Mar 28, 2020

Stanwood dive brief

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ss Stanwood

The Stanwood was a 4158 ton steamship, that had been confiscated from the Germans at the end of the Great War (WW1). It was used for carrying cargo for many years, until one day in December 1939, it went into Falmouth docks for repairs.

The are several stories about her exact final moments, my favourite is that when she was being welded, the cargo of coal caught fire. She was towed away from the harbour to the North Bank, the sea cocks were opened to scuttle her and put the fire out. The idea was that she would sit on the shallow ledge, 12m below. It would be easily re-floated. Instead on landing flat on the sea bed of the North Bank, they missed, she turned over and slid down the bank of the deep channel. Over the years, she has been heavily salvaged. Then, the remains were blown apart, she had been deemed a danger to shipping.

Stanwood masts and funnels sticking out of the water behind the warship.
Salvaging the Stanwood

We only dive the wreck on High Water slack, it needs to be slack and it’s best for visibility. The shotline is usually dropped in the middle of the wreck, between 12-18m. The site is more wreckage than wreck, it has been heavily salvaged but it is a haven for wildlife. It is not a site for wide angle photography, macro is best. Divers should make their way to the shotline and stay on the line until they reach the bottom. The area is quite silty, so try and stay off the bottom, it will ruin the visibility for everyone. Once there, there is a choice depending on your qualification. To restrict the depth, head slowly north, east or west. For greater depth, head south, criss crossing the wreck, to get to a maximum of around 30m. The wreck reaches a maximum depth of around 26m, after that the sea bed is quite flat but scallops can be found. After that, you can come back up the wreck towards the shallows, which runs out at around 8m. Continuing north, you can finish the dive on the oyster beds in around 6m. DSMB’s must be deployed before ascending.

Stanwood wreckage.
Stanwood wreckage
Sidescan image of the Stanwood
Stanwood multi beam image