Diving the "Stella" (Asia's largest shipwreck dive)

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Reaction score
South Korea
# of dives
200 - 499
Hello all. I wanted to write this post a few weeks ago, but have been super busy. This will be kind of a long post but I feel this wreck deserved its own thread rather than people placed into the other "Dive Sites" thread.

First, I dove this wreck 4 times over the Chusok holidays. It was arranged by KBS as they were filming my life for the TV show "My Neighbor Charles" (which the episode will air Dec. 1st I am told). Mainly they found me because of my Dive Against Debris work in Pohang, and also wanted to film me doing fun diving also. I was trying to involve other foreign divers and promote their club, but due to scheduling and such that was not possible. So, they arranged for me to do a shipwreck specialty with a PADI instructor that was already somewhat famous in Korea for training a very famous Korean acress in scuba diving for a role in a movie she was starring in. So, they contacted this instructor, arranged for me to do a shipwreck specialty cert, and the wreck chosen was the "Stella", and is located in Gangneung.

As mentioned, the Stella is the largest shipwreck in Asia. Now, I do not know if that is simply the largest recreational diving shipwreck, or the actual largest..etc. However let me tell you it is a BIG ASS ship. Formerly a Russian fishing vessel ( the industrial fishing type/long lines/tear up the ocean environment type of fishing vessel) It became a dive site in I believe May of 2020..so it is still very new and no such interesting history or vast amount of coral growth. However it is very fishy which I will get into more later.

I have attached a picture taken from the dive resort I dove it with. Big shoutout to Fins Scuba resort! If you do dive the Stella, I highly recommend them. They operate 2 boats (larger and smaller)..offer dormitory-type accomadations, and picnic/party area for the evening merriment. Contact info below!

Now, on to the Stella~

As can be seen, the very top of the wreck is just at 6 meters, while the bottom is at 39. Even though the picture is in Korean I think you can figure it out. This wreck offers what I would consider amazing opportunities to penetrate/explore within..in particular the hull's internal areas which we did not penetrate at all but I sure as heck wanted to.

There are 2 anchor lines on both the bow and stern, and there are plenty of boats/divers in the area. You might think you were diving in PH or Thailand having to navigate other boats and divers. We dove there 4 dives over 2 days and on each dive I would guess there were at least 30 other divers on the wreck each time. Still however it was never so bad that it was what I would consider crowded given its size, although I can imagine there are times where groups would want to penetrate a section where other divers are already.

One point of note is that the ship sits on the bottom at a slight tilt. I believe I heard someone say that this wasn't the case when it was scuttled, but happened during one of the many typhoons late last year. It isnt really noticable until you are swimming lengthwise over and along the deck. If you are looking at the deck it can make you feel like you are rolling to one side a bit. I kept hearing Koreans speak in Korean about some type of dizziness, but I didnt understand until I experienced this myself and began shifting my BCD around feeling like weight was concentrated on one side and I was rolling when in fact..it was the ship.

When we were there, there were many divers and tons of fish. Honestly I have never seen anything like that in Korea and I am sure most of you that dive here haven't either. I have some awesome video taken by myself and two other underwater photographers that were filming for the tv show that I will upload to youtube and share later, but trust me...it's fishy.

When I was there (early October) the temps were warmer than I imaged. Even at the greatest depth we went which was about 33m, the coldest temp my computer recorded was 18c. That is pretty warm for Gangneung at depth. There was a rather persistant current on the port side of the boat pushing one toward the bow on both days. Otherwise the vis was great when we went and really it was a perfect wreck diving experience.

Again, I will add some vids to this later. Just wanted to throw this up so anyone wanting to dive this wreck in these last few weeks of great diving conditions here in the ROK can get the chance.

Fins Diving Resort - 핀스다이브리조트

Some random video (I will do a better edit later..this is just the raw stuff with safety stops cut out)
Looks a good wreck to dive, pity it's so busy.

I guess during the week it would be quieter.
Thank you so much for sharing this! I've been hoping to learn about new dive sites ever since the Korea-specific thread first opened, and this one definitely is now on my list!
I'm pretty happy to say that wasnt me. I was worried about this dive because it was the first deep water diving ( actually this video is from dive 3 and 4) I have done all year due to the Covid outbreak/out or work/not willling to spend money for diving. Added to that the cameras were concentrated on me I was SUPER focused on trying to maintain buoyancy as much as possible because I know regular people that see it on TV wont notice...but divers will pick apart every tiny little detail and mistake~

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