The immediate task for 2016 is photography and more photography. Our rebreather divers have GoPros and high resolution stills cameras, so with the plan now in place we can document the targets from the survey and link the images to specific features on the sonar plan. We are likely to put in a few datum posts now that we can relate those to known plan features and they will then make very noticeable reference points for divers. There is an open invitation for other suitably experienced BSAC members to come along and take pictures and we have a few specific invitations out to underwater photographers that we have dived with before.
The next task is to find and relate all the bits & pieces that are a good way off the rail stack. We have small sonar hits some distance away and we need to get divers to swim from these to the rail stack – looking for items on the seabed all the way.
This very much depends on the weather and the state of the sandbank – if we get lucky and the sandbank moves away then much more of the wreck site will be revealed and that may prove useful for finding artifacts.
There is always the job of encouraging new divers to get their skills and experience up to the level where they can safely dive this historic shipwreck.
Full of enthusiasm we set off in late May in calm sunny weather, cameras ready, divers equipped with datum markers; and our new site plan …..
The viz never cleared, it was one of the worst summers for diving The Bristol Channel in living memory,
but the divers did find some objects to photograph. Without context and without being able to map them to the plan, the results are frustrating.
A dry Spring and some amazingly clear viz in April … but we didn’t get to the South Australian. Once the plankton bloom arrived and the English Summer settled in things went badly downhill with the viz. But Oh Joy … by late July things were looking possible and a dive was organised for 19th –
The results were outstanding and they are in The Gallery.