SS Britannia and the Bush, Farne Islands

26th May 2014

by Richard Booth 

After the club’s previous venture out to the wreck of the Britannia and the apparent missing cargo of giant millstones (see report 4/5/14) we were inevitably drawn back to revisit the wreck to see if the missing millstones could be found.

Richard Booth and Dave Mitchell were dropped off first at the end of the Callers reef system and quickly headed down the slope at a gentle angle levelling out at 23 metres. Soon wreckage appeared and they dropped down on to the remains of the bow at 26 metres. Underwater visibility was very good at over eight metres plus.

After a good look around the bow, which rests on its starboard side, they started ascending back up the slope and soon came across the three large millstones, still half buried into the seabed. Mystery solved!

Rising further up the slope, however, the shallower areas of wreckage were subject to quite a lot of swell and surge, greatly reducing the visibility compared to the deeper areas of the wreck and making for quite an uncomfortable exploration of this area of wreckage, so the safety stops were completed away from the reef where the swell proved much calmer.

For the second dive the team headed across the water to a small reef off the Inner Farnes known as the Bush. This particular site provides an excellent scenic dive as well as some shelter from the flood tide.

With the shotline dropped close to the top of the reef, Richard and Dave came across an old lost admiralty anchor in 6 metres of water.

Swimming on they soon came to the steep wall, which drops down to nearly 20 metres.

This south-facing wall catches the full force of the ebb tide resulting in a profusion of soft marine corals that cling to the steep surfaces. On the bottom, white sand reflects the light up onto the wall. Without exception everyone enjoyed this little known scenic dive.

Thanks to Dave Taylor for organising the days diving.