Deep Wrecks

Exposure—How Long, How Deep, How Cozy?

The Royal Mail Ship, Empress of Ireland, was an ocean-going luxury liner on her way to Liverpool from Quebec City when she sank in the Saint Lawrence River, 14 minutes after colliding with a Norwegian collier in the early morning fog of 29 May 1914. She had 1,477 people on board—passengers and crew—and the accident claimed the lives of 1,012, more than 800 of them passengers.

Shooting Below Decks

Jim Akroyd places teapot on display table near “Officer’s Country” within the USS Saratoga, Bikini Atoll, Marshall Island

Not all sunken ships are the same. There are shallow wrecks, deep wrecks, very old barely discernable wrecks, wrecks sunk in war, wrecks sunk to make artificial reefs, even wrecks placed on the sea bed for Hollywood movies. While each ship has a different history and characteristics they share one thing in common—they all have been transformed into undersea time capsules.

U89: Exploring U-boats in Ireland

Bow gun and conning tower

Now laying 25 miles off Malin Head, time stands still for this very impressive war machine. Rammed and sunk by HMS Roxburgh, all lives were lost on board the U-89. Crawling with life, the U-89 is now patrolled by large cod, pollock and, of course, conger. Its 60 meters boasts life everywhere.

The Quest for Yolanda

As he descended, Leigh could see that this was a better drop than the previous one and descended straight into 130m of water. After getting his bearings, he swam down and along the reef at a depth of 160m. Slowly, the wreck came into view and he was able to settle on the wreckage and take a good look around.

I was on a deco stop in the cold waters of the national dive centre in the UK when my thoughts turned to diving the warmer waters of the Red Sea and particularly the wreck of the Yolanda, or should I say, to the question of where the wreck of the Yolanda came to rest.

The Hunt For S8

Below some ragged pieces of wreckage lying on the bottom beside the hull, I see something a little out of place. It’s more polished and more regular in its outline. I carefully descend and remove the pieces of metal that hide it. My colleague, Marcus Runesson, is above me providing ample light, making my task much easier.