2016 has been a poor season for weather – perhaps not just as poor as 2015 (which was the worse since 2000 in my opinion).
Visibility through the season remained OK – but never fantastic, with my records not showing anything better than 20m on any day.
The Rosguill continues to explore new wrecks & marks and during 2016 the following are of note: –
UB 124 – the WW1 Uboat which helped sink the Justicia was dived for the second time.
U110 – the WW1 Uboat which sank the Amazon is believed to be pinged & hope to dive this mark in 2017
Found & dived an unknown mark which turned out to be a Type IX operation Deadlight in around 95m
Found and dived a WW1 steam trawler which is possibly the Corientes.
Dived the bow section of HMS Curacoa 126m
Found & pinged a small wreck, approximately 30m in 104m – hope to dive in 2017
Of note, on another dive boat, a diver recovered crockery printed with – ‘Manchester Liners’ – finally confirming the identity of the Manchester Commerce, which now leaves a very large unknown cargo wreck in 95m to be positively ID’ed
I’ll use the words of Irish Technical diver, Stewart Andrews, to tell the story : –
As it turned out, this ‘dark’ and unsettled (deep) season came to a thrilling end with some proper exploration off Donegal. The very best discovery was left until the last dive. A big thanks to “Rosguill” skipper Michael McVeigh and trip leader Rez Soheil with some advice from the deep exploration guru, Barry McGill.
There are only four WWI U-Boats (operational) sunk off the north coast of Ireland –
One is the very large, popular and photogenic U89 in 61 metres, complete with two deck guns.
Another – U110 sunk the luxurious British liner RMS Amazon and has yet to be found.
Another – U45 which was sunk by HMS submarine D7 – again, yet to be found
That leaves UB124 – one of the Type UBIII Coastal Torpedo Attack Boats which was physically smaller than the others, (distinguished by having just one stern torpedo tube) and having taken over from UB64, finished the attack on the troop carrier RMS Justicia. At over 32,000 tons, the Justicia was the largest ship sunk by U Boat in WWI & the second largest vessel afloat in the world at the time of her sinking Having sunk Justicia, she herself was destroyed by depth charges on 20 July 1918. This was the only ship she ever sunk. A very exciting dive indeed! I hope to talk more about this at TekDive15 in Antwerp in November – in the meantime, here are just two images. The conning tower has been separated from the wreck as a result of the depth charges. The other image shows the single stern torpedo tube with the outer hull missing around the tube.
Visibility in mid – August has been a lot less than expected for what is usually one of the best months of the season. Averaging just 10m where 20 to 25 should be the norm. Coupled with very late plankton which is shutting down a lot of ambient light.
However, diving goes on with the “dealable” 10m vis and Rosguill found a new wreck last year in 97m and dived it recently to find a very nice Type IX Operation Deadlight WW2 German Uboat.
Snorkel head shown with exhaust outlet on left hand side -radar absorbing material (Alberich) and ball float covering the air intake on right hand side. There is also a small bracket to hold the radar detection unit. For scale the snorkel float is approximately the size of a football.
Sitting just aft to the conning tower are the surface running engine intake and exhaust manifolds – periscope shown above and behind.
After a slow start surface water temperature is now normal – 14 degrees in mid-July.
Vis on the classics has varied from 10m to 20m with a usual 15m
Ambient light has been a little lower than normal for this time of year – plankton bloom late and hence heavier than normal.
Weather has been mixed the whole season so far and remains unsettled looking forward. It has been many years since we had such poor weather in May & June and we had a storm mid-July which I have never seen here (June – yes, but never July or August).
The iconic bow of the Justicia, some signs of collapse.
Weather, water temperature & visibility really cannot be beaten at this moment off north Donegal. Calm seas, 16 + degrees Centigrade & 20m+ vis.
Below is a very nice photograph from a couple weeks ago of the bow of HMS Hurst Castle – taken close to the bow fairlead and also showing the ship’s anchor still in the hawsehole.
Also 2 photographs from differing angles of the “Squid launcher” on HMS Hurst Castle. The Squid launcher was the latest technology during WW2 which allowed anti-submarine charges to be delivered forward of the surface vessel at a depth determined by the “ASDIC”. This system dropped the squids in a triangle pattern which may be ascertained by the 2 slightly offset tubes.