ECSAC joins NAS (Nautical Archaeology Society) - 18th July 2021
TWe dived the Holland 5; a protected wreck and with thanks to NAS (Nautical Archaeology Society). One of the first subs accepted into the Royal Navy Service and carrying one of the earliest periscopes, she now lies 32m approx. 6 miles off the coast of Eastbourne. (She was built by an Irish engineer; I know one of his descendants which makes the dive all the more poignant for me and any jokes about it landing up where it is and I’ll mention the football!
In 1912 she floundered under tow possibly because the torpedo hatch had been left open although rumours abound that she was cut adrift and left to her fate because subs of this class were notoriously hard to tow. (We spoke with one diver who has confirmed- with a selfie stick!- that the torpedo hatch is now closed). Regardless, this is a wonderful wreck to dive ; she is largely intact apart from a missing torpedo hatch ( divers blamed) and a couple of small breaches near the stern. She is beautiful; teeming with life and we were lucky that the visibility was near perfect. Unfortunately neither of us are yet adept at underwater photography so have one picture and dodgy video footage to share from our dive – sorry.
The following day we didn’t dive the plan- Brighton Pier- but instead headed to Gosport and spend a a few hours at the Royal Navy Museum- well worth the trip. We got up close and personal with the Holland 1, walked through The Alliance with all the sound effects and got to peep into a midget submarine – fantastic!
On this trip we also dived the Normans Bay wreck- thought to be a Dutch warship, the Wapen Van Utrect. In 12m of water just off Beach Head the visibility was awful but there are 50+ cannon down there- more yet to be discovered apparently- and the guns are over 3m in length. We saw some of them, felt a lot of them! The mind boggles when you think of the sheer scale of the ship lost.
It was a fantastic midweek break not least because of the sunshine and the passion of the NAS crew. Try it.