Maybe it’s time to unleash your spirit of adventure by exploring the lesser-known gems of underwater tourism – sunken jets and plane wrecks. The thrill of diving into the ocean depths, observing marine life, and exploring the remnants of aircraft is an experience that truly elevates the adventure quotient. From a gigantic Boeing 747 in Bahrain to a WWII-era seaplane in Palau, here are five unique dive sites where you can explore these submerged spectacles.
1. Lockheed Martin L-1011 TriStar, Aqaba, Jordan
Nestled at the bottom of the Red Sea lies the massive Lockheed Martin L-1011 TriStar, which was sunk in 2019 after being left abandoned for years at King Hussein International Airport. At depths of 15 meters, this 400-passenger plane offers a unique experience to divers who can freely move around and even venture inside via two doors behind the cockpit. The fuselage’s middle seats have been removed to facilitate easier exploration of this underwater treasure, now a thriving haven for coral, puffer fish, octopus, and other marine species.
2. Boeing 747, Gulf of Bahrain
Immerse yourself in the Gulf of Bahrain, home to the largest plane ever submerged intentionally, a decommissioned Boeing 747. As the star attraction of Dive Bahrain — an eco-friendly underwater theme park expected to cover 100,000 square meters — this underwater marvel is reopening to the public in 2023. Along with the plane, the park features a replica of a Bahraini pearl merchant’s house, an artificial coral reef, and a submerged sculpture park. Situated 18 miles north of the Amwaj Islands, the plane lies in nearly 20 meters of water and has been safely prepared to support marine growth.
3. Second World War-era jet, Exuma Cays, Bahamas
On the coast of the serene Staniel Cay lies an accessible underwater wreckage of a Second World War-era twin-seat private aircraft. Submerged at a depth of around three meters, the plane and its history of drug smuggling and Colombian cartels from the 1980s have attracted numerous tourists. Expect an immersive experience with colorful coral and abundant marine life in and around this sunken jet!
4. Neopolis Airbus A300, Aegean Coast, Turkey
In the azure waters off Kusadasi lies one of the largest aircraft ever submerged as a dive site, the wide-body Airbus 300, named Neopolis. At 20 meters below the surface, this behemoth, with its 55-meter-long fuselage and a 45-meter wingspan, offers an expansive site for exploration. Before its underwater journey, the jet was responsibly stripped of any potentially harmful substances. Today, it’s a thriving habitat for marine life, including lobster, leer fish, black bream swarms, and sea bunnies.
5. Jake Seaplane, Koror, Palau
Venture to Koror, Palau, where a WWII-era Japanese Navy seaplane rests in just 14 meters of clear, blue water. Discovered by a local fisherman in 1994, this relatively intact wreck is a quick boat ride away from most Koror dive shops. Thick layers of coral now cover the plane, providing shelter for an abundance of marine life, such as nudibranchs and other reef fish. Given the shallow depth and water clarity, the Jake Seaplane offers an unparalleled opportunity for underwater photography. Its easy access makes it suitable for both novice divers and snorkelers, promising an unforgettable diving experience.