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13 Jan 2017. HMS Vanguard

2016 was quite a year.

An early Wreck X expedition to Scapa Flow in February was followed by a Wreck X expedition to Palau where we launched my latest book DIve Palau - the Shipwrecks at Sams Tours on the island of Koror.

After leading an Explorers Club expedition under MOD Licence to survey HMS Hampshire off Orkney in June, the same survey team reformed at the beginning of December to begin the survey of the British battleship HMS Vanguard, which blew up at anchor in Scapa Flow in 1917. The wreck is a war grave on which no diving is permitted but our team was again granted a MOD Licence to visit her remains. We carried out preliminary work with a side scan sonar survey of the site before we began to dive the wreck and piece together her story. A further 2 week expedition to complete the survey work takes place at end of January/beginning of February. 

 
3 November 2016. Dive Scapa Flow - Centenary edition

Its done! The manuscript is done and dusted and going off to my publishers with all the photos, charts, new illsutrations all neatly captioned and ready for the editing and layout process to start. A quiet celebratory beer seems in order tonight!

 
7 October 2016. The late Noel Blacklock, ex RN RO

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Noel Blacklock last week. Noel had contacted me out of the blue in 2011 when he spotted a few lines I'd posted in my Blog about having located and dived the WWII convoy loss SS Creemuir.  He was 89 then and had been the RN Radio Officer on Creemuir - and he was now the last living survivor of the crew of 42 - only 12 of whom survived the actual sinking. I subsequently met Noel and we got on like a house on fire as he recounted the whole story to me. Creemuir had been leading the port column of a convoy bound from Methil for Nova Scotia in 1941 when the convoy was attacked off Stonehaven by German torpedo bombers. She went down in 3 minutes, Noel was knocked unconcious as she went under but came to in the water and after about 40 minutes in the North Sea he was pulled into a raft. I devoted a whole chapter to Creemuir and Noel's story inThe Darkness Below and this triggered relatives of other crew to get in touch - I passed them on to Noel who was delighted to fill in the gaps for them. Noel was 95 and was one of the last of the Atlantic convoy veterans - he had a great sense of fun and vivacity about him. I will miss him and our shared interest in the sea.

 
Dive Scapa Flow - Centenary edition publication date set as 28 April 2017.

I'm 2/3 through the final rewrite/tweak and embelish of the Manuscript for the new Centenary Edition of Dive Scapa Flow. Now able to announce the publication date as 28 April 2017. Bringing together all the imagery, getting new charts and wreck illustrations done so a lot going on.

 

dsf zoomDive Scapa Flow - 100th Anniversary Edition now available to pre-order from Whittles Publishing www.whittlespublishing.com

 

 Dive Palau - the Shipwrecks

Just 6 weeks after the carriers of Task Force 58 neutralised Truk Lagoon as a naval and air base in February 1944, Task Force 58 launched a copy cat 2 day air blitz on the next great Japanese naval and air base of Palau - 1100 nautical miles to the west of Truk. Some 40 Japanese ships were sunk and hundreds of aircraft destroyed. Mines were dropped in the shipping channels with delayed fuzes of 2-35 days denying the Japanese the use of the anchorages from which to threaten the US advance westwards towards Japan.

The shipwrecks of Palau have taken a back seat to the beautiful coral reefs, stunning walls and amazing sealife that Palau is justly famous for. But now, Rod's new book lifts the veil on the shipwrecks of Palau - the amazing shipwrecks are finally revealed.

 

 

 

Speakers Associates

 

Rod Macdonald ready to diveI took up diving in the early 1980's - it seems so long ago now - before even Wham were popular. I went on to develop an interest in shipwrecks after my first dive trip to Scapa Flow in Orkney where the remains of the German High Seas Fleet from Word War I still lie on the seabed - 4 cruisers, 3 gigantic battleships along withn many other shipwrecks.

When I was there I struggled to find any decent information for divers on the German wrecks and this led me to come up with the idea of writing a Dive Guide to the Scapa wrecks. The First Edition of Dive Scapa Flow was published in 1990 and a 5th edition is in hand for publication late 2016.

Dive Scotland's Greatest Wrecks first published in 1992 covered the histories of the classic Scottish wreck dives and was followed by a complimentary book about the top 10 wrecks south of the border Dive England's Greatest Wrecks

Each of these 3 wreck manuals covers the history of the wreck, its current condition and is beautifully illlustrated by Rob Ward of Illusion Illustration to reveal the shipwrecks on the seabed.

Into the Abyss - Diving to Adventure in the Liquid World published in 2003 is a collection of all the incidents, hilarious and serious, that crammed themselves into my early diving career from novice diver, through the dangers of the 'deep air' days until the arrival of open circuit Trimix diver opened up vast areas of the sea previously out of reach for standard air divers. It covers my panic stricken first sea dives and subsequents forays into increasingly deeper water in search of virgin wrecks - with a dive into the Corryvreckan Whirlpool, one of the largest in the world, thrown in as well.

The Darkness Below, was released in October 2011 and covers my transition from deep air diving to trimix diving - where we use helium gas mixes to make deeper diving safe - and on to trimix rebreather diving - and along the way covers diving in Scapa Flow, the South China Seas, Norway, Truk Lagoon, Palau and other fabulous wreck sites, some lost and forgotten for aeons.

Great British Shipwrecks - A Personal Adventure was released in December 2012 and focusses on 37 of the most famous shipwrecks around the UK that I have personally explored. In a coffee table style format, the history of each wreck is looked at in detail and beautifully illustrated with topside and underwater photographs and stunning illustrations of the wreck on the seabed today.

Force Z Shipwrecks of the South China Sea - HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse was released in March 2013 at OZTeK 2013 and covers the careers of these two famous British capital ships and their subsequent demise to a massed attack by 85 Japanese bombers - the sinking of PoW heralding the end of the era of the battleship.

Dive Truk Lagoon - the Japanese WWII Pacific shipwrecks was released in October 2014 and covers the 37 major shipwrecks and aircraft wrecks of the world's greatest wreck diving location; the legacy of the American Operation Hailstone of 17/18 February 1944.

Dive Palau - the Shipwrecks was published in April 2016. It covers the 20 major shipwrecks of the American Operation Desecrate 1, that followed just 6 weeks after Truk Lagoon was neutralised in Operation Hailstone.

Join with me to dive, see and experience these hidden wonders from history.

Rod Macdonald...Posing.

 
Wreck X - shipwreck explorers

Rod is now running shipwreck exploration expeditions to the world's greatest wreck locations along with his regualr dive buddy Paul Haynes. Details of this exciting new venture are on Facebook at present.

Our new Website is currently under construction and coming soon at www.wreck-x.comlogo_240515_copy.jpg