Great Basses Reef & Little Basses Reef
The Great Basses and Little Basses Reefs offer an underwater world of corals, colourful marine life and shipwrecks! Located on the South East coast of the island, just off the coast of the Yala National Park, it is considered to be one of the best dive sites in all of Sri Lanka.
Associated with intriguing myth, rich history and a thriving marine ecosystem, the Great Basses reef serves as a great location to enjoy a dive and explore Sri Lankan marine life, including tuna, angelfish, spadefish, grouper, porpoise, grey sharks, Maori wrasses, snappers and rays.
The Great Basses reef is also significant for holding the wreck of a ship belonging to 18 th Century Moghul Emperor, Aurangzeb, the son of Shah Jahan, the emperor who built the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The wreck was discovered in 1961, by Sir Arthur C. Clarke and Mike Wilson. Some of the most intriguing finds from the wreck were fused bags of silver Surat rupees, cannons and cannon balls.
Mythological tales, along with some archaeological discoveries, have led to the belief that the Little Basses Reef was one of the places in which Sri Lanka’s Demon King Ravana built a fortress, which he also used to hide Sita. Although traces of the fort cannot be viewed today, it is believed that some of the ruins lay submerged underwater.
There are two offshore lighthouses – the Great Basses Reef Lighthouse and the Little Basses Reef Lighthouse – that were constructed by the British between 1870 -1878. They are two of the most famous offshore lighthouses in South Asia, and can only be reached by boat.
With so much to offer, this site is definitely one of the most popular amongst serious divers. However, as the currents and surges are fairly strong, the sites are recommended only for experienced divers. The best time to dive here is between March and mid-April.