Baron Garioch Steam ship

The Plan / The invitation

Plan was to dive the Baron Garioch Steam ship, 38m sea bed, 32m ish top of engines / boilers/anything sticking up , this Sunday 2 August with Swanage Divers. Neil Morgans also coming. Wreck details below. £28.

Looks like ropes off 11.10……very civilised……get down there early, park on pier, go for breakfast, fettle for an hour or two, load boat , sunbathe, kit up, un-kit and sort equipment failures ( batteries/cells etc ) , kit up again, fall in water, swim round randomly/ aimlessly , make up dive plan, come up , do the other bits in reverse ( replace “breakfast” with “afternoon tea” ) . What a plan ! Its fool proof ! Even the weather looks half decent.

Let me know if you are interested…..it’s hard to resist something this epic………………………..there was one heroic person who took up the challenge, Steve Scott, Andy H had some excuse about “werk”

The Reality / A Grand Day Out

Neil and I got there mega early at 7.15 am and got onto the pier to park , probably 20 cars on the pier already and about 6-10 spaces left. 20 mins later the pier was full. This was observed at leisure whilst having breakfast at the café near the pier.

Breakfast was good and helped us recover from the first shock of the day…………Vickers was already on the pier kitting up when we arrived!! He was off to dive some random rock ledge but his early morning enthusiasm was outstanding.

After a second cup of coffee we commenced stage 1 fettling whilst waiting for Steve Scott who was doing an extensive tour of the roads of Hampshire and Dorset, something about forgetting a computer. Fettling was going well so I did a random wander round including chatting to the boat skipper. This is where the phrase “ once in a blue moon “ came in. Apparently the “blue moon” had messed up the tides and slack was going to be an hour later so ropes off was similarly delayed . Cue more time for coffee and stage 2 fettling.

Steve arrived and shamed Neil and I by doing minimal fettling and faffing and looking very organised. The joy of open circuit .

Boat loaded, sun shining, breakfast settled, all fettling stages completed, only 6 on a biggish boat, sea state ok-ish the plan was running like clockwork !

Then there was a small hiccup in the plan……..a guy on the boat said he had dived the previous day on the Everleigh ( 46m) which is close to the Baron Garioch and the vis was 1-2m and blackish !! I ignored this warning and replied “ but it was 10m off the IoW on Friday , I’m sure it will be good today “ ….the glass half full response

Neil and I were on rebreathers with oodles of helium ( equivalent narcotic depth of about 5 meters above sea level) , Steve was on a full fat 38 m helium free maximum narcosis mix.

When we got on site the shot went in and as it was springs we expected the buoys on the shot to disappear dramatically giving more ( stage 3) fettling time while waiting for slack. However instead they lay on the surface as slack and limp as I don’t know what. This caused a small degree of panic and rapid kitting up followed by falling in the water.

As I went down the line I felt that feeling that says “Blenkarn you’ve got something caught in your zip and waters coming in “ thankfully the water was warm and the 3-4 pints of water that filled my boots added to the pleasure of the diving experience and made me feel closer to nature……or at least that’s what I’m saying

The guy on the boat was right….2m max visibility. But we had our torches and continued manfully……once we actually found the wreck. The shot was near a prop shaft and nowt else, so we followed the prop shaft …the wrong way into a pile of sand and not much else. About turn in the damp blackness and we got to the engine and boilers. Reasonable fish life, Steve grabbing crabs blinded by his mega torch, the dive was now coming into its own and qualifying as a “ Grand Day Out”

The epic tour continued in the darkness randomly feeling our way around. Due to three good torches we didn’t lose each other and the threesome stayed intact.

Sadly all good things come to an end and the time came to emerge from the darkness and back into the light. There was still enough time left for us to do some SMB training and a short master class in SMB launching followed ( enough said)

Back on the boat we basked in the glory of it all , whilst I quietly assessed the personal soaking factor, yes it was a 10/10 on the soaking scale.

We all survived the adventure and some even had fish and chips afterwards . All in all a Grand Day Out!