Somali (report by Julian)
Our first attempt to dive the Somali on Friday 29th June did not go very well as the shot line that the skipper put us on was just a lobster pot line. So, at 6.15 pm of the same day we set out to try again.
The first pair down the line was George & myself, at the bottom of the shot you could see the boilers and some of the super-structure. We moved away from the shot line into the wreckage to get some idea of the layout of the wreck. The visibility was 10 plus meters but I still had to use my torch in all the dark holes as I rummaged around with George taking photos as we went. As we were at 29m depth and diving on air after only 19mins we were into deco so we moved back to look at the engine and boilers – all very big and looked fantastic with the vis so good. After a look around, we made our way up the super-structure. I could not see the shot line so sent up my delayed SMB at 25 mins into the dive. On the way up, we found the main shot line and stayed with that, we did a 6-minute deco stop at 6 metres and a 3-minute safety stop as well. The best dive of the trip.
Glanmire Wreck,St Abbs Head, Scotland (report by George)
Description: 20th Century merchant vessel Depth: 28 – 30 metres
The Glanmire was an early 20th© merchant ship which sank on the 25th June 1912 after striking Black Carr, which as we now know is a very rocky area, apparently full of wolf fish. She was a steamship of length 242.2 ft with a beam of 33.2 ft, draught of 15.3 ft and 1141 gross tons. She lies only 200m just off St Abbs head in about 30m of water.
Although still moderately ship shaped (though not ship shape!) the wreck is mostly clear of debris and cargo. The wreck has to be dived on slack water and so it was when Julian and I descended into cold but reasonably clear water. As we descended I reflected there was nothing slack about the rate at which we were going down and this was driven by Julian’s desire to hit another decent chunk of metal after the very good dive on the Somali just two days before. There are two large boilers on this wreck and the shot wasn’t far from these two. Whilst I had in mind that our dive plan was to look at the engine and head astern we hung around the boilers for a short while before heading off to the bow. The boilers and engine area are interesting and almost completely covered in Alcyonium digitatum commonly known as dead mans fingers, with a few plumose anemones as well. There are supposed to be wolf fish or two on this wreck and congers but we did not spot either of these. After the short tour of the boilers and engine area we headed off to the bow and on the way passed a swim through I recalled from 20 years before. When I poked my head into that it was clear it had collapsed a good deal and it looked an unlikely tunnel now. Moving forward the wreck is broken up where holds used to be and its essentially just debris but as we moved even further forward the dark shadow of the still upright bow loomed up in the blue green.
We were glad of the decent viz as wrapped round the bow was a huge piece of very tough fishing net (see photos) which would have been very nasty had we got caught up in it, like numerous crabs we saw. Although the water temperature was only 10°C ensconced in my nice warm dry suit and with a bottle of 32% Nitrox on my back I wanted to linger at depth having not had nearly enough diving this year. Deco time arrived all too soon so we headed swiftly back to the boiler area, quickly waving to Andrew as we passed him to the shot line for our ascent stopping for 5 minutes. So good to be back underwater again!