HMS Hermes Trip .....
May 28th to June 8th '10
The trip will start in Colombo the capital of Sri Lanka. We will be over nighting at one of the better local hotels and will depart from the hotel next morning in a convoyed of minibuses for the six hour drive over the mountains to Batticaloa.
The HMS Hermes I is a fascinating and historic WWII shipwreck located off Sri Lanka's East Coast in the Bay of Bengal near Batticaloa. The Hermes was the worlds first ever purpose built aircraft carrier, laid down in 1918 and commisioned in 1923. She had a distinguished career in the Far East which eventually ended in April 1942 when she was caught by aircraft from the Japanese Carrier Fleet comprising Soryu, Hiryu andAkagi, commanded by Vice Admiral Nagumo ( who had lead the Pearl Harbour raids ). She was sunk along with HMAS Vampire, HMS Hollyhock and the RFA Athelstane. She now lies port side down (almost completely over on her flight deck) in 53m of water off shore from Batticoloa. As such, she is truly one of a kind, in that she is the only aircraft carrier in the world which sank in diveable depths in actual active combat.
Since the time of her sinking the Hermes has been only very rarely dived, mainly by local divers, lacking equipment and proper technique for exploration of the ship.
The ship lies on her port side and is reached at a depth of 44m with a seabed at 55m. You can swim the length of the ship from bow to stern, offering some very inviting penetration. The bow guns and those turrets amidships are still trained skyward and shell casings are still strewn around from her final frantic moments, multiple points of entry for at least superficial, and probably substantial, penetration exist. The Hermes was approximately 20m in the beam at the flight deck, and her present vertical relief points toward the wreck being partially buried in the seabed, and thus we expect depths on the interior of the ship to exceed the 53m. Beyond the intrigue of the wrecks interior, the lack of fishing net and diver interaction has lead to large marine life on the site that is both prolific and inquisitive.
Diving conditions at the site at the intended time of year are generally very calm with water temperatures upwards of 27c. Moderate currents can run over the wreck.
Useful links regarding the HMS Hermes