Technical diving. Aircraft carrier “Hermes”

The goal of this tour is an aircraft carrier “Hermes”, sunken in 1942 at in the waters near Batticaloa. During the tour it is possible to visit several interesting places. On the way from Colombo to Batticaloa divers will attend Kurunegala – a so called Stone city. After observing the sights, the route leads to Dambulla, the city that is located in the very center of Ceylon. Here is a temple complex that is more than 2100 years old. After that visitors watch wild elephants in Habarana and then pass near artificial lakes in Minneriya and Giritala, created by ancient kings of Sri Lanka in 3rd and 6th centuries AD. Another place of interest is a colossal lake called Parakrama Samudra, the Sea of King Parakrama. It was created in the 12th century by the king of Parakrama Bahu (1153-1186 AD). Getting acquainted with the lakes, the trip goes on to Batticaloa. The sunken “Hermes” lays at 52m/170ft depth. It should be noted that the place is considered a war burial place, that’s why divers are asked to show due respect to the remnants of the ship. The lifting of any item without a written government decision is forbidden. Entering the vessel is forbidden as well. As a rule the first dive is performed at 42-44m/137-144ft above the “Hermes’s” deck. The currents are usually very strong and it is not advisable to take photo and video on the first dive day. During the diving 12 litre double tanks S-80 with a manifold and stage with EAN5 are used. It is possible to perform a single dive with 2 slings (1 for decompression and 1 for bottom gas) or 2 dives of average duration with a break on the surface (the same equipment is used). In the second part of the day the wind grows stronger and it is advisable to dive before the lunch. If the divers wish, they can have an excursion on the adjoining territories. On the next day the same equipment is used. The dives are performed to larger depths – 45-50m/147-164ft. The onboard weapon, missiles and shells can be seen at 44-48m/144-157ft depth. At 48m/157ft depth there is an immense propeller still connected to a barrel. While swimming near the ship it is possible to spot military equipment that was used by aircraft carrier in the war period and now it is scattered on the deck. On the final day in Batticaloa after the breakfast divers leave hotel to get to a real pearl of Sri Lanka that was included to the list of the world heritage of UNESCO – the Sigiriya fortress. An impressing building was erected in the 5th century AD. 1200 steps lead to the top of the fortress. The walls are decorated with world-famous frescoes. Further the way goes to a famous Kandy city and the garden of spices in Matale. And finally the group arrives to the ancient capital of Ceylon. If one desires it is possible to organize a tour around the city. Tourists will see here royal gardens where the scenes for “Indiana Jones and temple of doom” and “The bridge over Kwai river” were shot. The visit of the holy Buddhist relict – the temple of Buddha’s tooth and royal gardens depends on the desire of the visitors. After that one can attend the museum of precious stones, meet crafts men and admire Sri Lankan dances. On the way to Colombo tourists can visit Pinnawela famous for its elephant resort.

Location: Eastern coast of Sri Lanka, not far from Batticaloa

What to see: Aircraft carrier “Hermes”, Stone city, temple complex in Dambulla, wild elephants in Habarana, artificial lakes in Minneriya and Giritala, Parakrama Samudra – the Sea of King Parakrama, Sigiriya fortress, Kandy city, the garden of spices in Matale, ancient capital of Ceylon, temple of Buddha’s tooth, royal gardens, Pinnawela.

Depth: max 52m/170ft

Currents: 1-2knots

Visibility: 20-30m/65-98ft

Season for diving: All year round. The average water temperature is 24-26C/75-78F

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