A shore dive at the Silver Steps on Pendennis.
I have been studying some old photographs of the U-Boats on Pendennis Headland. From the photographs I had worked out where they were and even which one was which. Having only seen the parts from three of the subs before, was there anything left of any others?
The forecast was good, the tide was high and the vis had been improving. After being photographed for someone’s photography course, David and I snorkelled out to the closest U-Boat, UB112. The most noticeable part of this U-Boat is a three pronged cast iron object, resembling a fork. This is thought to be part of a hydro-vane mechanism. Apart from this piece, most of UB112 is flat. I swam along the gully to the next sub, UB86. This is the most dived U-Boat, it is easy to find as it breaks the surface at low tide. The visibility was the best I have ever seen there, we spent a long time taking pics and filming. We then snorkelled across to where I thought the next sub was, UB97. As I approached the area, I saw something from the surface. Descending down, it looked a familiar shape, we took more photos. A little further along there was a three sided piece of steel, I couldn’t see anything else. A surface swim to the far side of the hole in the wall, where UB128 might be. We came across some circular steel frames, with large rivet holes and even some curved plates. There was very little there though, it looked like it was from a submarine and was where I expected UB128 to be. We swam over the next ridge to see if we could find UB106. There were some very small pieces of rusted steel. Behind a rock there was what looked like a large mechanical wishbone or prop-shaft. Swimming around there were lots of small bits David pulled at my dry-suit, he had seen something. I followed, more small pieces of wreckage lay around. We headed further out. There was more and more wreckage. It was all definitely a submarine, it must have been the rest of UB106. We then came across a crankshaft, con rods and even the remains of what looked like two cylinders. More photos. Air was now low, we had been under water for 100 minutes, a surface swim back to our entry point followed.
Talking about this afterwards, the familiar shape from UB97 looked very similar to the fork on UB112. May be part of that U-Boats hydro-vane mechanism. It would have been where the bow section was for both U-Boats based on the original photos, so it is likely. All the wreckage from UB106, including the engine parts, didn’t make sense. UB106 was stern into shore. At low water the prop and shaft of UB106 was high and dry. Looking back at my overlay of the U-Boats onto an aerial photograph, the stern of UB128 is very close to the bow of UB106. This wreck is more than likely UB128 with some of UB106 mixed up.
So, the map I had been working on was quite accurate, we managed to dive all 5 U-Boats in one dive. There was a sixth U-Boat, UC92, this ended up in deeper water just off Pendennis. At some time during it’s life, it was dragged to Castle Beach, where it was salvaged.There is quite a bit of that one left too.
The in water visibility was up to 10m in places and water temperature was 9C, a slight increase over last week. I found a free divers neck weight, I recognised it, it was our freediving instructor’s that he lad lost last November. While I was swimming around UB 86, there was a Catshark circling me, I filmed it for a short while. There were also saw some large wrasse and some schools of small fish. Overall, a most excellent dive.