Diving the Clyde 27th September - 2nd October 2020
As with many dive trips, Coronavirus scuppered the best made plans and a group of ECSACers who had planned for warmer diving had to scramble to look for any last minute dive charters they could find for a week away.
Thankfully the good folk at Wreckspeditions in Dunoon had a free week and we were back on track for a great weeks diving.
We arrived via the Dunoon ferry on the Sunday and settled into our accommodation (complete with hot tub!) within 1 mile of the town centre and pubs.
Day 1: The Gantock Rocks and the Three Wreck Challenge
After a night with some of the locals we joined our skipper Jason at the Holy Loch Marina for our safety debrief, boat introduction and coronavirus information. Most of us had dived with Jason before and knew he ran a good rhib. We were very happy to find out that as we were the only ones on his boat for the week, he could even give us the usual A* treatment with whipped cream hot chocolate and biscuits after dives.
We started on the Gantock rocks, the scourge of many a vessel. A lovely scenic dive with an Octopus just happily sitting on the bottom. Lots of nooks and crannies to find life in and the odd bottle from a long since destroyed wreck. Vesta managed to salvage an old Schweppes ginger beer bottle to put some fairy lights into.
The second dive of the day was a challenge that only a small percentage of Clyde Divers have completed. This was the Holy Loch 3 wreck challenge. We were given compass bearings and distances and sent on our way. Helen, Clive and Vesta were the winners having found 2/3 of the wrecks with the elusive 3rd wreck being 20m away from our end position. Lots of life again, and a fair few batteries too.
Day 2: SS Kintyre and Loch Long Anemone Garden
The SS Kintyre was hit when it thought it could outrun a ship doing a speed test on the Clyde’s measured mile. It sank pointing inland with it’s bow at 30m going down to 50m. Not only could you dive the wreck, but there was an outlet pipe that had been lined from the bow. You could make your way up this pipe to your 6m safety stop whilst looking for Sea Mice and all manner of other life.
We ended day 2 on a scenic dive rummaging through boulders looking for lobsters, crabs and anything else we could find.
Day 3: Holy Loch Landing Crafts
Alas the weather was not kind to us this day so we opted for a more sheltered dive in the Holy Loch. Two landing craft that were used for training the D-Day landings. Both upright sitting in 20m of water. Unfortunately the day before had seen heavy rainfall and fresh water made the visibility much like a tea bag. Due to the low visibility a few of us where unable to find the first wreck as the line had come away from one of the landing crafts. We ended up diving this site twice, and on the second attempt, Steve and Simon went first to run a line between the two to make it easier for future divers to see them both in one dive. Again covered in life and still very much in tact.
Day 4: Loch Goil; the MV Averella and Colesys Crack
The MV Averella only sunk 10 years ago so was still very much in tact. It sits in 28m on its port side and is covered in life. Coleysys Crack was a scenic wall dive again with lots of life, a crack full of shrimp, and lots of lobsters and crabs hiding around.
Day 5: MV Akka and SS Wallachia
The two big wrecks in the clyde, the MV Akka sank in 1956 with a cargo of iron ore. The rudder failed and unfortunately she ran onto the Gantock rocks. There are companion ways to swim along, and still to this day it’s possible to find hidden treasures (Just ask Simon about the uniform buttons he found the last time he visited).
The SS Wallachia was caught in her starboard side by the Norwegian Steamer, Flos. All the crew managed to get off safely but once the Flos backed away the Wallachia immediately began to sink. The wreck was forgotten for 80 years until Girvan Sub-Aqua Club decided to help some fisherman who’s nets had gotten tangled. She sits at an avergae depth of 30m and again is covered in life.
We all had a superb week of diving with many interests covered. There were some cold days, some sunny days but best of all lots of fun days!