Susilo 3 no 3. Jakarta 11450. Indonesia. Tel : (021) 563-8265, 5696-5834, 569-72776 Fax : (021) 567-3475 Email: seapearlsc@yahoo.com - info@seapearldc.com
Seapearl DC Dive Trip

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SOUTH CHINA SEA

South China Sea
The Anambas Islands are located between Singapore and the Natuna islands in the South China Sea. Earlier the islands were better known as a base for off-shore oil drilling and natural gas explorations, but today Anambas has gained popularity among divers on account of its pristine corals. The best-known sites in Anambas are the underwater reefs of Tokong Berlayar, Tokong Malangbiru, Batu Katoaka, and the Seven Skies wreck. Encounter black-tip reef sharks, turtles, barracudas and even the occasional whale shark. Acasta Reef is a small Indonesian island in the middle of the South China Sea. It is located between the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and the West Coast of Borneo. It is fairly remote from surrounding land mass, which means that it can only be reached by liveaboard vessels. Its relative isolation also means that marine life is not as badly affected by human presence, and visibility is good. The Seven Skies was a 261m; 97,950 DWT Swedish AFRAmax Super Tanker, built in 1965 as one of 34 built by Kockums between 1965 and 1979. In 1969, she suffered an explosion and sank east of Tioman Island, not far from Anambas Islands.
The wreck is huge; sitting perfectly upright in 67m of water with the entire superstructure intact, but the tanker section has largely collapsed. The top of the funnel is in approximately 25m, the bridge and the superstructure at 30m, then various decks and structures to explore down to the main deck level at 45m. Main attractions include the bridge, the pool, the explosion damage and many easy swim-throughs. The main point of reference for recreational divers is the funnel where one frequently finds large Scorpionfish.

The Seven Skies wreck is popular with large pelagics too. Indeed some will tell you that one particular visitor was the inspiration behind our name. Curious if not somewhat aggressive schools of Batfiare ever-present. One usually gets to see tunas; big-eye trevallies; giant trevallies; barracudas and bludger trevallies in impressive schools driving balls of baitfish to the surface. Twoare often to be found in the rope room in the bow. You may also spot a Whale Shark, mantas or dolphins swimming around the wreck. This wreck has a deep diving range and therefore we recommend doing either a deep adventure dive; Advanced Open Water course and/or Deep Diver Specialty course.


IGARA WRECK

The Igara is a wreck off the East Coast of Malaysia that sank on 12 March 1973. At the time of her sinking the Igara was the largest ever single marine insurance loss in maritime history. Valued at over US$25 million she was loaded with 127,718 tonnes of Brazilian Iron Ore. The Igara was an Italian ore/oil steamship of 136,400 metric tons deadweight (DWT). It was on voyage from Vitoria to Muroran when after passing through the Sunda Strait, she struck an unchartered rock in the South China sea about 190 miles from Horsborough Lighthouse, off Mendarik Island, on 11 March 1973. However she did not sink immediately but continued her voyage until her bow settled submerged and resting on the sea bottom in approx 40 metres of water about 70 miles from Singapore. She settled with her entire stern section sticking out of the water. The following day 27 of the 38 man crew abandoned ship being picked up in their lifeboats by passing vessels. The master and 10 crew remained on board until 19 March when she began to break across Hold No.1. Salvagers used explosives to cut through the ship at Hold No. 1 and the entire rear section of the ship was towed to Japan where a new forward section was attached and she was renamed the Eraclide.

Subsequent salvage

ICRL (International Cargo Recoveries Limited), a BVI-based salvage management company, recognized the value of remaining iron ore cargo, contacted the insurers and acquired the legal rights to the ore and the salvage rights to the hull. In 2005/2006 ICRL contracted Deep Water Recoveries (S) Pte Ltd (“DWR”) to recover the ore. DWR recovered all the ore accessible to big grabs (60,000mt) and the operation grossed US$2.5m.Recreational dive site The ship now lies in around 40m of water rising to 11m at the top of the wreck. Despite only half the wreck remaining this is a huge wreck with vast open cargo holds. The site is prone to very strong currents and occasional bad visibility. The wreck was nicknamed the 'turtle wreck' by divers due to a resident turtle although more recent reports suggest the turtle is no longer present. Three resident nurse sharks are sometimes spotted in the storage rooms in the stern. The wreck is overgrown with soft corals, sponges and hydroids. Divers frequently see schools of barracudas, snappers, fusiliers, angelfish, groupers and batfish. Divers have also reported seeing a large and aggressive groupers. Blotched fantail stingrays (Marbled stingray) can also be found close to the bottom. More recent salvage work has removed further hatch covers offering further penetrations into the holds. The more forward holds have large cracks in between and in the hull – these offer plenty of light and passage in the form of a swim-through.