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  • Çanakkale

    Türkiye

    HMS Majestic

    Location: Seddülbahir

    Depth: 18-23 m

    Class: Majestic-class pre-dreadnought battleship

    Built: 1893-1895

    Sunk: May 27, 1915

    Dimensions: 118 x 23 m

    Tonnage: 14,900 grt

    Commanded by: Captain Henry FitzRoy George Talbot

    The Majestic-class pre-dreadnought battleship HMS Majestic was completed at the Portsmouth Dockyard by the Naval Construction & Armaments Co. of Barrow. She started missions as a flagship in the Channel Fleet, which protected the southern shores of the United Kingdom. In May 1912, she was refitted with radio and fire control equipment. In the planning of the Dardanelles Campaign (the Dardanelles are known as Çanakkale Boğazı in Turkish), Churchill said that the ship was too old for battle duty. Other officers, believing that they could easily pass through Çanakkale and capture İstanbul, enlisted the ship into the Mediterranean Fleet. She was dispatched to Çanakkale on February 1, 1915. Reaching the strait on February 25, 1915, her first mission – just one day after her arrival at Çanakkale on February 26, 1915 – was to destroy the Dardanos and Baykuş Batteries and clear the mines. On March 1 and 4, 1915, she was part of the attack group attempting to pass the strait and, on March 18, 1915, she was assigned to the second Royal Navy Fleet in the Çanakkale Campaign.

    HMS Majestic supported battleships in the Çanakkale Campaign naval operations. The attempt by the Allied fleet failed and was followed by a landing campaign by the British and French forces. Majestic continued her mission in Çanakkale to demonstrate to ground troops that the navy had not abandoned them, and to provide moral support after the landing, which began on April 25, 1915. On May 25, 1915, she relieved Triumph as the flagship to Rear-Admiral Nicholson, commanding the squadrons supporting the troops ashore off Cape Helles. Around 06.30 on May 27, 1915, Majestic was hit by a torpedo from the German submarine U-21, in front of Çanakkale. To avoid the same fate as the Triumph, commanded by Thomas Lawrie Shelford, that had been torpedoed by the U-21 two days earlier, the captain anchored close to the shore and protected HMS Majestic with anti-torpedo nets. However, she was struck by the U-21 after a one-month-long and secretive journey. The U-21 was the first submarine in the history of naval battles to sink a battleship with a torpedo. In fact, the U-21 sank two battleships during her short sojourn in Çanakkale.

    HMS Majestic is submerged at a depth of approximately 18-23 meters. The ship’s cannons are lost, but otherwise the vessel is mainly intact.

    On 27 May 1915, the HMS Majestic, an armored battleship, was torpedoed and sunk at Cape Helles. (…) A naval officer said it sits at a depth of six fathoms, like an upsidedown whale with her underwater hull up. According to his account, a German submarine targeted the HMS Majestic through a defensive screen of destroyers and cargo ships.

    Ian Hamilton 

    What to see during the dive:

    • Numerous unexploded cannon balls on the vessel’s deck
    • Blasting wires able to ignite underwater
    • Forward and aft turrets
    • A conning tower that collapsed while sinking
    • Two chimneys onboard, a characteristic feature of Majestic-class battleships, which also provided a target for the U-21
    • Marine flora and fauna in and around the wreck

    MASSÉNA AND SAGHALIEN

    MASSÉNA

    Location: Ertuğrul Bay

    Depth: 5-7 m

    Type: Pre-dreadnought battleship

    Built: 1894-1898

    Sunk: November 9, 1915

    Dimensions: 113 x 20 x 9 m

    Displacement: 11,735 tonnes (11,550 long tons)

    Commanded by: Unknown

    Built between 1894 and 1898, the Masséna battleship was named in honor of French Marshal André Masséna, an important figure in the French Revolution. The vessel significantly exceeded her design weight and suffered from stability problems, resulting in the inaccurate firing of her guns. On November 9, 1915, she was scuttled at Çanakkale to form a breakwater – her last duty in protecting the evacuation effort of the Allied forces. Submerged at a depth of 5-7 meters, the Masséna still preserves her form although she lacks her upper structure.

    SAGHALIEN

    Location: Ertuğrul Bay

    Depth: 5-7 m

    Type: Sénégal-class passenger ship

    Built: 1880

    Sunk: December 10, 1915

    Dimensions: 130.8 x 12.1 m

    Tonnage: 4,050 grt

    Built in 1879, the Saghalien was a Sénégal-class passenger ship. She passed the Çanakkale Strait in August 1914 to evacuate French citizens from Istanbul before the Çanakkale Campaign. On December 10, 1915, she was scuttled at Çanakkale together with Masséna to form a breakwater - her last duty in protecting the evacuation effort of the British and French forces. Submerged at a depth of around 5-7 meters, the Masséna preserves her form, although the wreck lacks its upper structure.

    HELLES BARGES

     Location: Seddülbahir

    Depth: 24-25 m

    Type: Barge

    Built: Unknown

    Sunk: April 25, 1915

    Dimensions: 18 x 5.8 - 23.5 x 6.6 m

     The Helles barges were two vessels used in the Çanakkale landing to transport soldiers, supplies, and equipment for building docking access, and animals such as horses and mules to be used at the landing area. These flat-bottomed vessels required less water to draw and had wide underwater hulls; they were sometimes equipped with ammunition. It is believed that the barges sunk during the landing on the morning of April 25, 1915. They are offshore at Tekke Bay, sitting at 24 and 25 meters in the water. The smaller barge is 18.2 meters long and her anchor and the anchor rode are visible at the bow. The other barge is 23.5 meters long and her boiler sits just next at sand level.

    TEKKE BAY (W BEACH) WRECKS

     The identification of the shipwrecks is still in progress.

    Location: Tekke Bay

    Depth: 7 m

    These vessels are believed to have been scuttled to create a breakwater similar to the one at Ertuğrul Bay.

    The identification of the shipwrecks is still in progress.

    ARIBURNU BARGE

     Depth: 28.5 m

    Type: Barge

    Dimensions: 17.5 x 6.5 m

     The date and cause of the sinking of the 17.5-meter-long and 6.5-meter-wide vessel are unknown. While the ship’s wooden components have decayed, her metal components remain intact. The higher rails on the vessel suggest that the barge was used to transport animals. Near the shipwreck is another barge with the same features, submerged at a depth of 54 meters.

    KÜÇÜKKEMİKLİ BARGE

    Location: Küçükkemikli

    Depth: 30 m

    Type: Barge

    Dimensions: 17.5 x 6 m

    The date and cause of the sinking of the 17.5-meter-long, 6-meter-wide vessel are unknown. The vessel is submerged at a depth of 30 meters. Her wooden components have decayed but her metal components remain intact. Called barges, these steel vessels with wooden decks could navigate shallower waters and were used to ferry soldiers from the transport vessels to the shore during the landing. Following the landing, they were then used to transport soldiers, animals, food, and ammunition.

    ARIBURNU LASH

    Location: Arıburnu

    Depth: 18 m

    Type: Lighter aboard ship (LASH)

    Sunk: December 1915

    Dimensions: 11.50 x 3.5 m

    LASH ships, also known as mule barges, were used to transport equipment and animals between ship and shore. The shipwreck’s dimensions are 11.5 meters by 3.5 meters, and it had a ramp to ease access to the shore. During the evacuation in December 1915, the Allies destroyed or scuttled the tools, ammunition, supplies, etc. which they could not take with them. It is believed that the LASH in Arıburnu was scuttled during the evacuation.

    LUNDY

    Location: Suvla

    Depth: 28 m

    Type: Minesweeper

    Built: 1908

    Sunk: August 16, 1915

    Dimensions: 33.6 x 6.5 x 3.6 m

    Weight: 188 tons

    Commanded by: Henry Charles Taylor

    Built in 1908 at Beverley, United Kingdom, Lundy was originally a trawler owned by Hull Steam Fishing & Ice. The 33.6-meter-long, 6.5-meter-wide patrol vessel’s engine was a Smith. She served as a civil vessel prior to the Çanakkale Campaign, but was appropriated after the war began and used as a minesweeper. On August 16, 1915, during an ammunition load, she hit Kalyan, a vessel attempting to escape Turkish cannon fire. Lundy sustained damage to her stern and sunk. Submerged at a depth of 27 meters, Lundy remains intact with the exception of her stern.

    HMS LOUIS

     Location: Suvla

    Depth: 13 m

    Type: Laforey-class destroyer

    Built: 1913

    Sunk: October 30, 1915

    Dimensions: 81.9 x 8.4 x 3.2 m

    Displacement: 965 – 1,010 long tons

    Commanded by: Harold Dallas Adair-Hall

    This shipwreck is in the north of Suvla Bay and is submerged at a depth of 13 meters. On October 30, 1915, during the Çanakkale Campaign, she collided with a trailer and sustained heavy damage, splitting apart during the rescue effort. The rescue operations took place at night and, to conceal the damage and prevent the Turks from targeting the vessel, HMS Louis was painted to blend in with the rocks around her. Approximately 45 metres of the 82-meter-long vessel is on sand; the rest of the ship is submerged. The four Yarrow boilers, sitting on sand, are good spots for divers to take photos, due to the diverse sea life around them.

    SS Milo

    Location: Anzac Cove (Anzak Koyu)

    Depth: 5-7 m

    Type: Steam passenger ship

    Built: 1865

    Sunk: October 26, 1915

    Dimensions: 74 x 9 m

    Tonnage: 1057 grt

    The 74-meter-long, 9-meter-wide SS Milo was built as a steam passenger ship in 1865. As World War I began, she served under the British Navy and was used to transport equipment to troops in the Anzac Cove at Arıburnu. On October 26, 1915, she was grounded and filled with cement, for use as a jetty to protect the harbor and the other ships. She was also used as a generator for electric light to illuminate the shore. She continued to serve until the end of the battle and was scuttled during the evacuation. Submerged at a depth of 15-17 meters, SS Milo is severely damaged but retains her form.

    TUZLA

    Location: Akbaş Bay

    Depth: 10 m

    Type: Paddlewheel

    This paddle wheel steamship was used by the Turkish company Şirket-i Hayriye to transport ammunition and wounded personnel. The vessel is submerged at a depth of 10 meters in Akbaş Bay. The Tenedos and Chios shipwrecks are also near the Tuzla shipwreck.

    SUBMARINE NET

    Location: Akbaş Bay (Akbaş Koyu)

    Depth: 10 m

    Dimensions: 2 x 12 m

    This net is among those used during the battles of Çanakkale to prevent submarine passage between Akbaş and Nağra. The submarine net, which has survived to this day, is in Akbaş Bay, submerged at a depth of 10 meters.

    BEBEK ROCKS

    The first recorded location of a Halley’s Comet sighting was at Bebek Rocks. According to Pliny the Elder, between 468 and 466 BCE, a large brown meteorite landed near the ancient settlement of Aegospotami, overlooking the Bebek Cliffs. It is believed that this may have fallen during a meteor shower from a Halley’s Comet. The Battle of Aegospotami, in which the Spartan army vanquished the Athenians, also allegedly took place in this region. According to another legend, townspeople fleeing pirate raids would leave their infants on the cliffs, so that their crying could not be heard - thus, the cliffs were named the Bebek (baby in Turkish) Rocks.

    Bebek Rocks offers numerous diving spots and a diverse range of sea life. The first 20 meters feature a dense coral population. While corals usually feed on zooplankton at night, here they feed during the day, due to the strong current. Other creatures that can be seen are red and yellow-colored blackhead fish, which are visible in the rock crevices, and various marine insects with long, protective antennae. In addition, divers are highly likely to encounter dolphins, anglerfish, or catsharks in this area.

    HMS Triumph

    Location: Kabatepe

    Depth: 10 m

    Type: Swiftsure-class pre-dreadnought battleship

    Built: January 15, 1903

    Sunk: May 25, 1915

    Dimensions: 144.9 x 21.6 x 7.72 m

    Displacement: 12,175 long tons

    Commanded by: Maurice Swynfen Fitzmaurice             

    HMS Triumph was a Swiftsure-class battleship belonging to the Royal Navy. She was launched on January 15, 1903 after being laid down by Vickers, Sons & Maxim  Barrow-in-Furness. Until March 1909, she was assigned to the Channel Fleet protecting the southern shores of Britain. She also participated in the campaign against the German colony at Tsingtao alongside Japanese battleships. In January 1915, she was transferred to the Mediterranean to participate in the Çanakkale Campaign. On May 25, 1915, while bombarding positions off Gaba Tepe, she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-21. She capsized and sank in about 90 minutes. Three officers and 75 enlisted men were killed.

    The Gulf of Saros (Çanakkale)

    Submerged treasures and aquatic life make the Gulf of Saros the leading diving spot on Türkiye's northwestern Aegean coast.

    The strong underwater currents in the Gulf of Saros protect it from the impact of urbanization and industrialization. The bay cleans itself three times a year, thanks to these currents, flushing out waste with a mixture of warm and cold waters. As a result, it is among the Aegean Sea’s cleanest and most pristine areas.

    There are more than 200 different marine creatures in the bay, including lobsters, starfish, sea snails, and aquatic insects. There are also numerous diving spots: Ibrice Port, Cennet, Cehennem, Toplar Cape, Asker Taşı, Üç Adalar (Three Islands), Kömür Limanı (Coal Port), Bebek, and the Minnoş Cliffs. Minnoş Cliffs, about 50 feet below the water level and featuring colorful outcrops, is the most well known. After the first few meters, dolphins and sea turtles are visible, along with orange corals. At the end of the cliff, divers might come face-to-face with anglerfish and large stingrays.

    The Gulf of Saros is also home to shipwrecks. One is the Lundy, a 188-ton vessel. The ship was built in 1908 and sank in 1915. Its wreckage is in Suvla Bay, south of the Gulf of Saros. After the 13th meter, the silhouette of the ship appears; from there, divers can navigate the captain’s boat and watch sea bream float along the deck. Numerous lobsters and whitefish can be seen around the sandy bottom where the ship is submerged.

    The most recent wreck in the Gulf of Saros is an Airbus A330. The aircraft was sunk in March 2019 and is ready for exploration!

    Gallipoli Peninsula

    The Gelibolu (Gallipoli) Peninsula, where the Aegean and Marmara Seas meet, hosts plenty of marine life and fascinating shipwrecks.

    The Gelibolu Peninsula was the site of one of the most epic operations of World War I,  the Çanakkale Campaign, with fighting between British forces and their allies, and the Turks. The wreckage of the cargo ship Lundy, which was torpedoed on April 15, 1915, and HMS Majestic, submerged at a depth of 18-28 meters, are some of this area’s most fascinating features.

    There are 216 shipwrecks around Gelibolu Peninsula and Çanakkale. The vast majority of these, aside from galleons, are marine vessels. Diving depths range from 7 to 30 meters, with both normal dives and static line dives available. The SS Milo was partially scuttled by the Allies in October 1915 in an attempt to create a wave breaker to protect the Australian and New Zealand Military Corps (ANZAC) on the Northern Beach. On November 18, 1915, the vessel split apart during a storm and is now only 15 centimeters from its original location.