Everyone knows about the coral reefs, shipwrecks and sheer walls of the Caribbean and Pacific. But what about the lesser-known sites that divers can explore? Believe it or not, you can strap on a tank and survey the Great Wall of China, an abandoned strip club and more.
1. The Great Wall of China
A view of the Great Wall of China next to the Panjiakou Reservoir
“You can’t dive the Pyramids, but you can dive the Great Wall,” says Steven Schwankert, founder of SinoScuba, a dive center located in Beijing.
True, and if you’re keen on diving one of history’s most iconic structures — even if it means sacrificing prime conditions with 15 to 30 feet of visibility and a lack of the biodiversity you might see in other parts of the world — then this is a bucket-list opportunity.
“Diving the Great Wall is eerie and intimate,” says Schwankert. “It’s a giant, sleeping dragon on the bottom that requires the diver to swim up close for a good look.”
About 400 yards of the wall are submerged in the Hebei province’s Panjiakou Reservoir, about a three-and-a-half-hour drive from China’s capital, Beijing. The site — which is best experienced from mid-August to October and tough to find without a guide — was created when a dam was constructed in 1977 to accommodate the nearby city of Tangshan.