2 I’ve found it difficult to put the next two gems of the South-West in any particular order. They should be at joint number one, but for tidiness and to continue the theme, the wreck of the Maine is up next.
Reaching this British steamship was no easy task, despite having 20m of visibility and a well-placed shot handed to us on
a plate. The problem was the smidge of current pulling us away from the shot and eventually out of sight of it when we reached the seabed at 29m.
Cuckoo wrasse and colourful sealife.
The seabed is a coarse shingle material, one of the reasons that the vis is so good there, and we knelt on it for a few moments to take stock. There was no way I was going to miss out on this wreck, particularly after all the pub talk about how good it was the night before.
A bit of luck and one or two pieces of debris from the wreck gave its location away, and as we drew nearer a castle of metal towered before us.
The Maine is in incredibly good shape for a UK wreck, and considering that it’s been sitting there since 23 March, 1917. Sunk by a torpedo from UC-17, it sits upright and several metres proud of the seabed.
Two lucky divers discovered the wreck in 1987 – what a find! Unlike many UK wreck-sites, this one boasts oodles of recognisable features.
It’s possible to swim through lots of them, either from the torpedo-damaged port side (which is where we found the wreck) or by dropping down through the holds. There are ample options for escape, and a torch makes navigation easier once inside.
I’m told that the wreck-site is usually blessed with exceptional visibility, which was true of this occasion. We nodded in appreciation to passing divers and also to an anglerfish the size of a small crocodile, waiting for some unsuspecting creature to stray too close to its mouth.
Incidentally, that anglerfish ended up in a diver’s goodie-bag and was sent to the surface by his lift-bag.
Now, I’m in two minds about this kind of carry-on – should the creature be left there for other divers to enjoy? Or is there an argument for catching your own food in a sustainable manner?
Regardless, I noticed not a single lobster on the wreck – was this the work of divers too? Hmm.
We had less time on the wreck than we would have liked because of our faffing about at the beginning of the dive, combined with Ana’s Fisher Price fins making life tricky for her in the current, but I guess this just gives us one more reason to revisit this epic English relic! It’s a mind-blower!