South Shields, 19th September 2009

A trimix dive off South Shields with Spellbinder 2.

52m, filthy visibility and no slack water to speak of, but apart from that it was alright :-).

The dive stated well - six people on the boat, so plenty of space, good banter and fair conditions with good surface visibility and little swell. We motored out for about an hour, Alan shotted the wreck and dropped in the deco-station.

As new boys we were in last, everyone had a job to do and ours was to untangle one buoy on the deco-station, thankfully this proved easy, then clip on the bottle of safety gas - that done, we started our descent.

50m seems a long way, but it looked promising, deep green light and good visibility down the rope. But the tide was tugging and at 40m we descended into a layer of brown soup and the lights went out. It was like going from a sunny mountain top into a valley cloaked in mist.

We hit wreckage at 52m - onto the backup plan right away as it was a touch deeper than we thought. We definitely line off - no argmument there. The tide is running over the wreck and there is shelter here and there in the lee of big plates, but it is uncomfortable between them. We've no idea which way is which in the limited vis, so we pick a direction and go. We find a big boiler standing on its end, but the rest is a jumble and we decide to turn back. The opposite way is more rewarding - intact hull, listing to starboard with a row of portholes (shiny!). We follow it and eventually reach the bow, which has two huge anchors still in their mounts. We pop up onto the deck, but the current is getting worse and we've seen enough, returning at a slightly higher level we pass the heads, white porcelain clear against the rusty brown hull, lying on deck is a brass lamp. Lee spots a monster cod lurking, there are prawns everyhwere you look and the hull is encrusted with marine life. Just a shame the vis was poor and we have so little time to investigate. Another time perhaps.

Thanks to Steve for the invite and to Alan, Brian, Jo, Brent & Dave for having us on board.

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