Wreck-diver winkles out Dilys the terrapin

Diving News

For years he was a commercial diver working at depth from the North Sea to the Persian Gulf, and over a 50-year career he has dived for adventure all over the world.

He has discovered famous wrecks such as HMS Swordfish and the Mendi, and many of his finds can be seen at the Shipwreck Centre & Maritime Museum in Arreton, which he runs.

Now 68, he has just made national headlines again – by finding a terrapin in a garden pond.

Woodward responded to an advertisement placed by Isle of Wight resident Debbie Smy from Sandown. She had been trying to transfer her three red-eared terrapins from her pond to an indoor tank for the winter, but had failed to find one of them, a female called Dilys.

Worried about the effects of the cold on the terrapin she had owned for 25 years, Smy advertised locally for a diver. Tipped off by a friend, Woodward stepped forward.

Fully kitted up in scuba gear, he plunged into the black sludgy water, which was little more than a metre deep. He described the zero-vis experience as like “doing a body search” and said it was only after moving a large rock that he felt Dilys in the deeper part of the pond. The recovery operation took around 20 minutes.

“I'm amazed how this story has attracted publicity – it must be a light news week!” Woodward told Divernet.

“I just wanted to help the lady, as she was worried that the terrapin would die if left in the pond during winter.”


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