Diary

Oban and SS Breda, two locations linked by diving

There are some towns which are and will be forever linked to a particular dive site abd Oban is one of these and that is due almost entirely to the actions of the Germans in sinking SS Breda

What makes this site so good for divers is that it isn't too deep at about 15m to the deck, there are no raging tides to limit the dive access and of course it 'looks' like a ship, that is to say she sits on an even keel on the sea-bed with most damage imparted during salvage and clearance operations rathing than a bombing run in the 1940's.

We had other plans but with one thing and another were left with diving on the SS Breda and never one to miss a chance to dive the site in I went!

Being a selfish solo diver I was first down the shotline and I must say that the vis was about as good as it gets on the site at between 6m and 7m and with the winter not yet causing a reduction intemperature we had about 13degC which is ok for the UK, although that said getting out into the brisk Highland air wasn't the most fun that you can have, especially as there was a delightful drizzle present for most of the day.

The first thing that I noticed about the wreck was the amount of fish, there were probably more than I have ever seen, with the main species being Coalfish, Pollack and Ballan Wrasse. The amount of Pollack was astounding with a reasonable spread of sizes with some smaller fish at maybe 20cm long and some battle scarred old timers of a meter or larger but is was only when you stopped and then looked out and around that the sheer quantity of fish became apparent, maybe not as many as are present on the highly tidal block-ships at Scapa Flow but still a huge amount. This is obviously because the wreck is an artificial reef sitting in a huge area of pretty 'bland' bottom, that is not lifeless, far from it, simply there are no big features and this wreck which sits maybe 10m from the sea-bed is a magnet.

Whilst talking 'sporting fish' it has to be worth hammering home that the presence of these fish and the excellent mooring secured by Puffin means that it is only a matter of time before the down-rope is festonned with hooks and lures so please guys and gals when dropping down the rope please use only as a visual sighting and don't haul yourself down as a hook in the hand is not the most pleasant experience!

I wanted a few scallops so dropped over the side for ten minutes to grab a sackful for a meal or two and then continued my amble around the deck having a bit scavenge and lo and behold, I found a sheet of lead that was loose so that was bagged up despite its weight and presence of a couple of dozen scallops. The presence of a large weight in the goody bag meant that I took it to the shotline and left it whilst having another twenty minutes but I was sure that no-one else would pick it up and they didn't.

Despite the amount of fish on the wreck there wasn't a huge amount of lost tackle although I did have fun teasing the large pollack with a lost rubber eel, I removed the hook and then dropped it from maybe three meters onto the deck and every time a large fish dashed forward and engulfed the lure only to spit it out seconds later with a baleful look in their eye.......it would have made a good video if I had brought along a camera.

As time goes by the deck of the wreck is getting covered with more and more empty shells and grit, to the extent that if you bothered picking up every scallop that now calls it home you would have enough for quite a meal although I am sure that they would taste rather metallic. With this additional weight and the passage of time rusting the deck plates I wonder how long it will be before you simply cant do any more penetration diving? I certainly don't bother going through any more, probably because I compared some photos taken eight years apart that show, by a pure blind co-inc-cidence a set of inter-deck ladders deforming... I am sure that there isn't an immediate issue nut......

So after a very nice dip it was time to get out and I am sure that there were words on the boat as a delay slowly popped out of the water by the shotline and maybe there were comments as to why only twenty centimetrs were showing......well it was down to the lead and scallops!

Dive safe

RichW

Weight this dive - 10.2 kg

Weight this year - 336.5 kg

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