Diving the Buka (and enjoying a pork pie feast)

20th July 2013

by Richard Booth

A mixed team from Durham, Stoke Divers and Tyneside 114 assembled at 7:30am in Beadnel car park. Our mission, to locate, shot and dive the wreck of the MV Buka.  This small coaster rests in 40 metres of water some 4 miles South East of Dunstanborough Castle.

With a smooth glass like sea, the dive RIB Sea Hawk made rapid progress down the coast and once on site the wreck was quickly located and the shot line secured into the wreckage. With a limited slack water window the plan was to dive this site in two waves.

The first group quickly entered the water and swiftly descended down the shotline finning hard against the ebbing tide. Whilst the water was relatively clear, the recent hot weather had resulted in a plankton bloom restricting the ambient light levels at depth.  At 38 metres, the water was clear but dark.

What came, as a bit of a shock however was the marked deterioration in the state of the wreck since we last dived this site in September 2012. Only the bow now stands proud off the seabed. The stern has collapsed, the hull plates peeling outwards onto the seabed. Only the only diesel engine stands forlornly on its own, now exposed to the sea.

The portholes, which we found last year and left for others to enjoy, appear to have now been plundered. We passed over an old porcelain toilet, before returning to the shotline before beginning the long ascent to the surface above.

Between dives we enjoyed something of a pork pie feast, the new favourite dive snack!

Second dive was a more shallow affair, exploring some of the reefs off Newton. Closer to the shore, the seabed consisted of kelp forest with sandy gully’s.

Further out the kelp abruptly disappeared and the seabed became more rocky and bare of life. Here we came across numerous small lobsters hiding in the nooks and crannies amongst the boulders.

Another excellent adventurous days diving. Thanks to Hubert Desgranges for organising (and getting the dive plan spot on for slack water!).