Diving the wreck of the Oslofjord

10th June 2008

With a stiff northerly breeze blowing, dive sites off the Tyne were inevitably going to be limited.

The huge granite piers at the Tyne entrance however do have the advantage of providing shelter to some of the dive sites that lay in the lee of the piers when the wind blows from the north.

Spellbinder having picked up the usual Tuesday night party of divers headed out of the Tyne and around into the bay for the site of the Oslofjord.

This particular site is actually the site of two wrecks, the steamship Eugenia Chandris (known locally as the Chandris) and the M/V Oslofjord. Both vessels were lost in the second world war and their wreckage lies partially intermingled, so much so, that at times it is difficult to actually identify which particular wreck you are actually on! If you come across boilers, then you are on the Chandris, as the Oslofjord was powered by huge oil fired engines which can still be found in the remains of her engine room. Underwater visibility on this occasion appeared to vary across the site, ranging from 3 to 6 metres.

Heading off in an easterly direction we drifted across large sections of collapsed plate occasionally coming across the odd bit of wreckage which stood more upright from the bottom, attracting the attention of colonising deadmans fingers and other soft coral.

Eventually we arrived at the remains of a ships bow lying on its port side. It towers up nearly four metres from the seabed. The remains of the small bow deck however has collapsed resulting in the anchor winch and chain tumbling down into the inside section of the bow. Moving around the outside of the bow it is possible to swim under the imposing remains of this part of the vessel. Looking upwards you observe a rich covering of soft corals and deadman’s fingers; clearly this is an area of wreckage that is often swept by nutrient rich currents. Moving on around the remains of the bow one comes across the remains of some large rails. Until recently these rails had remained under the seabed but have now become more exposed, possibly due to effects of winter storms.

Swimming upwards and onto the more raised area of the bow, Tony Horsefall suddenly summoned me over to him with an urgent wave of his hand. He had found a large male Lumpsucker fish jealously guarding its brood of eggs hidden inside the wreckage.

This fish posed patiently for a few photographs before it returned to its solitary guard duty. Another great Tuesday night dive off the Tyne.

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