As the NAS web site says the "submarine is a remarkable piece of our naval heritage. She was the first submarine to actually be commissioned in the Royal Navy, on the 19th January 1903 at the same time as Holland 3. The Holland class of submarine rapidly become obsolete and in 1912 Holland 5 was destined for destruction and was being towed to Sheerness when she foundered and sunk at her present location 6 miles SE of the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse, Sussex, England"
Preparing the Video CameraTWSAC, having a licence to dive the wreck, set course for the her using their Club RIB as a pathfinder and MV My Sharon which carried six of us and all the MD divers. It's a long run from Newhaven, 21 miles each way, taking about two hours on each leg of the journey. The run out was a bit bumpy (but we've all seen a lot worse!) but day remained bright (though overcast) , the journey home was across a far smoother sea and was a delight in itself as we watched the sun set.
Some of the TWSAC & MD DiversThe RIB divers had shot the wreck and so on arrival we kitted-up and went down. Jamie had promised us 6m viz, well who would argue with about 3m on a special wreck like this. A submarine lying (upright) on the bottom doesn't offer much in the way of a multi-level dive so we stayed most of our time around the max depth of about 32 meters. A drop of Nitrox 31% made my NDL more tolerable,and with a slow ascent we clocked 47 minutes on the dive.
Propeller BladeThe shot took us to midships from where we examined the main hatch and small glass porthole (intact), from there we moved to the stern to check-out the three blade propeller, before going to the bow and the torpedo hatch (open, as a result of the hatch cover being absent). It was thought the cover had been stolen but theft was by no means certain. Some divers have always said that the cover would take a lot of force to have removed and thought a trawl net may have been the culprit. Well, there were signs of heavy duty netting adjacent to the bow (lying in the seabed), may be this theory is correct after all.
Torpedo Tube (Bow)Two of our number videoed the wreck and I took some pot shots with my camera. No doubt we will soon see an edited video being released!
On ascent to the dive boat we had a peaceful ride back to Newhaven. We has left port at 12.30pm and got back at 6pm to watch a beautiful sunset bathe the coast in golden sun. Tea & biscuits on the boat back was very English (but no cucumber sandwiches I note!).
Top (Main) Hatch PortholeA long day when you add prep & travel to and from port time , but a really good day and very memorable. Fantastic opportunity to see such a historic wreck, and especially after having seen Holland I at the Gosport Submarine museum some years ago.