Diary

Autumn is here now and SS Somali was great!

Walking along the harbour today to load up Mhara Mhor there were quite a few swallows sitting on ropes, most were fledglings being fed by their parents and I hope that they get enough 'meat' for the long fly south.....our journey was also south but not so far!

A quick shot of the swallows just for a look see, you can see the fledglings and adults sitting on the rope here!

The Ancient Diver had said that it was probable that the Somali would be the first dive of the day and having not dived her for a year or so I was more than keen for a dip and after some minor issues I finally had a reasonable size tank for this 28m dive and away we went! Being a mile or so off Beadnell the wreck is rather tidal but as the Ancient Diver has been diving this particular site for years it is no big surprise that we arrived bang on slack water and the shot landed on top of one of the boilers!

Nuts and bolts.....well it was surprisingly dark and a little dirty down there with the vis about 6m, I had expected more but it wasn't that bad all things considered.

Being a rather lazy diver I really can't be bothered hanging on a string doing deco in the middle of the North Sea, been there, done that and got the T-shirt so that kind of limits the dive time to just shy of thirty minutes but that is ok and means that even if you are working hard there is plenty left in the tank when you get out.

Once I had reached the bottom I dropped on the land side of the boilers and started having a grub about and yes I picked up a large amount of copper bits which were subsequently 'checked out' by the owner of the wreck but as Lee said it's typical 'scrap'.

There are always large numbers of fish on the wreck and today was business as usual and although I missed seeing any cod there were large numbers of Saithe and Pollack, some of which were rather large and zoomed straight off whenever they were caught in the torch beam and yes you certainly needed a torch as the weather topside was dismal, almost a case of into the water to get out of the rain!

There were also a huge amount of Ballan Wrasse on the wreck but no large fish, most were maybe hand size or a couple of inches larger and more than happy to swim close and have a look see, I gather that the group had dived the wreck earlier in the week so I am guessing that these bold inquisitive fish were quite used to divers kicking up crap and dislodging food or even perhaps smashing open an urchin for a free meal?

A section of the wreck has shifted which means that there are now quite a few bottle tops showing in the bottom, held in place by the remains of their wooden boxes, I think that these are gin as a few complete and full bottles have been recovered over the last year or so, I had a 'wiggle' at them but without the pre-requiste digging tools I had no luck....that said I did pick up a Sloans liniment bottle and a very small blue glass pill bottle.

All of the time I was picking up bits of copper, mostly pipe but also the copper wound remains of a rather large electromagnet which I guess would have been used on the ships degaussing system that was in place to minimise the magnetic signature and keep it 'safe' from magnetic mines. I say 'guess' because there was only one, it was close to some copper cable which kinda helps the narrative hang together and if it had been cargo I would have expected a few and the Ancient Diver would have known about them!

I simply don't take shell-fish from wrecks, not that there is any compunction from a 'green' standpoint, rather I think that they are heavily tainted with iron oxide, rust, and when you see the edible crabs that were crawling about, although none were any real size they were all orange and when you picked them up and turned them over the legs and underbelly wasn't that white/cream colour it was rust and yup fiends are the same although I must admit that I didn't spot any. Now this isn't to say that the area isn't potted, today a boat was checking it's line of pots but if I was buying shellfish I would give the rusty crustacea a wide berth.

With the time ticking away and a rather heavy bag I inflated the lift bag, tied on my DSMB and let it all go from the bottom which takes quite some time, even on my sensible reel, gawd knows how long it would take for people who insist on using those silly little finger spools? If you dive for thirty minutes on air you tend to have around three minutes deco which ties up with a steady ascent, wait at 4.5m for a minute or so and get out, quite useful when there are large numbers of huge Lions Mane Jellyfish in the water, some appearing as undersea monsters they are so big!

So there you go another nice dive on SS Somali and another load of scrap, one day I will dive on a twinset and optimised nitrox mix and really sack up, but until then.........

Dive safe

RichW

Weight this dive - 25.6 kg

Weight this year - 360.2 kg

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