Well you couldn’t have ordered better weather! Sea conditions good with a light wind and plenty of sunshine all weekend. Lots of water, lashings of sunscreen and sun bonnets were the order of the day.
Day 1 - UB-55 and UB-78
Our first dive was on the wreck of WW1 U-Boat UB-55. The shot was quickly placed with the Seahorse trio entering first. Ascent down the shot was easy and tied pretty close to the visible prop. Light penetration of the water at this depth was very good and around 5m visibility. Perhaps surprising was the seabed depth to get a video of the prop at 37m. A bimble followed along the length of the sub over the pressure hull with notable damage at the bow. A few large lobsters reside here. Due to the initial time at depth, the dive was turned around 25 minutes. All divers returned successfully up the shot.
The second dive was on the UB-78. Getting a hook on the sub proved difficult due to the length of the sub lying with the current. After 3 unsuccessful attempts, a 56lb weight was dropped. It took a few extra moments for the shot to be completed. This time the Seahorse trio entered last. There was a slight current at the end of the shot. Depth low 30s with again 5m viz and useful light penetration. The gun is still there and we spent time exploring this, finding a shell container visible through one of the 6 to 12-inch damage holes in the hull. Also clearly visible is a torpedo in situ. Dive time a little over 30 minutes with ascent back up the shot.
Day 2 - UB-55 and the Mindora
Again a perfect day with a very small swell. Our first dive by unanimous consent was back to UB-55 again. The shot was 5m or so off the sub but not a problem. Strangely enough the depth this time was 30m to the seabed, nearly 8m different than yesterday at the time time of day! So a bimble up and down the sub with a gentle current easily done. Good chance to explore the conning tower with a view into the control room through the open hatch. Towards the stern damage, there is a view of one of the engines. Bottom time around 35 minutes and safe ascent up the shot.
Our second dive was changed to the Mindora, a copper-plated wooden sailing ship sunk in 1850 and discovered around two years ago. It carried various goods to and from the UK. Easily discovered are a collection of bottles, mainly wine but including rectangular section olive oil bottles amongst others. There are also items including candles, clothing, pipes and female garments. Descending along the shot it soon became very dark and at 30m it was pitch black. Viz therefore difficult to judge but only 3m at best. Bimbled along the length of the ship. Found a corked wine bottle with a small shell build-up. One of the team was diving on air with a single 15l cylinder, so after 20 minutes he hit deco. For this reason, a DSMB was deployed as turning to find the shot would take too long. It would be good to return to this site to explore and map the site, some interesting finds would be made for sure, including possibly boxed crates of wine. A backup torch and line laying capability are a must-have for these conditions.