The planThe plan was to go to the Stoomketel site, and check out the wreck there. From there to move to the SMS Bayern or one of the other wrecks. We missed our opportunity to dive on the Stoomketel site, but at least we had more than enough time to prepare for our next dive. The dive team was just 4 persons in size including the skipper (Bas), Ernie and Klaas, the experienced Northsea wreckdiver.
|On our way.. Captain Bas|
The weekend started on friday evening, for me, by packing and boarding the Serenity in Lauwersoog. It was already in the outer harbour, ready to leave. We went to the anchorspot for the night. Saving us both harbour costs and 2 hours of sailing in the morning. Ernie and I discussed the timing and the options for the dives. and we had a nice evening on the Wadden.
|Anchored at the Waddenzee|
The gearThis time I had my normal dive kit with some added features. It was my first dive with my new computer that now replaced my console. My normal divelamp had broken down when I tried it the day before, so I dove with backups. The sea was quite warm and it would be doable to use wetsuits, but I had my trusted drysuit with me. Then, off course the rest dove with simple thin protective gloves... I used my 5 mm. (I need to rethink some things... next dive I take just the protective gloves). The next thing was the SMB and a finger reel and finally for the training itself and as common practice: the big reel. 200m of 3mm cord that I was going to use. I dove with a big 15 liter Steel tank filled to 195 Bar with Nitrox 33. That should be enough for 1 hour at the depth we were going.
|Diveteam one preparing, Bas and me going second|
The ShipOur SMS Bayern was an old Vorpostenboot, the German version of converted fishing trawlers, by adding some weapons on them. This particular one was a ship built in 1930 by Frerichswerft that ran on a mine in 1940. It still is quite intact and complete for a Northsea wreck in this area.
Video from Ernie 2 weeks earlier on the same wreck:
Diving on the BayernTiming on going in was not difficult. We saw the current reduced to just a km/h and saw everything calming down. Then we geared up, went in and followed the line down to the wreck. I attached my reel line to the anchor point, a suitable place, only, not so handy when I returned to it later. [learning]
Moving along the wreck, we went to the front first. Criss-crossing the wreck for the best reeling experience. Visibility was quite good, with about 2-5 meters, but conditions can change quite rapidly on these wrecks. On this wreck there were lots of fish in schools we also noticed a large number of Northsea crabs, lobster and a codd. The first un-reeling was done, now it was time to reel in, again.. no trouble there, I had tention on the line when unreeling, this made for easy reeling, no finning needed, just slowly taking in line.
Upon returning at the anchor line after about 15 minutes we went towards the stern, laying out a new guideline. This time Bas, My buddy was in front of me, guiding me through (inside) the wreck. Now I needed to be careful not to trap myself in the line and to keep the dust levels low. A bit of a challenge, but great fun. We unreeled all the way to the stern and found a lot of recent netting there. This was our deepest point, 16.8 meters. Then we returned. Following the line, I tried to reenter the wreck where we exited, but found it was quite narrow so we went over the wreck instead, handing the reel around the trusses beneath us. [learning] Then, when getting back at the anchorline I noticed my guideline was underneath the line which moored the boat. The tricky part was to get the line loosened each the moment the cable slacked. This could cost a finger, or so, if not done properly. [learning] Next time I will most certainly try to find a different spot for fixing my guideline.
As we went up I noticed I had some alarms on my computer.. as we discovered, one was for my airsupply going below the 50 Bar threshold. The other one was for starting the savetystop. Dangling on the line at 6 meters we waited for a bit and then went up. Exiting was easy, the boat was a bit wobbly on the water though. The wind had started to pick up and was was diagonally on the current... which meant the small MV Serenity was catching every wave broadsided.
The dive was great. Even with just one dive, the weekend was quite an experience too. We returned to Lauwersoog Harbour, on the way back we had a great dinner, prepared by Ernie. All in all a great weekend. Thanks all!