Tuesday Night Dive on the 55

20th August 2013

by Richard Booth

Whilst the nights are starting to draw in, the recent spell of fine weather has continued, so expectations of a good dive were high as the MV Spellbinder II headed out of the river Tyne.

Our target for the evening dive was a wreck known locally as the ‘55’ or cider wreck. (Due to a number of cider jars recovered from its vicinity over the years, although few signs of these items remain today). The real name of this wreck however appears to sadly have been lost over time.

On arrival at the site the shot was dropped and quickly snagged into the wreckage.

Descending down the line, it seemed to go on forever before vanishing into the green gloom below, highlighting the exceptional visibility. Descending on down, the outline of wreckage started to emerge below.

The shot had landed close to the wreckage of the boiler and the vessels large steam engine.

Moving on, we passed over a large deck winch  before following the remains of the propeller shaft, which suddenly came to an abrupt end with no obvious signs of the remains of the stern. Had the stern broken off during the vessels sinking and was lying further out beyond the range of visibility?

Moving back along the wreckage we moved forward past the boiler and the remains of the engine and over numerous collapsed steel plates, as well as passing over a number of deck winches before eventually reaching the remains of the bow, which although partially collapsed is still vaguely recognisable as a ships bow.

Shoals of pouting have colonised this area of the wreck taking advantage of the shelter offered by the extensive steel structure which rises a couple of metres off the seabed.

With deco time passing rapidly it was time to return back towards the remains of the boiler and engine area.

Ascending gently up these large upright structures allowed us a few more extra precious minutes of time to examine the wreck before being forced to return back up into the water column to the surface above.

Again this area of wreckage has large shoals of pouting which appear to be attracted by the shelter offered by the extensive wreckage. A few last photo’s of these fish then it was time to leave.

Ascending up through the green water column only a few jellyfish drifted by through the clear water whilst light beams from the setting sun danced around them. A nice end to an excellent evening dive, all stresses and strains of work cleansed from ones mind.

Thanks to Alan Lopez, skipper of MV Spellbinder for another excellent Tuesday evening dive.

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