Gun Rocks 2022

The first dive of the season has been undertaken on Gun Rocks, by four BSAC divers, from our club rhib. The intention of the dive was to remove the kelp from the cannon (under the MMO licence for the site) and to remove the dive trail rope, which we noted last year had been storm damaged.

Tiago driving on the way out to Gun Rocks

The forecast was for a bit of swell, with the wind getting up in the afternoon. This was a weekend of spring tides, so we couldn’t launch until after 10am, by which time there was sufficient water in the harbour for us.

Gun Rocks can be dived on a flood tide, as the rock itself shelters the diver from the tide. That said, it does create a large eddy, so if you stray from the shelter of the rock you will very rapidly end up in Holland! Shelter for kitting up can easily be sought by motoring in between gun rock and Staple Island, but minding the shallow reef which runs across its entrance to the south.

On arrival we kitted up, cameras, knives and scrubbing brushes at the ready!

One of the cannon now cleared of kelp

As soon as we descended, we found that the visibility was about 2-3 metres, it is always less in the kelp. Out came the knives and we started to uncover the cannon, 14 in all. The kelp growth was quite thick on some of them, though the surrounding area looked like the winter storms had cleared the more mobile cobbles of their usual kelp forest. But had this uncovered anything else?

Wooden timbers, close to the pile of cannon balls

Well the answer was an exciting yes! Tiago was photographing the pile of concreted cannon balls that I had just cleared of kelp, when he saw some dark objects on the seabed. He then started clearing the sand and cobbles, to reveal a set of timbers. They had regular round holes in them, some joints wood and metal, and appeared to be very old. We took as many photographs as we could….

Timbers showing signs of joint and round holes
Timber with hole and metal fused/joined with timber too
Knife for scale to show round holes in timber
Tiago excitedly telling Dave what we found on the site

As the weather was starting to change, we decided only to do the one dive. The wind was increasing, and since it was wind against tide, so too was the wave height. A very wet slightly bumpy trip back to harbour. Now we are all just excited about finding out more… will the timbers help us to age and possibly identify the wreck more clearly? Anyway, we will have to return soon to reinstate the dive trail and the marker buoy.

Very wet trip back to harbour!