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Hispania, Oban dive site

The Hispania's stern cabins - Courtesy of John Liddiard

The Hispania's rudder - Courtesy of John Liddiard

Cargo hoists on the Hispania - Courtesy of John Liddiard

Scuba Diving in Oban, Scotland, UK, Europe

Dive Site: The Hispania

Location: 56°34.95N; 05°59.15W

Description: 1337 ton Swedish steamer

Length: 72 metres (236 feet)

Depth: 30 metres (100 feet)

Visibility: 15 metres (50 feet)

Rating: *****

In 1954 after hitting a reef during a storm, the Hispania sank taking down the Captain with it; all other crew members were rescued. It now lies in an upright position, with the engine room and deck all penetrable. The propeller has been salvaged and the cargo is not of much interest, but the dive is still enjoyable. There is a lot of life and the wreck is covered in orange and white anemones, sponges, fish and starfish. The Hispania can only be dived only on slack, launch can be from Oban, Lochaline or Tobermory.

Reader Reviews:

One of the most amazing wreck dives in Scotland. Viz usually excellent, plenty of marine life. Ship still in very good shape despite years of tides and corrosive salty waters. Last dived September 2006.

Craig Campbell, BSAC Sports Diver

A truly great wreck dive - penetration is reasonably safe as most plating has fallen off allowing numerous exit points. The accommodation has a bath in it! Plenty of life, soft corals etc to see. Be careful when surfacing as the current picks up soon after slack and you can find yourself close to the ferry shipping lane!! Your will need a DSMB / skill to use one!

Mike Smith, Kingsbury SAC

I can't see this wreck not making the top 5 wreck dive of any diver. It's the text book wreck, very much ship shape, covered in sea squirts, all of the holds accessible and at an average depth of 22-27m with a list to starboard. At those depths, you have the time to explore it inside and out with minimal, if any deco. Watch out for the jellyfish as I found out at the base of the buoyline!

Richard Nokes, Bexley BSAC

Absolutely fantastic, great vis when we dived it last on the 18th of October 2008. If you're not a complete wreckie like some of the hard core in my club this is a great wreck, at the time very light which made the difference.

Stuart, Poseidon SAC

Starting at around 12m and going to around 28m (depending on tide), this wreck has changed over the years, from being upright when I first dived it nearly 13 years ago, to its current angle of a more pronounced list to starboard.

As it rests mid-Sound it is subject to very strong currents especially if the slack window is a short one. Skippers try and get you in during the slackening period so you can dive the whole of slack, but if you stay too long expect a raging! Our last occasion, we dived as a threesome and after visiting the stern, where areas of the keel are above the seabed, a raging cross current started from starboard to port. The vis. was superb at over 10m, the wreck swept clean of everything apart from the dense & colourful filter feeders.

"Going over" to the port side was now difficult and we had to haul ourselves over making use of any protruding spars. The bridge area was superb, but we dropped into the hold areas for a respite. The seabed could clearly be seen below and the bow a good sight, with the hawsers. On previous occasions we'd swum the whole outside of the wreck and investigated the bridge area with no currents in evidence. Looking up from the seabed at 30m some 8m away from the stern in great vis is a wondrous sight to behold!

At busier times care should be exercised if you come up on a delayed SMB as there could be several boats around and on one such occasion we had 4 RIBs and 3 hard boats.

Tony Gilbert | 19/12/2008

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