Knivestone & the SS Britannia

Knivestone and the wreck of the SS Britannia revisited. June 2016.

(Report and images by Richard Booth)

The Knivestone reef can usually be guaranteed to provide an interesting dive and so it proved on this occasion.

Dropping over the wall we explored the plateau until we came across the large iron propeller. From here we descended down the slope where the remains of a long lost vessel’s steam engine rests on its side.

Engine 2

Close by are the remains of two large boilers and other assorted wreck debris.

The name of this vessel has been lot in the mists of time. Close by in of the gullies we come across the collapsed remains of the bow.

Bow of ship

Throughout the dive we continue to be ‘buzzed’ by inquisitive seals.


For the second dive we head back to wards the Crumstone reef. Using the sounder we soon locate the remains of the Britannia’s bow and drop the shotline well up current to wait the slackening of the tide. We wait patiently, eyes focussed on the shotline buoy; until there is little sign of the tide remaining indicating that slack water is arriving.

First into the water, Tiago and Richard encounter the last remnants of the tide, but use it to drift down onto the wreckage of the Britannia.

Tiago, winch and seal

Again, the seals are out in force, dancing elegantly around the wreckage, leading the way up into the shallows where the remains of the ships boilers and engines can be found in the gullies that cut into the Callers reef.

Tiago at boiler

By now the tide has dropped away to nothing, allowing for an easy pickup by the RIB, the perfect end to a great days diving.

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