Tycho, 28 July 2012
On an overcast summers morning a selection of Croydon BSACs top divers assembled on Brighton Diver II to dive the wreck of the Porthkerry. With kit loaded and sea conditions looking good (I kept hold of breakfast) we were in for a good days diving. The plan changed from diving the Porthkerry do diving the Tycho.
Here is some info I lifted from the Internet. Porthkerry (about 42-46m, 10m high; 1920 ton, 280ft) This steamer, built in 1911, was torpedoed by the UB 40 in 1917 when she stopped to pickup survivors from the torpedoed Tycho (3216 tons). The captain and 7 crew from Porthkerry and the master and 15 men from the Tycho were killed. The upright wreck lies E-W in two pieces complete with superstructure, in a valley beside a high sand wave. The Tycho lies close by.
After a flat and uneventful steam out we arrived at our destination. With the tide still running we got a little extra kit up time. This gave me time to faff with my camera as I had recently updated the lens dome protector from tracker tyre inner tube + duster to shock cord + T-towel. So with the dome suitably protected we jumped in.
The tide was still running as we descended and we eventually got to a sandy seabed. The shot had dragged of the wreck and was lodged next to a 5 meter long bit of metal, looking around I could not see any sign of the rest of the wreck. So we decided to swim in to the current but this proved to be very difficult. I ended up dragging my self over the sea bed one handed for a while with still no sight of the wreck. After about 5 minutes of this we turned around to drift back to the shot and re-evaluate (or follow some one who knew where they where going) luckily I noticed a shadow of to my left so headed towards it and found the wreck.
We got to the wreck which was flattened, large peaces of hull plating lay scattered everywhere. Visibility was around 5m witch was made navigating easy. We followed the side of the wreck where the deck had been, the wreckage thinned out so I assume we had reached the bow as there was no prop shaft or rudder steering gear. We turned around and zigzaged back towards amidships swimming in to a slight current. Life on the wreck was very good and included a couple of very large crabs, a fair sized lobster and plenty of fish. With decompression mounting we got to the boilers, had a quick swim round them and put up our SMB.
Second dive was one of the south costs premier dive sites, the spires. A dive site where the current will pull you one way and your SMB will pull you another.Where you will quickly lose your buddy if you look the other way. A site where after you drift off while launching your SMB all you see is sand, sand, endless sand. Well, that’s pretty much what happened to me anyway. Plenty of life on the ledges that I saw, loads of hermit crabs and starfish (I like starfish as they don’t swim off when I point a camera at them) in the sand. A nice drift dive with good visibility.
A great days diving with good visibility, no seasickness, an interesting wreck and great company. What more could you want???