For as many ships as there are currently sailing the waters and oceans of the world, there are probably just as many, if not more, remnants of ships that have sunk or crashed in the waters and along the coastlines of the world's oceans. Indeed, shipwrecks all along coastlines hold stories of grave mistakes. Some ships lie enshrouded in mystery, resting in silence at the bottom of the deepest and least explored waters. Many remain undiscovered.
In some places, the water is infamously rough and dangerous, with hidden reefs, shoals, impossible visibility, jagged coastlines, and rough waters. These areas of the sea claim the lives or boats of countless sailors, garnering a reputation and often names in an ode to their inherent peril. Sometimes it's the untamable weather and stormy sea alone that leads to the mess, where the wreckage sinks out of sight to settle at the sepulchral bottom of the sea.
Shipwrecks are often a subject of keen interest for many--historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, marine biologists, even thrill seekers, and adventurous souls. Much can be learned about ancient civilization from ancient shipwrecks, and marine life flocks to these wrecks, as they provide a safe haven for life. Often shipwrecks are hotspots for snorkelers and divers. The wrecks found along coastlines are often the most spectacular, popular for those looking for a simple day adventure, as they are often easily accessible. In any case, shipwrecks are stunningly beautiful, so let's take a look at 25 incredible photos of the best.
25 Abandoned Ship In The Waters Of Murmansk
This ship is found in the waters near Murmansk, in Russia. It remains there, abandoned in the cold, icy waters, to slowly rust and rot, off-kilt and sideways, water lapping at a massive hull that once held any number of army officers.
The ship is clearly decommissioned, and it won't be long until it sinks down completely, completely submerged in cold, dark water. Eventually, it will be forgotten, to be rediscovered some day by some intrepid diver or explorer. Or perhaps it will remain enshrouded in cold, silent water for all time.
24 The Drowned U.S.N.S. General Hoyt S. Vandenberg
Talk about an epic dive location. Submerged hundreds of feet below the surface, surrounded by blue inky darkness, fading away into a mystery on all sides, this massive satellite emerges from the waters below the Florida Keys, part of the massive US Navy transport ship.
What a sight to behold, and it has seen better days, too, water and time not going easy on this vessel. Fish swim peacefully amongst the skeletal bars and structures of the sunken ship, only adding to the scary abandonment of the place. I could spend hours exploring here.
23 The Eduard Bohlen Wrecked Along Skeleton Coast
Namibia, Africa, is a truly fascinating place, and all along its coastline is a vast desert that runs right into the sea, towering dunes falling steeply down into crashing waves. This jagged, barren coastline is home to not only staggering beauty but significant danger.
The coastline is so dangerous and treacherous, in fact, that it's named "The Skeleton Coast," due to the number of shipwrecks. Here they litter the shores, and this is just one of many. The otherworldly sight of seafaring ships in a desert is really something else.
22 Shattered On The Ocean Floor
Surrounded by sepulchral silence, eternal blackness, stillness, and encompassing, relentless pressure, this ship has rested here at the bottom of the sea for untold amounts of time, undisturbed and left at peace.
That is until it was discovered by divers, who no doubt found extreme fascination with it, with the story of why it crashed, who was in it, what the history behind it was, and how it got there. The shattered wood beams lie in their watery grave for good.
21 Nordic Bow At Sunset
The picturesque scene above is really stunning, with breathtaking vistas of white-capped mountains illuminated in the orange and golden glow at sunset, and an expanse of beautiful water, twisting and flowing deep into gouges of fjords.
The serene skeleton of a bow of a ship fits perfectly into the frame, lying in the stillness, yet it hints ever so slightly at the drama and perhaps violence behind how it crashed and wrecked against the shore, or washed up there. It beckons mystery, and wonder, just as the entire gently and the warmly lit scene does.
20 Cargo Ship Giannis D Deep In The Red Sea
This epic view of the Giannis D sunken to the bottom of the ocean and covered in all kinds of marine life can be found deep in the mysterious Red Sea, sunken and tilted onto its side, at rest for all time.
The salt water, sea life, and currents are slowly dissolving it away, but in the process allowing for all kinds of life to flourish and thrive, as well as allowing for a place for many to dive and explore the ruins and spaces of the underwater vessel. This photo engenders such a powerful sense of adventure.
19 Ghost Of The Battle
This ship, commanding and sailing the seas from the era of World War II, has sunk to the bottom of the ocean, where it lays in rest, coated in rust and flora of the ocean, surrounded by fauna, teeming with schools of fish.
The diver is swimming through hoards of fish as he explores above this massive monolith, taking in the vast amounts of life, seemingly clueless of the mystery and history of the vessel. The surface exists far above, down here much more of a ghost than the ship.
18 Coral Wreck In The Caribbean
The best part about many of the sunken shipwrecks submerged in the waters of the Caribbean Sea is the amount of marine life that takes up residence within the hull of the ship. It's virtually transmuted into something else entirely, a ship-shaped coral reef.
The coral coats every surface, the fish and life abounds, darting in and out and between the delicate art, fingers, and trees of the coral. Where one story ends, thousands of others begin and thrive. It's truly stunning, and one of the most beautiful things on the planet.
17 The Rusted Cabo De Santa Maria
This ship up into recent times has been a popular destination for day hikers looking for a simple and easy way to see a remarkably impressive shipwreck. Though in recent times it has collapsed even further, not very visible from the shore anymore.
It goes to show the ocean is a force to never underestimate, and that the waters will reclaim almost anything for itself. The salty air, endless moisture, rough weather, and bright sun means that metal succumbs quickly. It only ran aground in 1968.
16 Star Trails Behind The Dimitrios
The empty shells of wrecked ships along coastlines provide a perfect centerpiece for some seriously breathtaking scenic photography. Many times, the coastlines around and vistas behind the ship and all around it are more than enough for a spectacular photo.
Yet, the element of a wrecked rusty, and dilapidated ship only makes things that much more stunning, as is clear by this truly stunning photo of star trails over Greece, featuring the wreck of the Dimitrios in the foreground. Beautiful. Breathtaking, really.
15 Wreck Of Palawan
In the Philippines, there are a lot of shipwrecks that have sunk to the bottom of the shallow and warm seas there. The result is rather extraordinary, where the teeming ocean life has found new life, new vitality, and created something beautiful.
The reefs have created a living, breathing, existing sculptures out of the empty shells of the wreckage, and the reef takes on a shape unlike any other, with coral and fish populating almost every surface, like pictured above. The result is something that will take your breath away. There are even guided scuba tours to a number of the wrecks.
14 Run Aground In The Canary Islands
This massive ship can be found in the Canary Islands, and it once was a popular location for a lot of the tourists to go and see it for themselves, with a simple day trip and a little walking all that was involved in getting out to the water to see this truly massive monolith of a shipwreck.
Unfortunately, this wreck also succumbed to the relentless tides and waves of the illimitable ocean and collapsed into the sea, where it is barely visible anymore, if at all. That leaves it to the more adventurous, those willing to dive to see it.
13 The Thistlegorm Depths
This vintage motorcycle is for the fishes. Swallowed by the sea along with all the rest of this ship, somehow this motorcycle managed to stay perfectly upright throughout the descent downwards into the ocean depths. The craft sunk and can be found at the bottom of the Red Sea, off the Sinai Peninsula.
It's one of the most popular dive sites in the Red Sea, with good reason. There's a compelling story here, and plenty of history to be found within its hull. The water surrounds it, encasing it in a glass shell, seemingly preserved in time, yet ever decaying.
12 Emerging From Aquamarine Gloom
Found in the vibrant waters around Maui, this ship has sunk down to the bottom of some relatively shallow waters, likely near a coastline. The warm waters teeming with life surround the wreckage in neon fog.
The result is a starkly beautiful scene, but one that remains eerie with a lack of visibility. Fish swim in large numbers all around the frame, giving a sense of just how life-filled the waters are. Talk about a fascinating place to go exploring. And one of the more relaxing.
11 Seddon Shipwreck At Sunset
This is the Seddon shipwreck, found run aground along the empty shores of a beach in New Zealand, is one of the more stunning locations. This photo really does the scene justice, too, with a sweeping view of an incredible sunset, with water all around save a thin blue border of mountains along the horizon.
This picture was taken at low tide, where the waters of the seas have receded far into the background. Slowly they will advance on the ship, creeping ever closer, pulled by the gravity of the moon ever forward, until the waves lap at the ship, pulling it apart little by little.
10 Empty Shell Teeming With Life
This empty shell of a ship lies abandoned at the bottom of a rich blue sea, teeming with life and coral existence. While it's empty of the former life it held, reduced to a rusty skeletal shell of a ship that will never float along the surface of the water ever again, it has been filled with new life.
Life of all kinds, fish, crustaceans, and coral all live in a symphony, finding retreat and haven in the structure and geometry of a ship. It's a perfect habitat for a thriving community of fish. Some species have even started breeding at sites like this.
9 Point Reyes Run Aground
This stark and rugged photo of a small ship called the Point Reyes has run aground on the desolate shores of some coastal landscape in the Arctic, where only tundra and cold reign as king.
These waters are often the most treacherous, and in a low-visibility situation or a storm, it's no surprise to see a ship running aground on a relatively small strip of land, more of a sand bar than anything else. Hopelessly stuck and likely damaged, the crew had to abandon ship.
8 Lost In The Waters Of The Philippines
The warm and inviting waters of the Philippines have in the past been dangerous places for ships and have led to a large number of shipwrecks in its waters. These ships have quickly become reclaimed by mother nature, in the form of a life renewed.
This ship is a great example of just such a reclamation, a rather rare example where something that man has created actually benefits the earth in some way. The decaying skeletons of sunken ships often provide a haven for fish and ocean life, and in the Philippines, this means an abundance of corals and reefs growing anew.
7 Rena Split In Two
The Rena Monrovia is a big shipping vessel that has become split in two completely, along with a stretch of treacherous water that is clearly a lot less deep than it looks, with the majority of the massive ship still above water, resting on the very rocks that led to its demise.
The ship ran aground on the coast of New Zealand. Over 900 shipping containers were lost, according to gcaptain.com, and this kind of thing doesn't happen all that often. Many oversights and errors led to this rather big mistake, which led to the unfortunate spilling of massive amounts of heavy fuel oil.
6 Shipwreck In Coron
This shipwreck in Coron, in the Philippines, is one of the richest examples of life taking over something that was left to be forgotten at the bottom of the sea. The waters rich with life saw an opportunity and took it.
The evidence of life around the remnants of this ship is truly fantastic, the photo is a stunning one, with the shape of the ship hardly even recognizable anymore, due to the vibrant and beautiful coral life that has grown from the sides of the hull, and the fish that swim in elegant schools around the newborn coral reef.
5 Skeleton Run Aground In Namibia
The Skeleton Coast in Namibia is one of the most intimidating places for ships to sail. The rough seas and currents, paired with the unforgivable weather lead to an area of the world with some of the highest occurrences of shipwrecks.
The best part is, the coastline is unlike almost any other in the world, where a vast and barren desert of sand dunes spills over directly into the sea. The result is a wasteland of waves - one we would not visit at night.
4 The USS Kittiwake In The Caymans
This wreck just off the coast of the Cayman Islands is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, due to a couple of reasons. The Cayman Islands area already a tourist-heavy area, because of the pristine beaches, sunshine, warm water, and resorts that have built up around this area.
That paired with the shallow waters around this wreck means that it's fairly easy for many to get to it, with guided snorkeling tours making it almost mindless. The warm water and abundant marine life make it an instant hit.
3 Sunken Soviet Cruiser
The waters around Murmansk in Russia are a virtual graveyard for cruisers and ships, as many were left abandoned here long ago. The giant ships decked to the teeth with all kinds of radar and satellite equipment, along with defensive weapons, laying in the water, rusting with time.
Soon these relics will be sunk and forgotten completely, eaten away by the sea and harsh weather. Until then, they remain as fascinating machines no longer able to take to the seas.
2 Skeleton Silhouette On Moreton Island
Just off the shores of Moreton Island, looking out towards the sea is this giant skeleton of a ship run aground just off the shore. Based off of the giant silhouette and skeleton, it's clear that this was once a remarkably large ship.
But, that is no more, as the dilapidated ruins and wreckage of it are all that remain, a long stretch of jagged metal breaking up the horizon in a stunning way, especially backlit by a truly gorgeous ocean sunset. The seagull looks like he agrees.
1 Wreck of the Millicoma
Along the ocean coastline between Washington and British Columbia lies one of the most treacherous areas of ocean in the world. The combination of fog, no visibility, lack of lighthouses, positively rough seas, and terrible weather, along with some of the most unforgiving coastline there is, leads to a bad combination.
And a lot of ship casualties, as well, like this one, the Millicoma. Near the Northhead Lighthouse, one of the only few along the coastline, it's clear that even with the aid of a lighthouse, the perils are still many, and sometimes too much.
Sources: Fodor's, Red Bull & Luxury Escapes