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Scuba Diving in Oban, Scotland, UK, Europe
Dive Site: The Rondo
Location: 56°32.27N; 05°54.67W
Description: 2363 ton British ship
Length: 80 metres (262 feet)
Depth: 9 - 53 metres (30 - 174 feet)
Visibility: 15 metres (50 feet)
The Rondo started out life as the Lithopolis. It was renamed the Laurie in 1930, before becoming the Rondo in 1934. It sank shortly after a blizzard, during which it had hit some rocks. Several weeks later it slipped down into the water after salvage had failed. It now lies at a 45 degree angle with the bow at 53 metres and the stern at 9 metres, with the mast down the centre. If going to the bottom of the wreck, the dive will require careful planning and beware of currents that may swirl around the bow. A quick descent down will allow a whole dive of the wreck, gradually ascending up to the stern to decompress on the rudder, which is covered in sponges, plumose anemones and brittle stars. Launch can be from Oban, Lochaline or Tobermory.
This dive, if not planning to go to 52m but upwards of 35m, is superb for multilevel and the use of nitrox. Take your camera on wide-angle, as in the morning the sunlight can be superb silohuetting the rudder (no prop only the end). The lucid green water, sunlight and large shoals of pollack types provide ample photo opps. Cuckoo wrasse are often seen, don't discount the reef nearby to off gas. Also, it is possible to swim under the wreck keel at ~24m. Strong tides can be present at times.
An interesting wreck due to its position on a pinacle at 45 degrees. The boat superstructure has long since collapsed leaving only the hull which makes for a sort of chute come slide down to 50m-ish. Beware as this wreck can easily lure you deeper than planned due to its attitude. Best dived working up from a carefully monitored max depth. The swim through under the hull is worth a go too... Reef left and right of the rudder make a pleasant place to do deco at about 6-8m.
Mike Smith, Kingsbury BSAC
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