Jul 30, 2013

U-Boat Wreck Dive off Castle Beach 27-07-2013

Today was great at 6.30am, a little cloudy but bright, Kurt picked me up at 7.30am and off we went with one dive location in mind and one goal to obtain, our first U-boat wreck dive; might not be the best in the world to go looking for, but isn’t the worst. UB 128 just off Castle beach at Falmouth it was, and after reading Mark Milburn’s Guide to a few wrecks and dives around Falmouth Kurt was confident we would find it.

Castle Beach, Falmouth

We arrived to find the street almost empty, well worth an early dive time. Kitting up by the car Kurt got chatting about how interesting it was reading about UB-128 on the net and how much info there was, I had a look later and found that it only did 2 tours, sank a 1 7,400 tonne ship in that time and was captained by one Wilhelm Canaris, as well as where it was made, that it was a type III and a few other things on uboat.net. It also showed that there are 5 or 6 U-boat wrecks in the bay and around Pendennis so we now have a mission to find them all.

As I was swimming away from the shore I saw Kurt going off to the side, when I asked him why he wasn’t 90 degrees to the shore he said he was to the marks in the location guide; I took the pic above and then swam over to join him so we were going in the same direction. After a minute or so as I was looking down to see the sea bed I saw the cleared area we had been told to watch out for and then the unmistakeable shape of  part of the hull came into view, I glanced over to Kurt and shouted I was right on top of it as he was about 10m away from me and excited at finding our first wreck we signaled to go down and slowly let the air out of our BC’s.

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I had brought my camera along, and Kurt his gopro as you will see shortly with his short edited video. It was so intriguing to look at the different parts of what was left of the pressure hull, kind of like a rib cage lain out on the sea bed. The amount of life that had decided it was going to be home was amazing, there was a huge wrasse inside that was too difficult to photograph and many smaller fish, shrimp, bryazoa, hydroids and many more. Below are a few pictures I took, I will return to get clearer shots of the overall hull at a slightly later date.

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It was an amazing dive, we both had 15l tanks and as it had been hot lately I was wearing my 5/4 Excel wetsuit again, yes a wetsuit here in UK waters twice in one summer. We were both examining things around the wreck, Kurt saw the window affect of the structure and the last shot is amazing I think, looks a bit like my fish tank (without the fish in this case).

OK so then we were just pottering about as you do, looking into the holes, taking pics of fish and the like, when all of a sudden I saw a very tiny but familiar shape speed past me to my left, I followed it with my gaze and suddenly stopped dead, it was a tiny cuttlefish, not very old yet it had full control over its chromatophores and one instant it was almost impossible to see as it was the same colour of the sand, then a black line waved from the back to the front and back and suddenly it was gone again. I turned to face curt and raised 2 fingers in horns and wiggled the others like the tentacles of the cuttlefish and Kurt nodded, I pointed to where it was last and we both slowly moved nearer, me with my arms outstretched with the camera to try and get a shot. That was when it just went black and suddenly appeared in front of us, I managed to get 3 shots but it moved so fast that the camera had problems focusing on it, the background looks crisp though and this was the best shot I feel I got of it.

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As it was my first cuttlefish in 2 years I was over the moon that our first U-boat wreck dive had been such a success, finding it and seeing so many awesome things, I can’t wait till we find all the others.

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Saw this strange anemone, was a few of them around buried in the sand near the wreck as well as snakelocks and an even stranger red one.

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We had some fun with the gopro for a bit and took some other photos of interesting things, I managed to catch this rare specimen.

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Yet it managed to wrestle the camera out of my hands and when I hunted it down and got home found it had taken this.

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Kurt had a lot of footage from the gopro and while we were playing around Kurt suddenly tapped my shoulder pointing at a clump of seaweed, at first I couldn’t see what he was pointing at but then it came into view.

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Quietly staying still I managed to get a couple of nice shots close up

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He decided we couldn’t see him, or that we weren’t a threat and came out of his hiding place, so Kurt and I followed, carefully trying not to spook him too much and it was a good 5 minutes so can imagine how many photos I have of this beautiful Red Gurnard, a few more are below.

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We had been in the water for about 45 minutes now and had hit 8m or so, I was starting to get a little chilly in my arms, obviously from the wetsuit as it kept flushing but I saw these 2 little goby and they were performing a dance around the same piece of seaweed and up the slope so I stopped a moment and they were oblivious to me as I gently rested my camera on the top of the slope to catch them and got this cool photo.

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With that shot in hand I signaled to Kurt I was getting too cold so we gently made our way to the surface and on the surface swim back to the beach we couldn’t stop talking about the Gurnard, but we weren’t sure what it was at the time. It was another awesome dive and with our teas poured it was time to de-kit, it was then that Kurt noticed his knife was missing and we spent a bit of time hunting for it but couldn’t so if anyone finds a folding blade dive knife, black and silver between the shore and around UB-128 can they send me a message and one of us will come and collect it.

Here is the video that Kurt made of our latest dive, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

The great guides by Mark Milburn gave us our first successful wreck dive, and after we had our burger at Iguana Grill just round the corner from the beach we headed home.

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