Are you crazy about diving and shipwrecks? If you are, you should head over to the Maldives, where you don’t have to be a top-notch professional diver to delve into the world of underwater ship graveyards.
The Maldivian sea is littered with ships that were wrecked either accidentally or intentionally. Over time, the skeletons of these vessels have become wondrous locations to explore.
One of the most famous shipwreck sites in the Maldives is the British Loyalty. This 140-meter-long cargo ship lies in its watery grave at Addu Atoll, the southernmost atoll.
This shipwreck diving spot is accessible after a 30-minute boat ride from Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa. A trip to this dive site will certainly spruce up your stay at the resort.
The British Loyalty lies on its side at a depth of about 33 meters. The vessel is rightly named; it met its end while in service to the Royal Navy.
It happened in the year 1944, near the end of World War 2. The cargo ship was in Addu Atoll, near the British Royal Navy base at the island of Gan.
A Japanese warship fired a torpedo that managed to avoid the submarine nets between the open ocean and the atoll waters.
The resulting explosion left a gaping hole in the side of the ship. The British Loyalty gradually filled up with water but did not sink.
After the war was over, the British Navy towed it out to an ideal spot in the atoll where it was finally scuttled. The British Loyalty sank and came to rest on its side where it has now become a diving hotspot.
In the past seven decades since it was sunk, the British Loyalty has become the foundation for rich coral growth. Hard coral is flourishing on it as well as various soft corals. The brass propeller is covered in thick black coral growth. There are two holes on the ship, one on the deck and one on the keel.
Divers can easily swim inside through these holes. It instills an exciting feeling of adventure when the flashlight illuminates the dark interior. It lights up an entirely different world.
Inside the ship, divers are greeted by schools of trevally, butterfly fish, bluestripe snappers, glassfish, and fusiliers. Other fauna includes parrotfish, wrasse, angelfish, triggerfish, and clownfish that dart among the soft corals. You can also spot groupers and even turtles.
The British Loyalty shipwreck spot is a good choice for intermediate divers as well. The current is good, and divers at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa will make sure that your dive is safe.
Diving at the location is allowed all year round.
The British Loyalty is an important bit of history for the Maldives. Soon after World War 2, the British left the Maldives. Artifacts of their memorable presence here litter the islands of Addu Atoll. But the British Loyalty is singular in its presence, powerful and beautiful even in death.