Thailand: Snorkeling a Sunken Ship

Although billboards in Thailand clearly showed people with my Galaxy S7 taking underwater pictures… I just don’t have the faith that the ‘water-resistant up to 5 feet for up to 30 minutes” means I can put it under water in the ocean and take pictures.  Unfortunately, that means you don’t get any cool underwater shots of the ship we were snokeling over.

UPDATE:  While I didn’t take any underwater photos… my friend did!  So if you wanted a peek…


The USS Lincoln County was built during WWII, and was active during that war as well as the Korean war, and sailed with the 7th fleet.  She was decommissioned 1961, and then turned over to the Thai government where she served as the 712 HTMS Chang at least through 2006.

You can go over <<HERE>> to check out photos of her working days if you would like.

She was then scuttled near Koh Chang on November 22, 2012, to create an artificial reef.

She now sits at 11°53’41.48″N and 102°15’26.94″E in 32 meters of water, with her top being only 3 meters below the surface.

We went on a bit of a treasure hunt with those coordinates, and though we thought at first we had something wrong and this wasn’t going to work, we then found her. Now, you have to realize, that this is how far from land we were…


This was not snorkeling like we had done before, close enough to shore to just swim up if need be.  And it was 32 meters – 104 feet for we Americans (who just cannot seem to make the metric switch) of water.

Our captain and host were first in the water, checking it out to make sure we were tethered properly, and see what the water conditions were.

Hey wait, those are the two most able to, I don’t know – SAIL THE BOAT – if something goes wrong here…

I’m sure it’ll be fine

They got us secured to the bouy at the ship, and came back to report that we were good to go.  BUT – everyone should stay right by the boat, and hold onto the white rope when swimming back and forth, because there was a pretty good current going.  Um…

Oh, look… the kids are over the side and gone…

I’m sure it’ll be fine

I did follow.  I have to say, when swimming out toward the ship, waiting for something to happen and then having the mast materialize out of the murk, was eerie and startling.  And incredibly cool.  I had to pause a few minutes where I was to take it in before going forward.

While I came up close to the ship’s mast, and then floated there visually making my way down the and letting more of the ship become visible as my eyes adjusted – the kids on the other hand were swimming around checking out everything.  Pointing out large fish.

It didn’t take long at all before the first of the kids dove down, attempting to touch the mast.   Then another went down.  Eventually, they all tried, and one or two succeeded.  One cut her self on the sunken WWII ship.

I’m sure it’ll be fine

By that time, I was done, and back up on the boat, watching, and soon one or two other adults joined me, but the kids kept on going.  Swimming around for different angles to see, pointing out the big blue fish swimming around one of the tethers, some other fish that came up from deeper.


It was no surprise that the last two adults to come in had to herd the kids with them.  Over a hundred feet of water, a current to swim against the whole time, large fish swimming up to check out the kids while the kids were checking out the boat.  And a WWII ship materializing more and more out of the deep.

Not a bad afternoon.

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