Oslofjord Wreck Dive

28th August 2007

Only four divers turned up this Tuesday evening, with some of the regular attendees being away on family holidays making the most of the bank holiday break. On the plus side however, two of the group were brand new to the Tuesday evening dive programme.

Indeed for Peter Lumley, recently returned from his honeymoon and the warm clear waters of the Maldives, this dive was to prove something of a reality check in relation to the cool dark waters off the Tyne. This situation was complicated by the fact that this dive was only the second occasion when Peter had had the opportunity to use his drysuit in open water conditions.

Given the relative limited experience of some members of the group, combined with new equipment being tested by others, the dive plan was made to dive the site of the MV Oslofjord, just south of the entrance to the Tyne. This site also has the advantage of offering a measure of protection from the stiff NW breeze that was blowing. The journey out to the site was uneventful and Alan, the skipper of Spellbinder, quickly located his permanent line that he secured to this wreck.

First pair, Steve Hughes and Bob Lisle, were quickly kitted up and into the water. Richard Booth and Peter Lumley took more of their time, not least because Peter was feeling a little queasy, a combination of nervous anticipation and the gently rocking boat.

Once in the water a quick descent down the line soon brought you onto the top of one of the remains of a huge ships engine. Steve and Bob, having explored around the remains of the engine room, headed off along the wreckage eventually locating the remains of the bow area.

Richard and Peter opted to spend their dive exploring around the remains of the Oslofjord’s engine room with the aim of returning back to the surface via the shot line, in case Peter experienced any buoyancy problems with his new drysuit.

Underwater visibility was very good at the surface and indeed was still reasonable at the top of the huge engine blocks that rise some 4 metres or so off the seabed. Unfortunately the increasing swell was beginning to start lifting the lighter sediment off the bottom with the result that the underwater visibility deteriorated the closer one got to the bottom. Here the visibility at best only a couple of metres.

The dive was therefore conducted in something of a methodical and slow manner, peering into the many nooks and crannies that make up this hug wreck site. This search method revealed a number of small lobsters, numerous crabs and various small fish. Indeed at one stage a sizeable shoal of mackerel were observed swimming around the wreck site.

After 45 minutes it was time to return to the surface. It was at this stage that Peter demonstrated that he had mastered the art of being sick underwater, calmly taking his second stage out of his mouth and regurgitating his supper into the sea! Full credit to Peter for the calm way he handled this tricky situation.

Hopefully by next Tuesday the underwater visibility will have improved. With the dark nights drawing in, the Tuesday evening programme sadly has only a few more weeks to run.