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Diving In KIRINDA - Sri Lanka

On the southeast coast, approximately 10km south of Tissa, lies the pretty village of KIRINDA.  The village itself boasts a superb beach and an interesting Buddhist shrine on the rocks.   However, it is best known as a base from which to experience some excellent diving at the famous 'Great Basses' wreck and the Great and Little Basses reefs (southeast of Kirinda). The famous Arthur C Clarke also put Kirinda on the map when he used it as his base for his diving exploration in order to write his book 'The Treasure of the Reef'.  A particularly unique feature of the Great Basses is the light-house that was actually constructed on the reef in 1860.

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Great Basses Dive Site - Off Kirinda

The Term " Basses',  is an extention of the  Portuguese word  'Baxos' &   is  a  massive reef  , 40 Kms in length , starting off  around  2 km southeast of Kirinda in close proximity to the  'Great Basses light-house', and extending towards Kumana and ending at  the 'Little Basses light- house .

The Basses' consist of a combination of  sandstone reefs carved by  strong tides & are  also home to many species of  fish including ,angel-fishes, rays, giant maori wrasses  porpoises, gray sharks & tuna .

In 1961 , 2 divers - Sir Arthur  C Clarke  - the world renowned Sri Lankan Scientist and Mike Wilson discovered a rich haul of Indian silver rupees from a ship wreck in the " basses "  .

The ship wrecks sighted around the basses are as follows
  • 24-gun ship belonging to the Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707) which was sent off for trade in the far east but sunk in a storm off the Great Basses.
  • Flute Overness' (sunk 1704) - Great Basses
  • Alette Adriana' (sunk 1760s) - Great Basses
  • '40-gun frigate 'Daedulus' (sunk 1813) - Little Basses

A Surat Indian Rupee, reproduced from the Treasure of the Great Basses Reef published in lakdiva.org.

The cluster of one thousand silver rupees gifted to Smithsonian Museum by Sir Arthur Clarke in December 1961, Rupee, reproduced from the Treasure of the Great Basses Reef published in lakdiva.org.


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