A hidden ocean paradise: Scuba Diving at ‘Lord Nelson’ Ship wreck in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka.

Me and my wife posing for a snap near an underwater statue

Scuba diving became a passion for myself and my wife after first getting the taste of it couple years back. A journey we started as couple of amateur Scuba divers has now evolved in to a full blown hobby making us going to places that we have only seen in Discovery, Nat Geo and the likes.

Underwater world fascinated me from the childhood, I was enchanted by the entire worlds that are hidden beneath the Ocean and always aspired to explore them.

Our very first Scuba diver took place in Unawatuna, an enchanting beautiful coastal town in southern region of Sri Lanka and hour an half from its capital Colombo.

A 2.5 hours drive to Unawatuna via the ‘southern expressway’ from Colombo

“I am not sure I can do this hon, you go ahead I’ll stay ashore!”

I still remember these words from my wife getting after frightened during a training session we had before our very first dive.

“Urggh.. I gulped down some sea water” she was screaming coming up with her diving regulator in hand.

Despite her best efforts, she simply couldn’t stop breathing out her nose while been hooked to the regulator, so sea water kept getting inside her mask as she was trying to exhale through the nose that left a little opening allowing the water to seep through.

“Don’t panic babe, you’ve got this, let’s take it slow. Baby steps, come on let’s do this and you’ll thank me later you know” I tried to calm her nerves down.

So it was nothing a morale boosting pep talk couldn’t fix at the time. (wink wink)

Although it was her that was on the back foot at the beginning when it came to diving, now it has been the flip side, as she is the one who hunts down dive sites for us. She does all the research, talks to the dive site people and set the whole trip up, should tell you a lot about how one can get spell bound by diving.

Unawatuna bay area, a tourist hot spot is where we had diving training

We started the proceedings by getting a quick training by the PADI certified diving instructors in the shallow waters of the Unawatuna beach itself, which is a very famous tourist attraction and is always buzzling with activity.

Going for the diving site

Us before our very first dive, you don’t see it in here but we are scared to death in side!

My wife experienced some troubles under water(again) as she had some water coming in to her face mask so she used one hand to close her nostrils from the outside. Luckily she didn’t panicked and kept flushing the water out with a neat trick that was taught to us in the training.

My wife us holding her nose over the mask to cut down the eerie sensation of sea water touching her nostrils, she had to do this quite a few times

As we descended over 10 meters i could feel that my ears getting locked due to the air pressure with a slight sensation of pain. Since this was expected and we were instructed what needs to be done to adjust the pressure, did not become a huge problem. We press our mask against the forehead tightly with one hand and other closing the nostrils while trying to blow as hard as we can until we feel that pressure gets released in the inner ears. Once we descend to a decent enough depth from the sea bed we adjusted buoyancy and started gliding towards the Ship wreck which is to be the highlight of our dive.

My wife finally getting the hang of it. She had a better buoyancy than me!

We were also taught some basic hand signs to communicate under water, ‘👌’ means I’m okay while ‘👋’ flapping our hands parallelly to the ground means that we are in trouble. Moreover, ‘👍’ says that I’m going up or we need to go up while ‘👎’ indicates that we are going down or need to go down.

I was looking at my wife the whole time who came besides me and doing ‘👌’ again and again to make sure that she was doing fine.

As we started seeing the marine life all the memories from what I have seen in documentaries and films came crashing in.

“Damn, this can’t be true. There is an entire world out here” I was saying to myself.

Sea creatures of all sizes and shapes were there. Some went in to the little openings in corals as they saw us approaching. While more curious ones came in herds and started swimming around us in flocks. I was so overwhelmed with joy and excitement and I could feel a rush of adrenaline in my body.

A blue spotted ray whooshed passed me couple of feet’s away flapping its wings and sliding elegantly over the sea floor, the second I saw it I was waving at my wife pointing it to her, only if I could yell underwater!

“Hello, here, hello, Urrgh, look at this way hon” I was waving and making some funny movements like crazy.

She wasn’t looking at this direction and couldn’t get her to in time, before the ray disappeared. I guess she was also awe-struck to see the paradise underwater for herself with all the marine life buzzling around us.

Blue spotted Ray came out of nowhere swam with me for at least half a minute before disappearing

Bright colored fish was everywhere, some were eating the see weed and other plant life that grew on the corals. Thinking back and reminiscing the events that unfolded under water right in front of my eyes, I can’t find any words that would justify the beauty of things I saw as the whole experience was so ‘dreamy’.

Flocks of reef fish were everywhere swimming around

There were some big grouper fish(from what I could spot it was groupers mainly) who were going for their solo swims as well, while there were parrot fish who kept on eating dead corals and clownfish were going in and out of the corals was a sight that will stay in my mind forever.

‘Ribboned sweetlip’ fish going for a casual food hunt in to the corals

As we glided towards the sunken ship the color of the ocean became much darker as the light didn’t penetrate that deep. It was more dark bluish compared to earlier, coral reefs disappeared instead I could see the sandy sea bed more clearly. Visibility was not more that five to ten meters in front. As we went ahead I could see a structure sticking out of the sea floor in the distance, it was the Lord Nelson ship wreck. As we came nearer I was astonished by the sheer size of the ship, most parts of which has already decayed while others have let marine life to prosper around them.

Me hanging in to the side of ‘Lord Nelson’ ship wreck 15-20 meters down

I dived under the massive structure of the ship (or what is left of it), I remember to have gotten chills down my spine remembering how great whites come out of hiding from structures like this and drag people in to the dark abyss of the sea in the movies. I was shaking my head trying to look around to make sure that I am not being hunted by one, as funny as it may seem now I was scared to wander in to the ship wreck it self.

There are sections in the Ship wreck that are dark and could be hiding grounds for large predators!

After a half an hour going around and though some sections of the ship wreck we decide to head back.

On our way back we came to a site where there were some objects placed and held on the sea bed by the divers collective in Unawatuna to provide tourists an underwater attraction, which were solely meant for photo shoots.

Yes, you guessed it right. We had our fair share of moments in there as well!

It was a wonderful diving experience that made me appreciate and respect the oceans more and more, I could never fathom the beauty nor the scale of the world that are hidden by the oceans before I went in.

9 responses to “A hidden ocean paradise: Scuba Diving at ‘Lord Nelson’ Ship wreck in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka.”

  1. Incredible….. wonderful dive and very well penned… thankyou for sharing those wonderful underwater pictures!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leela indeed it was absolutely mind blowing, trust me after this first nervous dive we(both me and my wife) got the taste for scuba diving and have done a great deal of dives now.

      I honestly don’t think that the pictures (though they look amazing) do justice to the unbelievable scenes we witnessed.

      Thanks for your lovely comment and the compliment, makes me want to write more about my journeys.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You should write …so that others can enjoy your experience at least partially….👍👍

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, this kind of motivation is just what I need, thanks a bunch Leela! 🙂

          As you said, on one hand others get to enjoy my journeys coupled with their imagination and on the other hand writing liberates my soul. So I feel my blog is my way of expressing my self and at the same time taking the readers on this beautiful journey of life with me. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved reading this and loved the pictures! I hope we’ll see more of yours and your wife’s diving adventures! Thank you for bringing a smile to my face this evening!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seeing as to how you liked the post made me super thrilled Jill!!

      Thanks for the encouraging words and the compliments. Makes me want to share more and more experiences with the blogger community.

      You can count on seeing more adventure from us for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Looking forward to it!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I fully sympathise with your wife. Diving is not for me but I have a buddy who loves it. Funny enough we were at Unawatuna yesterday. Like you I find Sri Lanka beautiful and the people were hospitable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, there is something you should know, although my wife was really on a back foot to begin diving after she go the taste for it she was obsessed by it!

      Now it’s her how’s on the hunt for diving sites and plans the whole thing.

      Thank you for your lovely comment and glad that enjoyed Unawatuna as much as we did!

      Well what do you know, its Such a small world to see that you’re at Unawatuna today. I actually came back to a Unawatuna today for deep sea paddle boarding from Galle a Harbour to Jungle beach.

      Like

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