Thursday, 16 July 2009

Swanning about the Duart Castle

Thursday 16'th
Having failed to remember my password I asked Mary to hack me into the blog!

Having had a comprehensive evening lecture on the wreck of the Swan given by Colin Martin it was time to Dive the Wreck! We were told to report to the quay at the 'back of nine', so at 09:15 four of us had assembled and were debating exactly what is meant by 'back of nine'- where does May pick these phrases from?

The boat arrived and we cross-decked with the additional gear for the day - an additional 3 divers joining the rest of the course (Myself being one of them). A journey of 30 minutes in splendid morning sun, took us to Duart Point, overlooked by the small, but perfectly formed Duart Castle.

The plan (yes there is a plan!) was to dive the site - rummage about the kelp see if we could find the cannon and anchor, see if we could identify the ballast mounds and return.

(Its a cannon I promise!)

On the bottom the kelp forest made for an interesting interpretation. Where's the wreck? We rummaged around the end of a marker buoy that we were assured was attached to a cannon. After pushing the kelp to one side it was possible to see an encrusted cannon, now to find the one close by that featured temptingly on our site plan.

Buddy Steve and myself swam about 10 fin-kicks and rummaging in the kelp found the anchor, which was at the far end of the wreck site - this was a much smaller site than we had anticipated!

Some finger-walking took us to another cannon and after a bit more rummaging we decided to ascend.

The next bit of the plan was to get ashore and have a group photo by a new plaque that had been placed by Historic Scotland and was being commissioned by this event. So a short swim was needed to get ashore. After some disrobing and making oneself as presentable you can be in an undersuit we posed for the photos. Now we can hit the cafe!

After sticky buns we toured the castle. As a wreck-bunny I'm not really best placed comment on the buildings - it wasn't wet (what more can I say?).

A swim back to the boat, and someone asked the silly question 'do you want a second dive?' Does a fish like water? So the second dive was to be an orientation dive on the John Preston.

With a bit of current flowing we all jumped in and droped down the shot. The end of the shot was tied in to the keelson, but when we surfaced we have about 6 different locations for where along the keelson the shot was tied in! Guess what the first task tomorrow will be!

Steve and myself swam away fron the main group to get better viz and followed the slope & debris down to the drop-off - and well it would be rude not to have a little look, but this dropped off to well beyond what the grown-ups would be happy with so just down to 23 m. We returned back to the keelson and found the shotline, so time to ascend.

So tomorrow looks like we have to be behaved and do some proper archaeology (may be!).

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