John and Alistair set off for a bank holiday dive trip in Eyemouth diving with Marine Quest at seriously ungodly o'clock (0515) on Sunday morning. It rained most of the way there but once in Scotland the weather cleared and by the time the North Sea was sighted the weather was pleasant and, more importantly, the sea was flat.
After loading there was a three hour steam out to the wreck which was an unknown mark that Iain, the skipper, had. Wisely Alistair and John hung back and let the serious divers get in first as their hour runtime was nowhere near the others' plans. Once in the water the visibility was crystal clear and a good dive was had all round to just over 60m.
The wreck looks like a collier with two boilers, large engine and possibly a condenser. It has collapsed onto the port side and is quite flat. A large bridge area is still standing.
After a long steam back to harbour which saw a Minke whale swimming along with the boat for a while John and Alistair got to the Eye Sleep Inn. As it'd been an early start and ropes off was 0730 the following day they popped to the very reasonably priced Chinese for tea and got an early night.
The planned dive was out where the previous day's had been but after bashing through biggish waves for a while HMT Fortuna was substituted. Another whale (or possibly the same one) provided a little excitement but it soon disappeared as soon as Alistair's camera made an appearance.
HMT Fortuna was a trawler converted for war service which was sunk by an aircraft in 1941. She had previously served in the first world war. The wreck is a protected wrecks designated under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 which meant no touching.
Visibility wasn't as good as the previous day but was still quite acceptable. The wreck is upright with a large hole in the front port side in about 55m of water. There are lots of interesting features all over the wreck as well as lots of marine life. John and Alistair managed to get all the way around the wreck with time to spare before starting their decompression.
On the way home a stop was made at Twizel Bridge for a photo. For those that don't know, Twizel Bridge is a bridge Alistair has been talking about photographing for years but is prevented by weather, time or not having the right camera and/or lens.
Thanks very much to John for driving all the way there and back and for the excellent company.