Trip Report – Highball – Photogrammetry Project (June 2018)

The objective of the trip was to produce 3D Photogrammetry models of a Highball Bomb in situ on the seabed in Loch Striven.

Dive briefings at the club completed we set off on our adventure with excitement and enthusiasm.

See below for a trip report from Vesta.

Trip Report by Vesta.  – Watch this space – more photos and video to follow.


We went, we saw(ish), we conquered!

Team Highball had an excellent weekend away at Largs with some fantastic team work.  Having spent the journey north following road signs with ominous tales of yellow weather warnings, we were pleasantly greeted with the beautiful town of Largs and it’s fantastic sunset views, which then graced us for the whole weekend.

As things turned out the weather was super all weekend!

After a trip to the pub for some much needed thirst quenching and grub the team settled in for the night ready for the task ahead. As 7am came around we were up cooking breakfast and ready to go. Of course Kevin hadn’t arrived yet (as he was traveling down on the Saturday morning for a 10am launch) but we were eager!

With a successful launch down the RNLI ramp and into the water, we then crossed the inner seas from Largs to Loch Striven, 14Km across mirror still water.

Some porpoises came along to wish us luck!  Now came an exercise in buddy building. After team Top Cat dropped the shot it was up to Kev and Steve Welton to descend into the depths of the Loch to locate and then set a distance line up from the shot too the side charge. We attempted to shot near to – but not on top of the Side-Charge as we have never been assured that it was not actually “Live”!

A few minutes passed and we thought the dark depths had got to Steve and Kev as their bubbles kept going round and round in circles. It wasn’t until they surfaced that we realised the visibility was so poor they had to set up a circular search pattern to locate the side charge. But it was a success and lines were now in so everyone could easily locate the start of the dive trail.

Next in went Alex and Michelle. Their original job was to dive the bombs for Alex to take the photographs for the photogrammetry portion of our mission. Alas, as visibility was so poor they had to settle for part of a side charge.

Dave Moss and Jon Green were up next. Tasked with running a distance line from the side charge to the anchor chain. Well not only did they manage to find the anchor chain, they even managed to run a line around two bombs and then sent a blob up for easy location. But there’s more, they then managed to travel the length of the chain north to the huge anchor and sent another blob up.. It only took 18 minutes of deco for Jon to come back up and Dave’s rebreather hadn’t failed him…yet. But this meant that we finally had a full dive trail!

Next in were Clive and Alison. They decided to drop down on the anchor and go along the chain to see if they could spot any more highballs. Alas, plenty of chain and also plenty of life but no bombs.

Mike, Vesta and Steve went in last again dropping on the anchor. Success came a little further up the chain when Mike located a highball! However at this point Vesta had great issues with her buoyancy and Steve had to hang onto a Leg to stop a return to the surface.

Back in the boat and a quick trip back across more mirror like water we dekitted, desmelled and it was back to the restaurant for more food and of course ale.

  Porpoise spotted on the trip out


One the evening of Day 1 we all went out for a very nice meal in Largs, and after a good sleep (brought on by the exertions and excitement of Day 1) the team undertook a detailed dive briefing over breakfast using all the available items to set out the dive site.

Day 2 was a huge success (mainly due to the breakfast briefing I suspect). Having already blobbed and marked up the key points we sent Alex and Michelle in first to start the photography of the highballs.

Next in were Clive and Alison followed by Mike and Vesta to take a leisurely dive around the side charge and bombs.



Then it was back to Jon, Dave, Kevin and Steve to retrieve all of our distance lines and blobs which was no short task!

A lovely trip over to Rothesay for fish and chips and then back to Largs for the final dekit.

All aboard and back to sunny Macclesfield. The final task comes down to Alex who will now compile the photos from the dives to see if we have managed to model the bombs.

Watch this space…hopefully it was mission accomplished, but if not, we can always go back!

See below for a selection of the photos from the weekend.