Diving & Snorkeling in Pasikudah

Kayankerni is one the most iconic location in Sri Lanka and Tennadi Bay in particular for its priceless underwater world. With its shallow coral reefs and historic shipwrecks there is diving/snorkeling available to the beginner as well as the advanced divers. The main features of diving in Kayankerni, Passikuda are the healthy coral gardens teeming with colorful fish such as butterflyfish and angelfish. For those looking for some adventure, there are deeper rocky reefs and wrecks. Typical fish life includes schools of yellow striped goatfish, blue lined snappers and bigeye snappers, clownfish, coral cods, sweetlips, trevally, napoleon wrasses and stingrays.

The British Sergeant is the crown jewel of wreck diving in Kayankerni, Passikuda. A British Armed Merchant Navy ship that served in World War II, the ship was sunk during the infamous Japanese raid of April 9, 1942. This attack was an extension of Easter Sunday raid and the Battle of Ceylon was recalled by Winston Churchill as “The most dangerous moment of the War, and the one which caused me the greatest alarm.”

Kayankerni’s Treasures of the Deep Whenever biodiversity is discussed, the sea is often neglected. Yet, it could easily be the richest part of the biosphere. Of the 1.5 million species identified to date by science, 80% are terrestrial. But this figure is misleading. It could merely reflect the amount of work done by scientists on land which is easier to navigate for us humans who are land bound creatures. A trickle of new bird and mammal species is reported each year.

In 1983, a whole new phylum was reported from the oceans. As such, we at Giman Free Beach Resort has taken the initiative to protect this fragile marine ecosystem and its diverse fauna and flora.


Kayankerni Reef in the Eastern seaboard of Sri Lanka represents a relatively undish1rbed marine environment with an abundance of associated marine life. Located in the Northern reaches of the Vanderloos Bay in the vicinity of the Thennadi Bay and Pasikuda, Kayankerni reef is home to various marine habitats ranging from shallow staghorn coral beds to deep coral domes, to steep reef slopes down to more than 10 m in depth. Exposed to heavy surf, a shallow sand island has gone under the waters and now Kayankerni Reef is unusually rich in habitat and fa1mal diversity compared to other similar locations. According to the findings of a limited sampling carried out, 9 species of Algae, 3 species of Seagrass, 115 species of invertebrates including 51 species of coral, 206 species of fish and 1 species of sea turtle have been recorded. Further studies including longer term sampling programmes and

The ship rests on its side at 27m, broken into 2 parts. There is easy penetration into some of the holds with a large area to explore. The top of the wreck is at 13m and covered in a garden of purple and pink soft corals. Fish life is profuse on this wreck and it is a world class wreck that warrants several dives. There are other shallower wrecks such as the Lady McCullum and the Boiler Wrecks which are from 5-17m in depth so perfect for beginner divers.

The Lady McCullum was a steam driven transport ship that floundered in 1926 while on a voyage from Trincomalee to Kalkudah. It now stands upright on a sandy bottom at 17m with parts of the wreck coming up to 10m. The bow of the ship is intact along with some large boilers and a section of the stern but the midsection is heavily broken up. The wreck is located close to a reef that can be explored as part of the dive. A good selection of marine life including snappers, sweetlips, batfish and  anemones with clownfish can be found .

Three wrecks located in front of Passikuda Bay provide three great dive sites that are ideal as a second dive after a deep first dive or as an easy introduction to wreck diving for new divers. All the wrecks are broken up but still offer a large and interesting area to explore with large boilers, crank shafts, engine parts and partially intact sections of the hull. There is prolific hard coral growth and a diverse selection of reef fish. All the wrecks are perfect for even new divers.

Technical Wrecks

Further south there are other remnants of the British Fleet sunk by the Japanese attack including the Hermes in Batticaloa and the Athelstane and Hollyhock in Kalmtmai. These range from 40 to over 50 meters in depth however and require tee diving experience.

Giman Free Beach Resort

Giman Free provides an ideal base to explore the best of Passikuda ‘s dive/snorkeling spots with its prime position in the Thennadi Bay. The fringing reef in front of the hotel provides calm, clear sites that are shallow enough to be snorkeled and slope down to provide some excellent diving for beginners. This is the perfect location to do a Discover Scuba Dive or to do your P ADI Open Water course. 15-20 minutes boat ride outside the reef will allow you to dive the British Sergeant, a world class wreck dive as well as the Lady McCallum and rocky sandstone reefs such as the Leather coral reef. These deeper sites will provide the ideal location to do your Advanced Open Water or some PADI specialty courses like the Enriched Air or Wreck Specialty.

There are coral gardens from Thennadi Bay all the way down to Passikuda. The coral areas are home to a variety of small fish such as damselfish, cardinalfish, butterflyfish and small groups of snappers and sweetlips. The sandy patches in between the reefs can be productive for finding shells, sand perches, shrimp gobies and other tmusual fish species.

There are a number of rocky reefs from 10-14 meters depth including the Mushroom and Leather Coral Reefs which are home to schooling fish species such as goatfish and snappers as well as lobsters and a variety of macro life. The reefs to the north of the hotel are little explored so if you are looking for some advenhtre you can head to Vakarai for some exploration diving. With calm seas the Passikuda graveyard is within an hour’s boat ride and is an excellent location for beginners to get a taste of what wreck diving entails.

Please visit the following link to access the research on the Hotel Beach called Kayankerni Link

The coastal beach is the home many diverse sea organisms not limited to just fish but also for immobile sea creatures such as coral reefs.

In the deep ocean of Batticaloa, a great opportunity lies under for diving enthusiasts. That is one of the world famous shipwreck sites are located in Sri Lanka; HMS Hermes, the warship belonged to the British Naval was sunk by the Japanese at 11AM on April 9, 1942. There she’s resting in peace at the bottom of the ocean around Baticoloa area.

HMS Hermes on the fateful day, April 9, 1942

HMS Hermes on the fateful day, April 9, 1942

Today, HMS Hermes resting in peace in the Ocean bed in BaticoloaToday.

Today, HMS Hermes resting in peace in the Ocean bed in BaticoloaToday.

First purpose built British Aircraft Carrier HMS Hermes was sunk by the Japanese in April 1942 near Batticaloa Sri Lanka.


The visitor who desires to obtain an authentic insight of the lifestyle of the above activities could contact the Hotel front desk.