Where in the world can you dive on an Aircraft Carrier? Well there are not too many places. Sri Lanka or also formerly known as Ceylon happens to be one of them.
first purposely build Aircraft Carrier
the HMS Hermes was the very first purposely build Aircraft Carrier planed and was under the Royal British Navy during the First World War. She was launched in September 1919 and therefor already to late to see any action during World War 1.
attacked by Vice Adminarl Nagumo
In 1942 the Japanese fleet under Vice Admiral Nagumo, who was also responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor, has ordered a massive attack on Ceylon and the British Navy. Despite the knowledge of the attack, the HMS Hermes and her supporting vessels could not defend herself against more than 80 Japanese Zero fighters and was sunk in less than an hour with the loss of the Captain, 19 officers and another 288 brave Seaman near the Beach of Batticaloa Sri Lanka.
Despite the historical importance it was nearly impossible to dive the HMS Hermes until recently. Reason for that was the over 30 year Civil War in the northern part of Sri Lanka who just finished in 2009.
diving the HMS Hermes
Now finally the Hermes has become possible for divers who travel to Colombo International Airport and then take a taxi or Mini Bus for another 7 to 8 hours to Batticaloa.. The HMS Hermes is lies on her Port side at about 52m with fantastic visibility. The Wreck is till full of fantastic features like Emergency Light Balls, Glass in the windows, the nearly almost intact control tower. The Wreck also serves as a Museum and a tribute to the Man who lost there lives serving on her.
Since the Wreck is quiet deep, the best and only way to dive on it is to obtain a PADI TEC REC Course prior to visiting Sri Lanka. Felician Fernando a Local TEC REC Instructor who has more than 700 Dives on the Hermes and, owner of Sri Lanka Diving Tours PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Center, has a small Dive Center and Guest House to serve Groups with Comfort and Logistics who want to visit the Hermes.
HMS Hermes Facts:
Sunk: 2 April 1942
Depth 52 + m
best time to dive: April – September
visibility: 20 + m often more
Diving: TEC Diving, Technical Rebreathers