16 July 2008

SS Blanefield Skive Dive ~ 16th July with Channel Diver

If it hadn't been for Ernie reminding me on the phone the other day I would have missed today's Skive Dive on The wreck of the Blanefield off Beachy Head from Steve Johnson's Channel Diver.
With divers from 3 clubs aboard SAA69 Reigate , Brighton Marina BSAC , and Meridian Divers all of us got on swimmingly so to speak.

A relatively early start saw us leave Brighton at 8am for the trip out to the wreck site. With overcast skies and a murky inshore sea we kept our fingers crossed for better conditions out at the site. We were not disappointed. We arrived over the wreck at around 9.30 but had to wait until slack to kick in and during the wait the skies cleared and the visibility in the water looked very promising.

Kitted up it was time to dive channel Divers hooter whooped and we were in and on our way down to the Blanefield. This was my first visit to this wreck and with visibility at around 8m+ and loads of light this was going to be a corker of a dive. The shoals of bib and pollack were huge and on arriving at the wreck we were greeted by the biggest Flattie I had ever seen.

The SS Blanefield sunk in 1906 as result of a collision with another vessel reports say that 36 crew died on this wreck also there are reports that this wreck is upside down I can assure you it isn't. Being a steam ship of the same era as our own T.R.T there were a lot of similarities,although I would say that the Thompson is in better condition than the Blanefield. The Stern stands proud and about 10m high to the top of the steering quadrant and there is a strange platform that just out from this. It is still possible to swim through the massive prop /rudder arch.

The engine stands vertical and looks identical to the T.R.T's. Deck winches and other machinery give testament to the work horse this ship must have been.

With me filming and Ernie leading we worked our way around the wreck but time was cut short by a problem with one of the dive computers so to be on the safe side we started our ascent slightly earlier than we would have liked but we still managed 34 minutes. The Blanefield certainly needs further exploration in the future.

On arriving at the surface the sea had chopped up a bit and the trip to the second dive was a bit of a rollercoaster but not enough for us to dive a reef and ledges about a mile off Brighton Marina.
The drift was gentle affair across ledges and Mussel beds populated by quite a few plaice six of which ended up in one of the other dive teams goody bags. But with our own policy of live and let live the fish were safe from us.

Another successful stress free dive day out on Channel Diver over it was back to shore and battle with the traffic home already looking forward to next weeks very special dive on the TRT. Keeping just about everything I can keep crossed for the good weather.

The clips from the video will be posted shortly


1 comment:

Jimbob said...

Sounds excellent.
Looking forward to seeing the video.