U.K. Dives

101 minutes at 20m

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I had been doing a lot of teaching, which had involved pool work and shore diving recently and hadn’t had a lot of time for a dive myself. Sharky had Friday off, Andy was back on his leave so we all set off on Andy’s boat. Andy wanted to photograph the brittle stars that litter the area we call the cannon ball site, so that was the choice. The sea was flat and the visibility looked reasonable so I dropped in with Andy and started swimming around. We had dived a little further east than normal for a change to see what we could find.

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Lamorna Cove

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It was about time

I’ve spent years diving around Cornwall and have completed all sorts of dives including a lot of shore dives. Most of my shore diving has been between Newquay and Tintagel on the north coast and Mevagissey to Porthoustock on the south coast. I have heard many people speak of Lamorna CoveĀ  for shore diving or boat launching and thought it was about time I had a look. Saturdays weather looked most suitable so off we set. It didn’t take too long to drive the 35 miles or so to Lamorna, I didn’t use any maps or sat nav, I just drove past Penzance towards Lands End and followed the signs. The first turn was a left off A30 was about a mile past the last roundabout in Penzance. The road joins the main road through Penzance to Newlyn, you then turn immediately right up the hill. You then just follow this road and the signs. Its a long and windy road and gets very narrow from Lamorna village to Lamorna Cove, I wouldn’t want to take my boat down there. read more →

St George, Copper Wreck

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The St George was famous for having a cargo of Copper ingots, it has been salvaged in the past and dived but we hoped we might find the odd one left. It is a long way offshore and the likihood of divers visiting often would give us a chance. When it was salvaged some ingots fell off of the piles while they were moved off the wreck. We were told there were some left around the stern, I was told there were some left in the bow.

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Dragging Anchors

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The previous weekend I had a group of divers on our boat, ‘Stingray’, who were diving on the wreck of the N.G. Petersen. The Petersen is a small wreck which carried a cargo of iron ore and sank after a collision with another ship. It’s all right as a dive but most of the boat structure has rotted away and apart from a few bits and pieces all you can really see is the cargo. There’s a lot of life though, congers, wrasse, bib, crabs, starfish and scallops. I had asked the last divers down to fold up the anchor. They hadn’t been down long when I realised the shot was moving, I hadn’t expected much current and the wind wasn’t that strong as to drag a folded anchor with 5m of chain attached. I went over to the shot and gave it a tug, it was free! I pulled it a bit more until I found the end loop free, broken away from the chain and anchor. The shackle must have come undone or broken.

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Lizard Archaeology – The Return

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Back Again

After our first visit a few months ago we got the call to go again. This time with two extra divers, Ben and James. After the small success of the first visit, finding not only all sorts of items but an old encrusted anchor as well, perhaps there was more there. Another three days were planned, once again we would be diving from Autumn Dream. The weather forecast wasn’t to bad, but it was decided to stay at Newlyn and travel across each day. My RHIB hadn’t been repaired so it couldn’t be used as a diver shuttle this time, so we used Ben’s RHIB instead. Sharky and I were collected from Porthleven, as was Colin.

Our first day saw flat seas and the sun shining, although there was a slight breeze. The ground swell was still going to be a problem in such shallow water, but we’d find out soon enough. On the first dive we went for a quick look round to see what the conditions were like. We found that the sand had moved, a lot, covering most of the area. When we dived the site in March the sand seemed very low and the steel beams were exposed, this time they were buried. Most of the area was covered in at least a foot of sand, maybe even two in places.

 

Starting a trench

The conditions underwater were very similar to the last time we were here, quite a lot of swell but the visibility was quite poor with the increased levels of sand around being churned up. The increased depth of sand was going to make even harder work with the air lift. We searched all the areas we had searched before, finding a few extra bits, we also looked a little further afield. Back on the boat and everyone emptied their pockets and bags, the finds were of mixed origin once again, but still no Dollars.

The air lift was going to be deployed for the next dive, we were going to explore an area close to where we had previously used it. We searched vigorously for an hour, taking it in turns to use the air lift, all to no avail. A few extra bits came up from the divers not using the air lift, the air lift just reduced the visibility even more. The higher levels of sand combined with the way the sand moved made running a small air lift almost pointless. The day had finished with several finds of all ages, everyone was happy that we had done what we could and were looking forward to tomorrow.

The long trek from Newlyn to the dive site was much more comfortable on Autumn dream than it was on my RHIB. The second days diving was very similar to the first, with less finds coming up from the divers and nothing being found with the air lift. Perhaps we had cleared all the artefacts that had been uncovered already, perhaps we needed the sand to move a few more times to bring up more items.

The third day was again similar to the second, less finds, although I did find a very old piece of wood jammed between two rocks. The wood showed some sign of being eaten by ‘Toledo Worm’, which are only found in warmer water, so this was more than likely from an old Spanish or Portuguese ship, but which one? At the end of the third day all the diver were agreed that there wasn’t going to be much more found there without some serious commercial sand clearing kit, and even then it doesn’t mean there is anything left.

 

Cannon Ball Site again!

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Dive Details

  • Launched from – Falmouth
  • Boat used – Cousin Jack
  • Date – 23/11/07
  • Time – 18:28
  • Max Depth – 21.8m
  • Duration – 51minutes
  • Temp – 13C
  • Rating – 4

While it is always good to be diving, sometimes doing the same dive over and over again can get boring. Luckily I haven’t got bored with the cannon ball site just yet. We seem to dive a different place each time, so it’s always different. This week I ended up in an area mainly covered by sand. The dive started as per normal but using my co-ordinates for cannon balls.

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Where were the balls?

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Dive Details

  • Launched from – Falmouth
  • Boat used – Cousin Jack
  • Date – 16/11/07
  • Time – 18:25
  • Max Depth – 18.3m
  • Duration – 63 minutes
  • Temp – 13C
  • Rating – 4

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Wanting more cannon balls pt2

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Dive Details

  • Launched from – Mylor
  • Boat used – Ena
  • Date – 10/11/07
  • Time – 16:12
  • Max Depth – 22.2m
  • Duration – 67 minutes
  • Temp – 13C
  • Rating – 4

Before we left home I had done some research on cannon balls and cannons. The last cannon ball that I brought up was just over 6″ in diameter, according to various places on the web they were 32lbs in weight. I could have weighed one on the bathroom scales, but the internet turns up some interesting information. Researching the cannons I found out their maximum range, I plotted this on my plotter and added the marks to my GPS. That was where we were going for our second dive. Cannons more than likely would have been tested at their maximum range for accuracy, if they could hit a target at maximum range they could hit one closer.

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Wanting more cannon balls pt1

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Dive Details

  • Launched from – Mylor
  • Boat used – Ena
  • Date – 10/11/07
  • Time – 13:44
  • Max Depth – 18.0m
  • Duration – 70 minutes
  • Temp – 13C
  • Rating – 4

On Saturday we decided to go and have a look around the cannon ball site for some more cannon balls. Our Friday evening searches weren’t that successful so we thought we’d look off the reef a bit as well. The first dive was to be in line with the reef but further towards the beaches by a couple of hundred metres.

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Cannon Ball Site Reef at Night Again

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Dive Details

  • Launched from – Falmouth
  • Boat used – Cousin Jack
  • Date – 9/11/07
  • Time – 18:17
  • Max Depth – 19.1m
  • Duration – 62 minutes
  • Temp – 13C
  • Rating – 4

Our usual Friday night dive only saw seven of us venturing out. The options were the channel (Carrick Roads) or the cannon ball site reef. As there is a lot more life around the reef and the recent 300 year old bottle found there it was an obvious choice really.

Scallops, Squid, Thornback Ray, Dogfish, Cuttlefish and all the normal reef fish adorned the site. No Octopus this time, nor any 300 year old bottles or cannon balls. Another nice dive though.