First dip on the North Side of Beadnell Point

Its didn't look great at Beadnell but I thought, you know what, I'll go in at high tide on the North Side of Beadnell Point

And although not great it was 'okay', but first things first the vis?

Well it was between 2m and 3m which isn't bad for the time of year and the temperature was ok, sure there was bit of a chill in my finger ends after just shy of an hour but you expect that with holy gloves, so bloody holy you'd think a pontiff past or present had given them the once over in St Peters square.

I have now had a 'look-see' at my usual haunts around Beadnell, although I must say that Dell Point has been un-dived, and they have all changed quite significantly, sure it was a very low vis dip on the South Side. This was my first dip on the North Side, so I was hoping to grub about and get an idea of just how bashed around things have been.

You know what the wreckage here on the North Side has really been bashed about! I am sure that the section of double hull is still there somewhere but I couldn't spot it, although it was a slow bimble rather than a dash about checking, my reason for this steady approach is that there are lots of sharp bits of metal and many at 'head' level and with the amount of wishy-washy I didn't fancy being skewered, oh and the other thing is that divers are not queuing up to dive in February so any nice trinkets will be there for my next dip.

So with that in mind I went in, looked up and down the first reef north of the point and then concentrated on the area between this first reef and the body of the point, the area past the first reef and before the second reef was left alone, although I must say that I doubt very much that the big lumps and steel mast have been shifted any.

As I have said previously there are a multitude of wrecks, named and anonymous that have foundered on this point, the last being MV Yewglen and the big one before that being SS Brugia, but for sure there have been many others and the high point today was finding a bit of the bottom, that is bottom and not sea-bed, where both of these wrecks have been bashed then washed away and we are looking at the 'third' wreck on the site, there really are that many losses, for sure if you dive the North Goldstone there is more wreckage, but being significantly deeper it doesn't get the pounding this area gets.

This small area, maybe two meters by four meters is a snapshot into an earlier wreck, there are or should I say were a few keel pins but the most interesting find was either a short broken cannon or a carronade. So what is a carronade you ask? Well it is a small artillery piece that is a short squat cannon and was used typically to drop grapeshot charges into or onto an enemy vessel, nick-named the smasher these would be used to 'clear' the decks of sailors in a naval engagement prior to boarding. And although they didn't have a long royal navy career they were popular on merchant vessels which, being blunt, only really needed something to ward off privateers or pirates, a task for which this piece was ideal.

The piece is horizontal and the cascabel end is intact along with the knob on the end that was used to tie rope around to aid positioning, I couldn't see any trunions but the piece wasn't totally exposed, it does look rather well concreted in so it will probably be photos rather than recover and restore, the reason I dont think that it is a cannon is that the non-cascabel end was flat, it would tend to be cracked and at an angle had it split in service. The other thing to keep in mind is that scrap cannon were used as ballast along the keel of many ships, as the high concentration of mass along the keel helped the sailing characteristics and was highlighted as 'something to do' when French Inspectors noted the practice whilst visiting RN dockyards. Something to keep in mind when attempting to date a vessel with cannon, as an aside I was talking to a professor from an Oxbridge institute who hadn't thought of this issue when looking to date and identify vessels, he went off to resist some of his earlier work, it is always good to contribute something to others.

On the life front there was very, very little....fish, nope......crabs and lobsters, nope although it must be said that there were strings of pots in Knacker Hole and to the North and South of the point, so obviously there are fiends about but I think with these washing machine conditions that they are sensibly keeping well hidden away in their lairs.

Arguable the most disconcerting thing about the dive was the time when I was underneath the 'froth' zone from rollers which were running from east-south-east and breaking up and over the point, you don't hear anything, rather it just goes 'dark' for a few seconds then clears up and repeats. This is very much an 'ahh what' moment then you just accept it, the more disconcerting times are in summer dives where a large shoal of saithe pass over the top of you and it goes dark........the immediate thought is centred around the 'dur-duh' of the jaws music, but being in the north sea you would have to be super lucky to encounter any large apex predator at the Farne Islands that you didn't know about. Sure there are orca at some times of the year but everyone knows about them as the buggers have to come up to breathe.

As you would expect after the winter storms there were loads of lost weights exposed and the scrappage collected on this dive also included a few little copper and brass pieces, but nothing that you would identify and keep as a trinket but I am sure that there will be bits to be picked up when the vis picks up and it isn't so wishy-washy. 

With the weather due to worsen again, its February, I may be able to get in tomorrow but its blowing up again and being so wishy-washy I am not sure where to go and that bloody red weed is making some areas very dangerous to walk on, hmmmm lets see and hey, just remember......

Dive safe


Weight this dive - 21.5kg

Weight this year - 139.7kg


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