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Wrecking with Wilt

The Dakota, Amlwch barge, Maen Piscar and The Havso

So again expectations were high... I'd put a trip on midweek to do the Dakota, a cracking wreck off the coast of Anglesey, launching from Bull Bay. I had dived it previously from a hard boat, so this time it was from the club rib.

I had a good response from the club and managed to fill the rib overnight. A wealth of experience from Ocean Diver, to dive leaders, OWI, and coxswain's a plenty. Myself, John Hughes, Nick Worthington, Gaz Williams and Lee Bevan.

THE PLAN

Well having never launched from Bull Bay, I had a number of logistical things to arrange, register the boat, and arrange the local harbour master to come and unlock the slip to let us launch. I'd already planned and worked out the tides to be on low slack... ish !!

We all met at Bull Bay, the sea was flat, no wind, sunny, dry... YES!!!

Geoff the harbour master turned up, we launched no hassle and we were away, like a slick formula one team by now !!

Having dived it before I had local knowledge of the wreck location, I took us straight there and found the wreck immediately, I think most were impressed... until I said I'd remembered a marker buoy tied to the bow, which was still there... the secret's out now!

A quick check of the plan and lets kit up.

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John, Gaz and I first, followed by Nick and Lee. The water seemed ok, a little murky, but as we descended to 18m, we had approx 2.5 m viz- not great, but enough.

We had a good dive traversed up and along and around the wreck, found the large boilers, etc, lots of wreckage, where after approx 35 mins the tide was picking up and we were on the verge of a drift dive... using expert knowledge... I took us back to the bow and we ascended the same shot line where we carried out safety stops like a line of flags/bunting as the tide was pulling quite quick now...

We returned to the rib before Nick and Lee surfaced via a nice Lobster pot marker... (planned allegedly) there's a definite attraction between Nick and lobster pots!!

After a good dive, all back on board and I'm happy, we've managed to "plan the dive and dive the plan !"

TIME FOR DINNER

Off to The Almwch Barge. A couple of hours "off-gassing", having dinner, and resting/basking in the sun, fantastic. A smaller wreck, just outside Almwch marina, in approx 10 m. Gaz, Nick, Lee and I really enjoyed this wreck, quite small n silty, so good buoyancy needed (don't follow me!!)

On the way back to the shot after exploring the many cracks, crevices and fish on here etc, I discovered an abandoned lobster pot. This had become trapped underneath the wreck and been cut off and now had become a "killing machine". It was full of lobsters. One would enter the pot, I assume starve to death, followed by another, then another, it was full when I found it. That's when my trusty knife came into play, I managed to cut off the door to the pot and free the lobsters, those that were still alive, by now I was in a plume of silt and it was time to get out. 

A great dive and a good deed done, I didn't even keep one !! Nick wasn't far away, that will be his affinity to pots, but that turned out to be a good thing as someone that shall remain nameless (Lee) dropped their torch and Nick (with good experience of this kind of activity I may add) redeemed himself by retrieving it.

ALL, ABOARD AND BACK TO THE SLIP, to recover the boat. Then as every good dive, a debrief down at the local pub, sat in the sun !!   good day !!

DAY 2 8/6/18 MAEN PISCAR & HAVSO

This is a large pinnacle and various wreckage on it, some of which belonged to a steamer called Havso.

Our local spies had told us that they had had 10 m viz on Treadur side, on the same day we had had 2 m viz at Almwch... I concocted a plan...

Maen Piscar and the Havso... I've fancied it before, but conditions have to be perfect... BUT THEY WERE !!

Lee had gone back home, but Chris O'Donohoe had replaced him for the Friday... JUST (traffic etc )... with a couple of other "little oversights" we were ready to launch with at least no minutes to spare !!!  TIME AND TIDE...

Chris driving his S shaped path to the dive site
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Anyhow, we got away from my site this time, absolutely pristine water, and as flat as I've ever seen. We took it in turns co coxswain/navigate our way around to our chosen dive site... we could have been there 15 mins earlier but Chris kept insisting we do massive  "S" shapes en route... that perhaps explains his time to arrive by car !!!

Having done my research on the site, we knew it is a large underwater pinnacle dropping to 25 m, extremely difficult to find as we approached it was prob an inch under the water... "mind that prop " we found it, and "shotted it"... then waited for the tide, whilst I gave a briefing direct from the Chris Holden book. The water was slack......."Let's go "! just a quiet and polite word to some fishermen that we were there first... and it was all to ourselves!!

We all rolled into a fantastic 10+m of viz. A fantastic dive. Lots of gulley's, overhangs, teaming with life, Octopus, lobster, wrasse, Pollock, etc, sponges, and all kinds of good stuff. Not too much wreckage, but enough. 

We never hit the 25 m mark and all seemed to be around the 13/15 mark and all stayed in here for approx 45 mins. Really cracking dive.

NEXT, into Treadur bay, dinner time and chill. We even used the local dive shop to fill cylinders whilst we sat on the beach.   Second dive, John, Chris,  Nick and Gaz dived off the point at Ravenspoint. I coxswained that one but was again thrilled to hear amazing reports of great viz n stuff they had seen.

Back now to Penrhyn Bay (my site) perfect timing to recover the boat. FANTASTIC 2 DAYS DIVING FROM THE RIB.

Its really satisfying when it comes together after the planning etc, sometimes (most times we need a plan "b")... but its great, when you manage to pull it off and everyone on board gets something out of the day/dive ... right...

WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE ???

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About the Author

  • Name: Ian Gardner
  • Diving Grade: Dive Leader
  • Instructor Grades: Assistant Diving Instructor