Diving Reports from 2016

Dive and vis reports 2016 Early season: Well, the good news is that…

…the season kicked off on the neap tide over 14-18 April, with marine archaeologists, diving a 15th century wreck in the Solent. Water temperature has just about reached 10°. Vis started off as very poor (not more than 30cms, but nearer 10-15 cms) – not surprising as the previous weekend was huge springs and the Solent in April was never going to be brilliant. Despite low vis, work was done on the wreck, comprising tagging and measuring, prior to further work being done later in the month. As the neap tide weakened over the weekend, vis improved to a maximum of 1.5 metres, more than enough to accomplish survey work, and despite one day of heavy rain, sunshine helped with underwater work.

Dive/vis reports: On Sunday 24 April we ventured to the wreck of the Clan Macvey in 20 metres – a first dip of the season for most and a chance to get wet and get the season going.  On a bright, sunny day but with a bitter northerly breeze, we reached the site in good time. The wreck is known to be somewhat silty but despite this vis was about 1.5 metres – not bad for April on a spring tide on an inshore wreck.

Dive/vis reports: We concluded three days diving on the 15th/16th century wreck in the western Solent in late April with marine archaeologists. Visibility has improved there and ranged from .75 to 2 metres, enabling work to be carried out successfully.

Dive/vis reports: On Saturday 30 April in fine, bright conditions we dived the WW1 wreck of the steamer Britannia. The good vis hasn’t quite arrived – below 15 metres the water was dark and on the wreck vis was fairly low at 1-2 metres. Some divers reduced their dive time accordingly, while others stayed for the duration. On Sunday 1 May we dived the wreck of the steamer Lapwing, again in fine and bright weather. Conditions had improved slightly, with ambient light to 20 metres, and on the wreck, 2 metres visibility. For relatively inshore wrecks, such conditions are typical for this area in April.

Dive spaces: There are spaces available as follows: Wednesday 25 May, diving the steamer Faith in 36 metres. Subsidised dive at £35 per head if you are willing to report what you’ve seen.  Contact Jane on jmaddocks25@gmail.com.  Spaces also for Tuesday 31 May, diving the Norma in 55 metres, and on Thursday 23 June, diving the steamer Monton in 60 metres. Contact Jay on depth.hound@googlemail.com.

Spare days:  Whole boat available for Saturday 4 June and Sunday 21 August. Contact me please.

Dive/vis reports: Saturday 7 May – dived the Venezuela in bright, sunny conditions. Vis has improved considerably in the past few days and we had 4-5 metres on the wreck. Though a little gloomy it was quite easy to do the dive without a torch. This dive was followed by a drift across Christchurch Ledge, where the shallower water let in much more light with the vis a little better at 5 metres.

Dive spaces: There are still a few spaces left for the dive on the Faith (see above) and also for the Norma and Monton dives (also see above). Spaces are beginning to fill for Saturday 4 June – maximum depth 40 metres – if interested, please contact me. Choice of a number of wrecks: Simla, Tweed, Iduna, Empire Crusader, etc. Likewise, spaces are filling for the dive on 21 August – not quite sure of the site yet but likely in the 35-40 metre range.

Dive/vis reports: Thursday 11 May, diving in the Solent east of Yarmouth – and the vis is brilliant. Divers working on the wreck in 6 metres could be seen from the surface. Vis is surprisingly good, given that only a few days before we had a set of huge spring tides.

Dive/vis reports: Dived the WW1 steamer Azemmour on Saturday 14 May. Vis around 4-5 metres in ambient light, and the water temperature improving also at 11 degrees. From Sunday 15th to Tuesday 17th, we were diving the eastern Solent on the protected wreck site of HMS Invincible, recording, photographing and measuring areas of wreckage not seen before, as it has emerged from the sand. Strong winds intervened and we were blown out for the next 3 or 4 days. Vis was slightly disappointing on site, given the good neap tide, but sufficient for work to be carried out.

Spare days: There are still a few spaces left for Saturday 4 June.

Dive/vis reports: We were blown out 18/19/20/21 May but a break in the weather on Sunday 22 May meant we were able to get round the back of the Island in calm conditions. The water has a greenish hue, due to an unusually dense plankton bloom, which is worse at or near the surface. We dived the WW1 Norwegian steamer Cuba in 42 metres. Due to the plankton, it was quite dark below 25 metres, but the vis improved and was around 2-3 metres with a torch – certainly good enough for everyone to stay down for the duration of slack water. Plenty of large congers on the wreck. Water temperature is rising slowly and is now around 12 degrees.

Dive/vis reports:  Weekend of 28 and 29 May was calm and sunny. On Saturday we dived the Clarinda in 40 metres. Vis was 3-5 metres and as the plankton is now dispersing, it was just possible to do the dive in ambient light though in reality a torch was better. Next day we dived the LW slack on the Spyros. With the tide easing towards neaps, vis was expected to be reasonable and at 2-3 metres was somewhat low for the time of year. Plankton was the main cause. This was followed by a dive on the War Knight where vis was more like pea-soup – not surprising, as she’s close inshore and we’re just on the back of a low water spring tide.  Monday BH and Tuesday 31 May were blown out due to strong winds.

Forthcoming dive spaces: There are spaces to dive the Faith on Tuesday 21 June – probably the earliest screw steamer shipwreck in UK waters. Contact Jane on jmaddocks25@gmail.com.

For the following spaces, contact Jay on depth.hound@googlemail.com: Sunday 19 June. One space to dive the Clarinda in 40 metres. Thursday 23 June. Three spaces to dive the Monton in 60 metres. Friday 24 June. One space to dive the Fort Yale in 46 metres. Sunday 31 July. Two spaces to dive the El Kahira in 60 metres. Saturday 27 August. One space to dive the steamer Finn in 60 metres. Sunday 28 August. Two spaces to dive the Everleigh in 40 metres. Monday 29 August. Two spaces to dive the Coquetdale in 40 metres.

Dive/vis reports:  Diving on the protected wreck site of HMS Invincible off Portsmouth on 1 and 2 June, despite the unseasonal, unfriendly low pressure system which came in from the east bringing strong northerly winds. We were able to work in a northerly 5-6 and had vis of about 3 metres, good enough to obtain plenty of photographs for a photogrammetry image of the wreck to be produced. On Friday 3 June, the wind dropped away to almost nothing, and we ventured to the Mendi off St Catherine’s Point. What has happened to the vis?  It was about a metre, dark, and not helped by the grey and gloomy conditions topside. Over the weekend of 4 and 5 June, we dived the steamer Clarinda where the vis was slightly better at 2 metres, but nowhere near what we should expect for early June. I’m told the plankton bloom is the worst for many years and extends from Cornwall to Kent.  On Sunday we dived inshore on the recently wrecked trawler Sally Jane followed by a dip on the War Knight where members of Hampshire & Wight Wildlife Trust were identifying various sponges, nudibranchs, etc. Vis was badly affected by plankton on the Sally Jane, where it was about 1.5 metres, but the War Knight was better at 2-3 metres. We had tried to dive further east, inshore, but visibility was very bad.

Dive spaces: Apart from those above, there are spaces to dive the British submarine HMS Swordfish on Monday 20 June. 3 spaces are available. Contact Jane on jmaddocks@gmail.com. There are 4 spaces available on Friday 1 July to dive the steamer El Kahira in 60 metres. Contact Simon on diver990@gmail.com

Dive/vis reports:  On Saturday 11 June we ventured to the south west on a mid Channel wreck thought to be the WW1 casualty Ohio in 60 metres. Conditions were completely calm with a flat sea, no wind but an overcast sky. Despite this, visibility was terrific, at least 10 metres in ambient light, with plankton almost absent. Next day conditions had deteriorated. We still had grey skies, this time with heavy rain and a south westerly breeze. Sea conditions were less than ideal despite the weak tide, with a pronounced swell and choppy seas, but divers were able to explore the WW1 steamer Start in 42 metres.  More of an inshore wreck than the Ohio, vis wasn’t expected to be so good (it wasn’t) but though dark, 3-4 metres was the estimate. Plankton here is dying back and as the neap tide progresses visibility is expected to improve and reach inshore.

Dive/vis reports: From Tuesday 14 to Friday 17 June we were diving on Bouldnor Cliff, east of Yarmouth in the Solent, on a site of human existence 8500 years old. In vis of 3 metres, new areas of worked timbers were located suggesting the site was inhabited, though much more work needs to be done to interpret what’s been found. On Saturday 18 June we dived the WWII armed trawler Warwick Deeping. Vis was slightly lower than expected at about 4 metres, and the second dive on the War Knight was again disappointing for the time of year, best described as pea soup. On Sunday 18 June the steamer Clarinda was dived in calm conditions. Being further south than the Warwick Deeping, vis was better at 6 metres in ambient light. The good news is that the plankton has almost gone and vis now ought to continue to be reasonable.  Monday 19 June was blown out by strong winds.

Dive/vis reports:  Tuesday 21 June and the weather has settled, and we went to conduct surveys on the wreck of the 1855 steamer Faith. Conditions were excellent and with vis around 4-5 metres in ambient light, quite a lot was achieved, including locating the remains of the bows which had hitherto been ‘missing,’  and photographing various parts of the wreck.  On Thursday 23rd, we went mid Channel and dived the 1895 wreck of the steamer Monton. Conditions overhead were grey and cloudy with torrential rain, but the sea was flat and water visibility spectacular.  Divers reported being at 44 metres and seeing the wreck below in 60 metres with divers swimming around. That makes the vis about 16 metres and if we had had sunshine it would have been a good 20 metres.  Next day we dived the WWII steamer Fort Yale, a huge wreck. Being only 6 miles north of the Monton, expectations for good vis were high. However, steaming off St Catherine’s the water was very dirty – no particular reason why it should be so poor – but conditions improved as we steamed south east. On the wreck vis was about 5 metres. On the weekend of 25 and 26 June, the wind picked up and though we ventured past the Needles on Saturday, rough seas and a nasty swell prevented diving and the trip was aborted. As the forecast for Sunday was similar, I had the weekend off.

Dive/vis reports: On 27 and 28 June we were surveying the protected wreck site near Quarry Ledge, Thorness Bay. Commenced clearing the wreck of snagged ropes and other debris in preparation for a fuller survey, to be conducted later in the season. 29/30 and 1/2/3 July were blown out again by strong winds. However, we were able to get out off St Catherine’s Point on Monday 4 July, diving the WWII armed trawler Crestflower, where we had vis of 7-8 metres.  The weekend of 9/10 July and Monday 11th was blown out as this dreary, windy, unsettled summer continues. Conditions improved somewhat from 12th to 15th July, this time operating from Southsea with marine archaeologists. We surveyed and number of wrecks including HMS Boxer, German U-boat UB-21, SS Kurland, SS Pandion and also the earlier wrecks of the sailing barque Cadeuceus and HMS Impregnable. Despite the very good neap tide, vis was poor at 1-2 metres, though this improved on the last day to a more acceptable 4-5 metres. Water temperature is around 16°.

Dive & vis reports: Saturday 16 July and we’re back diving west Wight, with a drift dive across Christchurch Ledge in 7 metres vis, followed by 8 metres vis on the Spyros. Sea conditions were lumpy and there was a nasty swell and breeze, but the dive was worth it. On Sunday 17th we dived the WWII steamer Terlings in 40 metres, and had 8-10 metres vis in ambient light. Lots of wreck showing with the stern, steering quadrant and gun all prominent. On Monday 18th we ventured offshore in flat, sunny conditions, diving the wreck of the steamer Saxmundham in 60 metres. Vis was about 15 metres and more like what we’d expect – though not as good as 2015 when vis was 25 metres plus. Next day we’re diving south of St Catherine’s Point on the WW1 wreck of the steamer Londonier. Good vis at 7-8 metres and water temperature around 17 degrees. On Wednesday 20th we were blown out by strong winds, but on Thursday 21st we dived an unknown wreck in 38 metres, again in good vis. The wreck was the most exposed it’s been, standing 6 1/2 metres clear, and revealing just how big this wreck is. I have an idea of its identity but it’s not confirmed. Vis still good at 7-8 metres. On Friday 22nd we’re off St Catherine’s Point again on the wreck of the Cleddy. Don’t know why but the wreck was a bit dark and gloomy but vis still holding up well.

Dive and vis reports: Weekend of 23 and 24 June with the weather still good, we dived the WW1 wreck of the Westville in 40 metres. Entering the Solent we were shrouded in thick fog, which persisted all the way to the wreck site. Fortunately the sun forced its way through and the fog disappeared in time for slack. Vis still good, though slightly reduced on what we’ve had, to about 6 metres. On Sunday 24th we went offshore to dive the WW1 wreck of the Inger in 55 metres.  It was a grey, gloomy day, which translated to a grey, gloomy dive! However, vis was still good though a decent torch was necessary. The wind forecast was proved incorrect as we had nothing more than a westerly force 3 all day.

Dive spaces: The are spaces available to dive the clipper ship Smyrna in 55 metres on Saturday 6 August.

Spaces update:  The Smyrna trip is now full.

Dive/vis reports: On Saturday 30th we ventured to the south west and dived the wreck of the Snowdrop, lost in 1886, in 57 metres. Very nice compound engine and single boiler with unusual steam collector fitted on top. Excellent vis around 12 metres.  Next day we dived a similar latitude on the steamer El Kahira in 60 metres. Excellent vis again, with some saying this was the best dive so far in 2016.

Dive/vis reports: On Saturday 6 August, following a windy week and big tides, we ventured offshore to the clipper ship Smyrna, in bright, sunny conditions.  Vis was 8-10 metres in ambient light.

Dive spaces:  There may be spaces on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 August, wreck diving not exceeding 30 metres.  Contact the organiser, Jeff, on jeff@linkbase.co.uk for more details.

Dive/vis reports:  Carried out more survey work on the unidentified schooner wreck in Thorness Bay on 9-11 August. Vis at the beginning was 1 – 1.5 metres, but by Thursday this had improved, as the neap tide progressed, to a respectable  4 metres.  More debris was cleared from the site in preparation for photographic work to take place.  On Friday 12th August we ventured mid Channel to dive the German light cruiser Nurnberg in 60 metres.  Flat seas and sunny skies were with us for the long trip south of the Needles. Vis was around 15 metres in ambient light, though vertical vis was better still – one diver reported looking up from 22 metres and seeing the surface. Next day, with a different group of divers, we visited the WW1 wreck of the steamer Fluent. Despite passing through very clear water in the Solent and for 8 or 9 miles south, the wreck was in an area of slightly less clear water. This gave vis of 4-5 metres in ambient light. Finally on Sunday 14th, we again ventured mid Channel to the wreck of the barque Waitara in 60 metres. Vis was even better than Friday, at 15-20 metres horizontal, in ambient light. We were due to go offshore again on Monday 15th, but strong easterly winds forced us to cancel. Likewise on Tuesday 16th, when we were to go off St Catherine’s Point. Easterlies of 4-5 are just too uncomfortable and so it was another day off from this windy summer.  We did manage to get out on Friday 19th, to dive the Venezuela,in reasonable vis of 4 metres, but the weekend was blown out again, in what has been a windy, inconsistent summer.

Dive/vis reports:  On Saturday 27th August in fine conditions, we steamed to the south west and dived the WW1 wreck of the steamer Finn in 60 metres.  Though somewhat dark, visibility was about 8 metres. Described elsewhere as upside down, the wreck in fact lies on its port side. The midships area has opened up allowing access to the interior. Next day was blown out but we reached the WW2 wreck of the steamer Coquetdale on Monday 29th. Sod’s Law – we passed through good vis on the way to the site, which gradually reduced so that the wreck gave only 2-3 metres vis – disappointing!

Dive/vis reports:  The weekend of 3/4 September was blown out, as was Saturday 10th, but in the following days we had some excellent diving. On Sunday 11th we dived the WW1 wreck of the Azemmour in 39 metres. Excellent dive with 6 metres vis, the swell on the surface was felt on the wreck though this didn’t affect the dive.  Next day we ventured mid Channel to dive the German light cruiser Nurnberg in 60 metres. Once again we passed through gin-clear water to reach the wreck, to find vis was not so good. At about 8 metres and dark, this was below what we’d normally expect on good tides on an offshore wreck. On Tuesday 13th, we again went mid Channel but not quite as far as the Nurnberg, and visibility was a sparkling 10 metres in ambient light. A very, very good dive was had on an unidentified wreck, which is thought to be the WW2 wreck of the motor vessel Dallas City. The very distinctive machinery arrangement strongly suggests that after 76 years the final resting place of this large wreck has been established. Finally on Wednesday 14th we returned inshore to the wreck which is almost certainly the wreck of the WW1 steamer Hazelwood. This wreck is prone to covering and uncovering with sand. At the moment it is very exposed but we still haven’t been able to prove its identity.

Dive/vis reports:  Saturday 17th was blown out due to strong northerly winds, but Sunday 18th was a lovely warm, sunny day, with flat seas. Having to contend with a big spring tide (7.2 metres on Dover) we dived the WW1 wreck of the  Venezuela in 27 metres. Suspended material in the water column reduced the light from below 20 metres, but on the wreck vis was about 2 metres with a torch – do-able and the sort of conditions expected in late September on a very big tide. Water temperature has now pretty much peaked at 19°.

Dive/vis reports:  The weekend of 24/25 September was blown out, as was Saturday 1 October, but on Sunday 2nd, the wind dropped and we ventured mid Channel. The sea state was somewhat confused with an uncomfortable swell, but the sea flattened off on slack water and with wall-to-wall sunshine, we dived an unidentified wreck which is probably the Dallas City sunk in 1940. With vis of 6-8 metres, light levels were unfortunately somewhat reduced and it was rather dark on the wreck, though it could just about have been dived in ambient light.

Dive/vis reports: On the weekend of 8 and 9 October, taking advantage of a very good neap tide, we visited the wreck of the Spyros and with the water still around 17°, had vis of around 3-4 metres, though it was a little dark; unsurprising given the time of year. A drift dive across Christchurch Ledge completed the day. On the Sunday we returned to the unidentified wreck in 38 metres, thought to be the WW1 victim, Hazelwood. If anything, the sand has disappeared even more, exposing more of the wreck. Unfortunately nothing was found to confirm the wreck’s identity.

The unidentified mid Channel wreck thought to be the Dallas City is now 99% confirmed as her. An underwater image of the engine has been examined by a Doxford expert who confirms the engine in the wreck is a Doxford engine, of a type fitted in the Dallas City.

Dive/vis reports: Possibly the last dive of the season – Saturday 29 October – taking advantage of calm weather – we dived the Borgny in 30 metres. Flat sea but an overcast sky, water temperature at 15°, vis was surprisingly good for the time of year – but we’ve had no wind of rain recently. Though, as expected, it was dark on the wreck, visibility was 3-5 metres, though torchlights were visible beyond that. If we have persistent high pressure and light winds, we’ll continue to put dives together, as we’ve shown that though it’ll be dark underwater, vis can still be good as long as you have a decent torch.






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