Zero fighter, and the wreck at Takubar.

Red Sea

While theologians might argue whether Moses actually parted the Red Sea, you'd be hard-pressed to find a diver who wouldn't agree that this is one of the world's holy grails of wreck diving. Essentially one enormous shipping channel that links the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean, this slender, super-salty sea is larger than California and more than a mile-and-a-half deep at its lowest point. And with ship traffic comes ship wreckage. The SS Thistlegorm, perhaps the Red Sea's most popular wreck, was a 419-foot British armed Merchant Navy ship built in 1940 and sunk a year later near Ras Muhammed by two German bombers. The resulting explosion of the ship's ammunition stores were reportedly enough to launch the two railway carriages that it was hauling straight into the air. Other popular wrecks include the Giannis D, the Carnatic, which ran aground in 1869, and the Salem Express, which went down while ferrying Mecca pilgrims between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in 1991, taking more than 450 souls with her.

Truk

The name Truk may not translate into "wreck" in the Chuukese language, but the place is synonymous with wrecks for many English-speaking divers. It's one of those dive-it-before-you-die destinations. The 50- by 30-mile-wide lagoon was the forward anchorage for the Japanese Imperial Fleet during World War II, home to scores of ships including battleships, aircraft carriers, destroyers and subs, as well as five airstrips, and a radar station. When the U.S. military captured the Marshall Islands, they used it as a base to attack Truk-known locally as Chuuk-in 1944, and Operation Hailstone resulted in the single greatest naval loss in history: more than 60 ships and almost 300 planes were dispatched to the lagoon's seafloor. Chuuk native Kimiuo Aisek was an eyewitness to the onslaught as a teenager, and together with Klaus Lindemann, discovered many of the wrecks divers visit today. Both passed away in 2001, but their legacy of more than 20 found wrecks lives on. Among the most popular are the easy 440-foot Fujikawa Maru with its thick coral growth and airplane wreckage in depths of less than 120 feet, the 353-foot Nippo Maru with its deck guns in 50 to 150 feet, the 500-foot coral-choked Shinkoku Maru with its intact, photogenic bridge in 30 to 130 feet and the much more advanced 375-foot San Francisco Maru, with its stores of tanks, trucks, bombs and ammo, in depths ranging from 100 to 200 feet.

Turks & Caicos

While it's better known for its sheer dramatic walls, dense reef life and exciting marine life encounters, the Turks & Caicos offer a couple of wreck diving experiences that make it worth a special trip. The 44-gun HMS Endymion-the first of four British warships to be so-named-was launched in 1779 and wrecked south of Salt Cay in 1790. Though there's nothing to penetrate, you will find cannons, anchors and ballast stones on an ethereal reef in less than 40 feet of water. There's also a Convair CV-440 Metropolitan plane wreck in 50 feet of water just off South Caicos. The gaping fuselage is packed with schoolmasters and makes an excellent photo op.

U.S. Virgin Islands

While overshadowed by the BVIs' more aggressive marketing campaign of its RMS Rhone, the U.S. Virgin Islands secretly welcomes divers to an impressive array of sunken ships. Perhaps the most popular off St. Thomas is the 328-foot freighter Witshoal in 30 to 90 feet. You'll also find a 300-plus-foot U.S. Navy hospital barge Miss Opportunity and a 450-foot grain freighter called the Grainton, as well as shallow twin Navy barges and the 190-foot interisland freighter Cartanza Señora. Off St. John, the 135-foot Army freighter Major General Rogers commands most of the attention, and off St. Croix, all the wreck action is focused around Butler Bay, where you'll find the 300-foot oil barge Virgin Islander, 177-foot Rosaomaira, 123-foot North Sea trawler Suffolk Maid and the 83-foot tug Coakley Bay.

Vanuatu

Vanuatu is known among divers for just one thing-the President Coolidge. Built in a Virginia shipyard and coming to its final resting place on Vanuatu's seafloor, the 650-foot-plus luxury liner-cum-troop carrier Coolidge-one of the world's largest diveable wrecks-features jeeps, guns, gas masks and other military materiel, as well as a large stockpile of marine life.

The Hermes

The Hermes was intentionally sunk in 1984 and is still intact.

Stephen Frink

MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts

The MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts was formerly the Frigate 365.

Rod Klein

USS Apogon

The submarine USS Apogon is among the many World War II wrecks found at Bikini Atoll.

Eric Hanauer

Nippo Maru

A gas mask on Chuuk Lagoon's Nippo Maru.

Rod Klein

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