I’ve been inside a lot of old wrecks in my time. I’ll tell you how and why they excite me.
Where did it all begin?
December 2010 was the first time I came across the Stanegarth down at Stoney Cove. I’d heard that the Stanegarth arrived at Stoney Cove in June 2000. It’s a steam-powered tug, built in 1910, making her older than the Titanic. Since it was December the water was cold, and visibility was good. We put on our gear, did our buddy checks and jumped into the water.
Following the long surface swim across to the shot line floating above, we catch our breath and do a perfect five point decent in to the green. Dropping down 10 metres, out of the gloom she starts to appear. Once we get to the top of the wreck, she is standing there looking quite impressive. We have a swim round looking to complete the objectives for this dive, looking through the port holes and the huge doors but making sure we don’t go into her as this isn’t allowed on this dive. We surface after our safety stop and I’m hooked.
Fast forward to August 2011.
After doing several club dives getting used to the basics, buoyancy and confidence I signed up to complete the PADI Wreck Speciality. I was happy with my own buoyancy and as I wanted to go inside of wrecks safely this was the next step to complete. Since I had already completed dive one on that fateful December day as part of my PADI Advanced Open Water course with Dive Rutland; this turned the specialty in to a 3-dive day.
We spent some time going over skills required for diving on wrecks and getting ready to penetrate; reel use, rules of thirds and some different hand and light signals in case we became entangled. Dives 2 and 3 we spent more time on the outside of the wreck setting up our plan to make sure we would be safe as it can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Then after dinner we completed dive 4. As a team of 3, we finally entered her. We had to be careful with our buoyancy not to kick up the silt. Once inside the wreck it dawned on me how big she actually was, and it was a little trippy. After making our way out safely we surfaced, and I was hooked on getting in old wrecks.
Fast forward to present day
I’ve been to several places all over the world looking at wrecks and going inside them to discover the history of how they got there. Club trips to the south coast of England, the Red Sea, and off to Scapa Flow in Orkney give me many opportunities to learn about incredible maritime histories. Wrecks become fascinating underwater museums and a living ecosystem.
Maybe old wrecks interest you and you also want to become a safe wreck diver and underwater explorer. If wreck is something that interests you, then pop down to Dive Rutland and have a chat with us. We are here to help you realise your own diving dreams.
photos thanks to Rick Smith
Dive Rutland is the trading name for Dive Rutland Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 9433835.
Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE