Belfast Lough - Friday 28th - Monday 31st May 2021
4 days diving with DV Divers and accommodation at Shelleven B&B.
12 divers and 3 non divers met on Thursday evening to take the over night ferry to Belfast. We drove to the marina at Bangor to load kit onto DV Divers’ hard boat, Madness.
Friday 28th May.
Our 1st dive was The Rose, a WW1 armed trawler, lying in 24m of water, on a silty seabed. Viz was around 3 m and water temperature 10C. The wreck was covered in Deadmens Fingers, Oaten Pipe, Plumose and Elegant Anemones. We found large lobsters, moray eels, shoals of Saith, Ballan Wrasse nudibranchs and Sea Pens.
Dive 2 was S.S. Troutpool, In 1940 she was on a voyage from Canada to Glasgow with a cargo of grain. After leaving her mooring in Belfast Lough, she struck a mine and sank. She lies in 15m and is heavily dispersed. There is little left of her that is recognisable, she is mainly just plate metal lying along the sea floor. We found huge lobster that were brown with age., Ballan Wrasse, nudibranchs several species of sea squirts hydroids starfish and feather stars.
Saturday 29th May.
Two scenic dives on Copeland Island. The first was on a rocky slope with gulley’s leading to a sandy seabed at 27 m. Vis was 4/5 m. The back eddies and current on both dives meant that we had to go kelp grabbing and rock hopping for most of the time plus we were scattered over a large area for recovery. Best find for Phil and I was an octopus eating a crab, and Long Clawed Squat Lobsters.
Sunday 30th May.
First dive was The S.S. Chirripo, a 100m cargo ship. In 1917 while outward-bound from Belfast, she struck a mine. She is found at 31 m with the top of the wreck around 21m. Viz was 5m+
The wreck lies on her side and is relatively intact. She was plastered with Deadmens Fingers, Oaten Pipe, Plumose and Elegant Anemones, a variety of sea squirts and hydroids. Nudibranchs, Ballan Wrasse, Lobster, Edible Crab were spotted. A great dive.
Dive 2 was scenic but not the best unless you were a big kelp fan. Phil and I managed to get to the boulders at 17m, but they were well scoured.
First dive was S.S. Lagan a steamer involved in a collision. She is found in 30m of water lying relatively intact on her port side, with the top of the wreck at 25m. The open side was plastered with Deadmens Fingers, Oaten Pipe, and Plumose Anemones. Nudibranchs, Ballan Wrasse, Conger eel, prawns. butterfish and Edible Crab were seen. The current over the hull was strong so we traversed the open section at different depths before drifting into open water for a mid-water DSMB deployment.
The 2nd dive was on Troutpool but the viz was only 2/3m at best.
Great accommodation. We all agreed that Shelleven was worthy of its 5* reputation.
Diving Belfast Lough – By Kevin Philips
Video by Alison Brammer