Diving 7 Skies, Igara wreck at Anambas

Start:Friday, 20 October 2006
End:Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Duration:5 days
Highlights:THIS TRIP HAS BEEN CANCELLED due to a pricing disagreement with the operator. Please contact the organizer for refund.

PLEASE NOTE THAT IT IS THE CLUB TRIP THAT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. We do not represent the operator, nor we are an agent. Further enquiries about the trip should be directed to the operator.
Itinerary:THE SEVEN SKIES WRECK

October is the best time to dive the Seven Skies wreck, as mantas and whale sharks frequently linger here while migrating.

The Seven Skies is a super tanker that sank near the Anambas islands, Riau province. (Location: 2°38' N, 105°13.5' E. 220km NE of Singapore). The location of this famous wreck has been disputed over and over again, until finally it was resolved in 2005 that it is within Indonesian waters. Currently, there is only one way to get there: by liveaboard. The liveaboard Black Manta sails from Batam on a Friday night, and returns to Batam on a Sunday night. Foreigners will have to clear Indonesian customs at Batam before boarding the vessel.

The wreck lies about four hours journey East of Pulau Aur, Malaysia. It is sitting upright on a sandy patch, its top at about 32m and its bottom at 67m. The top of the funnel (24m) is covered in gorgeous soft corals, and fish life is abundant. Small anthias, huge batfish, tunas and giant trevally swarm the wreck. Nudibranchs and sea slugs hide amongst the lush soft corals, although these are mostly the garden variety varicose wart slugs. Besides, people come here for the pelagics, not the macro.

Wreck enthusiasts have the option of penetration, although this must be done with the proper gases and procedures. This is a deep dive, and the nearest recompression facility is eight hours away, so be conservative and dive within your training limit. The wreck itself is huge, about 150m in length, so it provides endless exploration opportunities for both recreational and technical divers.

The best time to dive is April (flat seas and great visibility) and October (manta and whale shark season). This site is only suitable for experienced divers, as currents can be fierce and the depth forbidding. Good air consumption is essential; deep stops and very slow descent is recommended.

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THE IGARA WRECK

At the time of her sinking the IGARA was the largest ever single marine insurance loss in maritime history. Valued at over 25M USD loaded with 127,718 tonnes of Brazilian iron ore the 136,400 dwt Italian ore/oil steamship Igara was on voyage from Vitoria to Muroran when after pasing through the Sunda Strait, she struck an unchartered rock in the South China sea about 190 nautical miles from Horsborough Lighthouse, off Mendarik Island, on March 11, 1973.

However, she did not sink immediately but continued her voyage until her bow settled submerged and resting on the sea bottom in 36m of water about 70 nautical miles from Singapore. She settled with her entire stern section sticking out of the water.

The following day, 27 of the 38 crew abandoned ship, and were picked up in their lifeboats by passing vessels. The master and 10 crew stayed on board until March 19 when she began to break across hold no.1. Salvors 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.

When you dive the Igara just consider that what you are seeing is only half the original ship!
(Story contributed by DrMike from FiNS forum)
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