Beadnel Point and the wreck of the SS Somali

5th June 2011

Maurice’s dive plan for the day was quite simple; launch from Beadnel, catch slack water on the wreck of the Somali and for those interested in a second dive there was always the option of a dive off Beadnel point exploring the wreckage of the Yewglen.

On this occasion the club would be diving from Brian’s RIB rather than from one of the clubs own RIBs.

Launching from Beadnel we were grateful for the tractor tow as the big spring tide had exposed the beach way out past the entrance to Beadnel harbor and would undoubtedly had made launching from Seahouses slip very difficult, a factor that Maurice had clearly taken into account in his planning for the days diving.

Arriving out at the site of the Somali the wreck was quickly located on the sounder and the shot was dropped landing ‘smack’ on top of the wrecks huge compound steam engine.

Descending down the shot line we were delighted to encounter excellent underwater visibility. The wreck of the Somali rests in a very exposed location that catches the full force of the tidal current, so the first wave of divers dropped in before slack water on a decreasing ebb tide. Dives where limited to 30 minutes to ensure that everyone had the opportunity to dive this site whilst maintaining adequate boat cover, taking into account the limited slack water window.

The area around the steam engine provides an interesting area to explore with lots of nooks and crannies to investigate as well as swirling schools of fish passing overhead. The Somali’s huge boilers are situated quite close to the compound engine whilst heading further north eventually brings you to the remains of the stern complete with the large gun lying amongst the wreckage.

For the second dive it was just a short trip back to Beadnel point for a dive on the wreckage of the Yewglen. Winter storms usually ensure that new bits of wreckage are uncovered as well as clearing back the kelp. Underwater visibility however had suffered from the recent swell resulting in much more limited visibility than that experienced on the earlier morning dive on the Somali. Nevertheless we pressed ahead and explored amongst the gullies and wreckage that are the hallmark of this site. From here it was a very short RIB ride back to the waiting tractor.

Thanks to Brian for allowing the use of his RIB and also to Maurice for planning the days diving.

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