divers have used Skin Deep since the early 1990’s when the
mixed gas revolution first swept mainstream diving and it’s
these divers that have opened up many of the offshore deeper wrecks.
Before the technical divers like the original Starfish
Enterprise team who used skin deep for their build dives to
Lusitania 1994 expedition and 1998 Britannic expedition the deep
diving was left in the capable hands of the Kingston deep air divers.
Many of the wrecks here have been discovered by Skin Deep and identified
by these groups as well as Skipper Ian Taylor himself
With the catamaran we are travelling further and faster and operating
from different ports in the Southwest. We often have some exciting
weeks for the wreck hunters but if you just fancy a good dive have
a look at this list of excellent wrecks – it’s just
a few of the many great sites we have.
A destroyer sunk early in WW2 by German aircraft. I am told that
the aircraft found her mid-channel using an early form of radar,
which if true she must surely be the first ship sunk as a result.
The planes did a good job. Her centre section lies upside down,
her bow is broken off lying on its side and the stern is upright
but blown away down to her steering mechanism and propeller shafts.
She is one of those wrecks which when you see her lying broken and
twisted you cannot help but think of the poor brave sailors that
went down with her and how suddenly it must all have happened.
Max depth 62m.
Sank in 1896 after colliding with another wreck in our waters, the
Landrail (see local wrecks). The smallest bell I ever saw came from
this 75 m sailing ship, so is there another one! I can’t believe
the one I saw, although it had the ships name on it, was the main
bell, if it was those sailors must have had huge ears. I think it
is worth spending more time on this one as not much diving has taken
place and the last time we were there the vis was in excess of 25
metres with the whole wreck covered in cod and ling. Max depth 65m.
A large wreck sunk as the result of a collision. Standing 11M
high with her centre castle area largely intact she is still a
recognisable ship. Care is needed when entering her holds as it
is possible to go below seabed depth and reach 60M but if you
do find yourself there look out for the copper ingots that were
missed by the salvage men.
Max depth 56m to the seabed.
German U- Boat approx 55m, broken in front of the conning tower
winter garden and life raft tubes still visible excellent dive
and strong example of a type VII C german U-Boat. Excellent dive
and explored by Shadow divers Richie Kholar.
Max depth 57m. link
to external site with 772 reference click here
A once beautiful steam yacht built with no expense spared. She
was requisitioned in both wars but her luck ran out in 1940 when
she was attacked from the air. Her bow is a fantastic site and
she still retains many of her very heavy brass fittings. Some
of the best portholes I have seen came from her in the eighties;
they were very fancy with special vents for use in the tropics.
Max depth 56m.
A 6000-ton liner sunk in WW2 by German E boats. She was carrying
troops at the time and sank with the loss of over four hundred
lives. A very large site, which has been extensively depth charged
as the Navy were concerned that her hulk could provide a nice
hiding place for a U boat. She is however well worth a dive and
still has many secrets to give up, not the least of which is her
bell. This area is often blessed with spectacular vis.
Max depth 60m.
This sailing ship sank as the result of a collision in 1877 with
a huge loss of life. She makes an excellent dive and over the
years she has given up much of her cargo of porcelain. Lying upright
but buried up to the gunwale on one side it is important to avoid
stirring the bottom as the vis is soon reduced to nil. She is
my idea of what a sunken sailing ship should look like Hollywood
style. After the disaster a church was erected on Portland to
remember those lost. If you get chance visit the Avalanche church.
Inside there are some fine examples of pottery and outside one
of her two anchors is on display. Max depth 50m.
I remember back in 1995 talking to one of the country’s
pioneer mixed gas divers Alan Yeend about this sailing ship. I
was explaining how she was one I would like to find and even had
a few possible sites. Imagine my surprise and his when two weeks
later he found her lying in 60M thirty miles southeast of Weymouth.
She makes an excellent dive and for a wreck that sank in 1883
is in remarkable condition as is much of her cargo, which is heavily
concreted but well preserved.
Max depth 60m
HMS Fisguard II
Formerly the ironclad battleship Invincible she was converted
to a static training vessel but sank in the deep hole just off
Portland Bill while under tow. Completely upside down and lying
up against a ledge Fisguard makes a challenging dive due to the
fact there isn’t much slack water and sea conditions can
change very quickly due to her close proximity to the Portland
race. She is an interesting wreck with much to see and if you
do have a dive on her, whilst on the boat get me to tell you the
story the late great Andy Smith told me about the first attempts
to dive her, you will be in stitches.
Max depth 66m
Standing over 15M in places this three castle American tanker
dating from the first war is an incredible dive. One of the country’s
leading technical divers Jamie
Powell rates this wreck as possibly the best in the English
Channel. August 1997 saw her very large bell, which can be seen
on the homepage, come aboard Wey Chieftain 2. Amazingly my shot
had fallen through the deck and landed next to it, presumably
the bell had fallen through the same hole. Incidentally the finder
went through all the correct channels and declared his find, he
even tried to buy the wreck but was unsuccessful as there was
some debate about who owned her.
Max depth 68m.
Find out more about this wreck on deepimage shipwreck website
We are fairly sure this wreck is the Romsdalen although to my
knowledge no bell or other identification has been recovered.
Her holds are full of patent fuel which is coal dust compressed
in to bricks, all the bricks are stamped with the name Phoenix.
The size, vintage and cargo all point to the Romsdalen. Relatively
intact and standing eight metres she makes a great dive and feels
like diving on a ship rather than a pile of scrap, so it’s
one for the tourer who likes to make sense of it all.
Max depth 56m.
A massive 11000-ton wreck torpedoed in WW1. Lying on her side
she stands some 15M above the seabed at her bow. For some reason
after being dived quite extensively in the mid eighties she was
forgotten and until I started going there in 1996 she was virtually
unheard of by divers. Possibly it’s the fact that she lies
smack in the middle of Lyme bay and is quite a trek but nowadays
with fast modern boats that is no problem.
Max depth 60m.
Quite a trek to this one and it’s busy, busy with shipping
but well worth the effort. The Pangani was a very large sailing
ship that sunk as the result of a collision. She rises in places
fourteen metres from the seabed and is broken in two forming a
dogleg. Absolutely stuffed with pottery, when the vis is good
in this area and it often is she is a stunning dive.
Max depth 70m.
The boadicea, a British destroyer, was an unlucky victim of WW2.
She was hit directly in the forward magazine by an aerial torpedo
which completely blew the fore part of the ship away, sending
her quickly to the bottom. What remains of the bow is scattered
across the seabed but her amidships and stern make a superb dive
with much to see, she even has depth charges still in the racks.
Max depth 53m.
It was 1917 and UB 40 was having a good run, earlier that day
she had sent the P&O liner Salsette to the bottom and made
light work of the LH Carl. A torpedo struck the ship full square
in the boiler room sending her down in fifteen minutes. A large
wreck with a large cargo of coal she is a rewarding dive in good
vis but is quite heavily netted so proceed with care.
Max depth 54m.
HMS L 24
This submarine was on exercise when she passed across the path
of the battleship Resolution at periscope depth. The resulting
collision gave her no chance and she went down with all hands.
When diving this wreck it is sad to see her hydroplanes set to
hard dive as she desperately tried to take evasive action. A hatch
is also open and there is obvious damage where the 25000-ton ship
sliced into her hull.
Max depth 52m.
A lease lend American frigate, Blackwood, only ten days before
her sinking had been involved in the D-day landings. Torpedoed
with the loss of over 50 lives she is another vessel that has
been extensively depth charged. The result is a very broken but
interesting wreck with some enormous shellfish life.
Max depth 58m.
Well this is just one of those wrecks everyone seems to love and
wants to go back to. The wreck has been identified by the maker’s
plate but as yet no bell has been found. The boarding crew from
the U boat possibly removed it, they often took the bell to prove
the kill and used bombs rather than valuable torpedo’s that
could be used on better armed prey. The Germans boarded her, bombs
were placed and Jeanne was blown up after the ship’s crew
had been allowed to take to the boats. All very gentlemanly, a
sort of Queensbury rules. Well Known deep wreck diver Leigh
Bishop regards this wreck as one of the best steamship dives
he has investigated.
Max depth 67m.
Mystery Wreck Site 110a
T o date this wreck has no name despite years of research by leading
wreck enthusiasts. The site was discovered by skipper Grahame
Knott and has seen several attempts by teams to put an end to
the mystery. Divers originally thought this to be the site of
the Forrest however this has since then taken several turns and
may have come all the way back.
Max depth 57m
We have discovered hundreds of shipwrecks far too many to mention
here (see the bell vault here), we visit
most of them on request however if you have a target wreck dive
in mind why not contact Ian and he will be only to happy to help
for technical divers who carry huge amounts of equipment we have
a purpose built lift to bring you out from the water to the deck.
See Boat click here