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Devonshire cup coral on the Cita, diving Scilly Isles, England - courtesy of Tony Gilbert

Scuba Diving in the Scilly Isles, England

Reader Reviews:

Dive Site: Cita

Location: St. Mary's, Scilly Isles (49°54'43"N 06°16'40"W)

Description: 3000 ton bulk carrier

Depth: 8 - 40 metres (26 - 130 feet)

Visibility: 10 metres (30 feet)

Rating: ***

Of nearly a thousand recorded wrecks around the Scilly Isles, the Cita is the last to sink. Rocks yet again played an important part in the sinking of this modern 3000 ton bulk carrier as it ran ashore at full speed in March 1997, just off Newfoundland Point, SE St. Mary's. The ship broke its back on a shallow rock which rises to some 8m below the surface, and several containers from its cargo found their way to local beaches. This rock plays an important part in diving the wreck as it divides the wreck into two separate dives. To dive the whole wreck in one dive would be conducting reverse profiles on the same dive, as the deeper stern section lies in 40m and the bow section at 27m. However the middle section rises to 10m. It is far safer to take one side nice and slowly and enjoy it for what it is.

On the deeper dive (15-40m) all the bridge superstructure, engine room and working quarters are present; however the bow section described here means a longer dive. Usually a permanent buoy is attached to the forward mast, but as we found access to the wreck can be one of several ways. Newfoundland Point rocks drop vertically and being placed in near the rocks, it's easy to imagine how depths plunge effortlessly. The wreck is a little under an estimated 20m away, if that and by dropping onto a ledge at 15m then navigating due east, the diver will come upon what looks like seabed, but turns out to be an enormous part of the intact bow hull section.

The port (left) side of the bow is overhung and the whole drops away to 25-27m, after which large boulders and very steep wall are encountered. These provide some non-wreck interest, but its best to move around the starboard side where masses of Devonshire cup corals are found. Up and over to the deck is the forward mast with steps leading into the interior. Several bollards present themselves and some winches either side - unmistakeable. To the rear of this section is the end of the raised deck where about 4 shafts lead downwards. These are home to many very colourful red dead man's fingers that favour this part of the superstructure.

It seems there is nothing else of the wreck at this point, but swimming out from the back of the bow section you are immediately confronted by bulkhead and hold areas in 20m, ascending to roughly 17m where another piece of the modular ship occurs at 15m. Many wrasse varieties are to be spotted and between these latter two pieces just hanging together there is a swimthrough under the hull some 3m wide and high. The second section of hull has a light coating of kelp. Swimming even further up the rock which caused all the damage, to 8-10m the kelp becomes very dense and the only obvious recognisable evidence of wreck is a steel cable running up the rock presumably over and down to the deeper pieces.

This is a good place to finish the dive, launch the SMB and drift effortlessly over the wreck once more, unless your dive ended slightly deeper under the forward mast, in which case ascend the line (if still tied) or launch and drift off.

Tony Gilbert



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