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Scuba Diving in St Abbs, Scotland
Dive Site: Glanmire Wreck
Location: St. Abbs Head, Scotland
Description: 20th Century merchant vessel
Depth: 28 - 30 metres (92 - 100 feet)
Visibility: 10 metres (30 feet)
The wreck of this 20th Century merchant vessel provides the best wreck dive in the area, and is probably one of the deepest dives at 28-30m. The ship hit Black Carrs and sank just off St. Abbs Head. It is still wreck-like although broken into many larger pieces. Some 200m offshore it is subjected to strong currents and can only be dived on slack, the wreck is clean swept of debris and material.
As far as slack is concerned, having local knowledge is a great advantage. Diving with Pete Gibson one day, told us to kit up and get ready. We were all ready to go, and then he looked over the side, as did we. We saw a maelstrom of rip water, he said two minutes; we thought - you are kidding! Two minutes later he said go, we went and dropped next to the buoy in complete slack. how's that for timing!
An ideal Nitrox dive for the depth, allowing the diver to swim the entire length of the wreck field. The dark water on the surface beckons, and perhaps 5m below to about 10m a dense band of jellyfish is encountered. The green of the water, crisp and clear, darkening as depth increases. Eyes become accustomed to the lowered light levels, but strangely even at the base of the shot at 28m next to one of the two large boilers, it's quite light.
The flat seabed consists of sharp shingle chips with small clumps of the purest white deadman's fingers. From the boilers it depends on what the diver intends, the easiest route is sternwards as the large engine block is nearby, a rectangular tower completely fused with large deadman's fingers. Everything is covered in them, as are the remains of the deck. Someone remarked that the wreck looks like a snow covered ski slope at times! Large pieces of hull/deck rest to one side and quite suddenly the topography changes with a dim 'alien' shape in the water column, that of the upturned stern! Deadman's fingers are everywhere, but now occasional clumps of plumose anemones are present as well. The stern can be surrounded by large fish shoals and many large resident wrasse prevail. An impressive sight, but there is more to come. The iron propeller blades outstretch into the water whereas the very large rudder lies flat on the seabed marking the end of the wreck.
Coming around and making your way up the port side, various winches, a mast and more deck machinery are encountered - even some deck railings. Depending on gas consumption and whether on air or nitrox, ascent of the shot line is made back at the boilers or a continuance of the dive to the bow.
The bow area is more difficult and natural navigation is a must. Following the wreckage past the impressive boilers, several large hull sections are encountered as well as some distinctive blue rings, then nothing! A few bits of metal covered in deadman's fingers are found over the rough ground for about 10m then more debris is picked up. In the lowered light levels a darker mass is made out, that of the intact bow on its side. Many nets are draped over it, and some of the original wood can be seen. Coming around the bow depending on air, swim back to the shot via a large hull section which has a swimthrough, or launch the delayed SMB here.
The wreck is home to many conger and wolfish as well as smaller creatures which are all well worth looking out for. At all times depth and gas should be monitored, and an eye kept on the current as slack windows are short. Conditions can change topside, especially further offshore, so be prepared for choppy surface conditions. Give yourself plenty of time to ascend as occasionally down currents can be encountered
Glanmire Wreck Resources
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